A FAMILY have just spent their second Christmas in hospital, looking after their son who is suffering prolonged after-effects from a brain tumour.
The ordeal of Lewis Loader, who is now eight, started in May 2011, when he was diagnosed with the tumour after collapsing at school.
Mum Becky Loader, aged 27, of Madresfield Road, said: “He’d been unwell for a while before, but the doctors didn’t think it was anything serious, but when he collapsed, they rushed him straight to hospital in Worcester and gave him a scan.”
The diagnosis was very serious, since the tumour was on Lewis’s brain stem.
“It makes it very difficult to treat because the brain stem basically controls the body’s functions, so the doctors have to be very careful,” said Ms Loader.
The family was offered the choice of treatment at Great Ormond Street, in London, and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and opted for the latter.
Three days after he collapsed, Lewis was operated on. But the operation was just the beginning of his treatment, with Lewis having to endure chemotherapy and radiotherapy to destroy the remnants of the tumour the surgeons had not been able to remove.
The long treatment means that the family, which includes Becky’s partner Shane Smith, aged 30, and children Michael, six, Chloe, five, and baby Shane, aged one, have become very familiar with Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, which provides free accommodation for families who need it while their loved ones are being treated.
They had to spend Christmas 2011 there, and although they managed to have Christmas 2012 at home, they have had to spend this Christmas there, because of Lewis’s ongoing heath problems.
“The treatment has left him with brain damage and hearing problems, and he suffers from sleep apnea, which is stopping breathing in your sleep, so he has to he hooked up to a special breathing machine,” said Ms Loader.
To make things worse, he started having seizures in April. “He’s been in hospital since June, and although his seizures aren’t happening so often now, we don’t know when he’ll be able to come home,” said his mum.
“The staff at the hospital and Ronald McDonald House are really great. They’ve gone to a lot of effort to really look after us and make us feel at home. We’ll just have to see what the future brings.”