Liam fell sick at the age of 1 year. He presented with high fevers, loss of appetite and weight loss. GPs felt the temperatures were tonsillitis and prescribed antibiotics for a week.
He was misdiagnosed again a second time with a chest infection and on antibiotics for the second. On the third week Liam still had fevers and was taken to hospital for further investigation because two weeks of antibiotics had no effect, and that was a major concern.
Liam was admitted into hospital, bloods were taken and tested. On examination his doctor found that his spleen and liver felt swollen and his abdomen was distended.
An abdoman ultrasound was done and results showed that there was a 14.8cm mass above his left kidney. The next day a CT abdomen was ordered and the results showed that the mass was a cancerous tumor known as Neuroblastoma... which was a shocker!
Not knowing wheather the mass was growing from the adenal gland or kidney, a biopsy was done of the tumor, which showed that it was actually growing from the adrenal gland.
When I received the news that Liam had cancer I lost my mind ,I cried and I still do today, cos its not easy been a single mum and going through all this alone with your child, its hard to cope... but with prayer I take each day as it comes.
On the 1st March 2015, Liam was admitted to Parklands hospital and taken Liam into theatre to perform a bone marrow aspiration, to stage the cancer and also insert a port to administer chemotherapy. The results showed a stage 4 Neuroblastoma ,which is cancer of the adenal gland and nerve tissue.
Liam has been a strong child through all of this, my boy is a "toughie". Actually the insertion of the port was a dramatic ordeal for Liam because the first catheter inserted slipped and they lost the port. The following day, Liam was admitted to St Augustine s hospital for a cardiogist to rechieve that port via angiogram and reinsert a new one. As a result, Liam is petrified of needles today, and its so heart-sore to see my child being hurt all the time.
Dr informed me that Liam would receive intensive chemotherapy every 10 days and it would cause him to get very ill as his blood counts would drop drastically, but thank God Liam managed his chemotherapy so well, there was nausea and vomiting, of course, but nothing major. Blood counts dropped drastically and he was isolated and transfused with platlets and pack cells regularly.
Liam had intensive chemotherapy over a period of 6 months. Isolation wasn't an easy thing for Liam because he was such an active child. He became sad and angry and as small as he is he took it out on me at times.
On the 30th June 2015, he underwent major surgery, where he had his left adenal gland removed. Doctors cut across his abdomen to remove the adenal gland and checked If any other organs were involved, the surgery took 3hours. Liam spent 4 days in a intensive care unit, recovering from the surgery.
With my job its been really hard, I work a 12 hour shift and night duty, on the days I take Liam to hospital and stay with him, I am given unpaid leave from work. With the salary I receive and no additional financial support, I just see to the important things that Liam needs and the huge medical costs create so much additional stress.
I go to work at night and leave Liam with my parents, when I get home in the morning my mum goes to work, and I get to spend the day with Liam. I rest when he rests, and I have to go to work again for the night.