A mother is sharing how her 9-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia twice, just six weeks before she found out she had breast cancer.
Brave Abraham “Abs” Moreno Edwards and his mom Amanda, 49, are now both having chemotherapy at the same time.
The schoolboy, who lives in Spain, was diagnosed with two completely unrelated types of blood cancer just two weeks apart after his mom took him to the doctors with a “cold.”
But in a cruel twist, just six weeks later medics found a lump in Amanda’s left breast and she started her own cycle of chemo in a bid to shrink the tumours.
Amanda said their heartbreaking joint battle has given them a unique bond and his bravery has helped her deal with her own cancer.
“My attitude is my son is extremely ill and fighting for his life – I’ve just got breast cancer,” Amanda said. “I’m very, very positive when it comes to myself because I have seen for myself what these children – my son included – go through.”
“I have chemo once in three weeks. He goes through five days consecutively, and any break he gets is spent in hospital with side affects,” she said. “I feel like in comparison I’m not going through a lot. They go through so much more and they do it with a smile on their faces, always happy.”
“Abs knows that I know what he’s going through,” Amanda said. “We have been bonded by it. It is a special bond only me and him know.”
“We are a team. We have a joke about both being bald and who looks best. We try to laugh to keep our spirits up,” she said. “But in truth it is very frightening. Our life is on hold and currently revolves around hospital appointments, we live from one to the next.”
“But we just get on with it – we have to. What choice do we have,” she said.
Abraham had what appeared to be a normal cold, but his mom took him to the doctor when his glands swelled up, at the end of February.
The doctor took blood samples and the family were at home when medics phoned hours later to ask him to come straight to hospital for more tests.
The next day he was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia and immediately started chemotherapy.
“We went from having a cold, to blood tests to leukemia in a day,” Amanda, who is originally from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, said.
He started chemotherapy but doctors noticed he wasn’t responding as hoped and further tests revealed he also had myeloid leukemia – a totally separate cancer – two weeks later.
“It’s pure chance that he has both – just bad luck,” Amanda said. “That first night in hospital was the worst time of my life. It was hell on earth and sitting their watching him sleep wondering what was ging to happen.”
“I had no idea you could silently cry so much without sobbing out loud. The tears just rolled down my face,” she said.
Amanda, who also has an 11-year-old son José, found a lump in her left breast in April, which was later diagnosed as two cancerous tumors in June.
She began chemotherapy in August and is half way through eight sessions, and it is expected she will have a lumpectomy operation next year.
Meanwhile Abs’ treatment is expected to last two years, and he is currently traveling back and forward from hospital up to four days a week for tests, chemo and medication.
The family lives in Salto del Negro near Vélez-Málaga where Amanda worked as a translator for expats, until she became ill.
Both her sons were born in Spain, and she is separated from their father José, 47, also Spanish.
Abs is treated at Hospital Materno-Infantil in Malaga, and Amanda has her chemotherapy at a hospital in Vélez-Málaga, around half an hour away.
With Amanda out of work due to her health, the family is struggling to pay for basics, such as gas to get them to and from appointments.
Having worked in Spain since 2002 she gets free health treatment, but the country has little in the way of benefits payments, compared to the U.K.
Her best friend Natalie Hancock, 50, is raising money to help them get by, with anything left over going towards a family Euro Disney trip, in years to come.
She plans to donate 20 percent of anything raised to the volunteers at Abs’ oncology ward, who provide children with books and toys.
“When you go through things like this, you come to realize how much you rely on others,” Amanda said. “The kindness of people is amazing. We’re going to get through this eventually, it’s just a bit hard at the moment.”
“When I told the boys I had cancer Abs said ‘so we’re one big group then?'” she said. “I told him, ‘yes we are’ and he rather matter-of-factly said ‘well, I’m not going to be the only one that’s going to go through chemotherapy then’.”