A brave little girl was diagnosed with a brain tumour after she began suffering with “excruciating” back pain and became “really clumsy”.
Katie Paterson, 8, is facing months of chemotherapy to treat her medulloblastoma, with her family, from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, all shielding to help keep her safe.
Mum Elaine said she and husband Graham have been warned to be ultra cautious as Covid restrictions lift, while her daughter has lost her appetite to such an extent she must be fed through a tube.
The 39-year-old deputy headteacher said Katie began being sick and seeming “really lethargic” towards the end of November last year, reports GlasgowLive.
When her symptoms, including debilitating back pain, got worse, Elaine called an out-of-hours doctor with a subsequent urine sample showing Katie had an infection.
But even after being prescribed antibiotics, she still appeared out of sorts.
“When she stood up, she would hesitate before walking,” explained Elaine.
“She was putting her arms out to the side to navigate and she was becoming really clumsy.
“When I asked her if she felt dizzy, she said ‘it’s all black around the sides.'”
On December 14, Katie was taken to see a paediatrician at Wishaw General Hospital.
A CT scan revealed a large tumour at the back of her head which had blocked the flow of brain fluid, causing hydrocephalus.
She had to be blue-lighted to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and the following day had emergency surgery to insert an external ventricular drain (EVD) to relieve the pressure in her head.
On December 18 Katie had a craniotomy to debulk the tumour – but although it was removed, on Christmas Eve the family were given the devastating news it would not be enough.
Elaine said: “I felt complete numbness.
“The fear that came over me was like nothing I’d ever felt before. It was like I was living somebody else’s life.
“Thankfully, the team looking after Katie was magnificent.
“They had to have some really difficult conversations with us but they were professional and compassionate.”
On December 30 Katie was discharged from hospital but told she would need up to a year of cancer treatment.
She began a six-week course of radiotherapy at The Beatson Cancer Centre on January 18.
Elaine added: “Other than some hair loss, Katie didn’t suffer too badly from the side effects of radiotherapy.
“She was home every afternoon to do home-schooling. She breezed through it.”
However, she said the chemo – which she started on April 12 – has been “really tough”, and is likely to last until Christmas.
“The treatment makes her sick, exhausted and is causing aches and pains all over her body,” she said.
“She’s lost her appetite to the point that she now has to be tube-fed.”
Elaine and Graham, 42, are remaining ultra cautious despite restrictions lifting, including not visiting other people’s homes or allowing non-family into their house.
“It’s been really tough for Katie, as she’s so desperate to see family and friends and to be a ‘normal’ eight-year-old girl,” said her mum.
Relatives have been doing window visits and she’s been attending school and Brownies via Zoom.
“Dealing with this terrible diagnosis and Katie’s treatment during a global pandemic has definitely added to the challenges,” continued Elaine.
“One day we came back from hospital to find Katie’s friends had left little hand-written notes for her outside the front of the house.
“Every house in our street is displaying a yellow heart in the window; an indication that they are thinking of Katie.
“We’ve been so touched by everyone’s kindness,” she added.