'I can still talk, you know': Cancer boy Neon is 'as sharp as ever' after he wakes up from seven-hour operation ordered by judge
08:15 GMT, 20 December 2012
The boy who was operated on to remove a brain tumour – against the wishes of his mother – last night woke up after the seven-hour procedure and told nurses: ‘I can still talk, you know.’
Seven-year-old Neon Roberts was said to be ‘as sharp as ever’ as he recovered in hospital with his family following a judge’s decision on Tuesday to order the surgery immediately.
Doctors had earlier told the High Court it was ‘highly likely’ Neon would die without the procedure, but his mother Sally Roberts, 37, refused to give her consent because she feared side effects such as mutism.
Mrs Roberts says her son Neon is doing 'really, really well' after the seven-hour operation
She argued it was her ‘human right’ as a parent to decide what was best for her son, adding that she did not trust the opinions of British doctors.
Mrs Roberts, who sparked a nationwide hunt when she went on the run with her son to prevent treatment, is due to return to court today to argue that Neon should not be made to have radiotherapy following the operation.
Last night, however, she was by her son’s bedside. She said her son was in ‘amazing spirits’. ‘His sense of humour is amazing. He is doing so much better than he was after the first operation.’
She added that she had seen Neon’s medical notes following the operation and will now be seeking second opinions because there were aspects of his care she was not happy with.
Sally Roberts was by her sons bedside
Mrs Roberts said doctors would not know for sure if the operation was a success until they examine results from an MRI scan, booked in for this morning.
Describing the moment she saw Neon after the operation, she said: ‘He just said “Mummy” and started to reach out to me. He was whacked but is so amazing. He’s such a trooper.
‘Last time he found it hard to speak for the first few days. It is such a huge relief that he was talking.
‘The doctors also said it might take a while for him to move his head but he lifted his head up. It was incredible to lie there with him and look into his gorgeous eyes.
‘He’s doing really, really well.’
She said an initial browse of the doctors’ notes had, however, left her ‘incredibly confused’.
‘It looks like they’ve done a biopsy and I didn’t want them to. That can cause the cancer to spread. They have just taken slices off and it could just be scar tissue. I’m incredibly upset and will be getting a second opinion. I will get the notes analysed.’
She added that it had ‘all been a bit much’ and that she was upset to have to return to court today because ‘I should be at the hospital’.
She added that doctors had tried to give Neon anti-sickness drugs after the operation but she refused to allow him to take them.
Mrs Roberts’s brother Tony Leese visited Neon with his sister after the surgery. He said: ‘You know the first thing I heard him say The nurse was holding his hands checking his reactions and asking him questions, telling him to squeeze his hands to answer. And Neon goes: “I can still talk, you know.”
‘It was a witty remark to make. He’s as sharp as ever.’
Mrs Roberts sparked a nationwide hunt when she went on the run with her son to prevent treatment
Neon was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma brain tumour two months ago and doctors believed they had removed it during a nine-hour operation on October 25.
They then wished to perform radiotherapy to make sure all cancer cells had been removed but Mrs Roberts refused to allow this after being told by a consultant that he intended to ‘fry’ Neon’s brain. Recent MRI scans revealed that Neon had a growth in the cavity where the initial operation was performed, believed either to be a regrowth or residual tumour, putting him into a ‘high risk’ category and prompting yesterday’s second operation.
Neon’s father, Ben, 34, has always been in favour of conventional cancer treatment for his son.
Neon is due to have radiotherapy on January 16 unless today’s hearing rules in Mrs Roberts’s favour.