Lifestyle

Aaron prepares for next part of his life journey

AARON Payne was a typical active and energetic eight-year-old Aussie boy back in 2006.

However, a simple game of tag at Grandma Payne's house with sister Sheri and cousin Harry turned the Paynes' "normal" family life on its head and six and half years later, life for this family is about to be upended once again.

Aaron was running around and fell over, something every child is prone to - but this fall wasn't a case of a scraped knee, or even a broken bone. It had a more sinister and life-changing outcome.

His family was startled into emergency action as Aaron started shaking while on the ground.

Aaron was taken to Warwick Hospital, Toowoomba and then Brisbane and the family was told Aaron had childhood epilepsy with a prognosis that he would likely grow out of it in his teens.

But it was never as simple as hoped.

The following months saw Aaron's right leg continually "flicking" and the seizures continued and increased in number and severity despite the medication.

The same year after numerous visits to the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane and neurological appointments, the news came that Aaron had a rare neurological disease called Rasmussen's Encephalitis.

From a simple backyard fall, to epilepsy, to Rasmussen's Encephalitis, where patients experience intractable epileptic seizures, cognitive deficits and paralysis of half of the body, Aaron was the one in a million that the disease targets.

It usually only affects one cerebral hemisphere causing permanent damage to the cells of the brain and in Aaron's case, it is affecting the left hemisphere.

He will this week travel to Sydney to undergo a hemispherectomy, where surgeons will remove the affected left cerebral hemisphere - or the left half of Aaron's brain - in an effort to be seizure-free.

"I think I'm kind of looking forward to it," Aaron said.

"I'm looking forward to just walking or going down town with my friends and not having to worry.

"Just having freedom."

This operation always results in further weakness, with Aaron expected to experience greater weakness to the right side of his body (hemiparesis), loss of peripheral vision (hemianopia) and cognitive difficulties, including language deficits.

However, his desire to be seizure-free and the prognosis of life without surgery, further permanent damage and the fear of the disease crawling to the right hemisphere has led Aaron, the medical team and family to the conclusion that a hemispherectomy is the only answer.

Mum Kathy said despite the daily struggles Aaron has lived with, including random seizures, the now almost 15-year-old remains positive and focused on life to this point.

"He throws himself into everything he can with a big smile on his face," Mrs Payne said.

"He loves to be with his mates, relishes time with the gang at Neon Jaffa (Baptist Church Youth Group), plays a mean game of basketball, dodgeball, 500 and pool and is his dad John's able helper on the farm."

In telling Aaron's story the family wanted to acknowledge the incredible Warwick community.

"We are so grateful for the support we have received and continue to receive as Aaron heads off for this next part of his journey," Mrs Payne said.

Aaron is supremely optimistic, keen to be seizure-free and looking forward to having some independence.

The Payne family and those closest to them are very aware that the next few years will be difficult but they remain prayerful and hopeful that Aaron will have a way of communicating and a bright future.

Mr and Mrs Payne, both medical professionals in the community, also wanted to thank their clients and patients at Country Smiles Denture Clinic and Condamine Assist Counselling for their understanding.

"As we focus on Aaron's needs, we want to assure those within our community who require the assistance of Country Smiles Denture Clinic that service will continue with the help of some wonderful friends within the dental profession and staff," Mrs Payne said.

Topics:  community disease epilepsy health warwick hospital



Clients come first

FUTURE IS BRIGHT: Helloworld Warwick and Stanthorpe owners Gerard and Aly Torrisi have stepped up their customer service by merging the two branches.

Helloworld merger adds personal feel as Warwick and Stanthorpe unite

Good boys up for adoption

Willow is up for adoption from Southern Downs ARK.

It's raining cats and dogs with adoption day taking place in Warwick

Southern Downs drug action team to be formed

FUNDS: Region fighting ice.

Funding announced for local community group to combat ice use

Local Partners

Fashion: Jump aboard the relaxed marina vibe

EASY, breezy resort styling will carry you through sun-soaked weekends ... yacht optional.

OPINION: Taking a holiday is damn hard work

Greg Bray, columnist for the Gladstone Observer. Photo Brenda Strong/The Observer

On A Lighter Note with Greg Bray

How and when do you tell your children about death?

Listen to your gut and do what is best for your family when considering discussing death with young children.

How much do children need to know about death?

OPINION: Comments can cause hurtful divisions

Words are powerful tools that should be seen as a gift to the person you are conversing with.

Words flow around us every day.

Kia Stinger road test: Is beauty deeper than the metal?

The Kia Stinger will arrive in Australian showrooms from October 1.

We're going to the race track in a Kia. Yep, it's no joke.

Customers rage over baked beans change

Heinz Baked Beanz 420g is selling for $2.09 on Farmers Direct.Source:Supplied

Kraft Heinz announces changes to baked beans

Shock Rocky killing: Years of chaos until new 'Croc Father' emerges

EXPERT OPINION: Koorana Crocodile Farm owner John Lever explains the flow-on effect after the death of Rockhampton's King Croc. Pictured, he feeds one of his bigger crocs. Photo Chris Ison

Local expert says brutal shooting was 'no chance meeting'