When we first learnt that Eleanor had a brain tumour we were devastated. It was particularly difficult to cope, as Eleanor’s sister was only three days old at the time. We found a strength we didn’t know we had. Mostly we drew this strength from Eleanor herself. She never complained about her treatment even though, at times, she felt desperately ill. She took it all in her stride and made us very proud.
A couple of months after Eleanor’s 2nd birthday she started having seizures. They progressively became more frequent and in May 2002, following a needle biopsy, Eleanor was diagnosed with a WHO grade 2 Astrocytoma. We were told surgery to remove the tumour was not possible due to its position deep in the brain.
She began a 12-month course of chemotherapy. The course actually took 17 months because her bone marrow took a long time to recover towards the end of the protocol. She eventually completed the course in November 2003.
“Research into this terrible disease is under-funded and progress has been slow. By helping The Brain Tumour Charity, we hope to give children a better chance of beating this disease in the future”
Since diagnosis she has had regular MRI scans. Eleanor was in remission for 9 months until a routine scan in September 2004 showed a recurrence in the tumour mass; unfortunately the tumour was much larger than it was in 2002. She underwent an eight-hour operation and 70% of the tumour was removed. A tissue sample was sent for analysis, which showed that the tumour had become more aggressive. It was reclassified as a WHO grade 3.
Eleanor then began another course of chemotherapy. Part way through the course she had 6 weeks of radiotherapy. Eleanor’s last dose of chemo was June 2005 and since then routine scans have shown no recurrence of the tumour mass.
For the first time in 10 years, Eleanor has started to enjoy a more normal life. She loves swimming and has joined a local swimming club. Eleanor’s future is uncertain and the odds are not good. However, there is hope and we love every day we spend together.
If you would like to follow Eleanor’s progress, read more on her Facebook blog.