Tamsin and the Alberta Children’s Hospital have a relationship stretching back more than 10 years, and it will continue until Tamsin transitions into adult care. Tamsin was born with an uncommon brain malformation called open lip schizencephaly, which can lead to developmental deficits and dangerous seizures. Her parents suspected something when by the age of two Tamsin still wasn’t talking – it was an MRI at the Alberta Children’s Hospital that informed the diagnosis. With a million questions racing through their minds, Leonie and David found answers and support at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Tamsin is now 15 and stable, thanks to a treatment plan of steroidal and intravenous immunoglbulin (IVIG) treatments, which controls Tamsin’s terrible seizures. Tamsin has been receiving IVIG treatment since the age of 4, so she is used to getting poked and prodded. Mom Leonie says it wasn’t a big deal for Tamsin until her veins, after so many needles, decided they no longer wanted to cooperate. “It became harder and harder for nurses to get a line in. Sometimes they would have to poke several times, and Tamsin would get really upset and hide her arms – sometimes we would have to reschedule her appointment,” says Leonie.
Thanks to the Country 105 Caring for Kids Radiothon and the donors who made 2020 so successful, Tamsin is back to her usual self and no longer hides her arms. That’s because experts in Medical Day Treatment, where Tamsin receives regular IVIG infusions, are equipped with state-of-the-art vein viewers. These portable but pricey machines take the guesswork out of bloodwork. Like a high-def movie, care providers can see the patient’s vein beneath the skin for – literally – pinpoint accuracy with a needle. Tamsin’s mom calls it “a complete game-changer.” Tamsin went from receiving upwards of 8 or 9 pokes down to 1 or 2 max.
Leonie has four children – three of whom have required specialized care. Her eldest boy, Liam, is being treated for PANDAS, a serious illness that can develop from a streptococcal infection. Liam had a strep infection and the suddenly wasn’t himself, says mom. Thanks to treatment and constant surveillance by the PANDAS clinic at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Leonie says her oldest boy is doing great. Her youngest boy, Logan, was born with a club foot, which meant regular visits until the age of two.
Leonie is grateful to have so many caring experts so close to home. “The Alberta Children’s Hospital has always been there for us – it’s such a big part of our lives.”
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