An 11-year-old boy may never be able to smile again after battling a rare cancer in his brain, his devastated mother has revealed.
Daniel Lord has been through a ‘rollercoaster of hell’, including surgery and grueling chemotherapy to overcome his disease.
His mother, Joanne Broome, 45, was told that he was only the second person in 25 years to be diagnosed with the form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma on his brain.
Doctors now say the sea cadet shows no signs of the disease, but they are unsure if his ‘beautiful’ grin he once sported will ever return.
This is because they have never treated another patient with the same cancer, they are unsure if the damage caused to his nerves can be reversed.
Ms Broome, from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, said: ‘It’s quite a shame. He had such a beautiful smile before. I still hope that one day he will get it back.
Doctors say the Daniel Lord shows no signs of his rare form of cancer, but they are unsure if the sea cadet’s ‘beautiful’ grin he once sported will ever return
‘It’s heartbreaking to see your child unhappy but we’ve got to make the best of a bad situation.
‘You never expect this sort of thing to happen. We just had a normal life. Everything was just turned upside down. It was shocking.
‘It’s hard but at least he’s still alive. Even if he never gets his smile back at least we’ve still got Daniel.’
The mother-of-four added: ‘We’re coming to the end of chemo now so things are feeling a lot better but initially it was horrendous. It was a roller-coaster of hell.
‘He’s got a good diagnosis now thankfully. He’s got one round of chemotherapy left and then the lymphoma will be 100 per cent gone.
‘The consultants say they don’t know whether he will ever be able to smile again. They can’t answer that question because of how rare the cancer is that he has got.’
Ms Broome first noticed something was wrong with Daniel after picking him up from school in November 2016. He was unable to crack a grin and half of his face was paralysed.
Her motherly instincts immediately kicked in and she rushed him to hospital. Here he was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy after balance tests.
Daniel has been through a ‘rollercoaster of hell’, including surgery and grueling chemotherapy to overcome his disease (pictured in hospital)
The nurse said: ‘I kept watching him and kept saying to him “Daniel can you smile? Daniel can you smile?” intermittently every five or ten minutes.
‘His eyes became fixed. He couldn’t move his eyes to the left or to the right. He could only roll his eyes. It was very distressing.
He had such a beautiful smile before. I still hope that one day he will get it backJoanne Broome, 45
‘I had a gut instinct something was wrong. I didn’t know what but this was not my 11-year-old son’s normal behaviour.
‘I was not happy and I was really worried. I was trying not to panic but I knew that it wasn’t Bell’s palsy. It was like mother’s instinct.’
They returned to the hospital one week later for a follow up appointment but Daniel was unable to walk properly.
Alongside his difficulty moving, he had slurred speech, was vomiting and unable to move his eyes.
His mother, Joanne Broome, 45, was told that he was only the second person in 25 years to be diagnosed with the form of cancer (pictured together)
Ms Broome said: ‘It’s hard but at least he’s still alive. Even if he never gets his smile back at least we’ve still got Daniel’ (pictured together)
Daniel had two MRI scans which showed a tumour at the back of his brain and they were referred to the oncology specialist.
A month later they were given the news that he had aggressive cancer in the form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma with lymph node tissue on the brain.
Ms Broome said: ‘My heart sank and it felt like I went into another world. My head felt like it was in a cotton wool cloud.
‘It was really emotional. I couldn’t help but think “why?” but there were no answers. It was the worst news any parent could get. Everyone was shocked.
‘I was devastated. My life was turned upside down. It was very hard having to break the news to everyone.
‘We went through the motions with not believing this was happening to us but you take each day as it comes. The sun goes up and the sun comes down. The world carries on.’
The doctors have never treated another patient with the same cancer, and they are unsure if the damage caused to his nerves can be reversed (pictured left and right before he was struck down with the disease)
Daniel has been having speech and language therapy and physiotherapy to encourage his muscles to move again to try and help him smile (pictured in hospital)
Daniel had surgery to have the tumour removed from his brain at the end of November last year and then began chemotherapy in December.
He has been having speech and language therapy and physiotherapy to encourage his muscles to move again after the position of the tumour in his brain pressed on nerves which lead to the mouth, eyes and eyebrows.
His family and friends are also running a JustGiving campaign to raise enough money for Daniel to take a holiday of a lifetime.
Ms Broome said: ‘There’s a girl doing a skydive in July and there are two who are going to do a bike ride from Manchester to Newcastle.
‘Me, my 14-year-old daughter, a nurse from where I work in A&E and my next door neighbour have all had our hair shaved off to raise funds for Daniel.
‘We want to take him to Disneyland Paris for Christmas.’
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a rare cancer that develops in the lymphatic system – a network of vessels and glands spread throughout your body.
The lymphatic system is part of your immune system.
Clear fluid called lymph flows through the lymphatic vessels and contains infection-fighting white blood cells known as lymphocytes.
In non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the affected lymphocytes start to multiply in an abnormal way and begin to collect in certain parts of the lymphatic system, such as the lymph nodes (glands).
The affected lymphocytes lose their infection-fighting properties, making you more vulnerable to infection.
The most common symptom of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a painless swelling in a lymph node, usually in the neck, armpit or groin.
The main treatments used for non-Hodgkin lymphoma are: chemotherapy, radiotherapy, a type of targeted treatment called monoclonal antibody therapy.
Source: NHS Choices