A New Take on Life with Leukemia

“I thought it was just the flu. It ended up being something far more serious.”

Pat Mostacci smiles for a photo.

Pat Mostacci

During the 2014 holiday season, Pat Mostacci of Hamilton started feeling exhausted. By December 27, he was experiencing fever, chills and sweats.

Pat visited Hamilton Health Sciences’ Urgent Care Centre, where blood work indicated that he had zero neutrophils, which are white blood cells that fight infection in the body. He was referred to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, where he was diagnosed with leukemia.

Devastating diagnosis

“I was in denial at first,” recalls Pat. “Accepting that diagnosis was one of the most difficult experiences of my life.”

Pat’s treatment included 28 days of chemotherapy, as well as a surgical procedure at Hamilton General Hospital to have an ommaya reservoir inserted into his brain. It is a catheter system that allows medication to be delivered directly into the brain, as well as spinal fluid to be extracted for testing.

Two years of chemotherapy

“After my initial chemotherapy protocol ended, I felt anxious about being discharged home,” says Pat. “Although I was excited to spend more time with my family, I was hesitant to leave such a safe place with the best of the best looking after me.”

“I am alive today because of the amazing people at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre.”

Even though Pat was back home, the cancer journey was far from over. He underwent radiation treatment for 20 days as an outpatient, which was followed by two years of additional chemotherapy.

In February 2017, he underwent a bone marrow test to check for signs of cancer. He was relieved to learn that the cancer was remission.

“I am alive today because of the amazing people at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre,” he says. “I’ve gained a new perspective on the important things in life. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for the gift they’ve given me.”

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