Michial is a 9-year-old boy from Heideveld, Cape Town. He is a digital fanatic and favours playing digital games on his electronic tablet. He hides behind his quiet personality but to his family he has been a roaring lion, breaking many barriers in his fight against cancer.
The family’s journey of sleepless nights and unending concern started when Michial was only 3 years old. Michial had excruciating knee pain and his concerned father took him to various doctors but was told that his son was suffering from normal growing pains. However, Michial’s insisting knee pains convinced his parents to request a second opinion, which led his father to Melomed Hospital in Gatesville for tests and an overnight stay. The following morning, Michial was diagnosed with Leukemia (Leukemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow). The news left the family devastated. For this family, this was just the start of a daunting journey – they never thought this would be the fate of their 3-year-old son.
Michial was then referred to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, where he received his medical treatment and chemotherapy including radiology at Groote Schuur Hospital. This process was one of the bravest battles they have overcome.
“The needles was his biggest fear, for the child to lay there and see all that needles…Yoh. He was strong and eventually gave up crying,” said his father. “This was very hard to witness.” Michial had to have a lumbar puncture (LP) (LP is the insertion of a needle into the fluid within the spinal canal to collect and examine the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord).
” We almost lost him, but Dr Marc Hendricks was on his game and noticed that something was wrong with Michial.” His father remembers that moment very well.
The family, however, was challenged with a new journey that scattered their daily routine. They had to adapt very quickly to a new routine that became a rollercoaster ride. They explained the difficulty of working during the day, being at the hospital after hours and taking care of a household all together for an entire year.
Michial is currently doing very well and has adopted athletics as his new hobby – he enjoys running and being active. He also is seen at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital as an outpatient, where he comes in for his 3-month chemotherapy treatment and checkup. This is a chemotherapy maintenance phase which will continue for 5 years and at the end of that, doctors hope to discharge him completely.