“I’m starting to feel much better. I don’t have to get chemotherapy anymore and I don’t feel as sick. My name is Harland Fraser and I was diagnosed with a brain tumor this year. The kind of cancer that I had is only in 4% of kids who have cancer, so it’s kind of rare, but it’s also not as hard to treat. 90% of cases are cured with a combination of treatment. That didn’t make it easier when I first got sick though.
Earlier this year, I had trouble balancing, I wasn’t feeling well and got sick all the time. I couldn’t focus on things and it started to affect how I was thinking. I couldn’t even follow some simple instructions, so we were all pretty worried. When the doctors told my Mom and Dad it was cancer, they were so scared. I was scared too, but I’m pretty brave, so I was ok. Our first reaction was shock, then we actually had a tiny sense of relief because we finally knew what was making me so sick. We knew that I could get treatment.
My treatments and medications kept me from going to school and I missed out on being a kid. I really missed my classmates and friends. I go to Greenfield Elementary and I really loved going to school.
It was hard to miss out on all of that. Mom says I handled the treatments and medications really well. I learned to deal with an upset stomach and a loss of appetite. I’m still tired a lot, but that’s ok, I know it’s to be expected. The nurses tell me I’m a rock star patient who learned to accept yucky tasting pills and gross serums. My weekly dressing changes and blood collections have made me used to pain and needle pokes.
Being able to have my cancer care at home means so much to my family. We love being home, so having cancer care so close makes it so much less scary, during a really stressful time. The best part for me and my Mom and Dad was being close to family and friends. We only had to drive a little bit from home to get my important treatments. I was able to sleep in my own bed and wake up ready to take on my next round of treatment. Having cancer care so close to home made me feel less nervous and Mom and Dad could keep up with everyday tasks, like going to work, doing laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying, and being with family.
There’s no best part of cancer, but if there was it would be Caleb’s Courage Superhero Suite. It’s so cool and child friendly. The whole room is superhero theme. When I first went in, I was so surprised this was in a hospital. It made me feel like I was at home and not even at a hospital. Even the sheets were bright and cuddly. The huge bed let Mom and Dad to snuggle with me while I watched movies on the flat screen during my chemo treatments. Caleb’s Courage Superhero Suite was so relaxing and inviting that I actually looked forward to being in there when I had my chemo.
It’s scary to think of what kids would have to do if they didn’t have cancer care at home. It’s stressful traveling when you feel sick, so traveling when I was really sick was not fun. I like to sleep in my own bed. If I didn’t have chemo at home, I don’t think I would have been able to start healing like I did. Getting chemo here allowed us to keep family, friends and our parish community involved in my progress.
One of the hardest things about being sick was how hard it was on Mom and Dad. It was expensive to travel back and forth and up to Halifax. Mom and Dad had to take time off of work. They were focusing on me and getting me better, but it was hard on them. Thankfully, we had donors who gave back to make sure we could focus on getting better instead of paying bills.
I’m doing much better today. I feel better, I think better and I’m a kid again. I am able to do my usual things, but it’s not over yet. I think that being home in Cape Breton was the thing that made heal the best. I can’t wait to strong and healthy again. It’s because of you that I can feel like my usual self again, so thank you for making all of this possible.”
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