Viet Nam News
Thùy Dương-Diệu Linh
HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Thị Vui held a doll as she walked in a hurry towards a room for child patients at the Hà Nội-based National Cancer Hospital.
The doll was a gift that Vui, from central Đà Nẵng City, wanted to give her five-year-old daughter as a reward for undergoing chemotherapy treatment for blood cancer.
The girl, Ngọc Phương, was diagnosed with blood cancer five months ago at her local hospital after an unusual prolonged fever.
“I felt insecure when we took Phương to hospital for a health check-up. When the doctor told me that Phương was suspected of having blood cancer, my heart was numbed with grief,” Vui told the Nông thôn Ngày nay (Countryside Today) newspaper.
“I already had a hope that miracles really existed in life until we brought Phương to the hospital for a check-up. I hoped that doctors would provide a diagnosis opposite that produced by the local hospital,” she said.
“However, when I learned that Phương did have blood cancer, I collapsed completely,” Vui said.
“It was so painful. I wished I could carry the disease for her,” she added.
“But who would take care of her if I collapsed? Therefore, I had to be stronger and try to smile and play with her so my little girl would not be afraid,” she said.
After five months, Vui kept trying to fighting the disease in the hospital with her daughter. Vui has never given up. Her husband stays at home in Đà Nẵng to take care of a second child while working hard to earn money to pay for treatment.
What tortures Vui the most is her daughter’s pain. “There were nights that Phương could not sleep because of pain. She tried to suffer alone without complaining to me. It tormented me even more,” Vui said.
There was a time Phương asked me to comb her hair. “Mum, please comb my hair. I am afraid you will not have a chance to do it when I lose all my hair,” Vui recalled in tears.
“I wish I could share the pain with my daughter. I try to smile instead of crying to make my daughter happy,” she said.
“I will do anything to keep my daughter alive,” she said.
Vui is just one of hundreds of mothers struggling to fight against cancer in their children at the hospital.
Nguyễn Thị Vân, from northern Hưng Yên Province, is taking care of her six-year-old daughter at the hospital who suffers from a rare case of left adrenal cortex cancer.
Minh Thư has undergone treatment for the cancer at the hospital for six months. She has lost all of her hair.
“The first day I took Thư to the hospital, I was so scared to see many child patients without hair. I could not imagine that one day my daughter would also be the same,” Vân said.
Vân has to buy medicine from Singapore to treat Thư’s disease at a cost of VNĐ58 million (US$2,500) for two bottles. All her family’s income is used for treatment.
Vân’s sorrow was doubled when her husband got a work accident, making it harder for him to work to earn money.
To save money, all activities by Vân and her daughters take place at the hospital, which has become their second home. Chairs along corridors have become Vân’s beds at night. Since Thư was diagnosed with the cancer, her mother has never had a good sleep.
“Many times I cry when seeing my daughter. She often hugs me and says she loves me very much. It gives me more strength to fight against the disease with her,” Vân said.
According to the National Institute for Cancer Control, about 4,200 new cancer patients under 19 are detected each year in Việt Nam. The most frequently diagnosed cancers are blood, brain, bone, and kidney cancers. — VNS