Myo Thu Zar (Encephalocele)
Nine-year-old Myo was born with a lump between her forehead and on the bridge of her nose, a condition known as encephalocele. She lives with her parents, brother and two sisters on the Thai-Burma border. Her parents and her older sister and brother work on a Thai farm, growing seasonal crops. They each earn 4,500 baht (approx.150 USD) in a month and live rent free on the farm. Their income is enough to cover their daily expenses and to send Myo’s grandparents 100,000 kyat (approx. 100 USD) every month.
HARD TO MAKE TIME
In 2016, Myo’s mother found a lump in her neck. A fellow worker advised her to seek treatment at Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), located two hours from the farm. She went to the clinic and brough Myo with her. While the medic checked the lump in Myo’s mother’s neck, the medic noticed the lump on Myo’s nose. The medic told Myo’s mother how Myo could receive treatment through Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). However, her mother did not agree to go forward with treatment for Myo immediately, as their family had just started to work in Thailand, and they could not take time off work. In November 2017, when Myo’s mother was able to ask for time off, she brought Myo back to MTC and a medic referred Myo to BCMF for assistance accessing treatment.
BIG CITY ISSUES
Myo was admitted at Chiang Mai Hospital on 1 April 2018 – she received a CT scan, blood test and urine test before she was discharged the following day. Myo was readmitted on 7 July 2018 and received corrective surgery two days later. She was discharged on 18 July 2018. During their stay at the hospital, they found the doctors and nurses were attentive and treated Myo well. Myo’s mother had difficulty using the elevator at first since she had never used one before.
ROAD TO RECOVERY
Priors to her surgery, Myo’s lump was red and she felt pressure on her face whenever she had a fever. Her friends would also tease her and call her ‘light bulb’ because of the lump. Since surgery, where she had the lump removed, Myo felt much better and said, “I’m very happy, and I can see that I am prettier than before.”
Once her recovery is complete, Myo will continue with her studies and she would like to become a teacher when she grows up.