Henry had just turned three when he became unwell, he was complaining of leg pain, had a high temperature and looked pale. Initially the doctors thought it was a virus and that it would pass. However he was limping and a lump to his head (which we thought was from a knock while playing in childcare) was still present nearly a whole week later.
As Henry’s parents we knew something was not right and demanded medical attention, initially from GPs, the emergency department and finally the out of hours doctors service. Henry was soon seen by a children’s doctor who listened to our concerns and asked his senior to also review him. Henry then had a head scan suspecting a delayed concussion from the bump to his head a week earlier. The results came back quickly and Henry was rushed 120 miles away to Bristol with a suspected fractured skull. I felt like I had totally let down Henry by not bringing him in sooner, for not taking his head injury more seriously, even though he had no initial signs of head injury problems.
It was the following morning the bad news became worse and we were told that Henry had many tumours in his head, a crumbled vertebrae and an eroded rib. Day after day we were dealt with more tests and more bad news as we found out Henry had cancer in his liver, all his bones apart from his feet and hands, bone marrow and a large tumour to his left adrenal gland. After a biopsy to determine the tumours genetics we were told Henry had neuroblastoma.
Our world was crumbling, how could our three year old have cancer?
Henry underwent 70/80 days of initial chemotherapy, stem cell harvest, major surgery, high dose chemotherapy, stem cell transplant, radiotherapy and antibody treatment with randomised interleukin 2 injections. This is was all part of the European Siopen trial.
Henry is now six years old and is able to do most of the things a normal six year old can do. He attends primary school, he enjoys playing with his friends, being creative and playing at the beach. He has been left with some health complications but we have learnt to live each day as it comes. He is a wonderful little boy with a great sense of humour, who brightens up a room when he enters.
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