The fatigue kept getting worse. Then the back pain wouldn’t go away. Frank Tousaw of Caistor Centre, near Smithville, visited his physician in 2013 when “things just didn’t feel right.”
“I was shocked when I heard it was cancer,” Tousaw recalls. “My family doctor suspected I had a form of lymphoma, so I was referred to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre for further testing.”
He was put under the care of Dr. Parveen Wasi, who diagnosed him with Double Hit Lymphoma (DHL), an uncommon and aggressive form of cancer. Without treatment, he was in danger of serious complications from a weakened immune system and organ failure, possibly leading to death.
Treatment was a two-stage process that included both chemotherapy and an autologous stem cell transplant, meaning that his own stem cells were used instead of stem cells from a donor. Tousaw would spend a total of 84 days at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre (JHCC).
“Now I have a hopeful tomorrow that will allow me to resume the winter sports I love and watch my kids as they continue to grow and make their way in the world. I have a lot to be thankful for.”
“I couldn’t have gotten through this stressful and frightening experience without my wife, children and friends supporting me,” he says. “Along with the wonderful doctors and nurses who were there every step of the way, I was lucky to have such great companions on my difficult cancer journey.”
The stem cell transplant was conducted on August 1, 2014 and Tousaw was discharged from the hospital 10 days later. His blood cell counts improved after the procedure and he slowly regained strength.
The stem cell transplant was a success. Having faced a near-certain death, he is now back to work full-time and his cancer is in remission.
“I couldn’t have asked for better care. Now I have a hopeful tomorrow that will allow me to resume the winter sports I love and watch my kids as they continue to grow and make their way in the world. I have a lot to be thankful for.”
Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation has launched the Tomorrow Stems From You campaign in order to enable the expansion of a dedicated and specialized clinical space, as well as purchase essential equipment, so that JHCC can provide 50 per cent more patients with potentially life-saving stem cell transplants. Please donate today because everyone deserves a tomorrow.