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Owen's story

Owen was diagnosed with wilms’ tumour. Owen’s mum, Karen tells their story so far:

Owen boy in bed

Owen became extremely poorly

Back in February 2014, our four year old son Owen was diagnosed with a Stage 3 wilms’ tumour, a cancer of the kidney. Previous to diagnosis, Owen had become extremely poorly, he had lost a lot of weight which we thought was due to a seasonal sickness bug. I can’t quite describe how I felt when I saw the lump. Owen was standing up facing the TV with his back to me. He was holding his games controller and it looked like his right upper arm was resting on something. In a panic, I called my husband, who works as a paramedic and told him he had to come home straight away.

 

Owen boy with hickman line bag

The size of the tumour

Once at the hospital, Owen was examined. The consultant informed us that they had found a mass. He then went on to tell us that Owen would need to have a biopsy as well as a Hickman line inserted, then a course of chemotherapy prior to surgery to shrink the tumour and then a course of radiotherapy as well as even more chemotherapy, but there was more alarming news, we were told Owen was suffering with Von Willebrand factor VIII deficiency. Owen’s blood was unable to clot like normal and there was a chance he may bleed during surgery. On top of this news, the consultant oncologist had informed us that Owen was suffering from hypertension and he would need to take a drug called Nifedipine, four times a day. We were absolutely devastated. The size of the tumour was 18cm by 12cm, how this managed to fit inside our poorly boy was unbearable to think about. All of this news was tearing us apart and it was after Owen had the six hour major surgery to remove the tumour, we were told that the treatment Owen had prior to surgery had made the tumour rupture rather than shrink and because of this they also had to remove part of his liver. Not only that, they had to delicately scrape parts of the tumour away from his diaphragm.

 

We arranged days out

Our emotions were all over the place. This was the longest and most heart-breaking nine months we had ever experienced as a family. In between the treatment days and when Owen was well enough, we would go for days out or arrange play dates with his school friends. We had to make our Owen’s life as ‘normal’ as we possibly could, we had to stay positive.

 

Hearing the words remission

The surgery, hair loss, weight fluctuation, side effects of the chemotherapy, from single dose to double dose which always knocked Owen flat. Radiotherapy on top of the chemotherapy and the endless dressing changes were all extremely traumatic experiences for Owen. His bravery and strength was absolutely amazing and it was in December 2014, when we were told the best news we could ever have ever wished for, the consultant oncologist sat down and told us how extremely happy she was with Owen but we so needed to hear that word, I felt like I had to coax the words out of her in the end and finally, when they came out, “Owen’s in REMISSION”.

Owen is now a happy and healthy nine year old and is three and a half years in remission and we can’t thank all the medical professionals enough for helping our brave boy fight cancer.

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