At first glance, Eric seems your average, healthy, vibrant 12 year old boy. You don’t see behind the scenes – the constant nausea, fatigue and chronic pain so bad he can’t lift his head after a regular chemo treatment.
Eric has T-cell leukemia, a disease he and his family have been battling for two years, with bi-weekly trips and hospital stays alternating between Sick Kids and Credit Valley.
“January 2009 was when we stopped being a normal family,” says Christine, Eric’s mom. “The moment Dr. McKinnon spoke the diagnosis, I stopped hearing him. I saw his mouth moving but could hear no words. Everything just stopped.”
From the doctor’s office Christine went home to pack for a 3-5 day stay at Sick Kids. They ended up staying two months. “There were many complications,” explains Christine. “But six months into treatment, we were able to come to Credit Valley’s paediatric satellite clinic.
“Everyone there is so warm and caring,” she smiles. “When we need a child life worker to come to his room when to help distract him, they’re there. When there was a time he had to be transported by ambulance back to Sick Kids, a nurse from Credit Valley went in the ambulance with us.
“Having the resources, skills and facilities at CVH, so close to home, is so reassuring to us as a family as we navigate this path. This is a fine hospital and I really want people to know that their donations really do make a difference. Just the little fact that there’s a tv in his room to keep his mind off the nausea or pain, or a bed to lie down on in a separate area if he’s not well enough to sit in the group room for his treatment – or a private lounge available for me if I just need a moment to cry without him seeing me. I want people to know how important these things are to families like ours – and they’re there because of donations. Thank you.”
Eric has another year of treatment ahead of him. The family has tried very hard to continue its life as normal as possible and get through their journey as a unit. Comments Christine, “There’s always got to be a creative way to get through it, and the support along the way makes a big difference.”