On what seemed like a normal day, cheeky little Wesley and his mum went to pick up his 2 siblings from school. While they were waiting, Wesley, like any other 20-month-old, was playing in the playground but fell off the equipment and started vomiting.
His mum, Teegan, immediately took him to the hospital to get checked out. She remembers thinking she thought he had a concussion, “but I knew he had landed on his stomach, so I was a bit confused.”
The initial test results came back with blood in his urine, which led the doctors to have a closer look at Wesley’s kidneys…
Devastatingly, they found a cancerous tumour, three quarters the size of Wesley’s head, on his right kidney.
A few days later Wesley had gruelling surgery to remove the Wilms Tumour and his right kidney. His surgery confirmed that the tumour had ruptured, meaning precious Wesley also required radiotherapy.
His radiotherapy treatments followed shortly after he had recovered from the surgery. His mum describes this as the worst part of his treatment…
“Wesley had to be put under for each round of radiotherapy and it was heartbreaking as he could smell the gas, knew what was coming, and fought to get away. My husband was the one who had to hold him while they gave him the gas mask as I just couldn’t do it”
Following 8 rounds of radiotherapy, Wesley then had to endure 20 rounds of chemotherapy. This precious little boy was very sick after each round but managed to put on a brave face.
Wesley spent about 15 nights in hospital. One of his worst nights in hospital was shortly after surgery when the medical team were unable to find a vein to insert the cannula into, so they had to keep switching and trying different areas on his arms. He was so swollen and by the end of it and his poor little arms were so sore from all the needles.
He has endured over 50 hospital visits, 10 CT scans, 20 general anaesthetics and an endless number of blood tests, x-rays and ultrasounds.
But this brave little boy fought hard and kicked cancers’ butt! He has been in remission for just over 3 years.
However, Wesley’s battle with cancer has had a lasting impact on his life…
He had a rough start to school because he struggled socialising with the other kids. When he was supposed to be learning and hitting key milestones in his social and emotional development he was in hospital fighting cancer.
His parents had to keep him away from other children for almost a year to minimise the chances of him catching an illness from another child because if he got sick it would mean more gruelling nights in hospital…
“It was so difficult as he loved playing, he was very active, so locking him in the pram while the other kids were off playing was hard for him. He would sit there crying and screaming wondering why he wasn’t allowed to play. It was heartbreaking”
Wesley will need regular check-ups for the rest of his life. The long-lasting impact of his treatment is not clear yet, but his parents were told the radiotherapy effects will most likely come later in his life.