The Blood Cancer Experience
The Blood Cancer ExperienceMay 25, 2021
Beyond Childhood Cancer: a Conversation With Alyssa
Alyssa Brandone was 11 years old when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. In this podcast episode, Alyssa shares her experience with a pediatric blood cancer and how the support of her family and friends helped her overcome the challenges of integrating back into “normal” life after treatment.
Brain Fog and Work: A Conversation with Sukant
In this episode of our AYA podcast series, Sukant Sharma shares his experience balancing work, side effects, and his personal life after being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Preparing for Treatment with Shae-Lynn
After being diagnosed with leukemia at 21 years old, Shae-Lynn Way shares her experience with shifting her mindset while preparing for a second stem cell transplant after her leukemia returned.
The Power of Perspective: Michelle Burleigh's Experience with APL
Originally thought to be a locked muscle from exercise, Michelle Burleigh shockingly discovered that she had a rare form of Acute Leukemia. In this podcast, Michelle recounts her experience being diagnosed with APL, revealing how her sudden diagnosis taught her about finding perspective, slowing down, and making the most of each day despite living with uncertainty.
Life After Cancer: Love Life with Meredith
A love life can be positively or negatively affected if one of the partners is diagnosed with cancer. Meeting a new partner following the disease could also cause several concerns. How to discuss changes in the relationship with your partner? How to deal with possible sexuality and fertility problems? Should someone tell a new date that they had cancer? If so how and when?
Life After Cancer: Relearning to Live Your Life with Eric Pesarchuk
Being affected by cancer at the beginning of the adult life often forces to put various projects on hold. The impacts of the disease are numerous, and they sometimes affect the identity of the person. Once the remission is pronounced, how is it possible to go back to a normal life?
Fear of Recurrence: Expert Tips and Coping Strategies with Jacqueline Galica
Jacqueline Galica an oncology-certified Registered Nurse with over 20 years of experience in oncology. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the Queen’s University School of Nursing, where her research program focuses on the psychosocial concerns – including fears of cancer recurrence - of post-treatment cancer survivors.
Life After Cancer: A Conversation on Survivor's Guilt with Grace
It was a surgery for a rare congenital heart defect that lead Grace's doctors to shockingly discovered her stage II Hodgkin's Lymphoma. In this episode of the AYA podcast series, Montana and Grace discuss the realities of isolation and survivor's guilt that come with achieving remission after a blood cancer diagnosis as a young adult.
Here to Help: A Conversation with Charlotte and Natasha
Join Charlotte Hall-Coates and Natasha Sani as they discuss the role of a Community Services Lead in providing personalized support to those in the blood cancer community. In this podcast, Charlotte and Natasha highlight the individualized support available to you through the Community Services Lead in your region and how they can help you through each step of your blood cancer experience.
Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia: A Conversation with Lindsay Thompson
It was an ordinary bump on the elbow that wouldn't heal that led Lindsay Thompson to her doctor. The eventual diagnosis of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) came as a complete surprise. Lindsay shares how she found strength in support from her family and coworkers to help her through her diagnosis and treatment.
The next generation of blood cancer researchers
In this podcast you'll meet two members of the McMaster SynBio team, a student-led research team that hopes their research will improve treatments for B-cell lymphoma. The team is working on a method that they hope will ultimately kill the cells responsible for B-cell lymphoma while leaving healthy cells intact.
The team gathers passionate undergraduate students from across scientific disciplines to participate synthetic biology projects. What is synthetic biology? It is the engineering and redesign of biological systems that do not already exist in nature.
Al Pritchard shares his experience with a rare lymphoma
When Al Pritchard learned that he had anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), he told himself that cancer was not going to take anything from him. Taking control meant not only sharing his diagnosis with family and friends, but also with his work community. The support he received showed him that he was not alone and this is something he would say to anyone that is newly diagnosed. "You are not alone. Reach out to organizations and ask for support even when you don't know what to ask for."
Karen Williamson share her stem cell transplant experience
Karen Williamson was feeling well and looking forward to a trip to Europe so it was a shock when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She spent many months in the hospital being treated for the disease. Early on her medical team told her she would need a stem cell transplant. Karen says she was the process went relatively smoothly. However, she admits that reading about what was going to happen did not do her any good. "What I needed to do was take it one day at a time and trust my medical team."
