Poor Prognosis and High-Dose Chemo for 6 months – We are going to need prayers

Today we met with the oncologist to discuss Eloise’s biopsy and to discuss the next steps in terms of chemotherapy.

It was a long meeting, with lots of information (which we won’t go into the detail here – as there is just so much). But here are a few of the key points:

  1. The biopsy is still being analysed by pathologists at Great Ormond Street to diagnose what the exact sub-type of Embryonal tumour it is.  But all embryonal tumours do not have a good prognosis – particularly in very small children. If Eloise is to get to the age of going to school then she is going to have to fight and beat the odds significantly. The chemotherapy approach at this stage won’t be affected by the sub-type, but the pathology might just give some useful information for further down the line.
  2. Eloise will be on a very high dose chemotherapy – involving 6 x 21-28 day cycles.  It will involve 5 chemo drugs, given via a Hickman line (tubes in the chest) for 7 days.  Eloise will then have some ‘rest days’, but even on the rest days there will be various appointments.  At the end of the 6 rounds she will have a stem cell rescue procedure too. Eloise will be an inpatient for the entire first cycle and the first part of the second cycle. She will then return as an inpatient for the 7 chemo days each future cycle as a minimum.
  3. The list of short and long term side effects of high-dose chemotherapy treatment for children is very long and as you can probably imagine – not pleasant.  But in short, the growth of the tumour and the prognosis means we don’t have an option but to start treatment in the hope that it will shrink the tumour (ideally obliterate it) and give us options for further treatment (e.g. surgery and/or targeted radiotherapy) once the tumour is smaller.  

Next steps:

  • Next week (Wednesday 17th) Eloise will have her Hickman Line inserted via a small operation (day patient) at St George’s Hospital.  They will also do a lumber puncture at the same time, whilst she is under general anaesthetic.  We will all need Covid tests ahead of this.
  • On Friday (19th), Eloise will have various appointments to look at her kidneys and hearing in preparation for chemo, followed by another meeting with the oncologist. 
  • Eloise will then start her first round of chemo on 22nd February.  She will then be in the Royal Marsden as an inpatient for the next 5-6 weeks.

How do we feel?

  • Exhausted and crushed from another difficult conversation with another consultant telling us that Eloise’s prognosis is worse than it was at the start of the day and that Eloise’s diagnosis is exceptionally rare. We try to make the day special and enjoy being fully present for the girls, but find we are exhausted in the evening.
  • Scared about the next few weeks – about how Eloise, Anna and ourselves will physically and mentally cope.  We are absolutely gutted the girls wont see each other for so many weeks – that literally breaks our hearts.  We will both be allowed into hospital (but only one of us stay each night), but it means as a family we will be separated for a long time, and then regularly be separated for the next few months.

Covid pandemic + Cancerous Brain Tumour in a toddler is exceptionally rough going.

  • Despite the hard things, we feel grateful that we can both go into hospital whilst she is an inpatient and grateful that we feel the NHS would fire anything at this to try and beat it.

For those that pray:

  • FOR THE TUMOUR TO BE OBLITERATED and for Eloise to be strong, healthy and full of life (refer to blog 1 for her name*)
  • Pray we can make the most of the next few days.  Our last ‘family time’ for a very long time.
  • Emotional and mental strength to keep being strong for our beautiful and smart girls.
  • Practically – for none of us to get Covid and for the operation and appointments next week to be successful and for Eloise to be amazingly peaceful despite the chaos.

* We’ve since been told that Eloise also means ‘healthy’ too! So we are also praying this over her.

25 thoughts on “Poor Prognosis and High-Dose Chemo for 6 months – We are going to need prayers

  1. I am so very sorry for this news! What a beautiful family! The love between Eloise and Anna is evident! Laura and Justin love you guys dearly, and although we’ve never met, I feel connected just from praying for you all! My heart is heavy for this immensely difficult time, but as you have requested, my prayers will be specific! May God be near!

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  2. Just devastated for you guys. Praying and asking for all the things you four need to get through the next few months and that miracles abound. You both have already shown so much strength and love on this journey, I know you will continue to do so. Praying you feel comforted when overwhelmed and uplifted when exhausted knowing how many people are holding you close. Praying that this coming week you are able to have the family time you need before treatment begins in earnest. Sending much love x

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  3. Have been praying for Eloise and you as a family since her operation. Will continue to pray daily. Have also asked my lady friends at church to pray to.

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  4. We continue and will continue to offer prayers, morning and night for you and all the family, our hearts cry out for you in this difficult time. Be assured God is with you in this pain.

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  5. Continuing to pray that God will sustain you as a family in all circumstances, in laughter and tears, in joy and pain, in respite and struggle. May His peace be yours in every circumstance. May He carry you through this time of trial. May He bring victory!

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  6. I am a friend of Eloise’s granny, Yvonne, & am on the Bristol Healing WhatsApp prayer group where I learned of Eloise’s tumour. I should love to be kept informed of how I can pray.

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  7. May you be surrounded by angels every step of this journey. May you feel the love of Jesus and Gods strength each day as the treatment commences, and may all the prayers lift you both up and the rest of the family. God Bless.

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  8. You and your warrior girl have them. Praying that the abundant life that resides deep in all of you is the strongest force for you all to tap into moment by moment.
    So much love to you all

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  9. I pray Lord that you are going to do a miracle for Eloise in these next 6 months.. And your mighty
    Power will give Melissa , Pete and Anna all the strength and Peace that they need

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  10. Praying for you all , you don’t know me , I am a friend of the Doolan’s and Charlie has asked me to pray . I ask that you will see miracles , both large and small . God bless you precious family. Love Penny

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  11. Lifting up precious Eloise to the mighty protector who can do immeasurably more than we can imagine. And praying for all 4 of you xxx

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  12. Eloise and the family are never far from my thoughts!! I can only imagine the strain this is for everyone who loves Eloise. I continue to pray for God’s intervention on this sweet child. This side of heaven we will never understand why this is happening. Know that you are loved across many time zones! Stan from Seattle

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  13. So sad to read this latest news Joy and Luke shared with us and the family our praying for you. As I prayed I was reminded of the Tim Hughes song ‘When the Tears Fall”.

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  14. You guys have been in my thoughts constantly. Praying so much for you, my words seem so inadequate so it’s mostly of the Spirit inspired groan variety but He knows what you need. May He be so very close to you all. Sending you a lot of love.

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  15. Thinking of you all constantly and praying since reading your update. Our church family in Gateshead are too. Praying the dedication is a precious day for all of you. Much love, Ruth xxx

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  16. Please be assured of our prayers,may You know His Peace and feel His presence in your lives..you are surrounded by a praying family and friends,..we offer our prayers from our church family in Liverpool..The Lord bless you today

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