It all started with a little bit of knee pain on and off starting in the middle of Feburary. On Wednesday, March 2nd the pain suddenly got worse and Tiernan was taken to a clinic in the hopes of getting an x-ray. Unfortunately, the doctor felt that based on his assessment, an x-ray was not necessary and attributed the pain to a soft tissue injury (as Tiernan is an avid soccer player). The next day, our life returned to normal as Tiernan went on with his normal activities. Such as, going to school, homework, T.V. and other routines. But by March 4th the pain had returned and was much worse.
Tiernan then sent both Kai (my husband) and I text messages at 6:30am complaining of increased knee pain, and being the smart boy that he is, requested to go to the hospital.
Kai then took Tiernan to the hospital, while I took our daughter Siobhan to school. Upon arrival at the hospital, an x-ray was taken. Initially Kai had told me to not to bother coming to the hospital and to meet them at home as the x-ray was done. Being a nurse and knowing that Tiernan is a highly active and slightly crazy ninja boy, we both were expecting a simple fracture or torn meniscus; No big deal.
Within minutes of my drive home, Kai called to advise me I needed to get to the hospital as soon as I could. He told me that they wanted to do an MRI right away. And again, being a nurse, I knew MRI’s usually take weeks to months unless they suspect something serious. This is the first moment I thought “please don’t let my baby have cancer." The MRI was done at noon that day.
Sadly, after the MRI, many blood tests, skeletal scans and ultra sounds we heard the words “Your son likely has cancer”. We were quickly sent to B.C. Children’s Hospital to meet with an oncologist that night.
Upon arrival to B.C. Children’s hospital more tests were done. We were told there appears to be multiple bone lesions in his legs, pelvis, arms, and spinal cord. They also found a large mass in the right side of his chest and another mass on his adrenal gland. We aren’t sure if we will ever find the primary source of the cancer, due to the extent of metastasis throughout his body.
Throughout all the testing and pain, Tiernan has been a rock star. He is now on a continuous morphine drip to help control the pain. He will be starting on several new medications and undergo his first surgery tomorrow March 11th. The surgery is to collect tissue and bone marrow biopsies, as well as inserting a chest tube to help drain fluid from his chest (this should help him breath a little bit easier).
The anesthesiologist has several concerns and feels that he is of high risk for complications, because the mass in his chest is compressing both his heart and airway.
We are trying to remain optimistic and feel that with the help of a great team (his oncologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, social workers, physiotherapists, nurses, child life specialists and everyone else) we can come up with an aggressive plan to treat Tiernan.
This is going to be a very long journey while we help Tiernan fight his cancer. We expect to have many trips from Victoria to Vancouver (between home and hospital). And the added expenses of meals, child care for our daughter (back in Victoria), cost of living both in Vancouver and in Victoria, medications, equipment and the potential need for some home renovations so Tiernan can safely return home and any unexpected costs that will arise.
At this time, Kai and I are off work on an extended leave of absence and while we are receiving some money, it isn’t nearly enough to cover the basic living expenses.
This is where YOU CAN HELP Tiernan and our family through this very challenging time. It is our goal to raise funds so we can spend as much time with Tiernan as we can. Unfortunately, this requires our absence from work.
We would like to thank all of the people who have already opened their hearts and homes to us, by dropping by with well wishes, food, toys, cards and balloons. And we will be eternally grateful for any donations or shares on social media at this time. Thank you for taking the time to read Tiernan’s story, we will keep you all posted, as we know more.
People are always asking what they can to do help. Today I'm encouraging people to make a donation in Tiernan's name to Canuck Place or your favourite charity and to donate blood if you are eligible.
In our families unfortunate circumstance we have been fortunate to be surrounded and embraced by this amazing community that we live in. We are continually astounded by all the love and support that has come our way and as well as to all the other families. We are truly a community that keeps on giving. As one journey ends a new one begins. I'm looking forward to joining other hikes/events to support other families. The Shared Hope Society- a small and local non-profit organization organized Tiernan's Trek! It's a small group with a big heart- each with their own stories to share. Thank you to all who were able to attend the hike, (2 people came from Calgary and several others from up island) and to those who came in spirit!
It's been hard to get back to normal day to day things. Just leaving the house is a daunting task at times. Each day is easier than the day before. It's easier to laugh, easier to breathe but there are still tears.
The moment Tiernan died I felt his heart stop beating that moment will forever be etched in my memory. Tiernan didn't get picked up until the next day (this was our decision). Tiernan was placed on a cooling pad/blanket system and Kai and I remained with him in bed for the rest of the day/night until he was picked up in the morning. We just held him, never wanting to let go but knowing we would physically have to. I kept looking at the clock on the wall- wishing it would stop or even better be reversed but the clock kept ticking away and at 10am on June 26th he was picked up. I think about him constantly and I don't think that will ever change nor would I want it to. I miss her more than words can describe but I am thankful for the many adventures and memories we shared.