Ron Ternoway learns and lives with Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia
When Ron Ternoway was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (WM), he did what he has always done when faced with an unfamiliar topic. He tracked down as much information as he could so he could be a full partner is his treatment. "My way of freaking out when I got the big 'C' diagnosis was to learn as much as I could."
Ron is also generous with his knowledge, sharing it through a local support group and as a First Connection volunteer. Ron continues to live with WM and in this episode, he shares how he has coped physically and mentally.
Eric Pitters - CLL Watch and Wait
It's not at all surprising that when Eric Pitters was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) he told his doctor, "I've got a cancer and I want it treated now." However, his doctor explained that it would be best to use an approach called Watch & Wait. Several studies have shown that early treatment does not have benefits for low-risk blood cancers and does not lengthen your life.
While he trusted his doctor's expertise, Eric admits that it was difficult to deal with knowing the cancer was not being immediately treated. Eric explains what watch & wait has meant for his cancer and how he has coped.
Diagnosis and treatment of hairy cell leukemia: Brent Kirchner shares his story
Brent Kirchner returned from an afternoon at the local pool not feeling well and thinking he was coming down with the flu. As his symptoms worsened, he ended up in the hospital and in an induced coma to help clear his lungs of fluid. Brent was eventually diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia, a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells. The excess cells are abnormal and look "hairy" under a microscope.
Brent shares his challenging experience of living through hairy cell leukemia and says a very good healthcare team and a strong personal support network was crucial in helping him cope.
Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN): Progress in treatment
In the last 10 years, there have been many advancements in the treatment of MPNs. In combination with a better overall understanding of its causes and what contributes to its progression, Dr. Dawn Maze says it is a very "exciting" time in the treatment of MPNs.
In this episode, Dr. Maze, a hematologist at Toronto's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, explains what MPNs are, how they are treated and the challenges those diagnosed with an MPN might face.
Understanding a diagnosis of lymphoma and what's to come with Dr. Mary-Margaret Keating
When she was a first-year resident, Dr. Mary-Margaret Keating's grandfather was diagnosed with a fast-growing lymphoma. At the time, she was unable to answer many questions from her family. It made her more interested in trying to understand the disease and was one of the factors that influenced her to specialize in treating lymphomas. Dr. Keating, a hematologist in Halifax, continues to be motivated by the treatment advancements which help those who are very sick get better. She also values the many long-term relationships she has formed with those affected by lymphoma and their families.
What I learned from my AML experience: Sarah Robertson shares her story
While her experience with an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) was filled with uncertainty - waiting for a diagnosis, not knowing the effects of chemotherapy, undergoing a stem cell transplant - Sarah Robertson says she learned some important lessons. She discovered she had an incredible supportive network of family and friends. She also says cancer forced her to slow down and focus on taking care of herself.
LLSC AML resources
Darren Bessette explains how "revolutionary" treatment used to treat his DLBCL
When Darren Bessette was re-diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in 2019, it was more difficult to treat. Darren says he was fortunate to get access to a "revolutionary" new treatment through a clinical trial. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a way to get immune cells called T cells to fight cancer by changing them in the lab so they can find and destroy cancer cells. In this episode, Darren shares his experience and how it led to his efforts to help others with a blood cancer.
Embracing fear and courage: Jeanette Castillo shares her Ph+ ALL experience
When she was diagnosed with Philadelphia positive acute ALL (PH+ ALL) in 2007, Jeanette Castillo leaned heavily on her healthcare background to cope. Having seen many people go through their own health challenges with a hopeful perspective, she adopted a similar attitude. Now 14 years post-stem cell transplant, Jeanette admits is was a long a scary road, but she says, "It's okay to be afraid. You can't be brave or courageous without fear."
Living with a blood cancer and staying safe as COVID restrictions lifted
The lifting of many COVID restrictions across Canada may leave people living with a blood cancer feeling anxious and uncertain. However, Dr. Gerard Farrel, a GP from Newfoundland, says the best approach is to keep doing what you've been doing for the past 2 years for at least the next 2 months. In this episode, Dr. Farrel offers advice on what those living with a blood cancer can do to stay safe.
