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‘I can remember trying to catch my breath’: P.E.I. mother on her son’s cancer diagnosis

For the next three months, our team of dedicated journalists will focus on more stories that shine a spotlight on the most pressing health-care issues while also equiping you with the knowledge to make better choices for your own health and the well-being of your community. We’re calling this initiative “The Pulse.” - SaltWire Network Image
For the following three months, our group of devoted journalists will deal with extra tales that shine a highlight on probably the most urgent health-care points whereas additionally equiping you with the data to make higher selections on your personal well being and the well-being of your group. We’re calling this initiative “The Pulse.” – SaltWire Community Picture

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Robyn Wooden remembers choosing up the cellphone on June 29, 2020, and being horrified to listen to the physician say her four-year-old son, Weston MacIntyre, had most cancers.

She and Weston had been sitting on the again deck of their Bayside dwelling, about 20 minutes west of Summerside, when the decision got here in.

A couple of months prior, she had seen a lump on the again of Weston’s neck and took him to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown to have it checked out. A physician took a biopsy. The outcomes confirmed Weston had acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“I might hear it within the physician’s voice,” Robyn informed SaltWire in an interview on the QEH on April 25 with Weston sitting beside her. “I might hear that the physician was slightly bit choked up. He stated, ‘I’m so sorry,’ and I knew.”

Wooden was making an attempt to course of the information, however all she might take into consideration was her household wanted to be collectively.

She referred to as her husband, Tyler MacIntyre, who was working in Summerside.

“All I might say to him was, ‘Come now,’ after which I stated, ‘most cancers.’ I can keep in mind making an attempt to catch my breath. I didn’t know what to suppose. It was quite a bit to course of. Weston was at all times so energetic. I assumed there was no means he may very well be this sick.”

Tyler MacIntyre shortly made it dwelling the place Wooden stated the physician informed the household to be able to take Weston to the IWK Well being Centre in Halifax to start therapy inside days. The preliminary therapy took a few month.

Weston, who required chemotherapy, was labeled as excessive threat, as he had leukemia cells in his spinal fluid.

“It was shifting very quick in his little physique.”

Weston MacIntyre, 7, gives the thumbs up during a checkup at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown in this undated photo. - Contributed
Weston MacIntyre, 7, provides the thumbs up throughout a checkup on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown on this undated photograph. – Contributed

Robyn’s mom had dropped by the home simply as Robyn was getting off the cellphone with the physician. Robyn wanted a second to gather herself, so her mother took Weston and his older brother, Lincoln, inside the home.

Weston stated he fell asleep in mattress and wakened after his dad received dwelling.

“I wakened and also you and Dad had been crying proper beside me,” Weston stated, trying up at Robyn. “I needed to go to the hospital for a very very long time.”

Weston stated he didn’t know what to suppose after he received to the IWK.

“I needed to get a poke right here, a poke right here, a poke right here and a poke right here. There have been so many needles, and it bugged me a lot. I even had pokes in my legs. I used to be scared and feeling like, ‘What’s happening’?”


Remedy started on July 3, 2020.

Weston’s therapy lasted a complete of 870 days between 2020 and 2022. He was given 4 several types of chemotherapy medication. Among the medication had been injected into his spinal fluid whereas others went right into a port in his chest.

Robyn stated the primary rounds of therapy had been laborious on Weston.

The now seven-year-old teen stated he was actually drained quite a bit and misplaced his hair twice however boasts he by no means misplaced his urge for food.

“I can eat 25 bacon-wrapped scallops in a single sitting,” he stated.

Prime 5

Following are Weston MacIntyre’s 5 favorite meals:

  • Pizza
  • Bacon-wrapped scallops
  • Bacon
  • Lobster
  • Shrimp

Ringing the bell

Weston completed his therapies on Oct. 28, 2022. He rang the bell on the QEH’s pediatrics unit on April 25, signifying the top of these therapies.

“You ring that bell laborious, you deserve it,” one pediatric nurse informed Weston.

Robyn stated Weston’s prognosis is nice.

“We go each three months for a checkup on the IWK and each month in between on the QEH or (Prince County Hospital) in Summerside. We’re fortunate that they hold such a detailed eye on Weston, however we’re on a follow-up plan (common checkups) for 5 years.”

Weston is again in class now the place he’s in Grade 2 at Miscouche Consolidated College.

Robyn stated she continues to be adjusting to Weston’s return to regular after three years of what she calls the chaos of caring for her household whereas her son acquired care.

“I struggled with some despair. I feel it is simply because I went from being with him on a regular basis and figuring out he wanted to be an everyday child once more and return to high school.”

If there aren’t any relapses, Weston might be thought of cancer-free in October 2027, though there might be intermittent checkups till he’s 18 years outdated.

Weston MacIntyre, top left, 7, was at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown with his family on April 25 to ring the bell in the pediatrics ward, signifying the end of his cancer treatments. With him are his parents, Tyler MacIntyre, second from left, Robyn Wood, and brother Lincoln MacIntyre, 10. - Dave Stewart/SaltWire
Weston MacIntyre, prime left, 7, was on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown together with his household on April 25 to ring the bell within the pediatrics ward, signifying the top of his most cancers therapies. With him are his mother and father, Tyler MacIntyre, second from left, Robyn Wooden, and brother Lincoln MacIntyre, 10. – Dave Stewart/SaltWire


Robyn stated she hopes that sharing their story will assist underline the significance of donating when the Queen Elizabeth Hospital holds one in all its largest fundraisers of the yr, the QEH Large Day of Giving, subsequent month.

Cash raised can imply sufferers do not need to journey for each therapy and checkup.

“Our children are all the things,” Robyn stated. “It was laborious on our household each time we needed to go away the Island. It was laborious leaving Lincoln dwelling for lengthy stretches at a time.”

QEH Large Day of Giving

  • The Charlottetown hospital might be holding one in all its largest fundraisers of the yr, the QEH Large Day of Giving on Could 24.
  • Donations might be made online or by calling 1-833-335-0545.

Tracey Comeau, CEO of the QEH Basis, stated having higher tools makes it simpler for households to remain dwelling.

“Receiving care near house is vital and we’re grateful for donations of each dimension that assist to make {that a} actuality for youths like Weston,” Comeau stated in a ready assertion offered to SaltWire.

Comeau added the province’s fundamental referral centre has greater than $6 million in medical tools wants yearly.

Robyn stated she would not need something lower than one of the best look after Weston.

“It is at all times vital that the children are getting the care and all the things they want, as near dwelling as they’ll get it,” Robyn stated.

Dave Stewart is a well being reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He might be reached by e mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @DveStewart.

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