Mitchell was born in July 2021. He was to be the final piece of our big blended family. Mitchell was absolutely loved by kids and every afternoon it was a race to get home for cuddles with him. He reached all his baby milestones and started crawling in February 2022. Once he was on the move he was always going.
In Early April a gastro bug went through the daycare centre. Mitchell became quite unwell with the bug and so generously took the whole house and extended family down one person at a time. Over the next week Mitchell was still quite unwell while the rest of us had recovered quickly. We headed to the doctors to get him checked and was advised rest and fluids. Mitchell seemed to not be getting better if anything he was getting worse. I had started to notice when he was eating and swallowing he was choking and then projectile vomiting. At first I did put this down to him being sick. Over the next few days I noticed that Mitchell's cry had changed, he was inconsolable and he had stopped crawling. As per the GP we were alternating between Panadol and Nurofen to try and reduce Mitchell's discomfort. The next morning when I went to get Mitchell out of his cot he was completely stiff, his left side was completely limp and he was unable to move his head. My first thought was he had suffered a stroke so we rushed him to the local emergency department.
When we arrived they checked Mitchell over and diagnosed him with a pulled elbow and sent me home with instructions of a heat pack, Panadol and Nurofen. Something wasn't right I knew it so I went home and called our paediatrician who we had seen very recently. That day and night was horrendous the Panadol and Nurofen weren't even touching the pain and trying to keep a heat pack on a baby was nearly impossible. We arrived at the paediatrician the next morning and he was shocked, I remember him saying this is not the same child I saw recently. He referred us straight to the Children's Hospital as he wanted an MRI done asap as he was worried about encephalitis or meningitis. Unfortunately as Mitchell was under one the only place that would complete an MRI was the children’s hospital. We went into emergency with the referral and a the notes and were sent straight through. The doctors did lots of blood work, an X-ray of his shoulder and neck and monitored him. Unfortunately nothing showed up and even though Mitchell's left side was not functioning correctly he was sent home and diagnosed with torticollis.
By this time we were preparing for Mitchell's first Easter but Mitchell was an absolute mess. We couldn't control the pain he was screaming all day and all night, projectile vomiting everytime we put him to bed or laid him down and his function was deteriorating even further. We headed back to the emergency department and by some miracle we had the most amazing doctor who listened yo everything that had been going on.
We were finally admitted on Easter Sunday and put on the wait list for an MRI. Unfortunately as it was the Easter long weekend Mitchell ended up having to wait until Wednesday for the MRI. I think we knew something was really wrong when it took hours for the MRI to be completed. As we walked out of medical imaging the paediatrician and her team were waiting for us and my heart sank. We walked out of the lift to go back to our room and I remember our nurse took Mitchell as we walked through the corridor. When we went into the room there were people everywhere and seats arranged and tissues. I remember crying before I even knew what was wrong. The words tumour, spinal cord, extremely tricky spot and cancer are pretty much all I remember. It was like my whole body shut down.
As we prepared for surgery we were told there was a high change Mitchell would be a quadriplegic agter his surgery.
Mitchells surgery was completed on Friday the 22nd of April. The debulking surgery took about 6 hours but neuro team were very happy with the outcome. Unfortunately they have been unable to remove all the tumour due to the placement. Mitchell's tumour runs from his C1 - C6.
Mitchell recovered quite well from surgery. While he does now suffer from left side Hemiplegia, with lots of Physio, OT and Speech we have regained some function which is amazing.
Sample's of the tumour were sent off for testing. The results showed Mitchell has Juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma which is a form of childhood brain cancer.
Mitchell is now completing Chemotherapy to hopefully kill the remaining tumour. We started Chemotherapy back in May. Unfortunately in the two MRI's completed since Chemotherapy began show the tumour is still growing. We will be completing out next MRI towards the end of November or early December.