A Paediatric Doctor from Sale has written a children’s book after being diagnosed with a severe form of brain tumour and it’s inspired by his own son.
Dad-of-one Aria Nikjooy was diagnosed with a Grade 4 Cerebellar Medulloblastoma in November 2018.
He started suffering from crippling headaches – which he initially put down to tiredness and stress – and went through brain surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
The tumour was kept at bay until March 2020, but it sadly came back and he underwent a second craniotomy, and then devastatingly, another recurrence came again in July 2020, which resulted in another operation and more cancer treatment.
Aria spent two-and-half months in Salford Royal Hospital recovering from his first brain surgery.
The operation left him with debilitating after effects – including profuse nausea and vomiting lasting several weeks, which doctors struggled to manage with medication – and he also struggled to speak and had to learn to walk again.
During his hospital stay, he was transferred to The Christie.
There, he went through six gruelling weeks of radiotherapy as an in-patient, and was finally discharged in January 2019 to begin an intense course of chemotherapy.
Speaking to ITV Granada Reports on his journey, Aria said: “I’d had three out of six cycles of chemo when I started to think enough was enough. Although I seemed to be getting better overall, there are some nasty long-term effects from chemo that I was eager to avoid, like infertility or an increased risk of future cancer.
“My cancer is a rare beast that usually affects children, not adults, therefore, there isn’t much research into what treatments work, and which don’t for me.
“I eventually decided to stop after four cycles.”
A year after his diagnosis, Aria was able to return to work on the paediatric rheumatology ward at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital on a part-time basis, but only a few months later – in March 2020, just before the UK entered into the first national lockdown – his cancer came back.
Aria was then instructed to self-isolate as he was deemed ‘high-risk’, and underwent a second brain surgery.
He recovered well – returning home after just three nights in hospital – and began another course of radiotherapy, followed by a different type of chemotherapy to try to prevent any tumour regrowth, but the treatment sadly didn’t work and came back once again in July 2020.
Showing true Mancunian fighting spirit though, Aria has once again recovered well from his second ‘lockdown’ brain surgery.
Now, Aria – who has always had an interest in writing – has written his very own fiction book as part of his recovery and personal therapy to read with his three-year-old son, which covers the difficult topics of illness and cancer in a toddler-friendly way.
The book – which is illustrated by JMZ – is titled Eddie and the Magic Healing Stone.
Aria said: “It tells the story of Eddie the dinosaur, who finds himself in trouble when he goes out for a walk. It’s up to Larry the Lion to find the Magic Healing Stone and save his dad before it’s too late.
“This book is about Eddie and Larry’s special relationship, and gently introduces the concept of sickness [so] I hope little ones will enjoy it,
“Regardless of whether they are dealing with an ill parent or not.
“It is also just an entertaining story for young children, full of magic and silly characters.”
Eddie and the Magic Healing Stone is available at a number of leading book retailers, and you can also get your hands on it via Amazon here.
Proceeds from the sales go toward Brain Tumour Research.