THE mother of a three-year-old Sion Mills boy who was diagnosed with a massive brain tumour is urging parents to trust their instincts if they believe there is something wrong with their child.
Marie Gibson relayed the nightmarish tale of how her youngest son Kelvin developed cancer and had to undergo emergency brain surgery
What made the situation even worse for the family was that for the seven weeks prior to the surgery Marie and her husband Gareth had challenged doctors’ diagnoses only to have concerns disparaged.
“It all started when Kelvin told us he had a sore head,” explained Marie.
“I knew it was serious because he kept waking up from his sleep and was constantly complaining of a pain in his head. At first I gave him Calpol and Nurofen as prescribed by the GP, but after about a week his headaches came back.
“We brought him to his local doctor and to out-of-hours in Altnagelvin and we kept getting told that he had a viral infection.
But his headaches weren’t going away and we could see that Kelvin was becoming more and more agitated with each passing day.
“We brought Kelvin back to the doctors and explained he wasn’t getting any better. He was extremely upset and all out of sorts. This time he was put on an antibiotic, but it made no difference.”
As each day passed Marie said Kelvin health continued to deteriorate.
“The pain became so bad that he couldn’t even sleep,” said Marie.
“It was an extremely difficult time for us. My husband and I knew that there was something seriously wrong and that our child was in pain and there was nothing we could do for him.”
Despite the constant set backs the Gibsons didn’t give up and one Monday they brought Kelvin back to his local medical surgery.
By now, Kelvin was in so much pain he had become extremely aggressive towards his mother.
“He was hitting and kicking me,” said Marie. “He was completely out of character, but I knew it was because he was in pain.
“Fortunately on this occasion Kelvin was seen by a different doctor who advised us to go straight back to Altnagelvin for a CT scan.”
Following the scan Marie and Gareth were faced with the dreaded news that Kelvin had a large tumour on his brain.
He was immediately transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast where he underwent almost 10-hours of surgery which successfully removed 95-99 per-cent of the tumour.
“It still all seems so surreal,” added Marie. “I sometimes think this isn’t happening to us and we are living someone else’s life.
“We are just so thankful that Kelvin is still with us.
“We were told before his operation that he may not even pull through.
I went into the chapel in the Royal and I prayed so hard. I promised God if he saved Kelvin I wouldn’t miss Mass again.”
Thankfully Marie’s prayers were answered, although Kelvin is not completely out of the woods yet.
As a direct result to the tumour young Kevlin has been left with tunnel vision and will continue to be monitored by medical staff for the next three to 12 months.
His mother says her son who she calls “a wee trooper” is in brilliant form and is already getting back to himself again.
Thanking the entire town and district for their support over the past few months Marie added, “Kelvin has been prayed for all over the world. The entire community of Strabane and further afield have been amazing and I can’t thank those people and the medical staff at the
“We are so lucky to have such amazing family, friends, and work colleagues.”
Looking back on the traumatic last few months Marie added, “I just want to tell parents, trust your instincts. You know your children better than anyone else, don’t give up until you know 100 per-cent that everything is OK – we knew there was something seriously wrong
with Kelvin and we were right.”