Late yesterday afternoon, in a small boardroom within the Neurology department of Toronto Western Hospital, I was privileged to see the culmination of a project that almost three years ago was little more than a glimmer of an idea shared between three like-minded ladies, all touched by harsh reality that is life with a brain tumour.
Let me explain.
We are beyond fortunate to have the amazing healthcare system that we do in Canada. We have some of the best doctors in the world performing some of the most advanced surgical procedures in the world. And everyone in the country has equal access to these doctors and the phenomenal work that they do.
We are also fortunate in this country to have some truly wonderful support services, that are also often offered free of charge, for patients and caregivers affected by a host of illnesses and diseases.
But what can be missing in our healthcare system is a way to match patients and their caregivers with the myriad of support services that are available to them.
I found this out first hand as I made my way through my brain tumour journey. I wasn’t sure who or where to turn to when I had questions. And so, after meeting a woman who had just travelled the brain tumour journey with her husband also under the care of my neurosurgeon (and who is now a good friend), and along with my mom, and idea was born.
Starting today, all new patients of my neurosurgeon will receive a small bag. Inside, they will find a pamphlet, co-authored by my friend, my mom, and myself, outlining all the pertinent hospital information new brain tumour patients might need. In it, you’ll find all the policies and procedures for the doctor’s office, little things like the hours and locations of the blood labs in the hospital, and BIG things, like where to go when you need help – medical or emotional, regardless of where you are in your brain tumour journey.
Also included is a brochure for an absolutely amazing support centre called Wellspring where all cancer patients and their caregivers, including patients with either benign or malignant brain tumours, can go for support.
And lastly we’ve included the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s handbook. So patients will have, at their fingertips, the most accurate information about brain tumours, of all kids, at their fingertips (eliminating, we hope, the need for endless google searches that may or may not yield accurate information).
I know this doesn’t sound like much, but it is our sincerest hope that this little project will be a little beacon of light for other patients, that in looking through this information, they may find a spark of inspiration to seek support, and that maybe this might help brighten the path along this journey for new brain tumour patients.