A Conversation with Doug Chisolm
Ever since he was diagnosed with myelofibrosis 20 years ago, Doug Chisolm has tried to live every day to the fullest, even spending all his retirement savings and having to start saving again. In this episode, Doug speaks about the ups and downs of his blood cancer experience, why he thinks it's crucial to have a strong support system and what he shares as a First Connection peer volunteer.
Myelodysplastic Syndrome: A Conversation with Gail Whiteford
Gail Whiteford returned from a 2014 hiking trip in Japan and Australia, visited her doctor for her annual physical, and was shocked to, soon after, be diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). In this episode, Gail shares her treatment experience and some of the important lessons she has learned, maybe the most important one being, "I learned it is not weak to ask for help."
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: A Conversation with Andy Friedman
Andy Friedman returned to Ontario from BC’s Gabriola Island with a plan to spend more time with his grandchildren. What he did not plan on was a chronic lymphocytic leukemia diagnosis. In this episode, Andy talks about the good and bad of his post-diagnosis life, including his experience with watch and wait. He also shares two important pieces of advice for others with a blood cancer: don’t ever look at Google and lean on your social supports.
Acute myeloid leukemia: A conversation with Lois Lewis
When Lois Lewis was diagnosed with AML in 2010, she had just retired from a career filled with music - as a music therapist, music teacher and leader of an intergenerational choir. Lois shares her cancer experience, which, not surprisingly, included the Gaelic version of the song Auld Lang Syne.
Multiple Myeloma – A Conversation with Patrick Alexander
Just a few days before Christmas in 2010, Patrick Alexander, an LLSC First Connection volunteer from Vancouver, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. He talks to us about his experience with his diagnosis, treatment and how it changed his view on life.
The Latest in Myeloma Treatment
Dr. Ismail Sharif, an assistant professor at Dalhousie University and with the department of hematology, provides an overview of Myeloma: its causes, current treatment options and what the future holds for Myeloma treatments.
Blood cancer in youth and physical activity
This podcast is for parents of children with blood cancer, as well as teenagers and young adults affected by this type of cancer. During and after cancer, physical activity is essential for young people. It can speed up their recovery, improve their overall health and help them cope with treatment side effects such as fatigue. In this podcast, Gabrielle Duhamel, kinesiologist and doctoral student in physical activity sciences, explains how physical activity can be safely integrated into daily life from the moment a person receives a diagnosis, as well as during and after treatments.
Living with Polycythemia vera – A Conversation with Joanne McKinley
Joanne was diagnosed with Polycythemia vera in 2012. She shares her experience with her diagnosis, the support she received from local groups and how it has changed her life.
Too Young for Cancer - A conversation with Max Parrot
In this episode, Max Parrot, professional Canadian snowboarder, an Olympic silver medalist and an eight-time X Games champion, speaks candidly about his blood cancer experience and its impact on his life and career. Max explains why he felt like "a lion in a cage" throughout treatment, and lets listeners in on what it took to get his health and mindset back on track.
No one left behind on the sad train – A conversation with Cynthia
In this special AYA episode, Montana Skurka and NHL survivor Cynthia Ghosen discuss the power of positive thinking, staying optimistic, and how goal setting can help you through treatment. Cynthia also shares how family and friends played a key role in her recovery and how her cancer experience has shaped her current career.
One in a million –A conversation with Amanda
In this special AYA episode, guest host Montana Skurka connects with Amanda Saunders, who 13 months after having a heart transplant was diagnosed with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD). The two discuss what life is like living with a rare blood cancer while completing university and living through a pandemic.
Can’t come to swim practice... I have cancer – A Conversation with Cole
In this special AYA episode, guest host Montana Skurka connects with Cole Myers. When Cole was 16 he went from competing in triathlons to being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. The two discuss diagnosis, relapse, and the silver-lining that come from their experiences.
Un-slumping yourself – A Conversation with Michael
In this special episode, guest host Montana Skurka connects with AML survivor Michael Wark. Together they explore topics of blogging and sharing a cancer experience, the importance of support networks, the power of spiritualty, and how his cancer experience has changed his life.
