Matthew Buske was just a baby when he was diagnosed with Factor 8 Hemophilia, but it hasn’t slowed him down a bit. Now twelve years old, Matthew’s focus is not on his condition, but on friends, sports and being a kid.
Matthew’s parents, Kevin and Jill Buske, knew something was wrong when their son was just six months old. A cyst in his head had repeatedly burst open, leaving massive amounts of bruising. Matthew’s doctor ordered a blood test, and the result was clear: Matthew had hemophilia.
“I jumped into finding out as much information as I could,” Jill says. She learned by word-of-mouth that SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center provides a very comprehensive approach to treating pediatric bleeding disorders.
Jill was immediately impressed by the physicians at Cardinal Glennon. “We were in the hands of good doctors. They are very knowledgeable and have taken very good care of Matthew in serious conditions.”
One of those serious conditions arose when Matthew’s lung collapsed from a pneumothorax. He was hospitalized for twelve days, but Cardinal Glennon’s staff made the experience as pleasant as possible. “There’s lots to do,” says Matthew. “It’s actually fun when you spend the night.”
Now a sixth grader, Matthew injects his medicine by himself about every other day. “At first I found it really hard,” he says, “but I started getting used to it.” In the beginning, the infusion process took Matthew nearly an hour. A year later, he gets it done with ease in about 10-15 minutes. “I don’t let it affect my life that much. I just get my shots and do whatever I want.”
Matthew is an active athlete. He is the center for the basketball team at his school, Holy Infant, and plays several positions on the baseball field: pitcher, first base and shortstop. Though he still has to take extra precautions to prevent an injury, the process has become routine. Cardinal Glennon has provided Matthew’s school nurse with extensive literature on hemophilia to prevent a small injury from turning into a big emergency. When he hurt his knee at school, Matthew and his nurse knew to inject his factor, ice up, elevate his leg and rest.
“I hope they’ll find a cure,” Matthew says, “but I’m still doing everything I want to so it doesn’t really make that big of a difference.”
Looking back, Jill Buske remembers how overwhelming Matthew’s condition seemed at first. “In the beginning it’s a roller coaster, but it does level out.” Jill assures parents going through similar situations, “You will make it through it, and it will make you and your child stronger.”
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