How little Roux is fighting fit after 13 OPERATIONS on a brain tumour as big as two oranges that he was diagnosed with when he was just four weeks old

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • Roux Owen was just a baby when he was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour 
  • He suffered a stroke, sepsis and other complications during multiple surgeries
  • It took doctors almost a year to remove the tumour and Roux  is now thriving

Roux Owen was just four weeks old when he was diagnosed with an ultra-rare brain tumour the size of two oranges – so large that doctors believe it must have been growing while he was in the womb.

Yet against all the odds – having spent the first six months of his life in hospital undergoing an astonishing 13 operations – Roux, now four, is thriving.

Due to the massive size of the tumour, doctors took ‘a stepwise approach’ – removing it in sections. 

But after the fourth op, Roux’s parents, Amy and Antony, were asked to consider halting treatment, as consultants feared he was too weak to withstand more surgery.

Worse still, the tumour was growing rapidly. Despite this, they persisted and Roux battled on – and he was given the all-clear shortly before his first birthday.

Roux Owen, now four, was just four weeks old when he was diagnosed with a teratoma, an ultra-rare brain tumour that was so large that doctors believe it must have been growing while he was in the womb

Since then he’s surpassed everyone’s expectations, says mum Amy, from Hull: ‘We were told he’d never be able to hold his head up, but he’s regularly swimming, plays football with his older brother, Noah, and he’s learning new words every day.

‘Because of his droopy left eyelid, it looks like he’s winking, which is just like him – he’s a cheeky little chap who won’t be told what he can and can’t do.’

Roux was born in October 2019, a healthy 9lb 11oz, yet his parents noticed something wasn’t quite right within days.

‘His left eye was swollen,’ recalls Amy. ‘We asked the GP, who suggested it could be a minor infection.’

Their GP ordered blood tests which came back clear – but by four weeks Roux was struggling to feed and slept all the time.

Antony says: ‘We took him to the paediatric assessment unit. They took swabs of his eye and sent us home. 

‘Roux just seemed to worsen, screaming and screeching. Our gut instinct was that he needed medical help, so we went to A&E. 

‘Shortly after arriving, we saw a nurse who asked whether Roux’s head had always been that size.

‘My heart stopped and my stomach dropped. I just knew something must be seriously wrong.’

Roux was given a scan, which revealed a shadow on his brain.

‘We were taken into a room where a doctor told us that Roux’s life was in danger,’ Antony adds. ‘She said he had a massive brain tumour and he was being taken in for emergency surgery.’

A biopsy revealed it was a type of tumour called a teratoma. Although they do not usually spread to other parts of the body, they can often grow so quickly they become life-threatening.

Teratomas are not cancer, so chemotherapy and radiotherapy have no effect. 

Surgery was the only option, yet due to the large number of blood vessels supplying the tumour, increasing the risk of bleeding, it couldn’t be removed in one go.

‘Every time he went under we said our goodbyes,’ says Amy.

Against all the odds – having spent the first six months of his life in hospital undergoing an astonishing 13 operations – Roux, now four, is thriving

Against all the odds – having spent the first six months of his life in hospital undergoing an astonishing 13 operations – Roux, now four, is thriving

During his time in hospital, Roux suffered a stroke, sepsis, bleeds in the brain, clots in his lungs and lost vision in his left eye – but miraculously clung on.

‘We were advised several times to take him home and let nature take its course,’ says Amy. ‘But we couldn’t simply give up on him.’

Although it took almost a year, Roux’s doctors managed to remove the entire tumour, and he has remained tumour-free ever since.

Roux’s surgeon Paul Chumas says: ‘The message to other families facing a bleak prognosis is, never give up. Roux’s condition was serious but, in the end, treatment was a success.’

Antony says: ‘Roux is a happy little character, who we feel incredibly lucky to have in our lives.’

Amy is running the London Marathon on April 21 for Brain Tumour Research to help find a cure for all brain tumours. For more details visit: https://braintumourresearch.org/

HullAntony

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