Lewis

02 October 2014
Lewis with Alan Dunne and step dad in hospital
Lewis is currently in remission from Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). His mum, Kerri, tells us his story - and how they’re looking forward to life getting back to normal.
[Lewis pictured above - from left to right - with his favourite footballer, Alan Dunne of Millwall, and his step dad]

It started with tonsillitis

"Lewis had tonsillitis in January 2013 and didn’t really recover from it. He always seemed tired and didn’t have much energy. I have two daughters as well as Lewis and they had both had a virus - so we just thought he had picked up what they had.

A few weeks later though, he found a lump in his neck which a dentist thought was a tooth abscess or mouth infection. But he didn’t recover from that either.

Lewis had less and less energy 

Gradually he was getting more tired and ill and had less and less energy.Gradually he was getting more tired and ill and had less and less energy. A neighbour took Lewis to school one day, but then brought him home. He was too tired and couldn’t even walk.

I took him straight for an emergency appointment at the doctors. The doctor thought he was anaemic so sent us to the hospital for some tests. After the doctor’s comment about anaemia we weren’t expecting anything other than that being the outcome.

But when the consultant said that the whole family needed to come in for the results, I knew straight away it wasn’t good news.

The diagnosis

Before we knew it he was on antibiotics and taken to the Royal Marsden for a lumbar puncture. The consultants took us into a room and told us that Lewis had leukaemia. It was a huge shock to the system and really hard to understand.

Before we knew it he was on antibiotics and taken to the Royal Marsden for a lumbar puncture. He started chemotherapy treatment just a couple of days later.

Coping as a family and with the help of friends

With two younger daughters to take care of it was a big strain on the family and our whole life. Lewis was an inpatient for seven months, so one of us needed to be with him, and the other needed to look after our two little girls.

My husband had to quit his job to be there for the girls and Lewis. It was a very difficult time.
 
Fortunately, the community rallied round and was invaluable during the whole experience. Neighbours helped out whenever we needed it - and even helped us move out of our flat.

Lewis and his sisters in school uniformLewis was wheelchair-bound because of the treatment’s side effects and we weren’t able to carry him up the stairs. Without this help from our friends and family we just wouldn’t have got through it.

No school for a year

Lewis missed a whole year of school while going through treatment.

You wouldn’t know it if you saw him in classes now. He progressed to Year 5 along with his friends, and is even helping out the other kids in his class!

His favourite subject is maths - all that time practicing sums with his dad when he was off school definitely paid off.

In remission and looking forward to 2016

We’re looking ahead to getting life back to normal - and in particular to July 2016 when monitoring ends.Thankfully Lewis is in remission now, but there’s still a long way to go. He has a lot of side effects from the treatment which are frustrating.

His liver function is unpredictable so sometimes he gets jaundice.

He gets very tired after playing football.

We’re looking ahead to getting life back to normal - and in particular to July 2016 when monitoring ends. "

Read more: Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia | treating childhood cancer | side effects of treatment | Commonly used terms in treatment

(October 2014)

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