Jean Williams' worst nightmare has become a reality: her seven-year-old son died from a cancerous tumour last month.
It was only in December last year that Williams was filled with joyous expectations as Sanjeev Johns, her son, would finally be able to start primary school in January after having recently completed radiation therapy for neuroblastoma, a malignant tumour that usually occurs in childhood.
"From the first week of December, I saw a little bulge at his side and I pointed it out to the doctor. He told me it was only a muscle, however, and said it's because Sanjeev had one of his kidneys removed so the muscle will be building up," Williams told The Gleaner.
"He started school in January, but a week and a half later, he just started to feel sick. He was saying his belly didn't feel good," she added.
This situation was all too familiar to Jean, however, so she decided to take Sanjeev to the doctor once again.
"This time, the doctor told me that the bulge was not a muscle. We did the ultrasound and found out that it was a tumour that had resurfaced," she said.
"They did not know if it was the tumour from before or if a new one had resurfaced. They also said they can't do anything because the surgeon decided not to open his back and also stated that Sanjeev was not in a state to take another dose of chemotherapy," she added.
MULTIPLE TUMOURS FOUND
Sanjeev was admitted to the Bustamante Hospital for Children on January 30 and more tests were carried out. It was then that multiple tumours were discovered, the biggest one being 16 centimetres.
"The doctor kept telling me that Sanjeev is very sick. I was just hoping for a miracle to happen though. They were basically telling me there was nothing they can do as the cancer had resurfaced and was spreading rapidly," she said.
"It was (one evening last month) when Sanjeev started to repeat everything that the doctor was saying. That is when the sad reality started to hit me as it was apparent that his brain was no longer functioning properly," she added.
Sadly, Sanjeev passed away the following morning.
Williams argued that the Government should make treating paediatric cancer one of its main priorities.
"They do not have the facilities or the trained nurses to deal with cancer patients. Cancer patients, asthma patients and those with other illness are all on the same ward. They also took too long to diagnose Sanjeev's situation as when we first discovered the bulge, he was still strong and doing well. The Government needs to make our children their main priority," Williams said.
"I saw my worst nightmare come true, and I am trying very hard as he was the youngest of my children - my only son, too. I am very grateful for Angels of Love Jamaica, my friends, family and the church, as they stood by me through the whole ordeal - from he was diagnosed until now," she added.
Sanjeev's funeral will take place at the Burnt Savannah Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church in St Elizabeth on March 31 at 11 a.m. Williams will also be keeping a memorial at the Washington Gardens SDA Church prior to the funeral.