Eleanor was born in May 2010 and was diagnosed with a Neuroblastoma at 4 months old. Like most people, we a had no idea what this was, and were devastated when we were told it was a form of cancer, a disease which we associated with adults, not tiny babies. The tumor was initially found by Eleanor's dad when he was massaging her tummy to relieve her wind pains. Wind had been the bane of our lives since Eleanor had been born, but if it hadn't maybe we would never have detected the tumor. We initially thought it might be a hernia, but we were disabused of this notion as soon as she received a scan at the local hospital and we were told that it was most likely a malignant tumor. Although the shock of this news was hard to take I'll be forever grateful for the upfront nature of the consultant who delivered it, as from that moment on I was confident that anything the medical staff told us was absolute truth.
The tumor was located on Eleanor's adrenal gland, and was about the size of an orange. The tumor itself was a favorable tumor, and the cancer itself hadn't spread to the the bone marrow or any organs, luckily we had found it very early on. Eleanor's treatment had to take place 45 miles from our home, at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Sick Children, a wonderful place with truly amazing staff. Eleanor had two cycles of chemo therapy over a three month period. The first cycle proved unsuccessful, but an MRI after the second cycle showed a massive change to size of the tumor. The change in size had been so dramatic, shrinking from 8 x 8 cm to something the size of a been in 2 weeks, that the oncologists think that the tumor was in regression on it's own, and that the chemo may have been irrelevant. Whatever the cause of this sudden change, which apparently only happens in neuroblastoma, we are over the moon. We have been told that Eleanor will not require any further treatment, but will be closely monitored with monthly scans for the next six months, then less regular scans until she is well into her teens.
We were so upset and bewildered when we were told of Eleanor's condition, and now that her future is looking bright I do feel a slight sense of guilt when I think of some of the lovely children we have met on the cancer ward who are facing years of treatment with an uncertain outcome. I wanted to tell Eleanor's story to give some hope to those people like us who thought that the news of a cancerous tumor meant the end for our child. The level of care we have received on the NHS has been second to none, and thankfully our daughter has been blissfully unaware of what's been happening to her. It's great to see the fantastic inroads being made into cancer treatment, and to see those charity donations being put to good use and giving us all hope for a cancer free future