Naomi is a 7yo little girl, who was referred to us from Ruvuma regional hospital a 15hours bus journey; with 3months history of progressive abdominal swelling accompanied with weight loss, recurrent night time fevers, and poor appetite. 2 weeks before she arrived she started having convulsions with strange and frightening hallucinations. Her family were very frightened by this new symptom. Despite being treated at a local hospital for infection her health continued to deteriorate.
When Naomi was admitted at the MNH paediatric oncology ward, she was found to be malnourished due to a very large kidney tumour called a Nephroblastoma. In addition, she had very high blood pressure and was disoriented and frightened. We suspected these symptoms and signs were linked to her diagnosis and sure enough an emergency MRI of her brain revealed a condition called PRES (posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome) which can manifest with convulsions and hallucination. Thankfully the condition is, as it says in the name, if caught in time, reversible; controlling the blood pressure slowly resolves all seizures and confusion.
Although it was of course devastating news for her grandmother to find out that her granddaughter has cancer, she was incredibly relieved when her seizures and confusion stopped and her sunny little girls personality returned to normal. The staff at MNH and TLM were happy to reassure her that children with this type of cancer typically do very well.
Naomi is now responding great to all treatments we are providing – the blood pressure quickly returned to normal ranges which resolved the convulsions and hallucinations. Her abdominal swelling has reduced significantly and her weight is up. She is even able to attend classes and play with peers at the hospital, awaiting her operation for removing the cancerous kidney. She has a long journey ahead but she is now on the right path.
Doesn’t she look pleased with herself these days?