As I was cleaning/unpacking Tiernan's belongings I turned on his iPad and saw the messages his sister had sent him saying she missed him. There were a lot of emoticons of hearts and sad faces- it broke my heart. I know how much those two loved each other- she is missing her little brother, her playmate… her friend. Nothing will ever replace the relationship they shared.
Thank you to everyone who has dropped off meals, cards, sent flowers… they are all appreciated. A special thank you to Dana who drove over from Calgary to be here with us. We hope to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones on the hike.
Any donations will help our family heal by spending time together and for Tiernan's after care. Thank you all for the love and support.
Your son is in my thoughts and prayers. I know how scary it is.Please know as a Victoria resident, there is a special fund that only those residents get through your oncology social worker, you can also get Safeway and cafeteria gift cards through her. There are also amazing foundations your social worker can sign you up for( eg. Gaby Davis Foundation ) that help out oncology families financially and Balding For Dollars, Suzanne Dunbar has her office just outside 3B Ward and is a wealth of information. You are also eligible to stay for free at the new Ronald McDonald House, on the grounds of BCCH. They have free laundry facilities and laundry soap. Additionally, look into applying for the Disability Tax Credit. Just you and your GP fo the paperwork for " better results". Good luck to your sin. He couldn't be in a better place.
Thanks for sharing this with us. Yours is a good reminder for all of us to do something for others. Make a donation, give blood, do a random act of kindness.
You don't know me but I have read every update from the beginning. I cry as I look at the pics of Tiernan and can imagine him in heaven running and playing. He would not want you to be sad but how can you not be? My prayers continue to be with you all. May the strength and love of friends and family hold you up.
Dear Michelle family so very sorry so senseless who can even fathom what you are going thru. He fought hard as you did. Please take care of yourself don't be afraid to cry you were an amazing advocate. I know how much Tiernen loved cats a program named after him with cats used as therapy cats for children I would support with a monthly donation. When sky clears let us know if this is something you would consider. In my prayers
•I am deeply saddened by the news of your loss. I pray that God will grant you the strength needed to get through this moment in your life. My most sincere condolences to you and all your family.
Michele and family, I am so sorry to hear of your loss, I can't imagine what you have been through in these last couple of months, I have followed your posts since the beginning, thank you sharing. I hope you know that this has touched the hearts of many people, the strength and courage, the struggles, my heart breaks for you . My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family while you grieve for your loss.
Although we don't know each other, I have been incredibly touched by Tiernan's strength, love of life and the beauty of your posts. I am so very sorry that he did not win this fight with the terrible beast that is cancer. I cannot begin to know your loss but I grieve with you. I know somewhere he is playing, pain free and embracing his next adventure. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Your courage and honest vulnerability showed your own fight too - of a parent doing everything they possibly could do.
It's taken me till now to be able to come back here. Your beautiful boy and his story, your story has changed me. Thank you for your sharing of it. I will never forget him, that baby dinosaur boy, not ever. I feel so lucky to have spent my days with him for awhile. We are really guaranteed nothing, are we? Each day precious. May you feel surrounded, held and loved as you take the next steps, one at a time, in your grieving and remembering. Love to you all. xo
My heart aches for you. I have been following your posts since first donating, and I want to thank you for courageously sharing your journey in this way. Yesterday afternoon, when you were posting this tragic news, by coincidence I was in the midst of sharing with my teenage son a song I wrote years ago about/for his older brother (whom he never met) who passed away as a little boy from a rare disease. There is no grief like that of a parent losing a child, and I thought it would destroy me. I can't honestly tell you that you ever get over it, but I can share that time really does soften the anguish somehow, and I can now, years after his death, treasure and share special memories of my first child in a way I initially couldn't. My love goes out to you, and I hope that you too can continue to live a wonderful life that is ultimately enriched by the memories, rather than diminished by the loss, of your dear son.
My deepest condolences! My heart breaks for all of you! I wish for healing and love for all of you!
My heart to you all, I am so very sorry, comforting hugs to you all ((( ♥ ))) Rest in Peace dear sweet little Tiernan.
Kai, Michelle and family - my deepest condolences, i'm so very sorry for you loss. There are no words, take comfort in each other.
Heart broken for your family. Your little man isn't suffering. I pray that you find comfort during this time :(
Michelle so so sorry for your loss, you are an amazing woman and your son also sounds amazing. He is in a peaceful place now, take time for your family and yourself to heal.
So very, very sorry for your pain and sadness. Tiernan was a special boy and I will always remember his lovely smile. My thoughts go out to all of you and strength to carry you through this very difficult time. X
I am so very sorry for your loss of your son. Heartbreaking story from start to end. Wish there was not an end. Angels await Tiernan with open arms, but for you...such pain and sorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
I should watch what I am typing, Tiernan, not Kiernan, sorry