It started with stomach pains and ended with a diagnosis of stage one Leukemia.
Out of the blue last week, three-year-old Orion Parisien-Wawea started complaining his tummy didn’t feel well.
“The stomach pains started to progress quickly. He wasn’t walking, he wasn’t eating, he wasn’t going to the bathroom. He just wasn’t himself. At first we thought it might be appendicitis,” Sierra Book, Orion’s mom said from Vancouver Children’s Hospital Monday evening.
Book, 22, and her boyfriend Thomas Wawea, 24, grew up in Keremeos, moving to Surrey just last year before their second son Xavier, who is seven months old, was born. They had hoped to return to the Similkameen early in 2019, but will stay in the Lower Mainland while Orion receives treatment.
“There were no symptoms Orion was sick until the stomach pains,” Book said. “Before that he was a terror, always into something, just like every three year old is.”
“When we first got to the hospital in Surrey they thought maybe he had appendicitis, but they couldn’t locate his appendix so it wasn’t that. They told me to either go home and come back the next day if it got worse or they would do further blood testing. I wanted them to do further blood testing.”
Blood testing found there was inflammation and he was started on antibiotics right away.
Further testing revealed the young boy’s white blood cells were extremely high and his red blood cells and plateletes were low.
The next day, the family was sent to the children’s hospital for bone marrow testing.
Over the course of three days, Orion went from possibly having appendicitis to it being confirmed he had stage one Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and a three-year-treatment plan started.
“As of right now he had his first day of chemo. He slept right through it. He’s amazing. I’m so proud of him. He’s taking steroids and antibiotics to fight off any infections.”
Orion had a chemo port put inside his body to connect to a main vein to make chemo treatment easier.
Book expects there will be many tough days ahead as her son’s little body is ravaged by the chemo that is treating him.
He will receive daily treatment for the next week, and then if all goes well he will only need treatment twice a week for the next year – so the family can return home.
After the first year they will return just once a month for chemo treatment.
“He is 100 per cent treatable and 90 per cent curable. This has all been a very strange feeling. When we heard the news he is 90 per cent curable my spirit just got lifted.”
Book is no stranger to Children’s Hospital. She helped support her mother Vicki Parisien while her little sister Santana was fighting Leukemia. Santana has been cancer free for three years.
“When my mom went through this I was there to help support her and now she is here to support me. It’s a lot of the same doctors, which is really nice. A nurse came in while they were visiting and was like ‘oh my gosh Santana you’ve grown.’ It’s nice that they know we are,” she said.
Friends have setup a GoFundMe campaign for the family to help relieve financial stress as the family deals with Orion’s illness. As of Tuesday just over $1,300 had been raised. To donate click here.
Vicki Parisien is organizing a loonie auction to happen in early August. Anyone looking to donate or help with the event should contact Parisien by calling 250-499-1162.