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Little Boy's Excessive Blinking Leads To Discovery Of Brain Tumor

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Lisa Callaghan with her son Varden. A little boy was diagnosed with a brain tumor - after his mom noticed he was blinking too much. PHOTO BY LISA CALLAGHAN/SWNS 

A little boy was diagnosed with a brain tumor – after his mom noticed he was blinking too much.

Varden Callaghan, now six, had been blinking excessively, rubbing his eyes and getting irritable since he was eight months old.

But medics consistently misdiagnosed his symptoms as sinus problems.

He became more unsteady on his feet – especially when he blinked – and started wetting the bed, so his worried mom, Lisa, 38, took him back to the hospital.

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The brave youngster is now being monitored with regular scans and has begun a phased return back to school.

Lisa, from Bromley, London, said: “We went on holiday to Ireland around Easter 2022 and realized Varden was starting to lose his balance when he blinked.

“He’d be doing something and stop still as if trying to steady himself.

Lisa Callaghan and Network Rail colleagues. Varden Callaghan, now six, had been blinking excessively, rubbing his eyes and getting irritable since he was eight months old. PHOTO BY LISA CALLAGHAN/SWNS 

“He also started wetting the bed again, despite being fully potty-trained since the age of two.

“The regression was so severe there were periods he’d wet the bed every single night.

“We ended up having to put nappies on him again, which he was really upset about.

“I booked an urgent appointment with a private doctor for our return and it was then I asked if we could have an MRI.

“Less than 48 hours after the scan, as I was getting ready to do the school run, I received a call telling me they’d found a large mass on Varden’s brain.”

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He was aged four when he was diagnosed with a pilocytic astrocytoma in April 2022.

At 3cm (0.1 foot) wide, Varden’s tumor was considered too large to leave in and he underwent surgery in October 2022.

Lisa said: “It’s such a relief to know that the worst is over.

“Varden is now six and although his tumor is slow-growing, we’ve been told it could come back.

“However, if it does, it will be the same type of tumor and is unlikely to grow past his adolescent years.

“We recognize how fortunate we have been and know many children do not have the positive outcome Varden has had.

Lisa Callaghan and Network Rail colleagues. Varden Callaghan, now six, had been blinking excessively, rubbing his eyes and getting irritable since he was eight months old. PHOTO BY LISA CALLAGHAN/SWNS 

“We’re doing a Santa run to fundraise. It will be great because it will enable us to have fun whilst raising money for a worthwhile cause and awareness of possible brain tumor symptoms.

“We’re a mixed ability group. There’s one who has had a knee replacement and another who used to do marathons regularly, but at least two have also been affected by brain tumors.

“I was really shocked by how little funding goes into brain tumor research, especially considering how many young people the disease affects.

“Another thing I’ve learned is that GPs can refer patients for MRIs.

“If my son had been referred sooner, we would have caught his brain tumor when it was a more manageable size, so I think it’s really important for GPs to feel empowered to make those referrals.”

Lisa will be donning a Santa suit to dash 4km (13123.36 feet) across London to raise money for Brain Tumour Research on December 7.

Lisa, a program manager for Network Rail, will be joined by six colleagues.

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “Varden’s journey to diagnosis was a long one but it’s great to hear how well he’s doing now.

“Brain tumors kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002.”

 

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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