Mother tells how she ‘felt like life had ended’ her baby son was diagnosed with rare kidney cancer

A mum has described how she ‘felt like life had ended’ when her baby was diagnosed with cancer after medics first thought he was just constipated.

Doctors initially though the hard lump in then eight-month-old Iwan Wilson’s stomach was constipation, his mum Rhiannon Cross claimed. 

But after a second trip to A&E the following day, Iwan was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer called Wilms’ tumour.

Rhiannon and her family were enjoying a holiday in Cornwall last year when she first noticed something was wrong with her son.

She described receiving the ‘worst possible news.’

Doctors initially though the hard lump in then eight-month-old Iwan Wilson's stomach was constipation, his mum Rhiannon Cross claimed. But after a second trip to A&E the following day, Iwan was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer called Wilms' tumour (Rhiannon pictured with baby Iwan)

Doctors initially though the hard lump in then eight-month-old Iwan Wilson's stomach was constipation, his mum Rhiannon Cross claimed. But after a second trip to A&E the following day, Iwan was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer called Wilms' tumour (Rhiannon pictured with baby Iwan)

Doctors initially though the hard lump in then eight-month-old Iwan Wilson’s stomach was constipation, his mum Rhiannon Cross claimed. But after a second trip to A&E the following day, Iwan was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer called Wilms’ tumour (Rhiannon pictured with baby Iwan) 

Rhiannon and her family were enjoying a holiday in Cornwall last year when she first noticed something was wrong with her son. She described receiving the 'worst possible news'

Rhiannon and her family were enjoying a holiday in Cornwall last year when she first noticed something was wrong with her son. She described receiving the 'worst possible news'

Rhiannon and her family were enjoying a holiday in Cornwall last year when she first noticed something was wrong with her son. She described receiving the ‘worst possible news’

Rhiannon, from Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, said: 'The only word to use when your child is diagnosed with cancer is shock. I'm not one to cry and break down in tears but at that moment I wanted to die'

Rhiannon, from Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, said: 'The only word to use when your child is diagnosed with cancer is shock. I'm not one to cry and break down in tears but at that moment I wanted to die'

Rhiannon, from Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, said: ‘The only word to use when your child is diagnosed with cancer is shock. I’m not one to cry and break down in tears but at that moment I wanted to die’

Rhiannon, from Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, said: ‘The only word to use when your child is diagnosed with cancer is shock. I’m not one to cry and break down in tears but at that moment I wanted to die.

‘I felt like my life ended in that moment. I felt like everything stopped and that I was living in a nightmare.’

Speaking about when she noticed the lump while they were on holiday,

Rhiannon said: ‘We’d had a really lovely day at the Eden Project and I was changing his nappy and noticed I could feel a lump in his tummy. He had a very extended stomach, he was very bloated.

‘I have an older child and I know what a normal stomach looks like.

‘That was the only sign there was something wrong. I was very concerned and called our GP at home to make an appointment and they told me that if he started to deteriorate to take him to A&E straight away.

‘It was our last night in Cornwall and we ended up leaving early in the morning because Iwan had been up screaming. Not because he was in pain but because he was very unsettled. 

‘We had no idea of what it could be.’

The family drove home and took Iwan to A&E at Glan Clwyd Hospital where they claim they were told he was constipated.

Rhiannon said: ‘I didn’t think he was because he had been pooing and, if anything, I thought he had a bit of diarrhoea.

‘But the doctors gave me perfectly reasonable explanations as to why he could be constipated.

‘They told us to bring him back in if he deteriorated more or if he stopped going to the toilet.

‘We ended up returning the following day and that’s when we found out he had cancer.’

Rhiannon, who was on the holiday with her partner Rob Wilson and older son Owain, said Iwan had stopped urinating and was lethargic.

Rhiannon said: ‘Within an hour they told us the worst possible news, that he had Wilms’ tumour.’

The family (pictured) drove home and took Iwan to A&E at Glan Clwyd Hospital where they claim they were told he was constipated

The family (pictured) drove home and took Iwan to A&E at Glan Clwyd Hospital where they claim they were told he was constipated

The family (pictured) drove home and took Iwan to A&E at Glan Clwyd Hospital where they claim they were told he was constipated

Rhiannon, who was on the holiday with her partner Rob Wilson (pictured) and older son Owain, said Iwan had stopped urinating and was lethargic

Rhiannon, who was on the holiday with her partner Rob Wilson (pictured) and older son Owain, said Iwan had stopped urinating and was lethargic

Rhiannon, who was on the holiday with her partner Rob Wilson (pictured) and older son Owain, said Iwan had stopped urinating and was lethargic

Iwan had five weeks of chemotherapy at Alder Hey before having surgery to remove his left kidney, lymph nodes, and adrenal gland, followed by another four weekly sessions

Iwan had five weeks of chemotherapy at Alder Hey before having surgery to remove his left kidney, lymph nodes, and adrenal gland, followed by another four weekly sessions

Iwan had five weeks of chemotherapy at Alder Hey before having surgery to remove his left kidney, lymph nodes, and adrenal gland, followed by another four weekly sessions

Iwan was transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool the following morning.

