"Headaches get worse," recalls Lisa Allen of Welland.
"Then I began to feel uneasy and had trouble finding words. I realized that something was seriously wrong after I had a seizure."
Allen was subjected to a scan at her local hospital, which discovered the presence of a brain tumor.
"Getting the diagnosis was the scariest moment in my life," she says. "I was a 26-year-old with two children, and I did not know how long I had to live. It shook my family to the core, not knowing if there will be tomorrow."
Allen was subjected to a biopsy at the General Hospital in Hamilton and further testing at the Jurinsky Hospital and the Center for Cancer. Her care team found that the operation was a very dangerous option, so she launched an intensive radiation program and drugs to prevent tumor growth.
Another great surprise came when Allen found out she was pregnant.
"I was scared of how the cancer would affect the baby," recalls Allen. "I was also worried that pregnancy could lead to tumor growth. I was admitted to the Medical Center at McMaster University, where the high-risk obstetric team helped me calm down during this stressful time."
Allen engaged in septic shock for 29 weeks in pregnancy, which was potentially life-threatening for her and for the baby. Fortunately, it stabilized and gave birth to a healthy girl after 35 weeks.
"I was very grateful when I heard my daughter Aspen cry and I knew she was OK, I call her my miracle."
Allen continues to receive outpatient care at the Jurilanski hospital and the Center for Cancer. Her current cancer journey helped to gain perspective on important things in life.
"Every day is a real gift for me," she says. "Thanks to the incredible care I receive at Hamilton Health Sciences, I can be at home during the holidays with my family. I can see my wonderful children grow up and continue to be an active member of the community I love so much." . "
Allen shares her story to support the Healthy Gift Campaign, which draws funds to provide specialized care provided by Hamilton's Health Sciences. The donor support of the Health Science Foundation in Hamilton is essential to allow this level of specialized care for patients such as Alan, who lives in Niagara and through South Central Ontario.