Being a kid in the hospital always has its obstacles, but 15-year-old Travis Overton has had the added hurdle of facing eight surgeries in under a year, during a global pandemic.
Since Travis was 11 he’s had trouble breathing, as if he always had a cold or congestion from allergies. It wasn’t until early 2020 when Travis had a procedure to remove a polyp inside his nostril that doctors found out this congestion was actually due to it being a much larger tumour that was growing rapidly into several areas of his face and sinuses.
At the start of March, Travis was supposed to go in to the Children’s Hospital for his first of many surgeries to remove the tumour. But COVID-19 pushed that back until June.
Travis’s mom, Sarah Brooker, says the pandemic made trips to the hospital even more challenging. She couldn’t hug her son and neither of them could see the faces of doctors and nurses, because of PPE. But, she recalls fondly that everyone at Children’s Hospital showed compassion through their voice and mannerisms.
“I could sleep well because I was comfortable with the care he was getting when he was there,” says Sarah.
During his stays in hospital, Travis has relied on remote monitoring equipment to keep track of his vitals like heart rate, breathing and medications. Sarah says whenever he is on this equipment it brings her added comfort because nurses can check in regularly on his critical vitals.
“I feel confident in the teams and equipment,” says Sarah.
Sarah describes Travis as a unique and brilliant boy who thinks outside the box and is very social. He likes to Snapchat with his friends from the hospital. “It helps him knowing he has that support and they are there for him.”
After eight difficult surgeries to tackle the tumour, which included some scary moments of allergic reactions Travis had to anesthesia, Travis was hopeful he would have a final surgery on Dec. 10 2020. It was an intricate and very long surgery, but at the end Sarah received the great news that he was now tumour free.
Through it all the Children’s Hospital has supported Travis and his family, providing the best care possible.
“They went above any lengths you could imagine to get these tumours finally out safely!”
Travis has made medical history and his surgeries, reactions, and journey will be used for future research around the world.
“We feel very loved and cared for at Children’s Hospital. [We’re lucky] to live where we have a children’s hospital and doctors that go to all the lengths to make solutions possible,” says Sarah. “We rely on them to do their job well and we trust them.”