Finlay’s Story

December 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm Leave a comment

Treating children from birth to 16, BC Children’s Hospital sees over 1,800 admissions every year to their 27-bed neuroscience unit. Last year 273 neurosurgeries were performed at BC Children’s Hospital on kids like two-year-old Finlay. Here is his story, in his mom’s own words.

This summer, just before Finlay’s second birthday, Finlay had a bad flu for a few days. The fever eventually subsided, but a few days later he walked as if he was dizzy.   Although a week later Finlay was still bracing himself when he stood up and walked, doctors reassured us he was likely still getting over his flu.

Looking at this energetic two-year-old, you would never guess that he had a recent emergency visit to BC Children's Hospital.

Finlay turned two on June 30, 2009 and almost overnight he was fussy. He had temper tantrums and he seemed so irritable. He also still seemed off-balance and I noticed that his right arm had a slight tremor when he was nervous and when he first woke up.

Our third visit to the pediatrician was much more intense and blood samples were taken to help get to the bottom of the problem.

During the three weeks it took for the test results to come back, Finlay started asking to be picked up when we walked even short distances; he would sit down often and he was still walking off-balance. When I noticed a lump on the back of his head I tried to convince myself that it was likely swollen lymph nodes, but I knew something was not right.

Once the tests came back clear Marcus and I were so relieved but deep down knew something was still wrong and it made us very nervous.

During the follow-up, the pediatrician was able to book Finlay an appointment at BC Children’s Hospital with the neurologist, Dr. Huh. Walking into the appointment, I broke down from the exhaustion of worry.  Dr. Huh took matters into her own hands, ordered a rush MRI for that Thursday and the sense of urgency made us so nervous, but also so grateful.

Results of the MRI and following CT scan showed a large cyst in Finlay’s head that was pushing against his cerebellum. The neurology team suspected it was a bone cyst; something they had not often in the skull before and certainly never in anyone so young.

Marcus and I were so distraught; it was such a scary thing for parents to hear.

From there we met the neurosurgery team including Dr. Cochrane, Dr. Janicki and Dr. Foroughi and they explained what they saw and how the next few hours/surgeries were going to proceed. Finlay was rushed to an angiogram and then to the embolization surgery.

Although this was the scariest time of our lives, we couldn’t believe how talented, personable and professional the doctors, nurses and anaesthesiologists we met were.  We felt so well taken care of and we felt like they cared about Finlay and would do everything they could to get him better.

All went well for his first two surgeries, and the very next day Finlay was scheduled for the surgery to remove the cyst. Finlay was taken out of my arms in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) that morning and Dr Cochrane’s team worked their magic – the surgery went as well as they had planned.

Such incredible relief when we saw Finlay in ICU!

Finlay, at home with his baby sister, just days after his life-saving surgeries.

Finlay had so many tubes coming out of his body (he had to have a blood transfusion during surgery) and he was so swollen, he was almost unrecognizable but we knew he was out of the woods!The ICU team was fantastic and so were the nurses on the neurosurgery ward. Finlay left the hospital only 5 days later and within a few days he started walking!  I delivered our daughter the day after we got home and we were all home together that weekend. It was the happiest we have been. Finlay’s stitches have almost completely healed and he is walking better and better every week.

We can’t believe how superb our medical system is in BC and how lucky we were that Finlay was treated by the very best doctors in the country. Words can not express our gratitude.


Entry filed under: At the Hospital, Terra.

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