Children With Cancer Fund
Children With Cancer Fund
Children With Cancer Fund (Polegate)
5 Western Avenue, Polegate, East Sussex, BN26 6EP Tel: 01323 488561 Registered Charity No.1110644

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Jack P's Story

Jack P

Jack’s tumour sat right on his optical nerves and has left him with poor sight which meant when he watched TV, the rest of the family had to look over his shoulder to see the screen. Not any more. Thanks to the owners of Aspen heat pumps who personally paid for Jack’s TV, the whole family can now watch the complete screen together. Thank you Mr & Mrs C.

Below is Jack’s story in his own words:

At first we thought it was just me having a bug. Headaches and sickness is what I had. Who would have known I’d got a brain tumor. I’m Jack Ryan Pettitt, and this is my story.

It all started a month before the summer holidays. I started getting headaches in the night and morning. I was off school for a while and it didn’t get better. Then, one night like normal I got my headache and I kept being sick. My mum took me up to my sister’s room to cool down. I fell back to sleep, but when I awoke I still had a headache and was still being sick, But now my vision had gone fuzzy in both eyes. My mum took me to the nurse down the surgery. She decided to send me up to the Conquest hospital.

When we got to the hospital we went to the out-patient ward and I had a MRI scan. The doctors decided to send me up to King’s college hospital. I was taken up to London in an ambulance with my mum. It was about half past eight and I was very tired.

The next day I was nil by mouth because I was having my first ever operation, to put in a tube called a shunt, that relieves the pressure made by the tumor, by draining the fluid from the brain to the stomach. I was very scared and didn’t know what to expect. Going down on the bed was fun and when we got down to the operating theatre my mum had to put on a surgeons gown and hat! I was taken into the theatre and then put to sleep. The next thing I remember, I was in my room and half of my head of hair was shaved off and I had a lump on the top of my head. I stuffed a meal of macaroni cheese and over the next few days I started to feel much better.

One day, a Nutritionist came to see me to discuss my eating habits and ways that I could put on the weight I had lost due to my illness. I was finding the menu at the hospital limited and she told us that we did not have to have hospital food and that we could bring food in from outside. One of the nurses called Ness kindly brought me in a KFC. I felt like the luckiest boy in hospital.

After a few more days I was allowed to go home for a week and it was nice to be back with my family, hamster and two guinea pigs. I saw my friend Doug again and just chilled.

After a week at home, mum got a call from the hospital and we had to go back because they had decided to operate. They wanted to remove as much of the tumor as they could. Unfortunately, this resulted in the loss of the rest of my hair and after the first operation I had lost a lot of my sight. My right eye is now almost completely blind and the top and left part of my left eye had gone and what vision I had left was fuzzy. I don’t remember much of what happened after my second operation because soon after I had to have another. Luckily after the third operation my sight had not changed and the surgeons were happy that enough of the tumor had been removed.

After another week in hospital recovering I was able to come home. I found it difficult to do some of the things that I used to like doing, I could not see the television very easily or see the computer screen very well and my book’s words were too small for me to read.

After contacting the school to let them know what had happened, we started to be contacted by people who could help me cope and improve my quality of life. I was given a symbol cane to show people that I can’t see very well and this gave me a lot of confidence. I was also given a laptop which has zoom text so I can see what is on the screen.

The Royal Marsden Hospital wanted to see me with the idea of giving me radiotherapy to get rid of the rest of the tumor. I went up to have a frame made; this is basically a mould of your mouth which is then connected to a frame on the bed. I also had a special pillow made which is moulded to the shape of my head. A few days later I had to go back for an MRI and CT scan; this was to help the radiographers plan where to target the machine.

I started going back to school, it was nice to get back and see all my friends. I got several TAs to help me and my Head of House Mrs Lake was very kind and helpful. She even bought me a Spongebob toy and Patrick his friend. A couple of weeks later I started my treatment which will last for six weeks.

A couple of weeks into my treatment, we had some visitors call at my house who were from a charity for children with cancer. Chris, Ursula and their three children were very nice and had a cup of tea with us. They had spoken to my mum about a Wish List and we handed them this list to have a look. I went into the front room and in the middle of the floor was a massive box. On the box it said 42 inch plasma screen tv, which I could read quite clearly. Everyone else came in and I just stood there in shock and excitement. We quickly set up the new tv which was massive and I switched it on. I flicked it onto CBBC and I could see it really clearly. I was so happy that I could sit and watch tv again without having to lean forward and risk having a fit. I thanked them and very grateful. Now I am watching my favourite programmes and playing on the Wii all the time. It is brilliant! Thank you very much.


Jack with his new TV

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