One day in April 2014, Reagan (then 4) was sent home from school sick. He was diagnosed with tonsillitis, despite his tonsils having been removed 6 months prior, but within half an hour of leaving the doctor’s office he suffered a febrile convulsion. An emergency trip to Fremantle Hospital diagnosed pharyngitis, and after completing the prescribed course of antibiotics, all seemed well.
However 3 weeks later, he was again sent home from school sick. A doctor at the walk in clinic near his school referred him to Fremantle Hospital, suspecting a virus – a diagnosis which the emergency team seemed to support. Knowing that a workmate had recently been suffering from glandular fever, Reagan’s mum insisted on a blood test despite the reluctance of the doctors.
After several hours of waiting for the results, they finally learned the truth – Reagan had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. He was immediately transferred by ambulance to PMH, where he spent the next several weeks having daily blood tests and chemotherapy as doctors fought to bring his disease under control. He was eventually allowed to go home, although he continued to return to the hospital twice a week for chemotherapy for the next 9 months.
Reagan is now 6, and takes oral chemo every day at home. He visits the hospital once a month for blood tests and once every 3 months he receives intrathecal chemo, where a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs are administered into his spinal fluid via lumbar puncture.
Reagan has also suffered absent seizures, which doctors think may be a reaction to one of his medications. His first seizure happened at home, and he was transferred to hospital by ambulance, where he was given sodium bicarbonate to help clear his body of the chemo drug methotrexate. He was monitored for a few hours before being discharged, but within 2 minutes of leaving the hospital he experienced another seizure. Absent seizures usually last only a few seconds, but Reagan’s second seizure continued for several frightening minutes as he was rushed back to hospital and his entire medical team attempted to stabilize his condition. He was admitted for a week as he underwent a battery of tests including lumbar punctures, CT, MRI and brain scans, but no conclusive cause for the seizures was found.
Reagan’s treatment will continue until August 2017, yet throughout it all Reagan has never lost his smile!
Reagan loves Batman, Lego, playing Playstation, and his puppy.