Girl fights to save remaining eye
MANILA, Philippines — After losing her right eye to retinoblastoma (eye cancer) in October 2019, Princess Ihmet Cabana has been undergoing chemotherapy to save the other one.
From laser treatment, her doctor at Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City has shifted to using a combination of three forms of chemotherapy to shrink the two tumors found in her left eye.
Every three weeks, the 7-year-old Grade 2 student, who lives in Cagayan province with her parents and two siblings, goes to PCMC to undergo intra-arterial chemotherapy (P50,000 per session) and melphalan treatment (P10,000 per vial). She then goes home to attend her classes but returns in two weeks’ time for systemic chemotherapy (P20,404 per cycle).
Her father James, who makes a living as a farmer and fisherman, is thankful that a politician in their province has been helping them out by shouldering part of Princess’ medical expenses.
On top of his daughter’s chemotherapy sessions, he spends P3,000 for their round trip transport fare from their house in Alcala, Cagayan, to PCMC. Princess also needs to undergo a COVID-19 swab test (P3,800), an x-ray (P500) and complete blood count test (P1,500) every time she is admitted to the hospital for treatment.
James asked Inquirer readers for help since Princess is scheduled for an MRI test next month at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City. “The doctor wants to see the effects of chemotherapy and check if there are more tumors growing in her head,” he said.
The procedure will cost P25,280, excluding the P18,500 to P20,000 estimated fee for anesthesia and anesthesiologist’s fee.
The MRI results will also determine the course of treatment to be taken in the future to preserve the remaining eye of his daughter who dreams of becoming a doctor one day.
“The doctor recently told me that Princess has developed a cataract which is a side effect of the treatment. He told me not to worry, saying that he will concentrate first on shrinking the tumor before removing the cataract. He also advised me to buy a new artificial eye for Princess because she is starting to outgrow her current one,” James said. Her artificial eye which was bought last year cost the family P8,000.
Those who want to help Princess can deposit their donations in her father’s BDO account (James B. Cabana, account No. 003640569622). James can be contacted at 0905-1662053.
—STEPHANIE R. ASUNCION
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.