The seizures came without warning one day in September 2019.
“I don’t remember much of what happened that day, but my wife Doreen thought I was having a stroke,” says Tom Finockio of Brantford. “She called 9-1-1 and I was rushed by ambulance to our local hospital.”
An MRI scan led to a devastating diagnosis of glioblastoma – a type of brain cancer.
“I cried so hard when I heard the diagnosis,” says Doreen. “We knew this was bad, but we refused to give up hope.”
Care at Hamilton Health Sciences
Tom was sent to Hamilton General Hospital for a brain biopsy, which revealed that his cancer was stage III, approaching stage IV. Arrangements were made for Tom to begin a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre under the guidance of Drs. Crystal Hann and Alejandro Torres-Trejo.
“The treatment really took its toll on me,” says Tom. “I was extremely nauseous, but medication was prescribed to help control my symptoms.”
Tom was scheduled to undergo 42 days of chemotherapy and 30 days of radiation. However, he had to stop 35 days into treatment because of his low platelet count, which can cause uncontrollable bleeding.
“Everyone at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre treats you like family.”
After undergoing a platelet infusion, his platelet count increased and he was permitted to complete his treatment regimen. An MRI in January 2019 showed that chemotherapy and radiation were successful in shrinking the mass to about half its original size.
“The scan revealed that I had at least another year to live,” says Tom. “It was the happiest I’ve been in a long time.”
In February, Tom was booked for additional rounds of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, tests revealed his platelet count had plummeted again, so his treatment plan was put on hold. His care team is currently developing a new treatment plan.
Always staying positive
Despite the bumps in the road, Tom and Doreen believe in staying positive during their journey.
“I’m a lucky guy to have been married to my beautiful wife for 30 years,” Tom says. “I wake up happy everyday. Positivity keeps me going forward.”
Tom also understands the importance of donor support to the care of patients like him.
“Everyone at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre treats you like family. If you’re able to, please donate to the hospital because it makes a vital difference.”