When Randy Bowden lost his taste buds, he says it was one of the lowest points in his life.
It may seem like an insignificant side effect, given other complications that can come with cancer treatments. Yet to someone who cared so much about food, it was worse than the cancer diagnosis itself.
“Even when I found out I had head and neck cancer, it was not as bad as when I found out that I could not taste anything,” he said, recalling the sadness he felt. “And they couldn’t tell me when it was going to come back or if it was going to come back.”
"My surgery was December 19th, and I was home by Christmas Eve." - Cindy Waddick
It was like an elephant sitting on her chest. That’s how Cindy Waddick described the feeling of her heart attack, days before Dr. Chu would perform a complex surgery to save her life. Cindy was discharged on Christmas Eve. She was able to spend the holidays at home with her family and new fiancé. Listen to Cindy recant her story below.
Understanding the language of breast cancer through translational research
For anyone, a cancer diagnosis is a devastating revelation. The mind reels as one’s mortality is suddenly thrust into the spotlight sooner than anticipated. More disheartening still must be the moment someone learns of its return after a months- or years-long battle. But with the help of a highly specialized team of researchers, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is spearheading novel studies to better understand the various intricacies of breast cancer.
As a city well-recognized for the role it plays in breast cancer research, London sits on the world stage as a centre of…
On May 4, 2018, Desiree Ford was in a tragic car accident that claimed the lives of her friend and her dog.
Desiree had to be airlifted in to Victoria Hospital due to the severity of her injuries and required seven complete blood transfusions within the first 20 hours of her accident. Doctors weren’t sure she would make it through her first 24 hours, but she pulled through.
Thanks to the work of the doctors and nurses at London Health Sciences Center (LHSC), Desiree survived and has made significant strides towards healing.
Desiree’s injuries were…
The Year of Yes: Chris Slabon's Story
Chris Slabon has an anecdote for everything, it seems. His motto is: if you can make it funny, make it funny. But when he found an odd-looking mole on his chest in 2012, the jokes were put on hold, if only for a moment. After a couple of tests, he was diagnosed with melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer.
A paramedic since 1995, who’s also been teaching the course at Fanshawe College for over 12 years, Chris is no stranger to dire situations. He thrives in the chaos, he says. Making split-second…
It’s hard to imagine that life as you know it can change overnight. This was the case for thirty-eight-year-old Julie Horton, mother of three, who simply woke one morning to extreme discomfort in her neck. Eventually, the pain became so severe she couldn’t perform daily tasks like sleeping, driving or even hugging her children.
“It was like one day the pain wasn’t there and the next day, it was. It seemed to just gradually get worse and worse, causing the muscles all around to get very tight and sore,” explains Julie.
After several years, the pain in Julie’s neck…
Racing Awareness: Taylor Rayner's Story
Meet Taylor Rayner: financial advisor, racing enthusiast and advocate for mental health awareness. For as long as he can remember, Taylor has always tried putting others first. An individual hyperaware of his surroundings, negative perceptions, or comments would often be taken as personal affronts. As if the classic, fork-tongued devil was sitting idly on his shoulder, waiting for the faintest hint of criticism before whispering, “Did you hear what they just said about you?”
This internal narrative, …
“Without FEMAP, I don't know if I would be here today. FEMAP helped me find my voice and gave me the courage to use it,” says FEMAP patient Tandra Lepine, who bravely shares her story with the goal of helping others.
Tandra Lepine remembers having struggled with her mental health since she was a young child. When she was 9, she started experiencing a lot of unrest at home. She remembers witnessing a fight between her parents that led to the police coming to her home, which resulted in Tandra and her siblings having to stay at a women’s shelter with her mother for several weeks…
Enduring Words | An Anonymous Letter from a Grateful Patient
Choosing to give to charity is the willingness to share in a vision for something better—the manifestation of one’s hope for the future. At London Health Sciences Foundation, we have the distinct pleasure of helping people make a real difference in the lives of others. But still, not everyone wants to be recognized for their generosity.
