From September to December 2006 Gemma had not felt well with stomach pains but was treated for constipation by the doctor and at the Conquest, the local hospital.
Being unwell again over Christmas we took her to the doctors the day after Boxing Day and was referred to hospital again. That was on the Wednesday on the Friday they gave Gemma a scan and discovered that the problem was a tumour.
The following Tuesday she was transferred to the Royal Marsden Hospital at Sutton.
Transferred to St Georges in Tooting for Biopsy Op Then back to the Marsden
From the results of the biopsy Neuroblastoma cancer was diagnosed and a program of treatment started
Gemma returned home Friday the 19th of January, had visits to the Conquest Hospital over the Weekend and then back to the Marsden on the Monday for Chemo.
She came back home on the Wednesday but by the Thursday evening 25th January she was in Intensive care unit at the Conquest with a seizure brought on by the chemo. She was transferred to St Georges at Tooting early Friday morning where she went straight in to the ICU where she stayed until the Tuesday. Gemma was was transferred back to the Marsden from where she returned home on Saturday 10th February .
Trips to the Marsden and the Conquest became routine for Chemo, blood tests and Blood transfusions until after one session of treatment she developed a chest infection and on March 10th was transferred to the PICU at St Thomas Hospital in London. She recovered sufficiently by the Monday to go back to the Marsden only to deteriorate and have to return to the PICU at St Thomas’s on the Tuesday. The pneumonia she had developed was weakening her lungs but we did not know to what extent at the time.
Being the fighter that she was she recovered sufficiently to be discharged from St Thomas’s and be transferred to St Georges at Tooting. Here they were able to recommence the program of treatment and keep a closer eye on her and have a PICU in the same building.
She came home for a short period in early April with the routine trips to the Marsden and Conquest for treatment and blood transfusions.
With the program of chemo now complete the situation was reviewed and it was decided to go ahead and take healthy stem cells from her and operate to remove the tumour which had shrunk due to the chemo.
The operation was carried out on Wednesday the 23rd May and 90% of the tumour was removed. Gemma recovered well from the operation but then had to face the intensive chemo to get rid of the remaining tumour.
When on Sunday the 10th of June she went back into St Georges for this treatment she was the healthiest that we had seen her for some nine months. Initially the treatment went well, and the following weekend it was planned to put back the stem cells to help her organs recover from the intense chemo. On Saturday 16th June Gemma was put into the PICU as a precaution during this critical stage of the treatment. The stem cells were put back as planned but they did not have time to work. In the early hours of Tuesday morning her lungs started to fail and about 4am she lost the fight and passed away