JUST a week after life-saving surgery little Bradley Lowery cuddles his favourite Shrek toy and shows his infectious smile
The touching picture of beaming Bradley is a world away from the contrasting image of the two-year-old in his hospital bed, covered in wires and bearing a scar from a 12-hour operation to remove a tumour from his stomach.
His parents Gemma and Carl Lowery, both 30, say they feel like they have been “to hell and back” since Bradley’s procedure, after medics revealed they were only able to remove three quarters of the mass and they have had to postpone removing a second tumour from the youngster’s chest.
But the Blackhall couple say despite the news that Bradley needs two more months of gruelling chemotherapy before medics reassess, the pictures speak for themselves in showing: “Bradley is a fighter.”
Bradley was diagnosed with rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma earlier this year and tests showed it started in his adrenal glands, with tumours then developing in his chest, lymph nodes, bones and bone marrow.
He underwent surgery to remove the main tumour, in his stomach, at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary on June 27.
But the procedure did not go as planned when surgeons were unable to remove the whole tumour and at one point Bradley’s parents feared they might lose him, as he was placed in intensive care and classed as critical for 48 hours after the operation.
Gemma, also mum to 11-year-old Kieran, says the “little battler” is now on the road to recovery.
But the family face an agonising wait for medics to give the go-ahead for yet another operation to remove the tumour from Bradley’s chest.
Gemma, an NHS trainer at Healthworks in Easington Colliery, said: “The surgeon said it was a very difficult operation and they managed to get just over three quarters of the tumour out.
“Bradley was in intensive care and critical for 48 hours.
“He is now on the way to recovering, he is doing really well considering.
“The hope before the operation was for him to recover from this procedure and then go straight on to try and remove the tumour from his chest.
“But because it was very difficult and the cancer is still really active and not matured, it is too dangerous to operate on his chest just yet.”
She said Bradley has had so much chemotherapy in the past, it could prove tough for him and he will most probably be spending a lot of time in hospital so medics can monitor him.
Gemma added: “Obviously this is not what we wanted to hear after feeling like we have been to hell and back.
“But Bradley is a fighter and if this is what is needed to achieve the end result we all hope and wish for we just have to take deep breaths and get on with it.”