Below is one such individual. It is a case of hope begetting hope: how a patient, so grateful for…
For most, the teens early twenties are a time of discovery. A time where you try to figure out who you are and where you want to go with the rest of your life. But for Dylan Fournier, a St. Mary’s native, those years were hijacked by cancer.
Now, with the help of Access Cancer Therapies (ACT) Now and Dr. Stephen Welch of LHSC, Dylan’s life is no longer dictated by cancer.
In 2012, during his freshman year of high school, Dylan was diagnosed with colitis. The symptoms became so severe that he missed a lot of school and it interfered with his ability to…
Regaining her strength along a different path: Holly Kettle's Story
She didn't notice at first, but everything changed in a moment. When 38-year-old triathlete Holly Kettle headed out for a short morning run last June, she felt great. Afterward, she headed to her job at Erie Shores HealthCare, in Leamington, where she works as a charge nurse. But by the end of her shift, Holly was experiencing unbearable pain in her left hip. She left the hospital only to return a couple of hours later as a patient.
“At that point, I knew something was very wrong,” says Holly. Diagnostic tests revealed a tear in her labrum, the…
Dennis' COVID-19 Journey
Dennis and his wife Patricia fell ill with COVID-19 following a turbulent eight weeks of caring for their hospitalized daughter in Toronto. Their daughter had major surgery and complications, and three weeks following her release, she tested positive for COVID-19.
Dennis and Patricia returned to London immediately to self-isolate and notified the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU). Patricia developed a bad cough and shortness of breath, and was very tired for about a week, but she recovered swiftly. Dennis, on the other hand, had a slight cough that quickly escalated into…
Life beyond cancer: Roy Kirby's story
Roy Kirby is all too familiar with the devastation that accompanies the word “cancer.” His own journey began in 1998, when his wife, Patty, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. After six years of treatment, her disease went into remission, but in early 2016, Roy himself was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His surgery was scheduled later in the year until, one November day, Patty received the crushing news that she had terminal pancreatic cancer. She died six weeks later.
“My world had changed because my wife was gone,” says Roy.
Roy’s surgery was…
Dr. Tracy Sexton & Linda Kuska
Linda Kuska and Tracy Sexton have a few things in common: they are both mothers, they work in health care, and they are both breast cancer survivors. For the last five years, Linda and Tracy have been sitting beside each other for four hours every week as paddling partners on the Rowbust dragon boat rowing team and have become close friends.
In May of 1999, Linda Kuska was working as a registered nurse at LHSC’s former South Street Hospital. She was a young mother with no family history of breast cancer, and yet she noticed a small lump in her breast. After further…
Brenda Thorne is a loving mother, wife, and grandmother. In 2015, Brenda almost lost her life to multiple organ failure. Thanks to the incredible doctors and staff at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) she survived and is back where she belongs – with her family.
For years Brenda had experienced significant fatigue, but she attributed it to her busy lifestyle – teaching, being an organist, as well as the demands that come with motherhood. In 2012, Brenda had developed digestive issues, and with her continued fatigue Brenda decided to seek medical advice. Through testing in…
A chance visit to the Emergency Department (ED) led to life-changing news for patient Candace Miller.
In September of 2019, Candace woke up in the middle of the night with a very strange and concerning feeling on the right side of her head. Her husband took her to the ED at London Health Sciences Centre’s Victoria Hospital.
At first, the ED doctors and nurses suspected a stroke. They performed a CT angiogram to check her blood vessels for blockages and referred her to a neurologist at the Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) clinic.
No signs of stroke showed on…
The Rediscovery of Self Through Hardship: Alison Evans' Story
Ovarian cancer is known as the cancer that whispers. Its lack of symptoms means many women are not diagnosed until later stages, when the disease has spread and is more difficult to treat. 56-year-old Alison Evans knows this all too well.
