Sick infant to celebrate first birthday

It’s been a year of pain and suffering for Tanner Charles McFarlane-McCormick, a Fort Frances resident who was born with an interhemispheric cyst inside his brain.
After the insertion of a shunt back in February, mom Kristen McFarlane said things had been getting progressively better—that is until just a week before Tanner’s first birthday this Friday (Aug. 4).
When he broke out in a fever last week, McFarlane brought him to La Verendrye Hospital where he was promptly air-lifted to Winnipeg.
“Things had been going well. We were home for about two and-a-half months,” she noted from Winnipeg on Monday.
But five cysts were found in Tanner’s mouth and while Tanner is undergoing tests, the family is waiting to receive the go-ahead to do the surgery to remove them.
“They want to run some tests to see if [the cysts] are in conjunction with the one in his head,” McFarlane explained. “If so, then they are going to run some more tests to see because he could have many more in his body. It could just be a condition he has where he just produces cysts.”
She indicated he has a lot of fluid in his ears—something more common among children.
“We’re beginning to realize now how just simple things aren’t so simple for Tanner,” she added. “It’s so much more with him.”
On top of everything else, Tanner also has a hernia and a urinary track infection. The doctors must ensure the infection doesn’t spread and that it is clear before conducting surgery for his hernia.
But McFarlane noted despite everything, this nearly one-year-old child is handling his situation well.
“He’s so upbeat and sweet. He still tries to smile. He just wraps these nurses right around his little finger,” she stressed, citing with his condition—agenesis of the corpus callosum—he has a high tolerance for pain.
“It’s hard for people to look at him and believe he is so sick. He’s just a happy baby.”
And McFarlane added they have hope Tanner will continue to grow and develop just like any other child.
“He has his therapy every week and he is so strong,” she enthused. “He’s almost sitting on his own now. He’s talking a little bit—clapping and reaching. [The doctors] figure he’s about five or six months behind, which gives us some hope anyway.
“They believe he will be able to crawl, walk, and do those types of things. He’ll just be a little delayed, which is a lot better than we were told in December. When we first found out, we were told he probably wouldn’t be able to do anything,” she said.
McFarlane declared she can’t wait to get back home, adding she enjoyed the past few months.
“It was nice to be able to be home with the kids and have them interact with [Tanner] and it was just so nice for him to be able to do regular baby things because he was in the hospital for so long,” she noted.
“I think that’s one of the hardest things we’re dealing with right now—acceptance of this is just our life with Tanner.”
The family is hoping to have Tanner’s first birthday at home with family and friends and perhaps have his first fish fry.
“If something happens and we’re here, then hopefully we’ll get his brothers down so they can spend his birthday with him,” McFarlane stated. “And then we’ll plan something when we get home. Even if we are able to go home and he’s sick, we may just hold it off for a few days.
“It’s so hard to plan things when you never know the way it’s going to be,” she added. “We just have to take it one day at a time. But yes, we’ll have a huge celebration for his brithday—he deserves it.”