For the first four to five years of Natheerah’s life she was a healthy and happy child with barely a care in the world. However, this all changed in January 2013 when Natheerah’s mom, Sadia, began to notice that her daughter’s eyes were often swollen, something she initially thought was some sort of allergic reaction.
Sadly, Natheerah was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome on her first visit to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in February 2013 when she was only five-years-old and has since had a very long and challenging medical journey. Nephrotic Syndrome is a very serious kidney disease that is caused by focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which means that the filtering system in her kidney is not functioning properly. At this stage poor Natheerah was experiencing unusual swelling in various parts of her body, as well as high blood pressure and some blood in her urine.
Natheerah was admitted to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and started treatment, but there was no real improvement in her health, because her body was resistant to the medication. She then underwent her first renal biopsy in April, after which she started a new treatment that lasted three months. Unfortunately, there were more complications during this treatment, because it caused unusual hair growth and Natheerah’s face continued to swell up.
As a result of all the physical changes that occurred, it was not only Natheerah’s health that was suffering, but also her self-confidence and good spirit. Sadly she was often teased by her friends, which had a profound effect on her. Sadia says that it was heart breaking to watch her bright, confident daughter retreat into herself.
Following numerous private counselling sessions and a change in treatment, Natheerah’s health has been more stable for the past two years and she has returned to being a confident young lady with big hopes and dreams for the future. She is in grade three at Sunlands Primary School and is doing very well.
The doctors at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital will be performing another biopsy procedure to check Natheerah’s toxin levels. We know that you are in great hands Natheerah and we truly admire your perseverance throughout this challenging journey – you are a true superhero!