included a signed picture and hat. That meant the world to him and he couldn't wait to get back on the ice!
The neurologist cleared him to get back on the ice, but Greg and Sherri-Lynn were to monitor how his seizures affected his energy levels. His first two (2) weeks back were like he had never missed a practice, even though he was still having daily seizures. His parents had to continue to increase the doses of medication until they stopped which finally came at the end of December. But all the medications were taking a negative toll on Tyler; he was constantly tired, hungry and lost the drive for all the things he loved, including hockey. It was a struggle, but he finished out the year.
No one was ready for the changes in Tyler. He was always a happy, energetic child that was able to find the positive in any situation. He loved to help others and seemed to always have a smile on his face. For most of 2019, he had difficulties in school, getting along with peers and always feeling dizzy.
His sister would often say, "I miss the old Tyler."
Many times Sherri-Lynn spoke with the neurologist from the BC Children's Hospital and they would change the levels of one (1) medication, then another. They were told they had to continue to wait for them to find the right combination of medications and that it would take some time. With the exception of his dizzy spells, Tyler's seizures were considered under control.
The medication changes caused him to have a rough summer. Greg and Sherri-Lynn wanted a second opinion and were seen at the Children's Stollery Hospital in Edmonton. They decided the best way to determine what was happening would be to admit Tyler for telemetry testing (hooked to a EEG leads 24/7 while being monitored). Tyler and Sherri-Lynn were admitted last September, the first day they determined that his dizzy spells were "simple partial seizures" and the amount of medications prevented the "complex partial seizures."
He had 132 seizures in seven (7) days. After another MRI, the family was told that Tyler's case would be presented to a panel and the recommendation would be brain surgery. They are still waiting to hear what's next and Tyler continues to have seizures daily.
Returning in October was really difficult for Tyler. Not only was he disappointed he couldn't play hockey, and up to this point the only time he cried was when he watched his teammates have their first practice, but now he was worried about the thought of having brain surgery.
Three (3) days after their return home, Tyler fell on a glass and cut the main artery in his wrist. It was stitched up and he went about his days. He didn't miss any home hockey games, always there cheering on his teammates and holding the doors when they went on the ice. It hurt him so much not being out there. Unfortunately, his cut did not heal properly and he had to have emergency surgery to fix the damage. Through all this, Tyler was still thankful to the doctors for helping him get better.
When they heard that the Russian hockey team was coming to Tumbler Ridge as part of the World Junior A Challenge, Tyler couldn't wait to watch them practice. When Sherri-Lynn asked if he wanted to watch their practice with the Pee Wee team the following night he said, "Mom, I can't. That's my team and I should be out there too."
That broke Sherri-Lynn's heart. She called the mayor to see if there was something he could do to help Tyler meet the Russian team. No one could have imagined all that would happen from that initial call.
The mayor and council invited Tyler to go to dinner with them and the team and told him that he would have the chance to meet them before their practice. Tyler was so excited he nearly fell over the arena stairs as the mayor told him the exciting news!
The team welcomed him and offered words of encouragement. A player brought along his translator to tell him about a similar situation his brother went through and he believed he would too. He got his picture with the team and they all hugged him. At dinner, he sat with the team and played rock, paper, scissors and they exchange air pods, he was listening to their music and them his. Tyler was so overjoyed that they were so kind to him and believed in him.
Tyler went to watch their last practice in Tumbler Ridge and when he called his mom for a ride home, she couldn't believe the excitement in his voice. He had just spent the last hour hanging out with the team, taking selfies, listening to music, dancing and sharing their snacks, making him feel part of a team again. There were kids coming up to Tyler asking him if the players would come out for pictures and he was bringing in items to be signed by the team. Then the captain gave him a yoga mat, and he joined the stretches.
As he told his family all about it, they were all in tears. He couldn't stop laughing while he was telling stories about the players joking around with each other.He said that being able to spend time with them was worth more than any of the gifts they gave him. And they spoiled him!
As he was leaving he said goodbye and the team said "It's not goodbye, we'll see you in Dawson Creek!"
Tyler was then asked to be the junior host for the team during the tournament. He couldn't wait! Almost overnight he was holding his head higher, his big smile returned and he was steady shooting pucks outside again.
On behalf of the Hockey Canada Board of Directors and Tourism Dawson Creek, the family was given tickets to every Russian game they wanted to attend.
He said to his parents, "I get it mom. I didn't lose hockey, this is just time for me to get better." Sherri-Lynn could not believe what she heard, finally a positive about not being able to play hockey this season. Like the dedication he had for his own team, was the same for the Russians.
Tyler was at every game and told them no matter how they did in the tournament, they were number one (1) in his heart.