When she was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer in 2012, the only noticeable symptom was a lump on her abdomen, which was initially thought to be a cyst. As a skilled and seasoned nurse working at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, she knew how to keep her cool in times of uncertainty. However, further examination revealed it to indeed be a tumour…
The Baker Centre for Pancreatic Cancer
In June 2019, Londoner Rick Baker and some of his family members were cycling one of the toughest summits in France: Mont Ventoux. This 2,000 metre-high grind to the blustery peak has been considered one of the most gruelling sections of past Tours de France. When 55-year-old Rick reached the halfway mark, he doubted his ability to finish – each push depleting what little energy he had.
At the time, Rick was three-and-a-half years into a stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis, and on a heavy combination of active chemotherapy.
In 2000, Ev McDowell was diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer called multiple myeloma. This is a cancer of the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that makes antibodies. Multiple myeloma causes abnormal plasma cells to multiply uncontrollably in the bone marrow and “crowd out” other types of cells that our body needs to be healthy.
At the time of Ev’s diagnosis, the life expectancy for patients with this disease was only three to five years. Today, thanks to the team at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), Ev has been in remission for almost 19 years.
Lynn Danby was enjoying retirement life with her husband of 40 years and her grandchildren when a chronic runny nose prompted a visit to her doctor.
It was the fall of 2013 when Lynn noticed that her nose had been running a lot, she assumed it was nothing serious but thought it was best to mention it to her doctor and see if there was anything they could recommend for her. Her doctor recognized that this wasn’t just a common cold, and ordered a scan for Lynn. The result that came back shocked Lynn - cancer. A sinus tumour. Lynn’s doctor said that if they had found the…
The Power of Preparation: Darren Ross's Story
Darren Ross was looking forward to a vacation in Amsterdam he had booked for his 50th birthday. What he didn’t expect was the cancer diagnosis he received just days before his trip.
He had no symptoms to warn him – it was a routine physical that brought it to light. Once men reach 50, it’s common practice to get bloodwork and a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test done. Generally speaking, PSA levels below a 4.0 are considered normal. Darren’s PSAs came back at 25.
“It didn’t really mean anything to me at first,” says Darren. “But I quickly found out 25 is a pretty…
Bob Hardie & The Hardie Family Foundation
The family that keeps on giving for Giving Tuesday.
For over 20 years, Bob Hardie has been an unwavering supporter of London Health Sciences Foundation (LHSF), and is no stranger to philanthropy and giving back. In addition to his great work in prostate cancer research, Bob has contributed in so many other ways; whether it’s with his time or money, Bob has generously supported LHSF since his first gift in 1996!
The toll cancer can take on a patient and their family is no secret, but for Bob Hardie he knows these struggles firsthand. Through his career in prostate cancer…
Port Elgin’s Jody Mahon has a strong reason to advocate for clinical trials.
“If I hadn’t participated in the COMET trial, I don’t think I would be here today,” she says.
COMET is an international clinical trial, led here in London by Dr. David Palma and partially funded by generous donors, which tests stereotactic radiation – high-dose radiation targeted to specific spots – in patients who have had cancer spread to other areas of the body. This was unfortunately the case for Jody, who has been battling metastatic breast cancer since 2012.
Sidney Robertson knows what it is to struggle with mental health. She also knows the power of sharing her story with others.
One October day during her grade 11 year, a vicious act of domestic violence left Sidney and her family reeling with shock, confusion, and long-lasting mental trauma. With events unfolding at such a rapid pace, Sidney didn’t immediately recognize the impact her situation was having on her. Between speaking with authorities and visiting the hospital, Sidney did her best to remain involved in school and her community. At the time, those came as…
The Slightest Change in Routine: Candis Leyser's Story
An amazing husband, three wonderful children, a love of plants and great wine to top it off, Candis Leyser has a cup-half-full way of looking at life. However, the discovery of a lump in her breast, thanks to the slightest switch up in her morning shower routine, threatened to knock over her very full cup.
Initially, Candis tried to ignore the suspicious looking skin-coloured lump. But, Scott – her partner and sounding board – assured his wife she was not overreacting and encouraged her to call her doctor right away.
“I didn’t know if it was just my mind…