Parents ‘hope for the best’ as little Lochie prepares for major surgery in fight against aggressive cancer

He’s amazed medical experts with his strength and melted the hearts of nurses with his smile.

But Lochie Wightman is facing his toughest test in just a few weeks in the form of major surgery to save his life — and he’s not yet a year old.

Lochie was a dream come true for his parents, David and Joanne, when he arrived on January 29.

“The perfect baby,” said David, 41, of Broughty Ferry.

“Almost too good to be true.”

David, a funeral director and member of Broughty Lifeboat crew, is a dad already, so he knew the ropes and his son, Logan, eight, couldn’t wait to meet his new brother.

Lochie with his parents, David and Joanne.

Joanne, 27, was in labour for four days before Lochie arrived courtesy of a Caesarean section, weighing in at a healthy 7lb 15oz.

“When he got home, he slept right through and had a great appetite,” said Joanne. “He was always smiling, bright and alert.”

But a mum’s sixth sense about her children was troubling her.

She said: “It seems crazy, but I started feeling that something wasn’t right. When he was six months old, he suddenly stopped being a happy little baby. His tummy swelled and I was back and forth to the doctors.

Lochie with big brother Logan

“On the morning of September 29, he was suddenly sick for five minutes solid. I went straight to the GP and they sent us straight to Ninewells where a senior doctor placed her hand on his tummy and said, ‘There’s something there that shouldn’t be’.”

Within an hour, David had arrived and they were all ushered into a side room.

Joanne added: “The doctor said, ‘Do you know what a tumour is?’ and I said, ‘It’s cancer. It’s cancer, isn’t it?’”

The couple reeled from the news. To this day, Joanne can’t remember what she said or did when her worst fears were confirmed.

Lochie and his parents were taken by ambulance to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

The diagnosis was neuroblastoma and Lochie had a particularly high-risk, aggressive form of the disease.

Joanne comforts little Lochie in hospital

Only 40% of children affected will survive to the age of five, and for a baby as young as Lochie, there aren’t figures available.

David and Joanne were given a room at a house near the hospital run by charity Clic Sargent, which exists to help families in such situations.

An intense and gruelling series of chemotherapy procedures began. By this time, doctors were simply telling the couple that he was “a very sick child” and would not be drawn on his chances of survival.

The couple were told that they wouldn’t get home until January. Within a week of chemotherapy starting, Lochie was sitting up in his cot.

“In October, we were told we could go home,” said Joanne. “Even the consultant said he was surprised at Lochie’s progress.”

Little Lochie will undergo major surgery in a few weeks

“I’ve been kind of struggling with Christmas, I have to admit,” added Joanne, wondering if Lochie would see another one.

“But now I look at him and think, ‘He’s going nowhere, he’s staying with us’. There’s surgery scheduled for January to remove the tumour, which has now shrunk, and one kidney, and we just hope for the best.

“A nurse gave me some good advice — you can’t prepare yourself for losing a child, so don’t try.”

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