In the spring of 2016, I visited his family doctor for what he thought was a minor health concern. When my doctor reviewed the results of my blood tests, it showed my hemoglobin was unusually low.
They suspected anemia, a blood disorder, but that didn’t explain the amount of weight I had lost. As someone with a healthy appetite, my family and I were concerned. We began thinking it was something more serious.
A referral to another physician led to more blood tests and a CT scan within three days. The result — Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer found in your lymph nodes.
When I first saw my doctor, I knew something was wrong. A million things went through my mind. One of the toughest moments I had with my diagnosis was calling my father to share the news. I hadn’t really had an emotional reaction to my cancer diagnosis until that phone call.
Immediately I was referred to the Northeast Regional Cancer Centre in Sudbury. The care team was waiting for me to arrive. I couldn’t believe it. It was there over of the course of nine days where I received a blood transfusion, a biopsy of my lymph nodes, two chemotherapy treatments and a bone marrow test.
My cancer was stage three.
After those initial nine days in Sudbury, I was able to return back home to North Bay and was able to continue my care at NBRHC. I am really glad I was able to have my treatment close to home. There were times when I wasn’t feeling well and was grateful that I was close to my family, my friends, my home and my work.
By having my chemotherapy treatments in North Bay, my wife Lise was able to continue working, and I was able to keep the business going. As a business owner, it’s not easy for me to leave everything at the drop of a hat.
During my chemotherapy at NBRHC, I began to feel very connected to the staff on the chemo unit. The nurses in chemo always used my first name which made me feel more comfortable. I wanted someone who was looking after me to know me.
I finished my chemotherapy this past December and I’m in remission. The hardest part is waiting to find out if the treatment worked. When you are ‘in chemo’ you feel proactive, that you are doing something to fight the disease. When you are waiting, you are just waiting. It’s hard when you don’t know what to expect.
While in treatment, it can be hard to stay positive all the time. You don’t want to let the people around you down. You are fighting the disease for yourself and for them. That’s why having care close to home is so important for me and other patients.
The hospital has always been important to me. Our hospital is a big part of our community and we are fortunate to have it to look after our loved ones. That’s why I donate.