Category Archives: Blog


Just a quick note to say that Christian has been very happy for the last couple of days. He is eating and drinking well and is looking much better. He is a lot stronger than he has been for the last month and is walking around and playing normally. He is very giggly and has spent a lot of the time looking like this…


On a separate note, Claudia and I would like to thank all of you for your kind words, generous gifts and kind hearted actions over the last few weeks. We are very fortunate to have so many thoughtful friends and such loving families. Claudia is panicking that she has not written any thank you letters, but I guess that’s Claudia…

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Bone Scan

Christian was due back at the Royal Marsden today for a bone scan. The idea was to give him a sedative and then he would fall asleep and would lie still while the scan took place. The doctors even hoped that he would remain sleeping as they inserted a nasal gastric tube. Unfortunately two doses of sedative were not enough and Claudia had to hold him down as the scan took place. The good news is that the bone scan was all clear and the results of the marrow test last week were clear too. So all the tests have been done and there has been no spreading of the cancer that they can see outside of the kidney. The pathologist’s report on the kidney also came back today. It confirmed the fact that it was a stage 2 clear cell sarcoma. The plan for post operation treatment has now been drawn up. He will be taking 3 different types of chemotherapy drugs, one which is weekly for 6 weeks and the other two are every three weeks for 6 months to all run concurrently. There will be no need for radiotherapy. Bearing in mind we were expecting chemotherapy for a year this is very good news. He took one dose today and next Friday he will take the first triple dose. All the treatment is being done as an outpatient at the Royal Marsden. Christian has lost quite a lot weight recently, which is why the doctors are keen to get nutrients into him with the tube up his nose. He has, however, started eating again and we are hoping this continues so he builds up his strength for next Friday.

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A few people have asked me how Henry is coping with all of this. This evening, just after I put him to bed I asked him if anything was worrying him. Henry said “Yes, when Christian grows up will he be a man without any hair even on his legs?”. I explained that after the medicine stops, his hair will come back and by the time he is three he will be back to normal. He seemed happy with this but then said something else was worrying him, I asked him what it was and he replied “When I grow up I don’t know if I want to be an astronaut or a normal man, because I want to be both”. Now there is a conundrum. Christian is well. A bit delicate, but recovering well.

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Going Home!

We have, remarkably, been sent home. To quote the surgeon, “it is a record breaking recovery from a five hour operation”.





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Tough love

Christian is now out of intensive care and into his own room in St George’s. The phone number there is 0704 6200076 (x3517), Claudia is there tonight. He is sleeping lots and whimpering a little bit but is being kept comfortable by pain killers. Most of the tubes and monitors that he was on yesterday have gone so he looks a lot less scary. We may be moving him back to The Royal Marsden or The Portland in the next couple of days if he is well enough. The prize for “best tough love e-mail” goes to Neil Gillespie for the following…

Great to hear all went well. Just imagine if it was you and 10% of your body weight. They’d need a crane!

As if coping with cancer in your child wasn’t enough….

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The Surgery

The surgery seems to have gone very well, Christian was in theatre for 5 hours. The surgeon, Keith Holmes is confident he removed all the tumour. It was 10cm x 15cm and 1.1Kg, almost 10% of his body weight. He is now recovering at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at St. George’s.

I have come home for a couple of hours and will be going back to spend the night with him there. Claudia will be home tonight.

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We took him from the Royal Marsden to St George’s this morning for some blood tests. He will have the operation there tomorrow morning. We are now home and as he was in such a good mood I took some photos to show you the new haircut. By the way, Claudia received this from a family friend in the US who is a cancer specialist…

From: Terrie Pustilnik [] Sent: 19 February 2005 2005 17:35 To: ‘Claudia Blandford’ Cc:; Subject: RE: Christian I hope Christian’s tests have come back OK. I am praying and thinking about him daily. There is a very recent article looking at clear cell sarcoma of the kidney in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (deb vol 22). They had 40 children and were trying to compare 2 different ways of doing chemotherapy. The chemotherapy that they were using was vincristine, doxorubicin and dactinomycin. The patients ranged in stage from 1 through 4. (Stage is determined by seeing if there has been any spread of the cancer or not). Stage I is early and Stage IV means there has been spread . Patients had surgery and usually some radiation therapy to the area where the cancer was following surgery. It appears that the longer chemotherapy treatment was associated with a longer survival time. The overall 8 year survival was very good at 87%. This means that even though your son may have an aggressive cancer, the odds are in his favor that he is going to do well. (But he may be in for a fair amount of treatment).

Christian is hopefully stage 1 or 2, so this sounds positive.

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Some improvement

Christian has been much better for the last couple of days. The antibiotics seem to have cleared up the infection and he is eating and drinking, if somewhat selectively. He had the operation today to take a sample of bone marrow and we should get the results for that tomorrow. He also had a tube put down his nose to make it easier to feed him, this lasted about 5 minutes after he came to, when he pulled it out. Oh well; he’s eating well at the moment so it’s not a major problem, we may have to try that again. Unfortunately there is not enough time for the bone scan now until after he recovers from the operation on Wednesday (when the kidney and tumour get removed). We should get the results from the bone marrow tomorrow. We should take comfort from the fact that the doctors are very confident that the cancer hasn’t spread and I guess the fact that he was playing football with his Nana this evening should confirm that. Tomorrow we are taking him to St George’s in the afternoon were he is getting some tests to prepare him for Wednesday’s operation. We should be able to bring him home for a night before taking him back to the hospital were Keith Holmes will perform the surgery. After the operation he may stay there or be moved somewhere else for recovery. By the way, I did take my clippers in yesterday and cropped his hair, and he does look like his dad. He also looks like he lives in a caravan and has a dog on a string. I’ll take a photo of him tomorrow and share it with you…

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Christian has still been a bit unwell today so he’s been given antibiotics. The good news is that he managed to stay still for the CT head scan without anesthetic, and that was negative. The bone scan and bone marrow sample will have to wait until Monday. His chemotherapy will wait until tomorrow too when , hopefully, he’ll feel better. Christian will soon look just like his dad; his hair has started to fall out so I’m taking my clippers in tomorrow and he’ll get a grade 1!

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An Infection

You may remember that Christian was due in hospital today to have a head scan and have a sample of bone marrow taken. He needs a general anesthetic for these and he unfortunately is not well enough to have it. He has a bit of a temperature and his breathing is a bit too fast, they suspect it’s a chest infection. He has been given antibiotics and will be staying in the Royal Marsden for a night or two for further observations. We hope to reschedule those two tests for when he’s better. We still hope to go ahead with the bone scan tomorrow. Next Wednesday’s operation should still go ahead as planned.

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