Rediscovering purpose after tongue cancer (Lew’s story)

In this video, Lew talks about being diagnosed with tongue cancer at 56 and having two surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation

Watch as Lew talks about being diagnosed with tongue cancer and distinctly remembering the oncologist’s words, “I can fix it.” He also talks about being warned that he may lose his voice and taste because one surgery was close to his vocal cords.

He discusses how he needed to travel six hours south to Winnipeg for treatment, and that his wife had to do most of the driving in harsh winter conditions. He also shares feeling self-conscious of his appearance and voice, and rekindling his spirit in his workshop, which healed him.

Lew lives in Swan River, Manitoba. He was the fire department chief and retired during his treatment. He is married with two children. In another video, Lew’s wife, Bernie, speaks about her experience as his caregiver.

When my purpose was taken from me, my spirit was broken. And, I came to a point in my recovery that I was realizing that when I was able to get back into a bit of a routine, into a place where I felt very comfortable, which was my shop in my backyard. I looked out the window many times and cried because I thought I would never ever get back into my shop.

And I would try a little bit every day and as it increased over a period of time I found my purpose and my spirit was healed.

Watch the video of Lew talking about tongue cancer and rediscovering his purpose

The Partnership’s Person-Centred Perspective initiative is committed to improving the patient experience. We are working with partners across Canada to find the best ways to offer a person-centred perspective throughout a person’s cancer journey and to help information flow throughout. The impact of a cancer diagnosis goes far beyond the physical disease. It affects every aspect of a person’s life. The initiative has focused on reporting about the patient experience, and giving health-care providers patient-centred tools and resources, which have been validated and standardized.

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