Not normal, but it’s okay – A conversation with Samantha
In this special episode, guest host Montana Skurka and NHL survivor Samantha Redsky discuss the all things relationships! They explore how a cancer experience can change the relationship you have with yourself, with your loved ones, and even with your own body.
Acute myeloid leukemia - A Conversation with Dr. Aly Karsan
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the bone marrow and the blood. In this episode, Dr. Aly Karsan provides an overview of AML, talks about his research and shares a message of hope for the future of AML treatments.
Dr. Karsan is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC, and Distinguished Scientist at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at BC Cancer.
Chronic myeloid leukemia - A Conversation with Dr. Kareem Jamani
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. In this episode, Dr. Kareem Jamani provides us with an overview of CML, talks about the advances in treatment options over the years, explores potential barriers to research and imparts messages to those diagnosed with CML.
Dr. Jamani is a hematologist at the Tom Baker Cancer Center in Calgary, Alberta.
CML Facts and Myths –A conversation with Todd Winsor
Todd Winsor is CML and prostate cancer survivor. In this podcast, Todd speaks about his experiences and about some myths and facts of living with a chronic blood cancer.
When your child is diagnosed with a blood cancer
Michelle Lambert, LLSC Area Manager for Newfoundland & Labrador speaks with Veronica Vardy, mother of 5 year old Amelia who is an ALL survivor. Veronica discusses the impact cancer had on her daughter, her family, and what her role as caregiver was like.
Peripheral T-cell lymphoma - A Conversation with Bob Sisler
Bob Sisler has been in remission from Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, a type of Peripheral T-cell lymphoma, since 2015. Bob shares with us his personal experience with diagnosis, treatments, and life after blood cancer. As a Peer Support Volunteer, Bob gives back to the blood cancer community through the LLSC’s First Connection program
Treating pediatric blood cancer with Dr. Abish
Dr. Abish shares insights into what it’s like treating children and teens, and the complexities of serving this youngest age group as well as their follow up care. Dr. Abish attended McGill Medical school in Montreal and then completed pediatric training at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, as well as a fellowship in pediatric hematology and Oncology in New York at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer center.
Follicular Lymphoma: Conversation with Mayra Husic
Mayra Husicwas diagnosed in 2011 with stage 4 Follicular Lymphoma while training for a marathon. In this podcast, we will talk about her experience with blood cancer such as diagnosis, treatment, side effects and so on.
Managing Long Term Side Effects with Amy Pulsifer
In this episode we speak with Amy Pulsifer about her experience managing long term effects due to her Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or CLL.
Caring for someone with acute Leukemia
In this episode we talk to Elizabeth Corkum about what it was like caring for her husband when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
Grieving a Former Reality
C. Elizabeth Dougherty is a Social Worker and Educator with extensive experience supporting children, youth and adults facing serious illness, uncertainty and grief. In this podcast, she helps us understand the different types of grief, explains how we can manage the grief that the current pandemic is causing us all to experience,as well as strategies for adapting to all the changes that we are experiencing, especially as the holidays approach.
Managing your chronic cancer during a pandemic–A Conversation with Scott Bellerby
Scott Bellerby, outpatient hematology nurse at the Tom Baker Cancer Center in Calgary, talks to us about the ways this pandemic has affected how we manage a chronic blood cancer and provides some insights on how we can continue to care for ourselves effectively.
Understanding DLBCL with Dr. Jacqueline Costello
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common type of aggressive NHL subtype. In this episode, Dr. Jacqueline Costello covers the basics of diagnosis, treatment, side effects, and research for DLBCL. Dr. Costello is an adult Hematologist and clinical assistant professor at Memorial University in St John’s, Newfoundland.
Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma – A Conversation with Paul Davis
Paul Davis is a Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma survivor. Paul has dedicated his life to serving his community, including supporting numerous not-for-profits, a policing career, a political career including having served as Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and he currently holds the position as Chief Operating Officer with a Canadian based international telehealth company. In 2011 Paul was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma and an underlying Follicular Lymphoma.
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia - A Conversation with Al Collings
Al Collings was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia over three years ago.
Al talks about learning to live well with a chronic cancer and how it has brought new meaning to his life.