Stability in chaos

Arthur, three and a half years old, plays in the sand and climbs on a little slide. He jumps, he runs, he screams. He bickers with his little brother Victor. This morning, there’s a lot of action in the backyard! It’s hard to imagine that just over a year ago, this active little boy was in very bad shape. Even Vanessa, his mother, still finds it hard to believe. It’s as if it was all a nightmare.

Arthur’s first symptoms went unnoticed at first. “Arthur was bruised from head to toe. We wondered about it, but as he moves a lot, we thought it was normal. He was bumping himself regularly,” confides Vanessa. We saw petechiae on the back of his head. Since I had shaved his hair, we thought it was irritation.

Doubts gave way to concern when Arthur, who was complaining of a severe stomach ache, woke up suddenly, in a seizure, in the middle of the night. “We couldn’t console him, so I called Info-Santé, and they advised us to go to the emergency room first thing in the morning,” says the young mother.

While she was taking care of Victor, then a newborn baby, at home, it was her husband who came to the hospital. Crying, he told her the diagnosis over the phone: acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“I was about to start cleaning. Instead, I packed a suitcase for Arthur who was in the hospital. I was in shock, I had difficulty thinking, I was in a state of shock. It took me hours.”

At her son’s bedside

Vanessa, who was afraid to see Arthur lying in a hospital bed, “wired all over,” tried to regain her composure before going to his bedside. She and her husband took turns. Her baby Victor, whom she was still nursing, accompanied her. The two of them slept in the small hospital bed, while dark circles deepened under her eyes. “At home, I remember crying alone. I was screaming: why? why? I was in so much pain!”

To help them through the ordeal, the family was quickly able to count on the Leucan team. “We received the welcome kit and, as we needed it, we received financial support, like grocery cards. Daycare started earlier than expected, it blew our budget. Leucan was there to help us.”

Vanessa is particularly grateful to Nathalie, the Leucan advisor who accompanied her to the daycare to explain Arthur’s health condition and make the team of educators aware of his new reality. “It was a relief because it confirmed the seriousness of Arthur’s condition. When I forgot certain details, Nathalie was there to fill in the blanks.”

Normal life again

Arthur began his maintenance treatment. He returned to daycare and Victor joined him. “Life is slowly returning to normal, it feels good. The worst is behind us, Vanessa points out. “There were some difficult episodes, when we almost lost him. But he pulled through and the ordeal brought the whole family together. Arthur’s carefree attitude helped me get through it.”

The need for support is less regular now. However, Vanessa knows that if she needs help, she will find a sympathetic ear, a person to talk to at Leucan.

Leucan Donate