The Journey Walked Together – Diya’s Story

“After I received my diagnosis, everyone started leaving me except for my mother and a few close friends. I felt like it was all my fault and that I deserved it. But my mother and the nurses at Indus Hospital & Health Network gave me the strength to persevere. Together, we have endured every hardship and celebrated every success together, as a family.”

Diya was born and raised in Northern Karachi, where her family struggled to make ends meet. The poverty and lack of access to primary healthcare led to a difficult childhood for Diya. Despite the challenges she faced with her family, she never let them affect her outlook in life.

However, everything changed a few months after her 15th birthday. She started experiencing extreme nausea and would be feverish for weeks, leaving her unable to stand up or lie down comfortably, robbing her of breath and sapping her strength. She was left bedridden and barely able to move, dependent on her family for even the simplest tasks.

Her family realized that they would have to get Diya to a private hospital to receive the medical attention she needed. They pooled their entire savings and pleaded with their neighbors and relatives for financial assistance. While a few of them stepped forward to lend their support, most avoided them outright. And so, Diya, who used to be constantly surrounded by friends and cousins that cheered her up, suddenly found herself more alone than she had ever been in her life.

Her family finally saved enough to have Diya admitted to a private hospital. The doctors diagnosed her with blood cancer and discovered a buildup of fluid behind her heart and in her lungs. She would need surgery to remove the buildup and ongoing chemotherapy sessions over a period of months, maybe even years. Realizing that they would be unable to afford the treatment, the doctors there referred them to the Indus Hospital & Health Network (IHHN), Korangi campus in Karachi.

There, Diya was not only given quality treatment completely free of cost but also received psychosocial counseling to help her deal with the mental trauma she had suffered throughout her ordeal. Diya, whose smile would light an entire room, was left a shell of herself through the constant travel and guilt over what her condition was costing her family. The nurses at the pediatric ward came forward and helped Diya take the first step towards recovery.

“Even though the chemotherapy and the needles are awful, I still look forward to coming to the daycare center because I am close to everyone here. The nurses here are very nice. They laugh and joke with me and even bring me food whenever I feel low.”

What surprised Diya the most was how involved the nurses were and the lengths to which they went to relieve her of any stress. She describes how Samina, one of the nurses in the pediatric ward, would hold her hand or hug her and distract her with jokes when the medication couldn’t reduce the pain. During Diya’s visits, she would have sit and have lunch with her despite her busy schedule. On many occasions, when the ward was extremely busy and Diya felt lost in the crowd of patients, Samina would repeatedly come and find her to remind her to stay until she received her treatment.

Diya is thankful to Samina and all the nurses at the Indus Hospital and is grateful for their tireless efforts in stepping in and making her journey in the recovery from cancer one of relative ease. Nurses form the backbone of all medical institutions and without them Indus Hospital & Health Network would not be able to serve millions of underprivileged families all over Pakistan.

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