Eight-Year-Old Boy Told He Had Anxiety Actually Has Brain Cancer

A young boy in England has reportedly been diagnosed with brain cancer weeks after his symptoms were dismissed as mere signs of “anxiety”.

According to Plymouth Live, the problems started when Lucas Pook-Parsonage developed severe headaches, illness and balance problems. After about two weeks of symptoms, his mother, Gemma Pook, reportedly took him to the emergency room at nearby Derriford Hospital when the eight-year-old told her he could see “two of hers.”

In the weeks leading up to that hospital visit, Pook-Parsonage “was having a hard time at school and … needed time for what Mom and Dad told me was anxiety,” says a GoFundMe family fundraiser.

When visiting the emergency room in mid-May, Pook-Parcsonage’s parents were again told that fear was the culprit. But after a “consultant” looked at the boy and his symptoms later that same morning, he was given a CAT scan that led to heartbreaking results.

The scan reportedly revealed “a large growth in the brain,” which required the child “to be flown to Bristol Children’s Hospital ASAP that day,” according to the GoFundMe.

An image of a human brain taken through a PET scan, 2019. FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

There, Pook-Parsonage was “quickly operated on to drain fluid from his brain to relieve the pressure and help [him] I’m more at ease.” Two days later, he had another surgery to remove the mass, but the anesthesia left him in anaphylactic shock — meaning the surgery had to be stopped prematurely for the child’s safety.

A biopsy taken during surgery turned out to be medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer most common in children.

Plymouth Live reports that since his surgery, Pook-Parsonage has also been diagnosed with posterior fossa syndrome. According to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, posterior fossa syndrome — also called cerebellar mutism — is “a condition that sometimes develops after surgery to remove a brain tumor in the posterior fossa region of the brain,” in which the most typical symptom is “limited or speech impediment.”

Since developing posterior fossa syndrome, Pook-Parsonage is “unable to speak, [swallow], open both eyes, or move his arms and support his own body,” says his GoFundMe. “There’s no telling whether this will last or he [will] be able to return to his normal self.”

Because his tumor is malignant, Pook-Parsonage will soon have to undergo treatment, but first he will be going to physical therapy and speech therapy to “build his strength.

As of Tuesday, an update from the GoFundMe reported that Pook-Parsonage will begin chemotherapy next week. On Thursday morning, the fundraiser exceeded the £3,000 goal, raising £3,454.

The money donated will go towards “the cost of traveling to and from the hospital” and “the cost of staying in the hospital for several weeks” – in addition to food, laundry, childcare for the family’s other two children and all other expenses .

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