‘It’s like I’ve had 95 stone lifted off me’

Mum and dad’s joy as son, 4, is given the all-clear after years of tears and heartache

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

It is a mo­ment Whit­ney Wat­son will never for­get.

For over 1,000 days, with only a few breaks, she watched her son Bobby McGre­gor go through chemo­ther­apy to treat acute lym­phoblas­tic leukaemia.

In that time there has been nu­mer­ous other pro­ce­dures, in­clud­ing count­less lum­bar punc­tures and blood trans­fu­sions.

But last week – on Tues­day, June 21 – she was given the news she had longed to hear: four-yearold Bobby was can­cer- free and be­ing taken off treat­ment.

“When the professor told us they were stop­ping the chemo I burst into tears,” Whit­ney says. “It felt like some­one had lifted 95 stone off me.”

It was a far cry from an­other date etched in 26-year-old Whit­ney’s mind.

On March 6, 2014, Bobby was taken to hospi­tal with sus­pected meningitis.

His par­ents, Whit­ney and Bobby’s dad, Robert McGre­gor, 30, could barely be­lieve what hap­pened next.

“He had a lot of prob­lems as a baby,” says Whit­ney. “He had is­sues with his bow­els. We had to take him to hospi­tal one day be­cause he was very un­set­tled.

“He had wee red spots all over his body and we thought he had meningitis. The doc­tors said there was some­thing not quite right with his blood.

“Within half an hour they came and said ‘There’s no easy way to say this but Bobby has leukaemia’. He was so un­well and had to be treated right away. We were only in the hospi­tal for an hour and he was be­ing treated, it was crazy.”

The night­mare was just start­ing for Bobby, who lost all his hair after only two weeks, and his fam­ily.

Whit­ney, who stays in Half­way with her son, re­calls: “It was re­ally in­ten­sive treat­ment for 10 weeks. He was get­ting chemo three times a day and steroids, which meant he put on so much weight he could barely move, and he suf­fered from mood swings. He also had nu­mer­ous blood trans­fu­sions.”

After that, Bobby set­tled into what is known as main­te­nance treat­ment. But while it was not as in­ten­sive as the first few weeks, it was still hugely chal­leng­ing to the young lad.

Bobby re­quired chemo ev­ery sin­gle day, ad­min­is­tered orally by his mother most nights. Ev­ery two weeks he was re­quired to go into hospi­tal to have it ad­min­is­tered through IV and re­ceive steroids.

Right through that pe­riod, Bobby’s fam­ily were

by his side, al­ways wor­ry­ing that he may re­lapse. “It’s been aw­ful to be hon­est,” Whit­ney says. “I never knew if he would pull through. “At the very start we were ill with worry. In fact, one of my friends re­minded me that I phoned her say­ing I just couldn’t go through it. “But we have done it as a fam­ily. “You sit there and your baby is full of drugs, he’s not the wee baby you know. He’s hav­ing blood trans­fu­sions and you can’t touch him for fear of cover­ing him in bruises. You can’t even change his nappy be­cause his bones are so brit­tle. “Chemo is an amaz­ing drug but it’s ba­si­cally poi­son. It breaks down the good cells as well as the bad ones. “The weeks he got his steroids were pretty tough. He isn’t him­self, the drugs take over his body and he had mood swings.” The treat­ment shat­tered Bobby’s im­mune sys­tem, mean­ing he could not do many of the nor­mal things young chil­dren can. But there was light at the end of the tun­nel. Bobby loves su­per­heroes and showed him­self to be ev­ery bit as strong as he fought the dis­ease. The doc­tors had Bobby sched­uled to stop treat­ment next month but de­cided to stop sooner be­cause of how sick the chemo was mak­ing him. It came as an un­ex­pected shock to beau­ti­cian Whit­ney and taxi driver Robert. “Since Christ­mas he has been re­ally poorly be­cause of the chemo,” Whit­ney says. “His body is try­ing to build up his im­mune sys­tem but the chemo brings it all back down. “If he got a tem­per­a­ture he had to go to hospi­tal and go on IV drugs. “A few weeks ago he got pneu­mo­nia in his left lung and was in hospi­tal for a few days get­ting all sorts of an­tibi­otics. He was sep­tic and they had to stop his chemo. I ac­tu­ally thought he was go­ing to re­lapse. “That’s al­ways in the back of your mind when you go through some­thing like this. “We went to hospi­tal as he was booked in for his fi­nal lum­bar punc­ture and bone mar­row treat­ment. But he still had three weeks of chemo left. “The con­sul­tant came in and said they were go­ing to fin­ish treat­ment. He’s had 167 weeks of treat­ment so three weeks wasn’t go­ing to make much dif­fer­ence. “It was so ex­cit­ing, I was cry­ing, I couldn’t be­lieve it. “‘All clear’, I swear you could have knocked me over. I’m the proud­est mum in the world. He’s been so brave, ev­ery step of the way. De­spite ev­ery­thing he’s been through he’s al­ways smiled.” This will be a new start for Bobby, Whit­ney and Robert. Bobby had been due to start Park View Pri­mary this Au­gust but Whit­ney has de­cided to keep him back a year to give him time to just en­joy be­ing a nor­mal child. “I want him to have time just be­ing a lit­tle boy,” Whit­ney says. “We can go on hol­i­days and he can now go into the soft play, which he couldn’t pre­vi­ously be­cause of the air con­di­tion­ing. “I can’t wait to spend time with him just be­ing a wee boy, he was out play­ing with his pals yes­ter­day. Be­fore I would be so para­noid but he’s just lov­ing life now. He’s the hap­pi­est wee boy in the world.” The fam­ily have been in­un­dated with mes­sages of sup­port from many places in­clud­ing Ire­land and the USA. Bobby’s story was shared on the All About Cam­bus­lang Face­book page last week and was ‘liked’ by nearly 1,000 peo­ple. As well as thank­ing them, Whit­ney was keen to pay trib­ute to Professor Gib­son at Glas­gow Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal. She said: “We can’t thank the professor enough, she has been un­real and de­serves so much credit. “We’re all buzzing, we just can’t be­lieve it.”

Big pals Bobby’s dad Robert lays a lov­ing smacker on his brave son

Bat­tler Bobby was only one when he was di­ag­nosed with can­cer but has fought and beaten the dis­ease

Thumbs up Bobby and mum Whit­ney are over­joyed at the news that the young­ster has beaten can­cer after three long years of hos­pi­tals and treat­ment

Stay­ing strong Bobby and Whit­ney share a joke dur­ing one of his hospi­tal vis­its

Play time Bobby can now start liv­ing a nor­mal life

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