Mother’s joy at cancer op baby’s great recovery

Marilyn Scattergood with her 14-months-old son Jack
Marilyn Scattergood with her 14-months-old son Jack
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A MOTHER who faced an agonising decision about whether to terminate her pregnancy for her own health has thanked hospital staff who cared for her baby after a gruelling operation.

At what should have been an exciting milestone in Marilyn Scattergood’s pregnancy, her 20-week scan showed a dangerous and very large tumour at the bottom of her baby’s spine.

Doctors diagnosed a rare cancer called sacrococcygeal teratoma – cancer of the coccyx. It effects one in every 30,000 children and the risks of continuing the pregnancy were high.

It prompted doctors to ask if she wanted to continue with the pregnancy.

She went ahead, and to say thank you to the Piam Brown Unit at Southampton General Hospital for their amazing care of Jack, Mrs Scattergood has handed over a cheque of more than £800 raised by her children for the ward.

The 37-year-old, of Battens Way, Leigh Park, said: ‘It was hard because me and my husband Daniel were given the option of terminating the pregnancy because there are lots of complications that go with the cancer.

‘If the baby was to have heart failure, it could have had the same effect on me.

‘They asked if we would be able to cope with a baby that may need a catheter.

‘That’s why they kept doing all the scans – but we wanted our baby.

‘So the sonographer said “we need to get you to Southampton General Hospital” and I was there the next day.

‘They did lots of scans to check how much blood flow was going to the tumour.’

Jack was just 13 days old when he underwent a seven hour operation to remove the coccyx with the tumour attached.

The coccyx – known as the tailbone – is not needed to walk.

Jack spent time in the intensive care unit and a week at the G4 ward of the Piam Brown Unit.

The ward cares for children from birth to 16 years of age with all types of cancer but the philosophy is to support the family going through the trauma as well.

Watching him run around the room, a bright-eyed, happy 14-month old, his proud mum couldn’t be happier.

She said: ‘We had a check up recently and he is doing well,

‘He is happy and walking and there are no problems yet.

‘We have to wait until potty training to find out whether there has been any damage to his bladder or bowels but we’re hopeful.

‘His surgeon Lara has promised to see us right through his potty training.

‘We’re so grateful to the Piam Brown Ward, the children’s cancer unit at Southampton.

‘The staff there are amazing.’

To donate call the hospital on (023) 8077 7222.