JUGGLING responsibilities as a mother of a cancer-stricken son and wife was something Shareen Lata thought she couldn’t handle.
With the hospital visits to her young son who was barely two years old, she said life was quite tough. But despite the many challenges she faced, she made sure she had time for her family.
The mother-of-two said her son, Rishav Lal, was diagnosed in 2016 at the tender age of one year and eleven months. After catching a slight cold and fever, Ms Lata took her son to the Samabula Health Centre where he was diagnosed with Leukemia.
The following year Rishav was admitted to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital and began his treatment which required he stay at the hospital for three months. “That was the most tough time for my family because Rishav was so small and he had to undergo so many tests,” the 44-year-old said. For five long years, Ms Lata watched her son at his worst.
It was not until last year that he regained a new lease of life after finishing his last round of chemotherapy in April 2022.
“It was hard watching my son weak and having to see him in pain after chemotherapy.
“But my Rishav is a strong boy, at a young age he was able to overcome all the hardships he faced.”
She said her life mostly revolved around Rishav’s trips to the hospital and home to her family. Despite how tired she was, Ms Lata said she always made sure she was there for her sick son.
“I was there almost every day feeding him, clothing him and making sure he was comfortable at the hospital. “I did all that because I am his mother and it was really hard for me to see him in such a weak state.”
She said while nursing Rishav at the hospital, she would often give advice to new mothers in the ward.
“I would see the new mothers struggling to feed or cope with their children so since I was experienced, I would help them and answer their questions.
“We are all trying to keep our children safe so I always made sure to help the mothers in the ward.” Good news finally arrived for the family in May last year when they were told by doctors that Rishav was 99 per cent cancer free.
“My husband, eldest son and I were so happy when the doctors told us the news — it was like a huge weight had been lifted off our shoulders. “We have seen a huge change with him.
“He enjoys school and is running around — something he did not do before.” She thanked the WOWS Kids Fiji staff, Dr Savenaca and nurses for their help while Rishav was admitted at the CWM Hospital.
“The (WOWS Kids Fiji) supported us financially and also provided us with transport to and from the hospital.
“We were blessed by so many people and thanks to them Rishav was able to get the necessary medical treatment he needed.”
She called on parents to get their children checked.
“We never know our children might be sick so I urge parents and guardians to make sure that their children’s health was their priority.
“Our children are the future — we must protect them.”