On a trip to Sydney in June 2008, when our son Joey was eighteen months old, he suddenly became cross-eyed, and after a couple of panicked phone calls was taken to Sydney Children’s Hospital for an MRI scan of his head.
Scan results showed hydrocephalus, caused by the presence of a large brain tumour. Surgery was organized and after a nine hour operation, the tumour was removed and found to be an aggressive, malignant type growing in the area of the brain that controls speech and balance.
The following months involved a very difficult series of hospitalizations and intensive chemotherapy and all that goes along with it. Hearing loss is one of the consequences of intense chemotherapy and Joseph now needs hearing aids. Other residual problems of the tumour, surgery and chemo include balance, behavioral issues, visual problems and cognitive delays.
It is not just hearing loss that is an obstacle for Joseph. Processing and expressive language is very difficult due to the location of the tumour and resulting brain injury.
We were thrilled when Joseph was accepted for a place at the Hear the Children EIC at the beginning of 2009. Charmaine, his therapist, is an extraordinary person and teacher and has truly been a key component in Joseph’s recovery.
Having just learnt to walk, Joseph now tries to run in to see Elmo and Charmaine every Friday. It is no surprise then that two of Joseph’s first words were “Elmo” and “Charmaine”!!
The EIC, its curriculum and its wonderful staff have been such a source of hope for us, knowing we had the help of the very best. We are so appreciative of this remarkable and very special service.