Family so glad to have Gary back home

PUBLISHED: 20:24 07 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:59 03 March 2010

AFTER a ten-hour operation to remove a rare brain tumour and five weeks in intensive care at Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, Gary Oates has finally been allowed home.

AFTER a ten-hour operation to remove a rare brain tumour and five weeks in intensive care at Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, Gary Oates has finally been allowed home.

The Stowmarket Middle School pupil still cannot speak, has limited use of his arms and legs and needs 24 hour care every day of the week.

But his father, Giles Oates, a 45-year-old account manager from Ringshall, near Stowmarket, said: "He has been a star throughout, he has been non-plussed by it all and the doctors have been amazed by his courage.

"He was very seriously ill and we are so relieved he has done so well, and we are so proud of him."

His mother, Lynda, 43, added: "Gary is coming on leaps and bounds now and having him back with his family is so important. We still have a long, long way to go, but every day he is a little bit better.

"He is a brave chap, has such determination. Even the doctors say how in control he is.''

Gary is having physiotherapy every day at Ipswich Hospital, has another course of chemotherapy treatment starting next week, needs antibiotics and has to stay in hospital periodically when his health worsens.

Mr Oates said: "It all happened very quickly. He was diagnosed on September 11, rushed in to Addenbrooke's on the 14th for a ten-hour operation on the back of his head to remove a very rare type of tumour.

"We were told doctors see about 25 of these a year in children. They were unable to remove it all, it was right on the brain stem and is a very, very delicate operation.

"Now he has chemotherapy to shrink what is left and if that works, great. If not he will have radiotherapy and if that fails, another operation.

"He cannot speak or do anything for himself at the moment. We have gone through months of stress and anguish over our son's brain tumour and his rehabilitation."

But Mr Oates and his wife Lynda, who runs a holiday home rental business, are full of praise for the hospitals which treated Gary after he was found to have an ependymoma, or brain tumour.

The ordeal first started when Gary suddenly started being sick and losing his balance. His family took him in to the accident and emergency department at Ipswich Hospital and a doctor sent him for a scan.

Medics found a large lump and he was rushed in to Addenbrooke's Hospital.

Mr Oates, who works for Canon UK Ltd, said: "He was in intensive care at Addenbrooke's for five weeks and we were there 10, 12, 14 hours a day to be with him.

"We have been through so much in the last few months. It's been a nightmare for us, but the hospitals, Addenbrooke's and Ipswich, have been fantastic.

"The nurses there, the doctors, all the staff were brilliant too, work have been great and let me stay off, and local charity Sargent have been supportive and helped us with petrol costs.

"My company has allowed me compassionate leave throughout this difficult time and everyone has rallied round and his brothers have been tremendously supportive.''

But even when the Oates family got Gary home they were to be confronted with another challenge.

A car driver left the road and crashed in to Gary's converted downstairs bedroom, where he was sleeping with his two brothers Christopher, 13, and Jack, nine. Rubble fell into the bedroom where the three were asleep during the early hours of November 18.

Mr Oates said: "The driver hit an oak beam which snapped and rubble cascaded in. His two brothers stayed calm and got him out."

The family have since moved out to rented accommodation in Elmswell while repair work is carried out, although since then a second vehicle has struck the property.

They now want to see safety work carried out by the authorities, possibly including 30mph limit signs on the road.

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