Sheba News Page New 2019 5 1

The Story of Our Son Stepan – How Israeli Doctors Defeated Retinoblastoma

When our twins were born on October 16, 2012, we could not even imagine the troubles we were going to face. Our son Stepan and daughter Lera were born strong and healthy. We were discharged home after six days, full of joy and without any signs of trouble.

But when Stepan was 6 weeks old we noticed that his pupil was not black, but transparent. We were worried and turned to an ophthalmologist. Unfortunately, the specialist was on vacation and we had to wait two weeks until she would return. We scheduled an appointment immediately after she came back.
She examined both of our children and told us that Stepan has some problems with his eyes. She was not able to diagnose the disease as there was no special diagnostic equipment. She said that Stepan suffers from poor vision and has a coloboma. We then received a referral for additional diagnostics.


We went in for another examination on December 13, 2012, and after an US scan Stepan was diagnosed with retinoblastoma (retina cancer in both eyes). Stepan was admitted on the same day and underwent a CT scan. We stayed in the hospital until December 15, and despite the obvious results of both the US and CT scans, which showed extreme tumor growth, the specialists did nothing. The situation got worse on December 16, when Stepan’s eye turned even darker and became red and inflamed.

We decided not to wait for the doctors to start treating our son. After a short search we had found that one family from out city was undergoing treatment at Sheba Medical Center. They provided us with Sheba’s contact information and after they went over our documents, we received an assessment for Stepan.

We were trying to save the life of our son and at least one eye and the eyesight in it. That’s why we decided to go to Israel to treat Stepan. Israeli specialists really saved the life of our baby and his left eye. During the course of Stepan’s treatment, which lasted for one year and three months, he underwent several procedures, including installation of a subcutaneous venous port (this system is surgically installed in patients undergoing chemotherapy), 4 courses of aggressive chemotherapy, surgical removal of the right eye on May 8, 2013, and a subsequent right eye prosthesis.

Thanks to the successful removal of the right eye, in which all the eye muscles were painstakingly preserved, Stepan can move the prosthesis as well as a healthy eye.

Stepan underwent 5 MRI scans, 15 US scans, more than 30 blood tests and one bone marrow aspiration. He received blood transfusions and platelets several times. Suddenly, on September 17, 2013, a spot appeared on Stepan’s left saved eye that couldn’t be treated by laser. Our son had to endure two more chemotherapy courses. He is in remission since January 2014.
While going through life’s trials and tribulations, we never once regretted our decision to choose Sheba Medical Center. Our little son is alive, healthy and can see this beautiful world with his saved left eye.


Dr. Victoria Vishnevskia-Dai, Director of Ocular Oncology and Autoimmune Eye Diseases Center

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“We can sincerely say that the treatment our son received at Sheba was excellent. We were lucky to come to Sheba, which provides world-class medicine with personal touch. All the doctors were highly professional and competent. We would like to especially mention the remarkable Dr. Victoria Vishnevskia-Dai, as well as Kostrikova Elena, our medical coordinator, who always stood beside us, ready to answer all our questions. And of course Lena, who helped us to manage all the treatment courses and care.

We recommend Sheba Medical Center to everyone who needs treatment for their loved ones.

Stepan’s parents