Your health: Tougher than he looks

Becca Crake, 23, from Sun­der­land, was shocked to learn of her baby’s rare con­di­tion...

Pick Me Up! - - CONTENTS -

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.

He’s adorable.

And both Jor­dan and I know he’s much tougher than he looks.

A day out of hos­pi­tal So tiny to be fac­ing treat­ment...

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