Honouring Ryan Nel – RhabdomyoSarcoma (Part 2)

rhabdomyosarcoma2September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and apart from our normal posts, LFCT will also be bringing you some stories and poems from our Little Fighters and their Families through the course of the month.

Today we would like to bring you Part 2 of an edited version of the life-story of Ryan Nel, as written by his mother, Michelle.

The Little Fighters Cancer Trust would like to sincerely thank Michelle for sharing her family’s heartbreaking story with us in the hope that it can help other parents who have children that are ill but are not sure what the problem is, and to raise Childhood Cancer Awareness so that earlier diagnosis can be done.

We will publish the full story entitled “Our Road with Cancer – an Ode to my Son” at a later stage when there is more time to translate it in full.

Treatment Begins

Ryan’s fight against Childhood Cancer began in earnest on the 27th May when was admitted to hospital – a fight for his life!

On the 28th May, Michelle accompanied Ryan into theatre where he was anaesthetised and a port was inserted into his chest so that medications could be administered. X-rays were taken to ascertain the scale of the cancer and the damage already done to his left lung.

Ryan was then put on a 9-week chemo block 3 days of Chemotherapy followed by a drip and virtually constant nausea and vomiting. Ryan completely lost his appetite and fluid was running out of his ear. He was given morphine for the pain and his family did everything they could to help, including bringing his favourite cooked food from home as the hospital food made him nauseous.

Ryan developed a fever from a bladder infection and a catheter was inserted under local anaesthesia and he was placed in isolation due to his lowered immune system. H urinated blood for 9 days until he eventually got bloated and they removed the catheter. He had lost a lot of blood, so received his first blood transfusion on 31 May.

He had more chemo on 4th June, and on the 5th June his head and neck was badly swollen and the nerves went haywire again. Ryan was then sent for a Bone Marrow Scan.

After 11 days Ryan was allowed to go home again, with medications for high blood pressure, stress and more…

Stress levels were very high in the Nel household, and family members came to help out with domestic chores, cooking, taking Ryan’s brothers to school and various other things so that Michelle and her husband could concentrate on getting Ryan well again.

Second Diagnosis

Ryan was not well at all and spent most of the time in pain and bent over a bucket; 3-hourly pain meds, gastro and hair that started falling out was the norm during these days.

peripheral nervous systemOn the 9th June, it was discovered that Ryan’s white blood cell count was very low and he was also diagnosed with Neuropathy (a side-effect of Chemotherapy).

Once his blood counts had stabilised, Ryan went for the next (intensive) course of chemotherapy and the whole cycle started all over again…

In the meantime life had to go on for the rest of the family, but that was not that easy – Michelle’s mother had to go for a major operation on her back and Michelle could not even be there for her as Ryan was first priority. Toothaches, flu and other problems for the rest of the family just had to be dealt with somehow…

This Little Fighter dealt with high blood pressure, sugar in his urine, port problems, nausea and hallucinations with great courage, and eventually the chemo started to show some signs of working – the tumour in his lung had shrunk quite a bit and there was relief all round.

Now he had to be prepared for a second operation…




About LFCT

This is a blog about CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 6 September, 2016, in Blog, Onco Parents and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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