In 2009, aged 44, I learned that I had breast cancer. It’s quite a shock when you think everything’s going well.
I didn’t give up. I fought hard and I won that battle.
Then, in November 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. I rolled up my sleeves and went into battle again. This is my first anniversary cancer free.
Following my second diagnosis, I had to make many trips to Chaleur Regional Hospital for my treatments, doctor’s appointments, and follow-up. Throughout this difficult period, the great care that I received from the doctors, nurses and other hospital staff reassured me and certainly helped me heal.
We all know someone who’s had cancer. It’s an illness that attacks indiscriminately. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a young person, a senior, rich, or poor – everyone’s vulnerable. Cancer doesn’t discriminate and can strike anywhere, wherever you are. It affects people regardless of where they live and the language they speak.
Being the Chairperson of the Roses Radiothon is a chance for me to help other people battling this terrible illness. The Roses Radiothon allows us to purchase specialized cancer-related equipment so that we have the maximum possible care and services available to us here in our region, at our hospital.
The Roses Radiothon, it’s in our region, for our region!
I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in 2017 and I consider myself lucky to be able to receive my treatments at the Chaleur Regional Hospital, just minutes away from where I live. It was a different story when I had my first cancer in 2009.
At the time, in addition to having to travel outside the region for my treatments, the prognosis was not good, but I remained courageous and fought. You can imagine the positive impact of having access to treatments a few minutes away from home. My spouse, my family and my friends help give me courage and they are with me every step of the way for this second fight.
We are very fortunate to have access to the regional hospital. In addition to saving time and money, I can stay in the comfort of my home and keep doing my everyday activities. This might seem trivial, but it makes all the difference in my path to recovery.
Make a donation to the Roses Radiothon. In one way or another, every family is affected by cancer sooner or later. This is why it is important to have access to treatments in the community.
Enjoying life after a heart procedure
After a heart operation, your life can change or it can remain as it was before your surgery. Everything depends on your attitude toward this event, which may seem impossible to overcome. Some people withdraw and feel sorry for themselves, while others pick themselves up and strive to make the most of their second chance. As for me, I’m thrilled to have the chance to see my grandchildren grow up and to spend time with my family.
In my case, my risk factors were high. Despite close monitoring by my physicians, my family history was pointing straight toward heart problems. Exercise and a better diet could have helped prevent my heart disease but I didn’t change my lifestyle. Like everybody else, I thought this type of problem could only happen to others.
I’m taking advantage of my second chance to take action and encourage all sorts of initiatives to prevent heart disease. We must all support our Foundation, which is working hard to put in place the equipment that will improve screening and frontline care. Many people’s survival depends on this.
CHAIRMAN OF THE MAJOR FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN
The improvements to our infrastructure at the Chaleur Regional Hospital are very promising additions toward improving the quality of care and services that we offer to the population of northeastern New Brunswick. To continue moving forward, our hospital must urgently upgrade and acquire high technology equipment. That is why we really need the support of our donors. We need to strive for excellence today for future generations.
Mike and Danielle Goyette on the birth of Lennon Michael on November 20, 2012
“From our first pregnancy appointment until the time we left with our beautiful baby boy, we were extremely impressed with the care we received from the Chaleur Regional Hospital. Throughout our journey, we had absolute confidence in all of the doctors, nurses and residents, and knew we were getting first-rate care.
After our little boy was born, the doctors identified some minor issues, which extended our stay at the hospital and made the Special Care Nursery our home for the first week of Lennon’s life. We were cared for by people who loved what they were doing, and that meant the world to us.”
“As a nurse, one of my responsibilities is to adapt to patients’ needs and accommodate them as much as possible. Staying in a hospital is a very stressful time for patients and their families. With four patients in the same room, personal comfort can often be compromised and safety can be an issue.
Patients may spread germs and bacteria to each other when they share a common living space, especially a common toilet. They are susceptible to contracting disease due to their compromised immune system. It has been demonstrated that the rates of infection from MRSA and C. difficile decrease significantly when patients have their own space, or share with only one other patient.
Privacy is also a concern. Receiving bad news or discussing health concerns with the medical team is a very private matter. Patients may feel uncomfortable with other patients or visitors overhearing their conversations. Patients who are distressed may become anxious to a level where they are unable to take their medication.
Some patients, such as those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, may be unaware of the noise they are generating. A more private space will allow patients to be more relaxed, and talk freely to their family. They could spend more quality time with their loved ones without disturbing or being disturbed by others. Reducing the size of the wards will aid in noise reduction, including the attendant noise of other patients’ monitoring or treatment equipment.
Patients feel very vulnerable while in hospital, and their environment should make their stay as pleasant as possible. The benefits of increased infection control and privacy, as well as reduction in noise, will result in an improved hospital stay for patients. Hospital staff’s ability to provide superior care will be enhanced by a decrease in secondary infection, and more relaxed patients.
Overall, these benefits may well aid in and speed the recovery of patients, resulting in an increased turnover of the beds, more dignity and better care.”
“The hospital Staff Development Department is often solicited for arranging prevention, treatment and wellness sessions, whether it be for instance on autism which affects a large part of the population in Northern New Brunswick, breastfeeding, or bereavement support for families. We are much in favour of holding such conferences for the community but it is difficult for us to do so because we do not have the necessary space and equipment.