Rhiannon said: ‘I think it was on arrival I realised how serious it all was. They re-ran all of the tests the hospital had done and reconfirmed his diagnosis.

‘Initially we had to stay for five days. At the time Rob was commuting from work to Liverpool every day and family were looking after Owain.

‘The first time we drove up there, I cried all the way. From doorstep to doorstep and then in the waiting room,’ she said.

Iwan had five weeks of chemotherapy at Alder Hey before having surgery to remove his left kidney, lymph nodes, and adrenal gland, followed by another four weekly sessions.

Rhiannon said: ‘The day that his hair started falling out was a really hard day because it was coming out in clumps.

‘And the minute that it starts coming out you can see your child has cancer.’

The family had to travel from had to make a three-hour 110-mile round trip from their home in Denbighshire to Liverpool for all of Iwan’s chemotherapy sessions and consultations.

Rhiannon said: 'The day that his hair started falling out was a really hard day because it was coming out in clumps. And the minute that it starts coming out you can see your child has cancer'

Rhiannon said: 'The day that his hair started falling out was a really hard day because it was coming out in clumps. And the minute that it starts coming out you can see your child has cancer'

Rhiannon said: ‘The day that his hair started falling out was a really hard day because it was coming out in clumps. And the minute that it starts coming out you can see your child has cancer’

The family had to travel from had to make a three-hour 110-mile round trip from their home in Denbighshire to Liverpool for all of Iwan's chemotherapy sessions and consultations

The family had to travel from had to make a three-hour 110-mile round trip from their home in Denbighshire to Liverpool for all of Iwan's chemotherapy sessions and consultations

The family had to travel from had to make a three-hour 110-mile round trip from their home in Denbighshire to Liverpool for all of Iwan’s chemotherapy sessions and consultations

Rhiannon said: ‘Luckily our employers were very good and our families helped out with Owain, who found it really difficult.

‘At one point he came down with chickenpox and it felt like I had to abandon one child to look after another.

‘He didn’t understand what was going on or why we were always coming and going leaving him behind. He’s been really affected by it.’

On top of the cost of petrol the family also had to pay for tolls, hospital car parking, and extra food while in hospital.

Rhiannon said: ‘We had a three-hour journey there and back. We worked out that it was at least £30 each day we had to go to the hospital.

‘The costs do mount very quickly and it can become quite difficult. When you’re doing that every week it adds up quickly but you do what you need to for your child.’

Throughout the ordeal the family were given support from a CLIC Sargent specialist nurse, Elen, and social worker Ffion.

They were also given an initial grant of £170 to cover travel costs and received further grants for things like a special pram for Iwan.

Now 19 months old, Iwan is cancer-free and will be monitored over the next few years. Rhiannon said: 'He's great. He's completely fine now. 'Since he had the tumour removed he's been crawling and walking which he wasn't about to do before. Within weeks of the operation he was up and walking which is amazing'

Now 19 months old, Iwan is cancer-free and will be monitored over the next few years. Rhiannon said: 'He's great. He's completely fine now. 'Since he had the tumour removed he's been crawling and walking which he wasn't about to do before. Within weeks of the operation he was up and walking which is amazing'

Now 19 months old, Iwan is cancer-free and will be monitored over the next few years. Rhiannon said: ‘He’s great. He’s completely fine now. ‘Since he had the tumour removed he’s been crawling and walking which he wasn’t about to do before. Within weeks of the operation he was up and walking which is amazing’ 

Rhiannon said: ‘Elen came to our house often and was able to take bloods so that we didn’t have to go to hospital each time Iwan needed this.

‘Being able to have care at home and keep us all together meant that we could keep some sense of family normality.

‘We’re massively grateful for that.

‘Ffion helped us with our finances. She arranged for us to receive a £170 grant as soon as Iwan was diagnosed and also helped with the carer’s allowance and disability living allowance applications.

‘I’m a bit of a worrier but I know that I can just text her and she’ll always reply. It’s brilliant to know that there’s someone in your corner all the time.’

Now 19 months old, Iwan is cancer-free and will be monitored over the next few years.

Rhiannon said: ‘He’s great. He’s completely fine now. ‘Since he had the tumour removed he’s been crawling and walking which he wasn’t about to do before. Within weeks of the operation he was up and walking which is amazing.

‘We couldn’t be happier with the progress he’s made.’

CLIC Sargent is calling on the public to help it raise vital funds to support families, like Iwan’s, who are facing the costs of cancer.

Sophie Meadows, from the charity, said: ‘I’m calling on the kind people of Denbighshire to get behind CLIC Sargent this Childhood Cancer Awareness

Month and wear their pin badge with pride.

‘CLIC Sargent receives no government funding so donating will help us to be there for more families who are experiencing debilitating travel costs.’

 

Link hienalouca.com

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