Dean was born on 8 February 1974. He was a normal healthy two year old when one day our lives changed forever. Dean was having trouble doing his trousers up so he asked his grandmother to do it for him. When she did them up she noticed a lump in his stomach. We took him to the doctors; our local GP took one look at his tummy and, after a bit of poking and prodding, told us that he thought he had a growth on either his kidney or his spleen.
He sent us to a paediatrician in Hamilton (country Victoria) and after numerous people checking him out and having an x-ray, we were told to head straight to the Royal Children’s Hospital as he had a very large growth on his kidney.
We were at the Royal Children’s Hospital very early the next morning, after more tests and x-rays he was operated on for what seemed like hours. The surgeon removed one of his kidneys and eighteen inches of his bowel, the kidney had a growth on it the size of a cantaloupe, which had burst before they could get it out, so they had to flush his lungs just in case some of the cancer cells had managed to find their way there.
We spoke to the surgeons straight after the operation, and they told us that Dean had a Wilms’ tumour of the kidney and hopefully they had got all of the cancer. Dean had weeks of chemotherapy and four weeks of radiotherapy; he went from a very robust little boy to a frail child in a very short time.
Fortunately Dean was one of the lucky ones, he made has made a complete recovery and is now 27 years old, married and has a four year old daughter. He still has the same size waist he had as a two year old, has a few problems with his back and has high blood pressure, but considering what he went through as a 2 year old we are very fortunate to have him still with us, which is due to the great work of the oncology department of the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Christine Duyvestyn (Dean’s Mum – 2001)
Update: March 2019
Dean is now 45 years old and was thrilled to marry Natalie on March 23. He has two lovely daughters, Maddison, 21, and Annabelle, 16. He is an amazing chef and regularly delights the CIKA committee with fabulous baked goods. Regular attendees at the Wood Days will also attest to his amazing cooking skills.