Doctors feared a five-year-old boy would struggle to walk and talk properly following surgery to remove a large brain tumour, but his mum says the life-saving operation has actually made him “smarter”.
Hunter Boston-Anderson was rushed to a Sunshine Coast hospital hospital when he collapsed in his classroom after lunch and had a seizure three weeks ago.
The doctors found a four-by-four centimetre tumour growing on the frontal left lobe of his brain, which was causing blocks in his learning and physical development.
“Before the surgery, he could only get to about K in the alphabet. Now he runs through the entire thing back to front no problems,” his mother Brooke Anderson told Yahoo 7.
His coordination has also improved with him now being able to catch, leading to a renewed interest in football. Ms Anderson she had no idea why her son had been unwell and what was holding him back.
“I thought I’d given him a bad ham sandwich and he’s thrown up. I wasn’t prepared,” she said.
“I was in a state of shock. I have been the entire time.”
Doctors previously put down his behavioural blocks to ADHD, and speech development issues.
Following the seizure, CT scans revealed the Buddina boy had a “large mass” on the part of his brain linked to cognitive behaviour, and had it removed just over a week later.
“I was so shocked… scared for him, worried about what was going to happen,” his mum said.
Following the June 15 surgery, the “tough little cookie” has had doctors stunned by his progress, who feared the operation would impact his speech development, problem-solving and memory.
“We weren’t given a good prognosis. Doctors told me to expect that he won’t walk or talk for a week, and won’t eat for three to four days,” Ms Anderson said.
But within five minutes of waking up from surgery with 35 stitches in his head, Hunter announced “I’m hungry,” providing his mum with indescribable relief.
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“Every day we’re amazed about how well he’s improving,” she said.
“He’s not struggling with life as much.”
Hunter will return to hospital on Wednesday to find out what type of tumour he had, and if chemotherapy or other treatment is needed from here. He also needs CT scans every three months and will remain on anti seizure medication for the rest of his life.
While the road ahead remains unknown, his mum said the family was “blessed” with the community’s kindness, and Hunter’s progress in the past few days.
Ms Anderson, who also has a two-year-old daughter Lillyanna, said she and partner Guy Ingram initially considered selling their home and cars to pay for treatment. But thanks to the community’s generosity and fundraising efforts, those drastic measures have been put on hold for the time being.
A GoFundMe page set up by a friend has already raised more than $12,000 for the family in just over two weeks, in addition to many local fundraisers.