How A Mother's Intuition Led To A Life-Changing Discovery
Little Kane Ransom could climb before he could walk. When the active three-year-old started complaining of sore legs, it seemed in-line with a typically active toddler.
But something changed and Kane's mobility drastically decreased, to the point where he was unable to walk. His parents Natalie, 37, and Brendan Ransom, 38, had to wheel him around in a pram. He'd fall asleep at inconsistent times during the day and was experiencing high fevers.
Natalie and Brendan got the worrying symptoms checked by not one, but four doctors, a number of physiotherapists and even took their child to emergency, but were repeatedly told there was nothing seriously wrong. They were told by ER staff to check-in with their family GP in a few days time to monitor Kane's condition.
"I knew something was wrong in my heart," Kan's mother Natalie told 10 daily.
"When we followed up with the GP I said, 'I am here for a follow-up. I am not leaving here without a request for a blood test'."
At 8.50 am May 23, 2014, Natalie's world and that of her entire family was engulfed in a prolonged pause.
"They had detected something in his blood and it wasn't good news. We had to go straight to the doctors," Natalie said.
"We were sitting at the doctors and the doctor told me that they think it's leukemia."
Natalie's simple demand for a blood test, backed by her firm confidence in her mother's intuition and experience as a worker in the disability sector, literally saved her son's life.
"Mums need to trust their gut instinct. You carry your baby for nine months, you create them. I believe that you have intuition with your kids. No matter how old you are as a parent you always seem to know when there is something that is not quite right with your child," Natalie said.
Natalie and little Kane went directly to their local hospital and he was admitted to the paediatric oncology unit.
The next morning, it was confirmed. Kane had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia -- a fast developing, aggressive cancer of the white blood cells. Without treatment, he had just four weeks to live.
"We had been fighting for five weeks to find out what was wrong with him and for me, I got really angry. That was my first emotion," Natalie said.
Two years of chemotherapy and blood transfusions would follow. In that time Kane would celebrate his fourth and fifth birthdays. He'd miss a year of early-childhood education. Kane's father stopped working to become his full-time carer. Most children would enjoy playgrounds, Kane got palette counts.
He was robbed of a normal infancy.
Eventually, Kane went into remission and for an 18 month period, Kane and his family started to get their life back. The family, including his sister Naveen, now 10, moved houses and Kane started school.
One day, Kane went to get something out of a filing cabinet and collapsed, screaming with pain. Just three weeks before Natalie had been at the doctor getting blood tests with her son -- which returned with normal results.
Natalie and Brendan took Kane to the hospital the next day for a health check.
"My heart just dropped," Natalie said.
"He just wasn't himself ... that's your biggest fear going through it, that the cancer is going to come back and I am thinking 'I just don't know what to do'."
Kane was just six-years-old when his cancer returned.
"I just broke down crying. I had to get the nurses to take Kane out of the room because I didn't want him seeing me so distressed. We were just at that time where we were getting our lives back," Natalie told 10 daily.
"And it's even scarier because ... his bones were so brittle that we can't hug him, we can't hold him and my son is just screaming in so much pain."
With his older age came new challenges for Natalie and Brendan. Kane suffered trauma recall -- where suppressed memories of his first treatment surfaced, he experienced intense pain and started asking his parents difficult questions as he was confronted with his own mortality for the second time in his young life.
"It's been so much harder with his being older because the questions are harder. 'Mum, am I going to die like the other kids?'"
Natalie said while responding to these questions with both positivity and honestly can be a difficult balance.
"We decided we would be honest with our children and tell them in a way they understand what is happening."
Kane is now eight-years-old and has been fighting cancer for more than half his life. He's still battling his second bout with different treatments, including two different types of chemotherapy that are administered daily.
He's also attending school, making friends and trying sports like Archery and Brazillian Jiu Jitsu. Kane is expected to complete treatment between February and May 2020, and Natalie hopes that's for good.
"I still have the fear that it is going to come back. We have been in treatment before and it has come back. I can't see this ending any time soon, that constant fear that you live in," Natalie said.
Kane and Natalie are also ambassadors for Dare to Cure for the Children's Cancer Institute. Natalie told 10 daily her family has received a multitude of support from medical professionals but is not in a financial position to fund new research while managing bills for Kane's on-going treatment.
Instead, they've decided to share their experiences with cancer in solidarity with other families going through the same thing -- a disease that strips families and patients down to the basic human fight for survival against the odds.
Kane's father Brendan has also left his career in retail management and now works in support services. He is currently training to be a technical assistant in intensive care units.
"A lot of good has come from it as well ... you know what at the end of the day all you've got is memories."
"Without memories, you've got nothing. We are big on that."
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