Christianne was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and received treatment over the Christmas period. Mum, Joanne, talks about their time here.
In October 2011, at just six weeks old, an ultrasound of her abdomen revealed that baby Christianne had a tumour in her adrenal gland. Unfortunately, the tumour had already spread to her liver, which dangerously increased its size.
Christianne was rushed to GOSH with her mum, Joanne, and after many tests and scans, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer affecting fewer than 100 children in the UK each year.
Unfortunately, the tumour in Christianne's liver continued to grow, affecting her breathing and eating. Joanna had to stop breastfeeds so they could drip feed Christianne through a nasogastric tube.
The doctors decided they could no longer wait for the tumour to decrease on its own, so started treating Christianne with chemotherapy and radiotherapy when she was just eight weeks old. Over the next two months she had four rounds of chemotherapy, which stopped he liver from increasing in size.
Christmas at GOSH
Due to her fragile health, little Christianne and mum Joanne had to stay in GOSH over the Christmas period so that she could be monitored.
“We weren’t even allowed to go home on Christmas day which was very sad, but the nurses made it bearable,” says Joanne. “The atmosphere was different on the ward. Everybody was happy and there was food, presents and games. It really made a difference and the nurses were incredible.”
At the end of December, there were signs that Christianne’s liver was beginning to decrease in size. Her tummy gradually became smaller and doctors could see there had been an improvement.
After three long months in hospital, Christianne’s liver had decreased enough that it was no longer affecting her breathing. She was trasnferred to her local hospital, where she and mum Joanne spent another month, and gradually began breastfeeding again.
Following a recent check-up at GOSH, a scan showed Christianne’s tumour had disappeared and her liver is back to its normal size.
“It’s totally amazing and I'm so grateful for all the care we received at GOSH,” says Joanne. “She's three now and very bright and bubbly, you wouldn't know that she had ever been ill or had chemotherapy and radiotherapy!”
Childhood cancer is the biggest disease affecting children today. Read about the Kiss it Better appeal, an initiative to raise money for research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancer, and find out about pioneering treatments in our cancer breakthrough guide.