Emily battles odds to start nursery after doctors feared she might not be able to breathe
- Credit: copyright: Archant 2014
For all children and parents, the first day at nursery is a big step.
But for tiny Emily Norris and her proud mum, it was a giant stride.
For the brave two year old from Bowthorpe might never have made it, having been born with a serious lung problem that left doctors warning that she might not be able to breathe.
After beating the odds at birth, Emily has since had 70pc of her lung removed because of the rare condition.
And, in a long-odds twist that doctors have never seen before, it has spread to her right kidney - which will also need to be removed.
But Emily has faced each challenge with a winning smile, and has started to attend Costessey Pre-School.
Mum Nicki Pybus, 26, of Notykin Street, said the ordeal began at her 20 week scan, when doctors noticed a mass on the baby's lung, and advised Nicki to consider a termination.
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'That was never an option for me,' she said. 'I thought it was down to her, if she wanted to be born and wanted to thrive then that was up to her.'
Remarkably, Emily was born without complications and, apparently, a healthy pair of lungs.
But when she turned four months old and picked up a chest infection, Emily was rushed into hospital on Boxing Day 2012.
'They said there were cysts on her lung and in the end they spread to take up 70pc of her right lung,' said Nicki. 'She was admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital for two and a half weeks, then sent home, but the cysts grew so much she went from being monitored, to doctors saying the mass needed to come out.'
Suffering from the very rare condition congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation of the lung, Emily was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to have the affected portion of her lung removed.
During the two weeks in hospital, Nicki had to leave her older children, Jake, seven, and Dominic, three, with family. The Sick Children's Trust gave Nicki a place to stay round the corner from the hospital so she could be by her daughter's side.
'It was hard to leave my boys, it was hard to be away from them.'
While the mass on Emily's lung was big enough to be picked up on early scans, the family were in for another blow, as her right kidney was also found to be made up of cysts.
Nicki said: 'She will have to have her kidney removed as well. Doctors said they had seen the condition before, but they had never seen it happen to two organs in the same person.'
She added: 'But for a child that has been through so much, she is so happy. She smiles at all the doctors and nurses at the hospital, even though they are going to prod and poke her.
'Giving her her own little bit of independence is scary, but seeing her go to Costessey Pre-School and love it is amazing.
'She gets out of breath and we will have to watch out when she's more active, but by the time she's at high school, her lung should be able to compensate.
'She's amazing. She's just a little ball of energy, but I constantly worry. No matter how well she's doing, there's always something to worry about.
'There's a constant 'what if?' and there always will be.'
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