We need your support to make Radiothon a success – call 802-2700 to become a Miracle Maker or donate online at www.KidsRadiothon.com
18-year-old Matthew has been dealing with pain for almost half his life. At age 12, Matthew contracted an aggressive bone infection in his hip. It was aggressive, because it was living in his bone marrow – the perfect place for an infection to feed. Even months and months of IV antibiotics couldn’t kill it. The decision was made by his doctors in Saskatchewan to hollow out some of his bone marrow in the hope of ridding him of the infection that way – and of course, the bone marrow would then rejuvenate itself. The procedure was effective but left Matthew with exposed nerve endings in his bones. He also required a hip replacement because of the damage the infection had caused. Relieved to be infection-free, Matthew now faced debilitating pain caused by the exposed nerves and the hip surgery. What began as tingling in his hands, progressed to sharp pains. He began to miss school and fall behind both academically and socially – having become depressed and withdrawn.
In the summer of 2014, Matthew, feeling like the pain and depression had snowballed to the point he was no longer able to cope, Matthew was enrolled in a community mental health program – which got him back to school – but he was still in tremendous pain. He was muddling through, but barely. He honestly saw no hope of ever feeling good again.
Then in December of 2014, his family was told of the Intensive Pain Rehabilitation Program at the ACH. In his first meeting, he was blown away by everyone who was there. I felt like I was at an AA meeting,” says Matthew. There was a physiotherapist, social worker, psychologist, a physician, a pain doctor – all there to discuss the pain Matthew had been experiencing for so long. They explained that if he was serious about getting well again, that he could be enrolled in a six week “pain bootcamp” at ACH. It would be intense and he couldn’t miss a day. Matthew was hopeful about his future for the first time in a while and signed up. He started “bootcamp” along with four other kids in the spring of 2015. During his time in the program, Matthew learned how to exercise the pain away, how to use mind over matter, to keep busy and other distraction techniques to keep his pain at bay and get on with his life. At the end of six weeks, Matthew was exercising regularly, feeling less pain and felt like he’d accomplished something big. And he had. When asked what he thought of the donor-funded Pain Program at the Vi Riddell Children’s Pain and Rehabilitation Centre at the ACH, he responded, “The program gave me back my life. It gave me a second chance.”