Brain tumour: Mikey

Mikey was diagnosed with a brain tumour just before Christmas 2011 when he was seven years old.

Published: September 2016. Date of brain injury: December 2011 (child aged 7 years).


Mikey had three operations to remove the tumour, chemotherapy courses, proton radiotherapy and had a shunt fitted to drain fluid from his brain. Complications during his last operation in April 2015 left Mikey with a brain injury, unable to sit-up, walk, talk or feed himself. After receiving six months intensive rehabilitation at The Children’s Trust in Tadworth, Surrey, the youngster has returned home and is making great progress towards his goals walking and talking. Mikey’s mum, Donna explained: “It’s been a gruelling six years that began when Mikey started to be sick in the mornings. He’d become very clumsy, and complained of problems with his vision. After numerous visits to the doctor and local hospital, he was diagnosed with a pilocytic astrocytoma – a brain tumour.” Mikey underwent 12 hours of brain surgery to try to remove the tumour but unfortunately it was wrapped around the brain stem and could not be fully removed. Months later the family was told the tumour had started to grow back. Doctors tried various chemotherapy drugs over two years but the tumour didn’t respond to any of them. Mikey had to undergo more surgery and a large section of the tumour was taken away, but it still couldn’t be fully removed.
The best hope Mikey had was that it would stop growing. His last operation was extremely risky, but without it he would have died. Unfortunately part of Mikey’s brain was damaged in the operation which meant that he lost many of the skills learnt as a child that many of us take for granted. Mikey moved to The Children’s Trust’s unique rehabilitation centre for acquired brain injury, where he received intensive therapy including physio, speech and language, occupational therapy, music therapy and hydrotherapy. He was also invited to take part in activities and days out that complimented the skills he was learning in therapy. Donna said: “Mikey was very frustrated with himself when he first arrived at The Children’s Trust and taking it out on anyone he came into contact with - he couldn’t understand why he could no longer do the things he used to do. But with the support of the team, he soon turned the negatives into positive energy. And he was determined to get better. “It’s been a really tough few years for all of us but Mikey has remained positive. We have been at The Children’s Trust for six months and he’s has worked really hard at his rehab. He even took part in a play just before we left The Children’s Trust, where is sang ‘Over the Rainbow’. “Mikey loves football and is desperate to play again. One of his highlights during his stay was meeting some of the Crystal Palace FC players. He was so determined to show them what he had been practising – he stood up, walked and even kicked a football with them. I was very proud.”
When talking about the future, Donna said: “The behaviour of Mikey's tumour can’t be predicted so he will have regular MRI scans. Treatment options have practically been exhausted, so there are currently no plans in place. Our biggest hope is that the tumour leaves him alone, but we know that there are no guarantees. Our focus is simply to make a few more memories, and now we are home we are doing exactly that.” Mikey's story appeared originally on The Children's Trust website
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