We asked Brad to tell his story, so you can get a sense of this remarkable, gentle and talented human being.
Here is Brad's story:
"Let me start by telling those of you who may not know me well, I am a fighter. I don’t go looking for fights, but when I have to, I fight hard. And I have so much to fight for! I have a beautiful wife who has been the girl of my dreams for almost 25 years. I have three beautiful daughters whom I plan to see grow up and do amazing things with their wonderful talents, and together we live in one of the most beautiful places imaginable, Lunenburg Nova Scotia. I also take great pride in my work. I design and build pretty much whatever anyone can think of, and I love a challenge.
In February 2014, I was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Leiomyosarcoma. It is untreatable, at least in Canada. Chemotherapy and radiation have no beneficial effect on this cancer, but surgery can.
I began my journey with what I thought was a potential hernia or swollen appendix. After a few days of discomfort I went to the hospital and they performed a CT scan which revealed the true story, a tumor. This came as a complete surprise to me, I had never felt healthier in my life, it must be a mistake!?
Within weeks I had been fast-tracked through the process, being relatively young and having a rare form of cancer, I quickly became a favourite among my team of physicians. Waiting only days for MRIs and getting calls on my cell directly from my surgeons, I thought, I can beat this. When the time came for surgery, my friends rallied for me, as there was a nurses strike at the hospital and all surgeries were cancelled the day of my surgery. They all called and emailed the CEO of the QEII, and she finally agreed that this was a necessary procedure and the surgery went on as planned.
After surgery, I exceeded all expectations of the medical team. I was eating solid food a day before it was thought possible. I was walking two days after having the top cut off my hip and screwed back together (a very cool procedure allowing them to keep my abdominal muscles intact). Then tossing my walker aside for a pair of crutches and going to see my friends at the local market only six days after my surgery.
The week between Christmas and New Years, 2015. I found another lump in the same place. This time I was sure I had given myself a hernia, perhaps from getting back to work too soon? So I went to see my G.P. and she gave me that look and said, ‘That is not a hernia!’. Back in for more CT scans and biopsies, and sure enough, just an inch from the first site, another tumor. This surgery took place late in January of 2016. Nothing cool about this one, just the standard groin to sternum incision. Recovery from this was was not as fast, but due only to some complications from the surgery. Back into the hospital for five more days with adhesions before my body corrected the problem by itself. This surgery landed right in the middle of my favourite job ever, due in part to the amazing clients who will know who they are when they read this. We met our deadline and the project was the perfect distraction.
January 2017. Routine check-up. CT scan revealed swollen lymph nodes in my chest. Again my optimism got the better of me. I figured the girls had just had bad coughs for weeks, I probably have the same thing. So my surgeon asked that we wait a bit and so another CT in 4 months time. Well all hell broke loose in those four months. Metastatic cancer. The CT shows a tumor in the top left lobe of my lung, one in the bottom right lobe of my lung, and one on my left hip, confirmed by puncturing my lung and taking a biopsy. Stage four cancer.
So what does one do with all this recovery time on their hands? Research, and plenty of it! There is a lot going on around the world in the field of cancer, and for whatever reason, we don’t hear about much of it here. There are great strides being made in Germany, in America and Cuba among others.
The problem with having a ‘rare cancer’? Not a lot of time and resources are committed to finding a cure, and for that I cannot fault anyone. It just come down to numbers.
All of my research has pointed to one clinic. They began in Germany a few decades ago, and now the founder’s son runs a clini, in Santa Barbara, California. They have a unique history of complete long-term remissions of advanced and standard-therapy resistant cancers. The treatment begins with a trip to a clinic in Mexico, where they would make a vaccine from my healthy cells, and begin a week of treatments. Upon completing that round of treatments, I would be sent to the clinic in Santa Barbara for two to three more weeks of various treatments and procedures. At the end of the stay, I come home with a five month supply of vaccine for self administering. At the end of that five month period, I would be invited back for a check up, and given another round of the personalized vaccine to complete the six month treatment."
We know that Brad's frends will rally to his side, but we will need additional help. Can you help us help Brad?
- Kathy Caldwell
- Ann Miller
- Tanya Feick
- Rosey Jagnjic
- Sandra Bertoia
Organizer and beneficiary
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