Brooke’s story: The relief of the right diagnosis

Brooke’s story: The relief of the right diagnosis

As parents, one of the most important jobs we do is advocate for our children — which is especially true when they’re having a health crisis. For my family, that crisis began in the summer of 2019, when our then 12-year-old daughter Brooke looked smaller and wasn’t gaining weight.

Brooke’s worsening condition

At summer camp, she began to suffer from a combination of constipation, diarrhea and stomach pain. Despite repeated visits to her pediatrician, the cause of her illness eluded us. Brooke’s symptoms continued, and she was missing a lot of school.

By December, our worry escalated — Brooke was eating very little and wasn’t herself — but we still didn’t know the cause of her distress.

In June, Brooke woke up vomiting and doubled over in pain. We rushed her to North York General Hospital (NYGH), determined to get to the bottom of her ongoing condition.

Investigating Brooke’s symptoms

At NYGH, we went straight to the clinic at the Steinberg Family Paediatric Centre, where she was screened — and admitted for two days. Due to COVID-19, only one of us could stay with her. The nurses and staff went above and beyond to make us feel as comfortable as possible.

We met with Dr. Joey Latino, who sent Brooke for an ultrasound and blood work, and referred her to NYGH Paediatric Gastroenterologist Dr. Mar Miserachs to investigate further.

Dr. Miserachs booked Brooke for an MRI for the following week. Even though Dr. Latino was off work, he called to explain the plan. I was incredibly impressed by his sincerity.

Receiving a diagnosis and treatment

Based on the results of Brooke’s MRI, Dr. Miserachs suspected she was suffering from Crohn’s disease — a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract that can result in abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. A colonoscopy confirmed the diagnosis.

Although we were anxious about the diagnosis, we were also relieved to finally know what was wrong.

Child Life Specialist Esther Huang checked in on Brooke to reassure her that everything was going to be okay and gave her a stuffed puppy to raise her spirits! Brooke and I were touched by her kindness.

Dr. Latino and Dr. Miserachs took us through the many treatments for Crohn’s disease, making sure Brooke understood their recommendations. Our daughter was put on a feeding tube for eight weeks and is now receiving ongoing consultation and treatment.

Our family is grateful to North York General, especially Dr. Latino and Dr. Miserachs, for getting to the bottom of Brooke’s illness. Now, we have answers and are on a treatment plan to help Brooke get better.

With gratitude,

Ilana, a very grateful mom