Dr. Ian Choy
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The fear began the minute Sarah woke up after receiving a colonoscopy.
She saw the grim faces of her husband and the gastroenterologist, and knew the news wasn’t good. At 43 years old, with two young children at home, Sarah had colon cancer.
Sarah was immediately referred to me, a general and colorectal surgeon at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH). Just a few days later, the terrified mother was sitting across from me in my office.
Am I going to die?” Sarah asked. “What’s going to happen to me and my family?
Thankfully, after completing her staging workup, I was able to give Sarah the thing she needed most: Hope. Not only could I remove Sarah’s tumour, I would be able to do this procedure laparoscopically, minimizing the risk for complications and reducing the length of her hospital stay and recovery time.
Best of all, I could do the minimally-invasive surgery right here in Sarah’s own community.
In the OR, I removed Sarah’s tumour through five small incisions, along with part of her colon and 40 surrounding lymph nodes to make sure her cancer hadn’t spread. Afterward, Sarah spent five days recovering at OTMH before going back home to her husband and kids, to her life.
Although Sarah still thinks about her cancer experience every day and continues to be closely monitored, she didn’t need further treatment. As she celebrates her own holiday traditions with her family this season, she’ll give thanks for the opportunity to watch her kids grow up.
Much of Sarah’s gratitude is meant for you. After all, your support helps OTMH grow alongside our community. It’s the reason the hospital was able to bring me on board along with my renowned colleague, Dr. Federico Pampaloni, a surgeon with a sub-specialty in gastric cancer.
Because of you, many cancer patients like Sarah now have access to minimally-invasive techniques in the community. In fact, generous supporters like you helped the hospital replace their entire set of laparoscopic equipment, from cameras to ports, so we can offer the highest level of surgery.
But as you can imagine, technology is constantly changing. And just like with your phone, every improvement makes a difference. That’s why your gift today is so important.
We need your help to invest in new technology and bring more advanced skills to our patients.
And it isn’t just surgery. With you by our side, patients can now also receive chemotherapy and other cancer services in their own backyard.
Cancer care often requires a multi-disciplinary approach with patients making multiple visits to multiple specialists. Imagine what it must be like travelling to Toronto or Hamilton for these appointments, fighting traffic all the way. Imagine the stress this would cause.
I’ve spoken to many patients who are very grateful they can now receive the bulk of their cancer care and treatment close to home, surrounded by a team of professionals.
It takes a huge amount of resources to develop cancer specialty programs at OTMH, to buy cutting-edge equipment, and invest in the latest technology and procedures. But I believe the look in a patient’s eyes when I tell them they can get the gold standard of cancer care close to home is worth it.
I hope you believe it too. And I hope you’ll find it in your heart to make a generous gift to OTMH this holiday season. Your donation will help ensure people like Sarah can get the best cancer care anywhere in the world, right here at home.
Dr. Ian Choy
Surgeon, Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital