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Mum's urgent warning after son's 'viral infection' turns out to be brain tumour

A mother is warning fellow parents to watch out for unusual health symptoms, after claiming doctors said her six-year-old son’s cancer was actually a ‘viral infection’.

Keiley Ebbs first noticed something was wrong with her little boy, Jett, when he began complaining of pain in his arms and legs, experienced morning sickness and became clumsier than usual, randomly walking into things.

She was allegedly told by medical professionals that the symptoms were a sign of a viral infection, but sensed in her gut that there was more to her son’s behaviour.

After seven visits to A&E, the mum pushed for further investigation, and a devastating scan then revealed a brain tumour travelling down Jett’s spine.

‘They kept saying it was a viral infection, and to take him home and give him over-the-counter medication,” said the 38-year-old from Lincolnshire.

‘I had it in my head that he had a brain tumour, I’d seen the symptoms before in my job as a carer.’

Keiley said she felt ‘frustrated’ at being told the same thing over and over, adding: ‘I feel like [staff] thought I was exaggerating but I knew there was something seriously wrong with him.’

Returning to A&E for the seventh time on 13 December, doctors agreed to give Jett a CT scan and the results were horrifying.

He was diagnosed with a brain tumour and immediately rushed to Sheffield hospital, where he underwent a 10-hour surgery to remove the mass.

The mum said: ‘It’s so hard to even explain, it was so quick.

‘I can remember sitting in the ambulance ride. Not knowing what was going on, he was so excited to be in an ambulance and my journey was a complete blur, it was so bizarre.

‘The nurse kept checking on me but I couldn’t speak.’

Ahead of the surgery, Keiley had to sign a form confirming she was aware ‘he might never wake up,’ which she said was ‘so strange and heartbreaking’ to go through.

Then, following the initial surgery, Jett underwent 11 further procedures – including several shunt surgeries and a craniotomy.

Unfortunately, the shunts kept failing, having to be redone several times before he contracted a severe infection, a common issue with the devices.

Keiley said: ‘He was really poorly, they had to put him in a coma. They told me then he may never wake up.

‘The coma should have been two weeks but, in Jett fashion, he decided to wake up after five days, trying to pull out his tubes.

‘It was a miracle.’

And the ordeal wasn’t over, as the tumour had wrapped around Jett’s spine and he was left without movement in his legs.

Thankfully, though, the cancer is in remission and Keiley says he has never lost his positivity or smile.

‘He went through it all with his parsnip teddy, Pascal, who he has had since he was a baby, on his side,’ she said.

‘Pascal even had bandages on his head. Jett had changed so much that people only recognised him by the parsnip.’

Although he is through the worst of it, Jett has been left almost paralysed, unable to walk, and with severe brain damage.

He’s now permanently a wheelchair user, and doctors are still unable to provide a full prognosis at this stage, although his mum says ‘he has gone through all of this with a smile on his face, and is so full of life.’

Keiley now wants other parents to follow their intuition and look out for any warning signs, pushing for answers just as she did.

She added: ‘Jett was in a lot of pain in his arm and legs, he was constantly crying in pain.

‘It was due to the cancer going down his spine and crushing parts of him. He was not the same child.

‘Don’t think that you are being an overprotective parent. Push and push if you think there is something wrong.’

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  • Posted on August 22, 2023