Raman and Kiron’s daughter, Alia, was three years old when she started to cry with joint pain. After a month in hospital and many blood tests, doctors sent her home with the diagnosis that she had rheumatic fever. She was given Paracetamol for the pain. A month later, she was covered in little red spots, which started to turn blue.
Raman was on his farm near Haridwar when he got the news. Alia’s recent blood test showed she had leukaemia. He rushed back to Delhi and they flew out to Bombay with Alia. Two year old Rohan and six year old Vidur were left with grandma.
Alia’s platelets were dangerously low and she had already started haemorrhaging internally. There was a chance she might start haemorrhaging in her vital organs. She was rushed into reverse isolation. Her immunity was so low there was a chance she could pick up an infection. Chemotherapy was administered immediately.
Raman and Kiron were desperate. Alia got weaker and weaker. She lost all her hair. Her tummy was distended and her legs and arms were like little sticks. She had so many blood tests that the veins in her arms collapsed. They started on her legs. A spinal tap was inserted so they could keep checking the condition of her bone marrow.
The bathroom was where they did all their crying and praying. They didn’t want Alia to see their helpless state. It was in the bathroom that Raman heard a small but confident voice. “On the 25th it will be done.” He was afraid to hold onto it, until his mum came to visit. When he nervously told her what he had heard, she shouted to her husband, “Tell him. Tell him what I told you.” God had told granny the same thing. “On the 25th day, remission will happen.”
Alia’s blood count had dropped. Doctors were expecting some increase by the 19th day, which would have shown she was in remission. The 19th day came and went and there was no change. She was being kept alive on supportive care. Raman and Kiron memorised all the scriptures they could find on healing. They walked up and down and around the room praying them out and really taking it on. Their faith was weak but they knew God wasn’t. They somehow had to believe against all odds that something was going to happen on the 25th day.
On the morning of the 25th, test results showed Alia’s platelet count had dropped from 62,000-59,000. Not the steep drop they were expecting. By the end of the day, it had climbed back up to 62,000. Remission had begun. A miracle had taken place. Raman wanted to shout, “She’s healed!” but there was still some nagging doubt that the remission may not last.
When she was discharged from the hospital, Alia was pale. She had dark circles around her eyes. Her hair was all gone. She couldn’t walk so she tried to crawl. She had just had her fourth birthday in hospital.
When Kiron walked into their house in Delhi, two-year-old Rohan just sat and stared. He couldn’t believe his eyes. When Kiron picked him up, he clung to her like a little monkey. It had been a difficult three months.
Alia’s treatment was depleting her and Raman and Kiron had some decisions to make. She was put on oral chemo for another six months. All through those months they kept hearing, “She’s healed. She’s healed.” With their tiny faith in a huge God who had spoken, they took her off all medication. Alia started to gain strength, put on weight, get her appetite back and colour came back into her cheeks.
Doctors told them to keep watch for the next three to eight years in case there was a relapse. There wasn’t one.
Alia was fourteen when we first met her. She came to CNC with the Bartons. She was small built but strong. She was healthy. She was quiet but confident, shy but full of strength. She was a miracle. Our lovely miracle.