Cody Rekdal’s world revolves around his older brothers Marcus and Ryan. The boys are always together, running and jumping around and playing video games.
Considering their tight bond, imagine how hard it was for them to be separated for three months, while Cody was in the hospital hooked up to tubes and machines.
“It was really tough for the older boys to see their little brother like that,” recalls their mother, Tiffanie. “But you have to stay positive and that’s what we are still doing.”
In March of 2015, Tiffanie took the boys to a petting zoo. Cody, who was not even three years old at the time, fell from a chair and bonked his head. Tiffanie’s intuition told her the fall was serious. She drove Cody straight to the emergency room where the doctors told her he had a concussion.
Over the following three weeks, Cody kept complaining of headaches. He didn’t have the energy to play with his brothers or even get out of bed. Tiffanie and her husband, Jeremy, brought him back to the emergency room on several occasions, but were sent away each time without a CT scan. Tiffanie says the whole experience was so frustrating that she sought out help at BC Children’s Hospital.
“When I brought Cody into [the hospital], I looked at him and said, ‘Mommy is not leaving this hospital until we figure out what’s wrong with you’ because I knew something was wrong,” she says.
A CT and a MRI scan revealed an aggressive and rare cancerous tumour in Cody’s brain. The entire tumour was removed during an emergency surgery, but Cody needed to begin chemotherapy as soon as possible.
Cody’s treatment lasted nearly six months. For the first 90 days, he and Tiffanie lived in the hospital, only seeing the rest of the family on weekends. Tiffanie says the separation was the most difficult part of the whole experience.
“It was very, very hard – physically, emotionally, everything,” she says.
The treatment worked and Cody was allowed to go home for good in November. In December his MRI scans came up clear. The cancer is gone but he must continue to visit BC Children’s Hospital every three months to make sure it doesn’t return. Tiffanie says she and her husband are grateful to the staff at the hospital for not only saving Cody’s life, but also being a strong support system for their family.
“They will do anything for anybody to help out in any way they can – even if it’s just a shoulder to cry on, or if you need to vent. They are always there for you, no matter what.”