"I consider myself a walking miracle!"
My cancer journey started in 2016 when I was diagnosed with tumors in my brain, lungs and kidney. When my doctors told me I had 18 brain tumors I knew I was in for the fight of my life. I was given 18 months to live and that was 7 years ago – I’m not sure why I’m still here but I’m grateful and will live my life to the fullest - each and every miraculous day!
Over the years, I faced many rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, even trying an experimental drug that proved to be very effective for me. I am grateful to now be cancer-free but found that the cancer treatments left my body in a weakened state. I struggled with my balance and coordination and had little strength in my legs. With a young family, I really wanted to enjoy activities with my children and keep up with their busy lives. In spite of my efforts to keep moving, I felt like I was wasting away and I realized I needed help.
When I learned about the Rankin Family Cancer Rehab Program at Hotel Dieu Shaver, I was eager to be referred by my oncologist. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the program, but I knew it would be a place that would help me.
When I started the Cancer Rehab Program I couldn’t walk in a straight line because my balance was poor. My legs were so weak that I couldn’t even ride my bicycle. At my initial session, Dan, who is the physiotherapist with the Program, asked me to do a squat and I couldn’t get back up!
Working with the team for this six week program, I learned ways to stretch and strengthen my body, with many exercises that I could do at home. They worked with me and helped me with my balance and coordination.
The team at the Cancer Rehab Program initially asked me to set a goal and I knew straight away that I had two very important goals as a Dad - I wanted to throw a baseball and play catch with my 10 year old son and I wanted to take my 7 year old daughter for a piggy-back ride. I was battling cancer for all or most of their lives, so they’ve only known me as sick. The treatments left me so weak I just couldn’t do it those simple activities with them.
Because of the team at HDS I’m now able to have these special moments with my kids. Dan practiced catch with me at every session to work on my strength and coordination. I’m getting stronger every day and now have the energy and stamina to be more active in my kids’ daily activities. I’m riding my bike and started going to a yoga class in the community.
Hotel Dieu Shaver is an excellent rehab facility with a wide range of equipment and devices to aid in cancer rehabilitation, but it’s the people that run this program that make it so remarkable. They truly care about you and are eager to help each patient in any way they can. The program is tailored to help each participant based on their physical condition and needs.
Going through cancer is so traumatizing – the treatments are extremely difficult and it takes a mental toll on you. Finding the Cancer Rehab Program at HDS has been so uplifting. The Program has helped my mind, body and spirit get back on track and I look forward to what the future holds for me.