Saturday 30th March 2002

Today would be the day that would change our lives forever.

Maddie had some breakfast this morning and vomited twice in quick succession soon afterwards. We packed up some things and headed back to hospital. They took some details in the Emergency Department and advised there would be a wait of about four hours as they were very busy. I explained that Maddie had been admitted the previous weekend and that her condition had deteriorated since. We ended up waiting for about 10 minutes. Looking back I think even then the doctors realized the seriousness of the situation.

We saw a lovely doctor who noticed immediately that there was a problem with Maddie’s right hand side. He asked how long she had been vomiting for and if it was always in the morning. Maddie also seemed distressed when sitting up and much less so when lying down. He said he would call the neurologists to come check Maddie so they could rule out anything going on in her head. He really should have said to rule it in – as I’m sure that’s what he was thinking.

Sometime later Professor Inder from the Neurology Department came down and had a chat with us. All the signs were pointing to a brain tumor she said. They would need to do an MRI to confirm their fears. We were absolutely stunned. This couldn’t be happening to our little girl. We thought that she had a bad case of gastro and maybe some Bell’s Palsy. The idea of a brain tumor was completely foreign to us and only something that happens to other people.

A couple of hours later the MRI had been done and Professor Inder came back to give us the news. It was a brain tumor and a very large one at that. About half the size of Maddie’s left hand side of her head. Words failed us. Tears seemed the only response we could come up with at that stage. She said that Maddie would need emergency surgery tonight otherwise the chances of making it through the weekend would be very slim.

The surgery would be performed by the hospital’s top neurosurgeon Miss Wirginia Maixner. This incredible lady would bring us to believe that miracles can indeed happen. Maddie’s surgery was completed at 4am in the morning after around 6 hours. Wirginia sat us down and explained how it went. She said the surgery was incredibly difficult and that she able to remove less than one third of the tumor. The tumor itself had started growing from inside the brain, towards the centre, which made resection much more difficult.  Maddie had a cardiac arrest a couple of hours into the surgery and stopped breathing. They were able massage her little heart and bring her back to life.

The overwhelming feeling of shock was just starting to subside and the reality of the situation was beginning to dawn on us. We were very, very lucky to still have Maddie with us. She would be in intensive care (ICU) for the immediate time and the thought was to gradually wake her up over the next few days.

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Friday 29th March 2002

Maddie seems to have developed a weakness in her left side of her face today. It seems very disjointed when she smiles or cries. We took her to our local GP and he agrees with us that she might have a case of Bells’ Palsy. She is favouring her left hand side when moving hands and arms. It’s a bit difficult to tell with her legs as she hasn’t walked for quite a few days now. The doctor wants us to come back tomorrow and see him again.

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Thursday 28th March 2002

We went back to the doctor today. Maddie seems to be much the same however hasn’t vomited for a couple of days. He said if she does vomit again we should go straight back to the Royal Children’s Hospital.

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Tuesday 26th March 2002

We went out this afternoon and Maddie was very clingy and upset every time we moved her. She would cuddle Georgia but didn’t want a bar of me. Not sure what is going on to be honest.

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Monday 25th March 2002

I stayed home with Maddie again today and nothing seems to have really changed. I’m getting frustrated as this is the second week that Maddie’s been sick and instead of getting better she seems to be getting worse.

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Sunday 24th March 2002

We walked in to the ward this morning and got a big smile from Maddie. She looked a whole lot better and we were making plans to take her home today. She hadn’t vomited overnight and the doctors were convinced now she was rehydrated that she would continue to improve over the next few days.

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Saturday 23rd March 2002

We brought Maddie to the Children’s Hospital this morning as she was still vomiting and seemed very listless. We were still convinced that it was a case of nasty gastro. We had no reason to suspect anything else and the doctor’s agreed. We saw a rather young chap who said Maddie would need to stay in hospital for a couple of days and get the vomiting under control.

Maddie went up to Ward 5 West and was in a cot which seemed miles to small for her. They put her on some fluids and she appeared to pick up straight away. We left her their for the night thinking that she needed a good rest and besides we were exhausted anyway.

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