KnowTheGlow had the opportunity to speak with Anita and Aakanksha Gupta last month—a mother and a daughter who share a common diagnosis of retinoblastoma and triumphant recovery. As you’ll read in Aakanksha’s own words, her surgery was slightly delayed due to the Covid-19 but she is on the road to recovery. As a passionate advocate for cancer patients, Anita, Aakanksha’s mother, is not only a survivor of RB but is also a medical social worker with the Nargis Dutt Foundation.
Victory Over Cancer!!!!!!
In the year 1976, when I was just 3 years old, when my friends used to play, at that time I was suffering from RETINOBLASTOMA, a type of eye cancer. I was healthy enough, but used to fell down due to the problem. The black eyeball was converted into white spot like a mustard seed. We were staying at our native place. There the doctor told me to operate the eye because it was totally infected & the other one was infected more than 60%.
After that my parents took me to Mumbai. There they took me to Bombay Hospital where we consulted Dr. R.K Kapoor. The eye was operated by him & I was admitted to the Hospital for 1 month. After the operation, I had to go under the radiation process. Later I took admission in school. Due to 1 physical defect, everyone used to ignore society which was really very bad for me. Life went on as it was. But at the age of 18, in 1991 I married a person who was totally normal. My husband selected me without any hesitation, as a life partner which made me feel proud. He is really very caring & kind. One year later I gave birth to a baby boy, who was totally normal. Six years later , I gave birth to a baby girl. Her name is AAKANKSHA. She was normal till the age of 7 months. Suddenly at the age of 7 months her eye started reflecting in golden colour. We visited Holy Spirit Hospital where she took the birth and was declared normal. In the second round we met Dr. Thareja Brahmbhatt. She suggested an anesthesia process.
During that period they came to know that AAKANKSHA was suffering from RETINOBLASTOMA, a type of eye cancer. We were distraught. Someone told us to visit Anjubai Bachchuwala Hospital. But our destiny brought us to Tata Memorial Hospital. Treatment was done under Dr. Banawali with 12 sessions of chemotherapy & a month long treatment of radiation. In June 2000, Aakanksha’s right eye was operated on. Unfortunately the implant was infected. Two more surgeries were followed by Dr. Sunil Vasani in Jaslok Hospital. Her eye socket reconstruction was done at Harkishandas Hospital. Skin from her thighs was used for the surgery. At the Age of 3 she got admission in Bombay Cambridge School. Her teacher Discovered that she couldn’t hear properly. An ENT specialist, Dr. Christopher D’souza told us that her hearing loss was more than 50% due to the radiation that was followed up while her treatment. This is how we conquered all the physical challenges & today I am working as a Medical Social Worker at Nargis Dutt Foundation & my daughter Aakanksha is studying in SYBCs at Nirmala Niketan College Of Home Science.