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,” Frank recalls. “My family doctor suspected I had a form of lymphoma, so I was referred to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre for further testing.”
Frank was put under the care of Dr. Parveen Wasi, who diagnosed Frank 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. Frank would spend a total of 84 days at Juravinski.
“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 Frank 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, Frank 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.”
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