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Sage was born a healthy, little boy, but when he was almost one and learning to walk, his mom, Hilary, noticed he was having trouble keeping his balance. When is right eye started to wander, it gave her another indication that something wasn’t quite right. When he was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy because his cranial 7 nerve was damaged, Hilary’s concern elevated to a new height when he didn’t respond to traditional treatment for the condition.
It wasn’t until Sage received a CT Scan at the Alberta Children’s Hospital that a large tumor was found wrapped around his brain stem. Even though the news was devastating, it was a relief to finally know what they were dealing with. Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Dr. Walter Hader, was able to remove a small portion of the tumour however it was deemed inoperable as it was located so close to the area responsible for breathing, heart beat and swallowing. A biopsy revealed it was benign (Policytic Astrocytoma), but a 70 week course of chemotherapywas required to prevent the tumour from growing further.
Hilary was understandably overwhelmed at the prospect of getting her busy 2 year old son (along with a new baby) to the oncology clinic at the hospital every week for appointments. Sage would become increasingly agitated and frustrated by the number of pokes and procedures he had to endure during his visits. When she was offered the opportunity to have chemo/treatments delivered in their home, it was a game changer. Appointments that used to take hours in the clinic could be finished within 45 minutes in the comfort of their family room. Since they started receiving care from the Hospital at Home team, Sage has developed a trusting relationship with his nurses and is no longer upset by the treatments. Hilary says it makes his life feel more normal since there are fewer trips to the hospital.
Now over half way through his treatment protocol, Hilary credits the Hospital at Home program for helping them get through and see the light at the end of the tunnel.