Your health: Tougher than he looks
Becca Crake, 23, from Sunderland, was shocked to learn of her baby’s rare condition...
Ten little fingers, ten little toes. Beaming down at my newborn Lucas, I felt so lucky. ‘Perfect!’ I cooed to my partner Jordan, 25. Then I noticed little bumps all over Lucas’ body.
‘Is this normal?’ I asked the doctor.
I handed over my baby to be examined.
‘He’ll need tests,’ the doctor told us. ‘He may have cancer.’ I fell to pieces.
How could this be happening to us? Lucas wasn’t even a day old.
We were transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle, where a biopsy revealed that Lucas had neuroblastoma, a nervecell cancer that affects young children.
He’d been born with it. Jordan and I were heartbroken as we listened
to the doctors...
Scans had found a tumour beneath Lucas’ adrenal gland, which releases hormones into the body.
As he was so young, they wanted to monitor him at first, saying the tumour might shrink on its own.
But, by 3 months old, Lucas’ tumour had grown fast and was wrapping itself around his kidney.
He was taken in for chemo. Luckily, it didn’t affect him too badly, he was just sick a few times.
When the chemo was over, the tumour had got smaller and doctors were satisfied that it would continue to shrink on its own.
But the stress had taken a toll on mine and Jordan’s relationship.
We ended things, but stayed friends.
In September, when Lucas was 6 months old, he was allowed to come home from the RVI.
But he wasn’t out of the woods yet.
He wouldn’t take his bottle and struggled to sleep.
He’d also scream in pain, with tight muscles – as if he were having cramps.
A genetics test he’d had before chemo showed a defect with the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene.
This defect is so rare that doctors knew almost nothing about it, except that it may be involved in cell growth.
Hospital staff believed that the faulty gene could increase cancer growth, most likely causing Lucas’ neuroblastoma.
‘As far as we know, Lucas is the first person ever diagnosed with this defect,’ the doctor said. One of a kind!
Lucas is now a cheeky 2-year-old.
While he hit his other milestones fine, he still can’t walk, and struggles with sleeping and eating.
It’s frustrating, as doctors can’t tell us more about his condition.
But the hospital wants to continue to study Lucas. Hopefully, as he grows, he’ll be able to help us understand more, and help any other children out there who may have the same problem.
Lucas’ tumour is still shrinking, so we’re waiting for him to go into remission.
Despite everything he’s been through, our brave Lucas still wears a huge grin on his face.
And both Jordan and I know he’s much tougher than he looks.
A day out of hospital So tiny to be facing treatment...