“Cured from cancer - thank you God!”
Eight-year-old Moses Lipengo is a grade two student at the Missions of Hope International (MOHI) Mabatini center. Since 2018 Moses has battled with Hodgkin's Lymphoma which was diagnosed in 2019.
This is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system and often starts with painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or the groin. In Moses’ case, the cancer affected his neck lymph nodes; but thanks be to God — it is now a year since he was declared ‘cancer-free’!
Here is his story as told to us by his mother Everlyne Ambuka.
How it started
In 2018, we noticed that our youngest child - Moses - had a small swelling on the left side of his neck. This ‘ball-like’ swelling would move when touched and Moses would also get a mild fever and often had flu-like symptoms.
We took him to the hospital, near where we live, and the doctor could not tell us what was wrong with him. He just asked us to keep an eye on our son and gave us something to manage the fever.
Moses continued to go to school and engage in his usual activities and we thought the swelling would go down on its own.
In early 2019, I noticed a second swelling on the same side of the neck and then Moses started to complain of pain. There were times he could not even turn his neck and he had constant headaches. The doctors still could not tell us what was wrong.
One day, his teacher called me and said I needed to go to the school because Moses was sick. When I got there, the social worker asked me about his medical history and when I explained to her what we had been through, she wrote me a referral to MOHI’s Pangani clinic.
The medics at the clinic took up our son's case and tried several interventions to manage the pain and fever as well as bring the swellings down. Over a couple of weeks, Moses was a regular patient at the MOHI Pangani clinic but there was no change.
During one of our visits, the doctor detected two more swellings and we were immediately referred to the country’s largest referral hospital. A social worker accompanied Moses and I to the hospital where they carried out numerous tests on him and MOHI catered for all the medical bills.
I remember being sent back home with my son to await the results but three days later we were back. Moses was in too much pain. This was July 9, 2019. We were admitted at the hospital and they put him under pain management as we awaited the results.
One week later, the nurses told me that a counsellor would be coming by to see me and it was this counsellor who informed me that my son had cancer. We were immediately moved to the paediatric cancer ward and Moses and I ended up staying in that ward for six months.
This was a very difficult time for all of us. I am a mother of four and while Moses is our last born, our third born child is only 12-years-old and had to do without me for many days. I am however, grateful because my husband and the two older children did everything possible to ensure that life went on as usual.
We also had a lot of support from our neighbours, family and friends who knew what we were dealing with. They would offer to do our laundry, some would cook supper whenever my husband was running late and they would keep an eye on our child.
My sister would also come to hospital and stay with Moses over the weekend so I could go home. I would leave on Friday evening and be back on Sunday evening
MOHI was also very supportive throughout our stay in hospital. The social workers would visit us regularly to pray with us and encourage us. They would ensure to bring us fruits which were an important food source for Moses at this time. His teachers also came to see us and would assure Moses that he will be back to class soon.
No more cancer!
During this six month period, Moses went through ten cycles of radiotherapy. After he finished these cycles he was tested and found to still have a few cancerous cells. He went through surgery in January 2020 and in February the doctors declared him cancer-free!
While it was a relief for all of us, it was not easy for Moses when it was time to leave the hospital. We had made new friendships with the other children and mothers in the cancer ward. We had become like a family; we prayed together, cried together and supported each other when one of the children died. I have kept in touch with most of these mothers and we encourage each other in this journey. Moses’ new playmates were sad to see him go — a lot of tears were shed on that day. Both of joy and of sadness.
When we left hospital, we would take Moses back for a review every month. Right now we take him after three months and each time they run tests to see if the cancer has returned. I am so grateful to God that he has remained cancer-free.
I cannot say enough about the role MOHI played in the care of Moses. From the moment we started coming to the Pangani clinic, they were concerned and walked with my family and I all through the process.
Cancer is a very expensive disease but MOHI helped us at every turn so that by the time we were discharged, there were no pending bills. May God bless all those who made this possible for us so that our son could receive the care he needed..
Right now Moses is doing well. He is back to his playful, jolly self and has settled back into his studies. I am also grateful because his teachers have really worked closely with him to ensure that he is not left behind in his studies.
As a family, we have seen the hand of God throughout this journey. We have experienced His faithfulness and everytime I look at my healthy son, I acknowledge that He is a God of mercy - a God who heals.