Peter’s Story

Peter’s parents first noticed something wasn’t right in December 2018. He had been complaining on and off for a couple of weeks about backache and on a couple of occasions about tingles running up and down one leg. Between Christmas and New Year 2018 these symptoms escalated to wobbly walking and difficulty going up and down stairs. As the family were away for the Christmas period, on New Year’s Eve, mum Mandy took Peter to his grandmother’s GP who immediately sent the family to A&E. A few hours and an MRI later and it was confirmed that Peter had a growth in his thorax. Following a biopsy, a couple of days later, Peter suffered a spinal cord injury from where the growth was pressing on his spinal cord, and he underwent emergency surgery the next day to remove the part of the growth causing the pressure. Unfortunately, while the operation was a success in releasing the pressure, Peter’s spinal cord injury did not make the immediate recovery that was hoped for, leaving him with no movement or sensation in his lower body.

Twelve days after he was admitted to hospital, Peter was well enough to be transferred from Edinburgh Sick Kids to Manchester Children’s Hospital, nearer to home. Before the family were transferred, they were given the devastating news that the growth in his thorax was neuroblastoma.

After arriving in Manchester, Peter immediately began an intensive course of chemotherapy. During this time the family received some good news – Peter’s cancer originally thought to be high risk was downgraded to intermediate risk. His chances were further improved in May 2019 when surgeons were able to completely remove what remained of the tumour after chemotherapy. Peter then had a short course of radiotherapy to the tumour site and six months of maintenance treatment to prevent the cancer from returning.

Peter’s treatment officially finished in February 2020, and the attention was turned to his spinal cord injury. In over a year since his injury, he had made amazing progress with his rehabilitation, regaining strength and independence, and was getting involved in many different activities including hand-cycling and swimming. As with everyone, the pandemic put a stop to many things, but his family found ways for Peter to stay active and took the precious time at home together as a time to take a breath after many months of trauma and make plans for their future post-pandemic. Peter was still being scanned and tested regularly but his parents felt as if the cancer was behind them.

Antonia Rogers