Nobody expects a brain tumor to enter their life; however, when it does, there are a lot of unanswered question that naturally come up. What does a cancer survivor look like? Are they skinny, do they have hair? Do they look sick? Are they young or old? For Kenyan resident Belinda Sangona, not only did she survive a deadly form of brain tumor, but today she shares her story of survivorship.
“I’m 41 years old and a native of Kenya. Around two years earlier, I was diagnosed with brain tumor. My life was forever changed when after I heard my diagnoses,” recalls Belinda. The suspicion of brain tumor started after it began taking its toll on Belinda’s health, “I was experiencing severe headaches, and I knew something was wrong. I visited my doctor who advised to get an MRI Scan done. When the results of the MRI came back and the doctor told me I had a brain tumor, I wanted to scream. I was devastated and cried uncontrollably. “Why me, Lord?” I yelled.”
Afraid and unsure about what she should do next, Belinda got in touch with Vaidam Health. “Vaidam was a Godsend I tell you, they helped me through the worst period of my life.” After speaking to her Case Manager, Belinda felt a huge burden was off her shoulders, “I felt a huge burden being lifted off my shoulders; it gave me hope that I can fight the tumor with the help of doctors in India”. After reviewing multiple hospitals with her Case Manager, Belinda decided to get treated at Fortis Memorial Research Institute at Gurgaon, Haryana. “She (Case Manager) took me through the whole procedure and helped me choose the best healthcare facility, the whole procedure was uncomplicated and very encouraging.”
Belinda arrived in New Delhi on the 2nd of August for her appointment with Dr. Sandeep Vaishya. After going through an MRI scan, Dr. Vaishya informed Belinda that she had a Meningioma tumor and that she would need surgery as soon as possible. Two days later, Belinda was ready for her brain tumor removal. “I was so nervous before surgery, but speaking to Dr. Vaishya definitely made me feel more at ease.”
During the surgery, Dr. Vaishya- the best surgeon for brain tumors in India, removed almost 95% of the brain tumor, which turned out to be glioblastoma (a malignant tumor affecting the brain or spine). “I didn’t feel any pain when I awoke after surgery, but I couldn’t move my right leg or arm. I could only wiggle my right thumb a little bit. Three days later, I was put into recovery, then subsequently into rehab.”
“Within a few days, I could move my arm, and then leg a little bit. Two weeks after surgery, I was eating without any help, walking with a walker and visiting the Cafe Coffee Day shop downstairs” recalls Belinda. Belinda was discharged subsequently and on the 22nd of August, returned to Kenya fully satisfied with how her recovery was progressing.
Now back in Kenya, Belinda sends her love, “The amazing doctors, nurses and therapists at Fortis- one of the best brain tumor hospitals in India, took excellent care of me and pushed me to get better each day. Their positive attitudes were contagious. Everyone from the receptionists to the cab driver was considerate and truly caring.”
Vaidam thanks Belinda for giving us the opportunity to help her find a hospital in India and assist her during her trip to India. We wish her a quick recovery and all the success for the future.