MUM KNOWS: Intuition leads to tumour discovery
THERE is nothing more comforting than a hug, so when Renee Smith was told her two-year-old son Adam had a brain tumour, there was nothing she wanted more.
But the timing of the discovery during the coronavirus pandemic meant that was impossible.
"I just burst into tears."
"At the same time I couldn't hug anyone, it was just so surreal."
It has been almost a month since Ms Smith first took Adam to Maclean hospital, so concerned was she that his condition was not simply glue ear or sensory issues as had been suspected initially.
"He was running around one minute and then majorly sick the next," she said.
"Then he couldn't take two steps without falling over."
Ms Smith said hospital staff immediately knew something "wasn't right" and he was sent to Grafton Base Hospital where the doctors made the shocking discovery.
That night was hard as she found herself unable to stop thinking about Adam's situation.
"I just couldn't even fathom that it was actually there."
Ms Smith said she had no time to pack as the pair rushed to Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane where work began to relieve the pressure on Adam's brain.
"His pupils weren't dilating and he had his first operation the moment he got there," she said.
Thankfully there was relief the next day when Adam's condition improved and Ms Smith said it was the "little things" she was able to look forward to as he continued treatment.
While the tumour was found to be benign, it was too big to operate on and Adam has since started six weeks of intensive chemotherapy in an effort to reduce its size.
He was now also getting speech and physiotherapy to assist the recovery.
"There is nothing I can do for him except be as happy as I can for him," she said.
"At the moment I feel like I am in this ET movie where we are all in this bubble."
The ordeal has taken its toll on the single mother of four, whose three other children are still in Yamba with friends and family, unable to stay in the accommodation provided by the hospital.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by friend Hannah Stower in an effort to raise money to help reunite the family and make the situation a little easier.
"I have set up this account up to help ease the burden of having to support her children in two different states, along with the extra expenses and financial (in)security of no longer working," Ms Stower said.
Ms Smith's dream was to have a "home away from home" while Adam is in hospital.
"It has been really hard, I have only been back for a few days to see the kids," Ms Smith said. "Everyone is devastated."
"Hannah has been beautiful and I can't thank her enough, she has been taking over frozen meals (to her kids) as well and she has her own family to look after too."
And while Ms Smith says she has felt "torn" between being there for Miami, Georgia and Steve in Yamba and Adam in Brisbane, her mind was now firmly on supporting him through treatment.
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com and search for Little Addy undergoes chemo.