Maisa, 37, prevented access to treatment for lung cancer
23 November 2021
Maisa is 37 years old and from Deir Al Balah refugee camp in the Middle Area of the Gaza Strip. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2021.
Since July, Maisa applied three time for a permit to reach An-Najah Hospital in the West Bank, to receive cancer treatments that are not available in the Gaza Strip. None of her applications has been approved, and she has still not been able to receive the treatment she needs.
As a mother of seven, Maisa described how she likes to teach her children and support them with their homework. She said, “I like to tell my children stories and I love to help them with drawing and decorating their notebooks.” She also likes to write: “When I feel stressed, I write about my troubles but I never share my writing with others. I feel a relief after writing and then I throw away what I wrote.” In recent months, however, Maisa has had less energy to do the things she loves.
Maisa’s health has been worsening. She said, “Now I struggle to climb the stairs to our apartment on the fourth floor. It makes me breathless and causes me pain in my chest, and I missed some appointments at the hospital because of difficulty getting in and out of the house. My daughters and my husband are having to take care of me. My daughters divide their time between studying, taking care of me, and looking after the house. I used to enjoy visiting my brothers in Gaza City, but recently we haven’t been able to visit. My family become afraid when I get tired going out.”
Maisa worries about how her children are affected by her illness. “The worst is when I suffer pain and my young children look at me. They want to help but they can’t and I see the sadness in their eyes. It adds to my pain.”
Mohammed, Maisa’s husband, commented “I want to help my wife and I’m trying to do my best in this dire situation, but I feel helpless. I want her to get the treatment she needs as soon as possible. I would sell our car to cover the expenses if needed, but the treatment just isn’t available in Gaza. We would travel to Egypt if we can’t reach the West Bank, but there are so many delays. Maisa has waited too long, she needs this treatment now.”