“Just recently I was approached by someone from a community organization to receive a well-known speaker from another province who develops wellness strategies. Since our capacity is currently very limited and we barely manage to offer training to our staff, we have to rent rooms outside the hospital, in a hotel for instance, which is expensive and less than ideal.
“With its 130 seats, the new auditorium will triple our seating capacity for doctor and hospital staff training, as well as allow us to offer services to the community as part of Vitalité Health Network’s prevention strategy. The auditorium’s increased capacity and multiple purpose aspect will help to reduce the number of repeat sessions, improve knowledge, meet training standards required, promote the development of expertise, and better serve the community.
“In a context where knowledge is exploding and becoming obsolete more quickly, it is also essential to use state-of-the-art technologies to communicate it. New equipment such as video, webinars, and videoconferences will make it possible to offer various types of training in other health facilities in the province, in addition to giving real time access to expertise from all over the world.”
STAFF DEVELOPMENT AND MEDICAL LIBRARY MANAGER, CHALEUR REGIONAL HOSPITAL, VITALITÉ HEALTH NETWORK
“In the spring of 2015, I spent 5 weeks in the nursery of the Chaleur Regional Hospital after the preterm birth of my twins for which I had been rushed to Moncton. I had a C-section at 28 weeks of gestation and my two babies, Maude and Julien, were born. Unfortunately, Julien passed away after 4 days in the incubator… My husband and I were alone in Moncton and in spite of the fact that my family came to visit, it was long and difficult.
“When I was told that Maude was stable enough to be transferred to Bathurst, I felt relieved. She weighed 2.5 lbs. when we arrived at the Intensive Care Nursery of the Chaleur Regional Hospital. I do not know how to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff for their support and kindness. My husband and I were coming to see Maude during the day. She was fed through a tube and I took her in my arms to rock her during her tube feeding. Overnight, the nurses rocked her, talked to her, and took care of her. On discharge, she was doing well and had doubled in weight.
“When you spend a long time in the hospital following delivery, you need the best possible conditions to get through it. I found that the mother was getting a lot of good care but there was not enough room for the father. Reorganizing the Mother/Child Program at the Chaleur Regional Hospital will help to better accommodate both parents, whether it be in more spacious rooms or family rooms.
During my stay, I asked people who wanted to help me to send us good vibes and…to make a donation! It is even more important now as part of the major fundraising campaign to improve the quality of care and conditions for patients as part of the Mother/Child Program. Make a donation. It’s the best way to show you care about children and to help parents.”
“During my many hospital stays, I have been the fifth patient in a room of four people on a few occasions, for a period of two to three days. You can imagine how difficult this situation was, whether it be for doctors, nurses, other patients, visitors, families, or myself. The staff were very professional and the care excellent, but these conditions were not easy for anyone.
“You felt that you were disturbing and bothering the others. The only thing that separated us was a curtain. There was not enough room for patients using a walker or in a wheelchair and the place became cluttered when meal trays were distributed. There was no confidentiality during consultations with the doctor. Both males and females had to share the same narrow bathroom at one end of the ward and the same sink at the other end.
“It is time to comply with standards. Transforming wards into private and semi-private rooms will greatly improve the comfort of patients and visitors, the effectiveness of the staff, and confidentiality during consultations with the doctor and specialists, including psychologists and dietitians. Patients will have their own bathroom, they will be able to close the door of their room to get dressed and undressed comfortably, and they will be able to adjust the room temperature as they wish. The staff will be better able to meet the specific needs of everyone. It will be more hygienic, safer, and the atmosphere will be more positive for all. It will be a win-win situation all around!”
“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2012, I was shocked. Fortunately I was treated very quickly. I had an appointment with a surgeon of the Chaleur Regional Hospital the very next day for a partial mastectomy and hormonal therapy. The doctors and staff were all extremely competent and human.
“But menopause had to be induced for me to undergo treatment, which triggered many side effects: I could no longer sleep, I had hot flashes and mood swings, I was exhausted… So I underwent total hysterectomy. It all went well but I suffered a respiratory arrest during surgery, I was at the end of my rope…
“So I was referred to a sleep specialist in Moncton and transferred for radiation therapy there. Fortunately, thanks to telehealth, I could have all my follow-ups with the sleep specialist in Bathurst. While I was on sick leave for breast cancer, my husband was transferred to Saint John for heart surgery. He was also able to have all his follow-ups in Bathurst afterwards via teleconference.
“After all these hardships, it was really unbelievable that we no longer had to travel. We could see the physician on the screen as if he was sitting in front of us. We felt very comfortable. It allowed both of us to save a huge amount of time driving, save on travel expenses, avoid additional stress, and stay close to our families and friends.
“I must however continue to travel to Moncton for my oncology follow-ups. It is a 5-hour drive for a 15-minute appointment. It would be so much easier with telehealth! With the refitting of the new ambulatory care units and additional telehealth services, I wish with all my heart that more patients will benefit from remote follow-ups. Time and cost savings are precious. For morale and recovery, staying close to your family and friends also makes a lot of difference!”
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE AND BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR