Ipswich: Brain tumour nightmare of brave Kaylen
IPSWICH: Just a few months ago, little Kaylen O’Connor was just like any other five-year-old boy.
But today, the Whitton Community Primary School pupil is being cared for by experts at Addenbrooke’s Hospital after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, which medics fear has cost him his sight.
He has already endured eight-and-a-half gruelling hours of brain surgery since being admitted on February 1.
Kaylen’s dad, Derek O’Connor, said his youngest son had initially complained of searing headaches which left him in agony.
The youngster was first taken to see doctors in early December, but it wasn’t until Kaylen took an eye test that the alarm was raised.
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“He was having violent headaches – he would just lie there screaming,” said Mr O’Connor, 62.
“I took him to A&E – I worried it might be his brain.”
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More warning signs came in early January when Mr O’Connor went to get his son a beaker of drink. As he put it down for Kaylen, the five-year-old appeared to fumble as he tried to pick it up.
“I thought I would book him an eye test,” said Mr O’Connor, of Shakespeare Road. “Just a few months before he had one and his sight was perfect.
“I took him to the opticians and he said straight away there was something wrong and referred him to Ipswich Hospital.”
On January 31, Kaylen had an appointment at the eye clinic at Heath Road.
He was taken for an immediate brain scan after the optician spotted the youngster’s optic nerve had swollen, putting pressure on the brain.
The next day doctors uttered the diagnosis Mr O’Connor had feared – his son had a brain tumour and needed to be transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge immediately.
On February 2, Kaylen was taken into theatre and for eight-and-a-half hours doctors worked to remove the tumour.
“It was wrapped all around his optic nerves and had destroyed them,” said Mr O’Connor. “They could only get half of it out.
“Doctors think he could be blind – he isn’t responding to any lights shone in his eyes.
“We just have to wait now. He is still in hospital and will be for a while yet.
“It is a low grade tumour, it is not going to kill him straight away, it is slow growing.
“I asked doctors if it is going to kill him but they said they can’t say.”
Kaylen’s most recent scan, on Saturday, revealed if the tumour had spread, it had only done so by a tiny amount.
“It is like a tiny glimmer of hope,” added Mr O’Connor. “But he will be having regular scans as doctors monitor him and work out the next step in his treatment plan.
“We just don’t know what is to come.”
n Have you faced a similar ordeal? Write to health reporter Lizzie Parry at Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org