Chicken pox aren’t very common in the U.K. but parents can generally expect their children to get it at some point. Children can expect to have it for at least two weeks but for most children chickenpox is not dangerous.
Once Stephanie Webster, from the U.K. noticed red spots all over her son Oscar, she simply thought that it was chickenpox. However, it appears she was given a different diagnosis when she brought him to the doctor.
Oscar was born with a slight rash all over his body which didn’t raise any alarm bells.
“At first we didn’t realize there was anything wrong, we thought it was just something normal like neonatal rash – but a midwife saw him and realized there might be a problem,” Stephanie explained. “Since then, the spots have got progressively worse and worse.”
At ten months old, the red dots were more noticeable but still his parents thought it wasn’t anything to be worries about. They wondered if it might be chickenpox, however as the spots became bigger and increased in number, they decided to go visit a doctor.
The worried parents got a diagnosis that completely shook them. Their little boy was diagnosed with Langerhans cell hypertrophy; a cancer-like disease that attacks cells of the immune system. Approximately 1 in 100,000 children are born in the UK with Langerhans’ cell histiocytosis (LCS) each year.
The affliction can begin as a single skin ulcer – the fact that Oscar was born with spots is almost unheard of. The baby boy has been treated with steroids and chemotherapy.
However the spots have continued to baffle doctors by remaining. According to Great Ormond Street Hospital, the disease has a 90 percent survival rate in children.
Sadly, Oscar’s appearance often causes people to stay well away from him for fear it might be contagious. “People always ask if he’s got chickenpox, and they often stare at him and point him out in the street – people don’t want to come near him because they think they might catch it,” Stephanie says.
His parents do their best to ignore the negativity.“It does sometimes upset me, but if you let every little thing upset you, you’d never leave the house, so we just get on with it.” she says
The family wants to educate others on this unusual condition instead. It’s their hope that people will come to learn their little boy isn’t dangerous in any way.
The condition means that Oscar has a host of other problems to contend with as well, including an enlarged liver and spleen. His immune system is weakened by the disease because his blood cells and bone marrow aren’t working as they should.
It’s feared that the spots around Oscar’s eyes could prohibit his sight if they continue to grow. “He’s got spots all over his body – even on his tongue and his eyeballs – which makes me worry about what’s going on inside,” says Stephanie.
It’s hard for the family as so little is known about the disease that doctors were initially at a loss with how best to help Oscar improve moving forward.
Oscar has undergone countless blood tests, weekly blood and platelet transfusions, six bone marrow tests and two skin biopsies, since his birth in May, 2015.
Oscar is a content child, despite his condition as he has never let his appearance get him down yet! “As long as he’s happy and healthy, we don’t care about how he looks on the outside. We just want to find some answers,” his mother says.
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