David and Josie Lasci of Stoney Creek were married for 54 wonderful years. They were like “peas in a pod” according to David, who feels grateful to have shared so many happy memories with someone so compassionate and joyful.
Josie’s patient journey began in 1997, when she contacted her family doctor after starting to feel unwell. She was referred to a specialist, who took a biopsy and delivered a shocking diagnosis after the test results came in.
“Josie had breast cancer,” says David. “She was sent to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, where she was treated for the next five years with medication. Through it all she remained a very strong person.”
After five years, the cancer appeared to be in remission. She returned for annual follow-up appointments, which involved testing to ensure the cancer had not returned. Five years after going into remission, she was delivered some devastating news at one of her appointments.
“We were shocked when they told us she’d developed bone cancer,” David recalls. “She battled it for the next eight years, undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and daily medication. It was tough, but she never gave up.”
In the winter of 2015, it was decided that the best place for Josie’s care would be St. Peter’s Hospital, where she was admitted to the Palliative Care Program in January. Josie and the family met with her primary care team, including Dr. Beverly Hattersley.
“Josie fell in love with Dr. Bev right off the bat,” says David. “She was so knowledgeable, friendly and funny. We knew that Josie was going to be in good hands.”
Josie spent nearly seven months at St. Peter’s Hospital, during which time she befriended many of the staff members, patients and their families. She was in good spirits and enjoyed the many social activities arranged by the program. She was also particularly fond of the lemon pie in the cafeteria, so the staff ensured that her favourite dessert was always available.
“We were able to have family gatherings and celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and our grandson’s graduation. St. Peter’s Hospital is such a family-oriented environment and we all felt like one big family with the other patients, sharing our experiences and comforting one another.”
In July 2015, Josie’s health took a turn for the worst. She was moved into a private room, where she was unconscious for five days. She then took her last breath and the family said good-bye.
“Thanks to the care at St. Peter’s Hospital, Josie and I were given extra time to celebrate life together. All of the staff members were fantastic, always happy to help. They’re an amazing group of people.”
– David Lasci
Josie is still very much alive in David’s heart, and he urges people to support St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation so other families can receive the same high level of care when they need it most.