Three years on from James Bone Marrow Transplant




It was three years ago last week that James had his Bone Marrow Transplant at Starship Hospital.

Today I joined 261 Bikers for the Annual Fundraiser Bike Run for Ronald McDonald House. We rode from North Harbour to RMH Grafton Mews where we spent months living in and off ward when James was transplanted. I spent some time talking to a few families that were there today, and it reminded me how important it is to share stories in support of what comes after.

We’re doing good!

Its not without its challenges still….schooling, adjusting to a cochlear implant, ongoing toileting issues, and then the serious issues that JAmes will need two new heart valves and a C1 and C2 vertebrae replacement/fusion are in our future.

But for today, we have a happy 8 year old boy. We are reminded every day, to make the most of now, and that we have the strength as a family to deal with what comes next.

Doing a BMT seemed so long ago now, although at the time it feel like the world had come to a standstill.

We will continue every day enjoying the simple things and sharing smiles.

Thats the way everyone should live….rare disease or not.

P 🙂

James Go Kart

Campbell Live Story – James Cochlear Turn On

Last night the Campbell Live story of James cochlear implant turn on aired. A link the the story is below.


James reaction to Johns personal message at the end of the story was priceless, and really drove home the difference this implant will make in his life (and caused a few wet eyes in our house as well.)

Thanks to everyone for the humbling messages of support this week. Its the stuff that keeps us going.


Paul, Fiona, James and Maggie

Cochlear Switch On Day

Today was James cochlear switch on day.

The team at Audiology at Greenlane Hospital were fantastic today, and helped James feel at ease with his new hearing device.

  After some testing of electrodes in three different frequencies with some tonal sounds they then turned the device on at a low volume and raised it to a point where James was responding to our speech.

Amazing to think that a child that has 85% hearing loss can hear with a bionic ear.

We were again humbled by the growing number of people on TEAM JAMES, and today have added some more friends.

James will have ongoing habilitation to learn to  how to hear with his cochlear implant, weekly and then monthly for the next year, followed by the implant for the right ear.

James seemed at ease during the whole process today, and all he wanted to do was get back to school and show his friends his new cochlear and the cool school bag the team at MEDEL had given him.

Campbell Live were there filming the switch on as they had used a new facial monitor that had been donated by NEW WORLD that cost $75k when they did his surgery. It should air later in the week and I will post a link to that when its available.

We also filmed the whole switch on on our camera and I will post some video later tonight when I get the chance.

Today was a good day in our journey with Hunter Syndrome, as we took another step forward in helping James have a normal life living with this disease.

As usual, his sister Maggie was by his side in support and friendship.



Getting ready for Switch On!



Tomorrow is switch on day for James cochlear implant.

We were finally able to remove the dressing that was covering it and got to see the incision where his implant was inserted. Once the hair grows back over it you won’t be able to see the mark, but for now we can tell him it looks a bit like Harry Potters wizard scar on his forehead.

We plan to video the switch on and will post his reactions when we get some time over the next few days.

Left hand Cochlear Implant Scar

Cochlear Implant – Left Ear Surgery

This week James had the surgery for his left ear cochlear implant.

He is having Medel implants, as they are easier to use should he need MRI scans in the future

The surgery took about 3 1/2 hours and went well. He had some bruising and swelling for a few days, and had some time off school.

He is still wearing his right hearing aide so he has some hearing, and this will need to come off once his left implant is switched on to help his brain adjust to the different way of hearing.

Switch on for his implant will happen mid- May, and we will video that and try to post a link of the turn on and his new hearing.

Left Ear surgery site



Cochlear Implants

For the last few months James has been assessed as a candidate for cochlear implants. He has severe hearing loss because of his disease and currently uses hearing aides and a wifi microphone at school.

On Thursday this week James was approved for bilateral cochlear implants. It will mean surgery to do the implants. They won’t do them at the same time but will do one and let him adjust to it, and then do the second one.

We are just going to discuss with James main metabolic specialist this week if there are any pitfalls or future things to consider before proceeding.

Here is a video that explains about implants.



Life has a new normal…

Its been a long time between posts on James blog, more than a year has past. That certainly not because we haven’t had anything to share, but because life has a new normal for us.

James is doing great, and now a big 7 year old who goes to school, enjoys Keas and bossing his sister around. Maggie is now 5 and at school at well.

James doctors have all been very positive about his post BMT results and his blood work has been encouraging.

His chymeric results last week were 96.2% which is the highest its been. This should mean that he has enzyme being produced.

The last month has been a flurry of hospital appointments that have included an MRI, a holter monitor study for his heart, blood tests, dental, ENT, and and ECG. Constant monitoring is part of the schedule and part of the new normal.

James has also been assessed for Cochlear implants, as his hearing due to the disease has always been a concern for his learning. We dont have an outcome or decision about the best way to proceed as yet, but we are getting close now.

We have moved from Christchurch and are now living in Auckland, which is where Starship Hospital is. Its been much easier getting to appointments when its just up the road.

We will try to write more regularly, as a record of our journey and to share information with others who are on the same path as us.