Because I was so very young when I was ill I have only the faintest of memories of that time. One is of being in a full body cast in hospital, I can only assume during some of the radiotherapy treatment…..
I was only 18 months old and had been diagnosed with histiocytosis X six months previously after my mum had found a lump on my forehead and X-rays showed a problem with my hip joint. I was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. I did not have a great prognosis and was given a 50:50 chance of survival. Initially I was treated with chemotherapy and steroids. Following this treatment I was given radiotherapy (with the body cast to stop me putting weight on my hip). I responded well to this treatment and became a research case (it was 1974) for the team who were treating me. Sadly, another little boy with the same diagnosis and undergoing the same treatment died. I wish I knew his name.
For the next 25 years I returned for annual check-ups, blood tests and scans. First to Great Ormond Street and then, as I grew up, to St Barthomolew’s hospital in Smithfield. I was a research case because so few children survived what, at the time, was thought to be a childhood cancer. I learnt, much later, that whilst my illness bore all the characteristics of a blood cancer I actually had a blood disorder. Whilst the disease has never returned (fingers crossed) and I have been able to live a wonderful, healthy and full life, there have been complications. Thankfully, not quite life-changing and I give thanks to the team of doctors and specialists at Great Ormond Street who saved my life.
I am Walking the Bryson Line to say thank you to Great Ormond Street and to raise money for this wonderful hospital that does so much to change the lives of so money sick children. Please visit our Donate page for more information on how to support our walk.