Eysa Haider (500x300)
Pre B ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia)

Eysa Haider

Pre B ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia)

Ottawa ON

A Mother's intuition... His strength.

Everyone says it, "You are so strong..." You are so amazing." "I could never do what you are doing" But the fact is, I felt shattered, broken and so tired that I no longer slept. I felt so weak.

My son Eysa is amazing, he is stronger than I can put into words and he inspires me every minute of every day. You see, my son...my youngest, baby boy, was diagnosed with Leukemia. He was diagnosed in September 2014. That day will forever stay burned into my memory as the beginning of our nightmarish journey.

Our spring started like all the others. A new beginning, renewal, feeling alive. But Eysa was getting weaker and weaker, my child was wilting. He is the youngest of four and he turned our lives upside down from the moment he squealed his way into our hearts. So demanding, so fierce with his love it could consume you. He always makes his presence known! But now he was hurting, in so much physical pain that he couldn't have a shirt put over his head without screaming. He began limping and always needing to be held.

I couldn't shake the feeling that something was very wrong.

Countless doctors, visits to the ER, appointment after appointment. Nothing. Constant antibiotics, reactions, persistent coughs, and many bouts with fevers that he could never seem to shake off. Not once did any of these medical professionals offer to do a simple blood test. The spring moved into summer this way. Eysa was hardly active anymore, and he grew paler by the day.

Then I had the dream that changed everything. A very close friend of my husband and I had passed away a few years back from Cancer. He was always so full of life and meant so much to both of us. I saw him in my dream one night. He was with my three older children who were teenagers (in reality, they were all 12 and under). He told me he never got to spend time with them when he was alive so he was visiting to spend time with them now.

Eysa was nowhere in this dream, it was as if he didn't exist at all. I woke up startled, with a pillow wet with my own tears. I kissed my sleeping son's forehead with an unknown, knowing. "I feel like his mortality is at risk, he won't make it," I stated as if it was a fact. Etienne came into my dream as a Guardian Angel. The next day, our second Angel arrived as an expectant friend. She informed me that I should reach out to her new pediatrician for a second opinion.

The rest is terrible, terrible history. Eysa's new pediatrician took one look at him and had us sent to CHEO immediately for, you guessed it, blood tests. Then the dreaded phone call came. "I am so sorry, but you have to go to CHEO immediately, l am so so very sorry." My knees buckled and I was a puddle on the floor.

Immediately, the pokes started, the biopsies, the spinal taps, the IVs, throwing up, and pain...so much pain. His hemoglobin was so low the ER was shocked our son was even upright let alone, smiling and talking. We were told that Eysa had 97% blasts in his system. Had we not arrived when we did, he would have likely had 2 weeks left to live. His life was at ultimate risk.

This journey has been so difficult and wrought with much suffering for our baby boy, for our other three children who still needed their parents, for my stoic rock of a husband who let me lean on him time and again, for his aunts, uncles, and grandparents. For all those touched by my beautiful boy's spirit, his joy, his love and now his unending strength, it has been a difficult path to navigate.

Eysa had three and a half years of treatments for Pre B ALL Leukemia. After his initial 2 weeks of intensive treatment and blood transfusions at CHEO, he was discharged to go home. We brought him in daily to the Medical Day Unit for (sometimes) 12 hours of treatment. He was taking oral chemotherapy and he was getting IV chemo as well as a host of other treatments and medications to help control this monster. Eysa had 17 Spinal Tap surgeries throughout this time as well. After his first time receiving iv chemotherapy, our son stopped walking and didn’t attempt it again until 10 months later.

On December 11, 2017, we hit the final official day of chemotherapy. It was very bittersweet because Eysa’s Grandfather who lived with us had passed on only a few days prior after a long struggle with his own health conditions. It was as if my father was waiting to know that Eysa was healthy again before he could let go.

These days, Eysa is a strong, determined young man who is hitting the preteen stage with a flurry. On December 2022 he will be considered free and clear of Cancer. We have a long road ahead of us in terms of dealing with the latent effects of treatment and catching up with all the schooling he never got to participate in, but I know that Eysa will come out on top and live the kind of life he was meant to. We can’t wait to see what he accomplishes.