WHEN little Molly Mai Wardle-Hampton was born, she was 7lbs and a healthy baby.
But just weeks later the newborn started to suffer with seizures, which her mum Corinne says was dismissed as ‘normal baby stuff’.
The 37-year-old was sent home with her little baby and told to keep an eye on her condition.
Weeks later Molly was unable to move her eyes in a certain direction and Corinne noticed her little girl’s head was swollen.
Corrinne, who lives with her partner Paul, 33, again took her to her local GP in Flint, North Wales, who said there was nothing to worry about.
In February, Molly’s health started to deteriorate and Corrine rushed her daughter to the Countess of Chester Hospital, where she works as a nurse.
Molly was immediately transferred by ambulance to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool where a scan revealed she had a large brain tumor.
Medics said that fluid was putting pressure on Molly’s brain and eyes and she would die within 24 hours if they did not operate on her immediately.
Molly underwent a grueling three-hour operation to have the tumor removed – which had spread to three-quarters of her brain.
She has since been diagnosed with ependymoma – a rare cancer affecting the brain and spine.
Corinne said before her diagnosis, little Molly could only look to her right.
She said: “At three weeks old, I noticed seizures – about three of them in total. I went to the GP and got a referral to the paediatrics in Wrexham.
“We noticed that her head was quite big, we had noticed this from her six-week appointment at the GP.
“She always looked right, she could not look left, that was brought up too. She was vomiting and being unsettled.
“A few weeks later, we saw that her head had continued to grow and her eyes were going in the opposite direction – this was because of the intracranial pressure.”
After being blue-lighted to Alder Hey, medics said Molly’s head size had ‘gone off the chart’.
What is ependymoma?
An ependymoma belongs to a group of tumors called gliomas.
They can start in the brain or spinal cord.
They can sometimes spread from where they started to other parts of the brain or spinal cord but they do not spread to other parts of the body.
Ependymomas are often slow-growing, low-grade tumors.
As the tumors are slow growing the symptoms usually develop over a period of months.
– changes in mood and personality
– weakness in an arm or leg
– problems with coordination or balance
– feeling sick and vomiting
The main treatments for ependymoma are surgery and sometimes radiotherapy.
The treatment will depend entirely on the size and grade of the tumor.
A team of specialist doctors will be assigned to each case to determine the best course of treatment.
Source: MacMillan Cancer Support
Corinne added: “She had this big mass in her head and the rest was covered in fluid – that was what was pushing on her eye nerves.
“The diagnosis of the mass was discovered on February 1 and we were in surgery the next day. Six days later we were told she had ependymoma cancer.
“We were quite lucky she is a baby because the skull is not fused, so the skull could expand with the fluid.”
Corrine explained that if her daughter had been an adult, then she would have ended up with severe brain damage.
She said: “If she had been an adult, she would have ended up with severe brain damage or it probably would have killed her.
“The tumor covered three different parts of the brain. It covered a hefty part of the right hemisphere.
I do not think I’ve processed it properly yet, we’m still in shock
“My partner keeps saying to me now, ‘if you hadn’t kept pushing, she’d be dead by now,’ which is so scary.
“It was very frustrating because I knew something was not right but I kept being told by the doctors that it was normal baby stuff. It was missed by many of them.”
Corrine says that the surgeon at Alder Hey explained to her that her little girl would not have survived 24 hours without surgery.
“I think at that moment I just went numb, I do not think I’ve processed it properly yet, we’m still in shock.
“You just never expect that it’s going to happen to you,” she added.
Molly had surgery to remove the mass on February 2 and doctors confirmed six days later that the tumor was an Ependymoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.
She has returned home and is undergoing twice-weekly rounds of chemotherapy in a bid to kill off the remaining tumor and stop it spreading.
She is now 14 weeks old and has a whole year of chemotherapy ahead of her.
Mum Corrinne added: “She’s obviously going to get really poorly and because she’s a baby and I can not explain why this is happening.
“The likelihood is she’s going to end up with ulcers, she’s going to end up in a lot of pain and lethargic.
“She can not tell me that her tummy hurts, or that her skins itchy and feeling horrible.
“She’s going to be in absolute agony.”
A GoFundMe page set up to support the family has already raised more than £ 1,690.
Corinne added: “In a time when there is so much negativity, you have all shown me how wonderful people can be.”
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