In a candid interview, Dr. Kahaki Kimani, a seasoned pediatric ophthalmologist and senior lecturer at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Nairobi, delved into the touching journey of Tabitha Murigi, who discovered her son Osteen’s retinoblastoma. Tabitha, married to Samuel Kagiri and a mother of three – Queentah (13 years), Osteen (10 years), and Fridah (8 years) – recounted the transformative experience that unfolded when she detected a concerning gleam in Osteen’s left eye when he was just 2 and a half years old. This subtle observation prompted her to seek medical attention, even though initial attempts by a nearby clinic to illuminate the issue were unsuccessful. Tabitha’s persistence and maternal instincts drove her to take her concerns seriously, eventually leading her to Lion’s Eye Hospital, where a scan revealed the diagnosis of retinoblastoma. The speed of the referral was remarkable, indicating a swift response to the medical urgency.
Tabitha credited Dr. Kimani with introducing her to “KnowTheGlow,” a resource that raised awareness about the telltale sign of retinoblastoma – an odd glow in a child’s eye when exposed to light. This tool played a crucial role in her journey, complementing her keen observations and ultimately ensuring Osteen’s diagnosis and treatment.
Osteen’s progress since his diagnosis has been heartening. Following Dr. Kimani’s guidance, Tabitha and her husband followed through with the treatment plan, despite initial shock and disbelief. The gravity of the situation dawned on Tabitha when she was informed that Osteen’s eye had to be removed due to the extent of the cancer. Dr. Kimani’s patient explanations and support helped Tabitha come to terms with the necessity of the operation. After the surgery, Osteen underwent six months of chemotherapy, followed by a series of clinic visits that gradually decreased in frequency as his health improved. The young boy’s resilience and Tabitha’s unwavering commitment to his well-being eventually led to the remarkable outcome – Osteen was declared cancer-free. Today, Osteen is a vibrant and healthy 10-year-old excelling in school with a passion for football and a zest for life that knows no bounds. Through Tabitha’s attentive care and the expertise of Dr. Kimani and her team, Osteen’s journey showcases the power of maternal instinct, medical intervention, and a community’s support in overcoming adversity and embracing life’s opportunities.