Liam’s fight with brain cancer

Update posted by Asa Candussi Wilkins On Jun 17, 2018

Week 4 brought disappointment and side effects, but also a huge mental boost.

On Friday Liam had to go back to the hospital to check the blood count and get the all go for round 2 of chemo. Unfortunately his neutrophils were still way too low, so the scheduled chemo session starting on Tuesday had to be postponed. We will check again on Wednesday, and with a bit of (rotten) luck, we will be able to kick off round two on Thursday or Friday. Liam is determined to get rid of Jeff the Jerk, and it was something of a set-back that we can't just whack on with the treatment, and get it all over with. But we just have to deal with the blows and take it all day by day.

Saturday was then the day Liam started pulling his hair out in tufts. After looking like a mad scientist for a day, he finally allowed Dad to give him his first wet shave ever. He's rocking his new look - looking more and more like his big hero (no, not Dad; the other D - Dwayne Johnson). All he needs now are contact lenses, and maybe a tan and a bit of bulk - we're working on that last bit.

The most positive thing that happened in this last week was that Liam's class organised an amazing push-up challenge pledge for the students and teachers. The kids in his class got sponsors for the amount of push-ups they could each do, and everyone else at school could enter the challenge at a fee. It was an overwhelmingly incredible turnout, with so many contestants, the challenge had to be run in heats, and they raised a whopping HK$13,000! Although Liam is immune compromised and supposed to stay well away from crowds, we decided that the mental boost from seeing the action would far outweigh the risks, as long as we had him wrapped up in his mask, and everyone stayed an arm's length away. It was awesome to see how everyone is behind Liam and supporting him on this awful journey - it makes it a lot easier, knowing that we're not doing it alone. Thank you to everyone who participated in and supported the challenge! Liam especially enjoyed Mr. Buck and Mr. Gibbs' buddy pushup.

So, the coming week brings a check-up and hopefully the beginning of round two - who would have thought you could ever wish for chemotherapy to be on your schedule!

Thank you again to all of you for your continued support, thoughts, well-wishes and prayers, we really appreciate everything you're sending our way!

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Update posted by Asa Candussi Wilkins On Jun 10, 2018

It is just over 3 weeks since we got the diagnosis, and Liam has been doing really well through the first round of chemotherapy. We have been home to recover the last week, but with visits to the hospital Tuesday and Friday to check the blood counts. Everything was fine for the first check, but unfortunately the neutrophils (the white blood cells that fight off infections) had come right down on Friday. This means that Liam is now officially immune compromised and visits should be minimised. We also need to keep him away from crowds - we live in the perfect spot for that, out in the woods in Lantau! If we have to take him out in public, he has to wear a mask, which he absolutely hates - who can blame him! We also have to monitor his temperature on an hourly basis, and if it reaches 38C, it's straight back to the hospital for IV antibiotics.

Since the brain surgery, it has been quite difficult getting our heads around how sick Liam really is - he felt so much better after the headaches were gone and has been his normal, happy self the last two weeks. It is only now that we are starting to see the treatment taking effect - Liam is feeling physically weaker and more tired, and he is getting frustrated at both.

Liam's second round of chemo is scheduled for 19 June, but it all comes down to his blood counts - if the white blood cells aren't up on Friday when we go back for a check-up, Liam won't be ready, and the treatment will have to wait - as someone said the other day: 'cancer has no calendar'.

Thank you once again to everyone who has contributed to Liam's fund. We really appreciate everything you are all doing for us - contributions, thoughts, prayers, frozen meals, offers of accommodation and parking near the hospital. It is still our intention one day to send you all a personal thank you, but as you can imagine, we have a lot on our plates at the moment, so until then, a collective thank you to all!

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Update posted by Asa Candussi Wilkins On May 31, 2018

Thank you to everyone for the absolutely overwhelming support - we are speechless, and never expected this much help from friends, family, colleagues, clients and complete strangers. You are wonderful people, and we will make sure that every penny is spent wisely on making Liam and Nathan comfortable during this time.

Liam's first round of chemotherapy is over - he is doing well, and so far the only side effect is that he is extremely tired after each treatment. We are now entering our 2 weeks of recovery from the drugs, before hitting them again. This does not mean two weeks of lounging on the couch, watching TV though. Today we have another MRI scheduled to check Liam's spine and make sure that the cancer is limited to the brain. After that it's stitches out time - brain only, the central line stitches are staying another week - much to Liam's regret, as all he wants to do is get back into his push-ups! If all is healing nicely though, he has his doctors' (and mum's) permission to proceed with the exercises.

Liam's goal in life is to be the strongest person alive - or at least stronger than Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson - his biggest idol. He is gutted by this setback, but we keep telling him that if he can beat Jeff the Jerk, then he is on the right path to achieving his dream - he is such a determined little man, and that determination, along with his always positive attitude, is what will get him through this and make him the strongest. It blows us away that with everything he has to face still, he is smiling and joking every single day.

Please keep sending us all your positive thoughts and vibes, keep us in your prayers, and even though we may not reply immediately, please do continue to send us messages - we appreciate every message we receive and the strong love and support we are feeling.

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Update posted by Asa Candussi Wilkins On May 29, 2018

Yesterday was the beginning of the fight against the tumour that Liam has named Jeff the Jerk (apologies to all the Jeff's out there, it is nothing personal, I assure you!). We started off with two rounds of different types of chemotherapy - the first lasting an hour, the second a whopping 4 hours. The 4 hour drug is then repeated today and tomorrow.

So far all is good, but no serious side effects are expected the first few days. It is boring as hell though - even with the ladies from the Red Cross School offering classes in literacy, music, math - and the dreaded Mandarin! 'No more classes' is shouted from Liam's bed frequently, but in all confidentiality, I think he enjoys it - except for the Mandarin. We have also had visits from the Children's Cancer Foundation's social workers, specifically Phoebe seems to have taken a liking to Liam, and whenever we have to step out, she comes in to sit and play games with Liam - which is not an easy task when you're facing a child who makes up new games from the ones you have on offer!

Liam is in good spirits, jokes with the staff and asks a myriad of questions - he is taking an active part in his treatment and wants to know what they're doing to him.

Thank you to everyone who has or has tried to donate, I think it all works now! We will continue to write updates here, so please do check in if you want to follow Liam's fight against Jeff the Jerk!

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From one mother to another, all the love and strength in the world xxx

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