Womenz Magazine

Parents’ Heartbreak: Toddler Undergoes 10-Hour Surgery After Brain Tumor Diagnosis

Toddler Undergoes 10-Hour Surgery
(Image: SWNS)

A toddler whose parents thought he had a stomach bug underwent a grueling 10-hour operation in Edinburgh after being diagnosed with a massive brain tumor the size of a tennis ball. Just ten days after his first birthday, Lucas Garcia-Batalla was diagnosed with a grade three anaplastic ependymoma, a fast-growing malignant tumor. His parents, David Garcia Jurado, 42, and Laura Batalla, 38, were devastated by the unexpected diagnosis, which came as a “shock” after Lucas initially showed flu-like symptoms.

David, a senior project manager from Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, recounted the terrifying experience: “Just before his first birthday Lucas was sick. He didn’t have much appetite but we thought it was a stomach bug. He didn’t stop vomiting, he was lethargic, and everything happened so quickly – it was not a slow progression. A few days later, a CT scan revealed a massive tumor on the back of his head; it was 4cm by 4cm – like a tennis ball.”

He described the dark moment when they received the news: “I still have the picture in my mind of my wife holding Lucas and them telling us he had a brain tumor.” Lucas, now six, celebrated his first birthday on April 1, 2019. Following the initial diagnosis, he was transferred to The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh, where he underwent a successful 10-hour operation to remove the tumor, as per reports Edinburgh Live.

“His first surgery was just two days after his diagnosis. They managed to remove everything; it was a successful surgery,” David said. “Lucas then had chemotherapy for 13 months, and after that, an MRI was okay – he was clear.”

However, three months after finishing chemotherapy, Lucas relapsed in September 2020. He underwent another surgery and received two months of proton beam therapy at the Christie Hospital in Manchester.

“We had hope for a year, and then in December 2021, he relapsed again. He had palliative surgery in March 2022 to remove the tumor, which was successful,” David explained. “In January 2023, he had experimental Gamma Knife surgery, a type of radiotherapy treatment. It’s the first time something like that has been done to a four-year-old to stop/delay the growth for some time.”

Unfortunately, by June 2023, an MRI scan revealed that the tumor was continuing to grow. David said there are no more treatment options left for Lucas, and they are now focused on giving him the best life possible. David reflected, “In all of his journey, the most important thing is to keep him alive, but the side effects are really rough. Lucas is blind in the right eye and deaf in the left ear. It is a miracle that he has been able to go to school. He has a great sense of humor, it is unbelievable. You wouldn’t believe what he has gone through.”

Catherine Fraher, director of services and digital health at The Brain Tumour Charity, emphasized the importance of support: “We’re really grateful to everyone who shares their often heartbreaking story to raise awareness of brain tumors.

We know that every family deals with a brain tumor diagnosis and its aftermath in their own unique way. That’s why The Brain Tumour Charity offers support to anyone who needs it. It’s so important for them to know that they are not alone.” As Lucas’s condition remains uncertain, David emphasizes the need to “enjoy the moment” and give Lucas a “normal life.”

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