Hometown: Regina, Saskatchewan
Kim and Chris have a facebook group started called: “Strength for Chris” where they include updates and photo’s of Chris. Please check it out if you would like to know more about them.
What school did/do you attend?
Birch Hills High School, SIAST Wascana Campus.
Are you working?
Not since Feb. 5th, 2008.
What is/are your career goal(s)?
I am a graphic designer, however when your whole world is flipped upside down, I’ve started to think that I would like to somehow make a difference in this world.
Your Cancer experience
Who did you support with cancer?
My husband, Chris.
How did you find out about the cancer? What event(s) led to the diagnosis?
Chris was at work and he wasn’t feeling well. He had a migraine headache, really weak, and nauseous. He was taken by ambulance to the Pasqua Hospital, had a CT scan and found a mass that was bleeding, he was sent to the General Hospital where he would have an emergency surgery. After his first 8 hour surgery, the main concern was to stop the bleeding but the neurosurgeon said it looked like a cancerous tumor that was rare in adults and more common in children. They sent the tumor biopsy to pathology and about a week and a half later we found out it was medullablastoma. All the while, Chris was in a coma.
What year was it? How old were you?
It was 2008, I was 26 years old.
What kind of cancer was he/she first diagnosed with?
What were your first thoughts when you found out about the diagnosis?
WHAT? My heart sunk into my stomach. How could this happen to him?
How did your family react?
I guess the same way I did, but very supportive and dropped everything to be with us.
How did your friends react? Did your friends begin treating you different?
I guess it would be safe to say they were all in shock. A lot of support when it all first happened but as the months pass; you certainly know who will always be by your side.
How did you support him/her with cancer?
I spend every moment I can by his side. I do my best to help him with everything he needs, physically and emotionally.
Do you know what the treatment consisted/consists of?
Describe the medical side (chemo, radiation, in-patient, out-patient)
Chris has been in the Hospital since Feb. 5th 2008, the day of his first surgery. He had 3 surgeries in that first week to de-bulk the tumor, and control the bleeding. He was in a coma for 3 weeks and started 30 sessions of radiation in mid march on his brain and spine, 10 of those being concentrated on the tumor site. While he was having his radiation treatments he was having Vincristine every 2 weeks. Once he was finished radiation he started his first round of 8 cycles of chemo. That consisted of Vincristine every two weeks (this became to toxic for his body and was doing more harm than good so it was stopped after the 2nd round) Chris is on two other types of Chemo; Carmustine and Cisplatin.
Describe the non-medical side (how you felt emotionally, physical side-effects, exhaustion for example)
I’ve had many ups and downs, when he has a bad day, it’s tough and all I want to do is trade places with him. On a good day, I thank god for every moment I get to spend with him.
In which Hospital(s) was he/she treated?
Chris had brain surgery at Regina General Hospital and then transferred to the oncology ward at the Pasqua Hospital.
What was the outcome?
So far, he has suffered a lot of side effects, whether it’s from the placement of his tumor (affecting his speech, balance, strength, swallowing, sight) or the radiation or chemo doing damage to other parts of his body. The last 3 MRI’s have shown no cancer.
How is life different for you now that you have had a cancer experience?
Its change my outlook on life. I’m more patient, grateful, and compassionate and have a deeper meaning of love.
What was the hardest thing about adjusting to life after a cancer diagnosis?
Right now, it’s not knowing if Chris will ever be able to walk or talk, live at home, or have any type of independence.
What is/was the toughest part of having a cancer experience?
Watching him go through so much physical and emotional pain. It breaks my heart.
What is/was the best part about having a cancer challenge?
How much love that can come out of a situation like this.
What really motivated you to keep going while he/she was sick?
The vows I made to him on our wedding day sickness and health I meant it.
What lessons or messages have you taken away from your experience?
Love with your whole heart and never give up hope.
Did you attend any support groups during your challenge?
There was a support group for brain cancer but I found it really hard to leave Chris on his own.
How are you connected with Young Adult Cancer?
The Oncology Social Worker gave me a brochure and reading a quote on that brochure really made me feel like we weren’t alone.
It’s amazing to have somewhere to go and know that you’re not alone and other people your age know what you are going through.