Scots mum's 'world shattered' after son diagnosed with cancer as daughter waited for brain surgery

A Scots mum has told how her "world was shattered" when her teenage son was diagnosed with cancer while her daughter waited for brain surgery.

When Lyn Hamilton took Archie, 15, to the doctors with back pain in October 2022, she knew in her gut something was wrong.

After a trip to A&E, Archie was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma – a rare type of cancer that affects the bones and soft tissue.

The heartbroken mum-of-three, from Haddington, had to stop herself bursting into tears in front of Archie.

The schoolboy's shock diagnosis came just weeks after Lyn, whose daughter Nancy, 14, has neurological disorder dystonia, found out she needed brain surgery for the third time.

The 47-year-old said: “As a parent, to have two children with rare conditions and go through so much is your worst nightmare.

"We were already at breaking point before Archie's diagnosis. Then our world was shattered again.

"It was so overwhelming. I said to Archie 'I've got you' and cuddled him. Inside I was thinking 'what does this mean? Is he going to die?' It's so scary."

Doctors feared Archie could be paralysed after finding an inoperable tumour on his spine. He was rushed in for emergency chemotherapy days after the diagnosis.

Over the next ten months Archie went through "brutal" treatment of 14 cycles of chemotherapy, proton beam therapy, radiotherapy and gastronomy surgery for a feeding tube.

Lyn said her and husband Robin "just about kept our heads above the water" for Archie, Nancy and their youngest daughter Murin, 11.

But during his treatment, Archie fell ill while Lyn was in London with Nancy for brain surgery. The 14-year-old - who uses a power wheelchair has lost the ability to speak - needs fed through a tube.

Lyn said: "Nancy was in a six hour surgery when I found out Archie's temperature spiked and he had to be rushed to hospital. It was traumatic.

"The fear and helplessness doesn't leave you. I felt sick to the core and guilty because I was with Nancy but I wasn't there for Archie. You have to keep reminding yourself you are doing the best you can."

Archie's scans have been clear since finishing treatment last July. But the family got a fright at the latest one.

Lyn added "It showed a fracture, his bones are weak. It's always a worry with this type of cancer, it's so aggressive. We are not out of the woods yet and just living scan to scan."

Despite the ordeal, Archie, now 17, is training at the gym and hopes to get back to rugby.

The brave teen opened the Edinburgh marathon last year the day after finishing a round of chemo.

Now he's taking on a leg of the race with all the family in two relay teams for Bone Cancer Research Trust.

"Archie was still ill from treatment when he opened the marathon last year. But he promised he'd be back taking part this year. He's tackled everything thrown at him with humour and determination. I'm so proud of him."

"We need more investment in research, treatment for Ewing Sarcoma is so gruelling and it hasn't changed in forty years."

To donate to Lyn's Just Giving page click here

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