Thunder Bay resident honors St. Joe’s team after receiving life-saving care
Rainer David is on the road to recovery following life-saving treatment received at St. Joseph’s Health Centre.
To show their gratitude, Rainer and his wife April David named their
St. Joe’s team to the Circle program by making gifts in their honour.
“We are very thankful to the all of the doctors, nurses and support staff of St. Joseph’s Health Centre who showed such superior care & compassion to Rainer and I during this difficult time,” said April. “It has been a difficult journey, but thanks to the care received, Rainer is home and feels fantastic.”
For Rainer, his journey towards recovery all started with a trip to his local pharmacy.
“I was having trouble breathing, so I went to our local pharmacist to see if he could recommend an over-the-counter medicine to make me feel better. Rolf, our pharmacist, is a great guy,” said Rainer. “When I told him my symptoms, he said it sounded more serious than I anticipated, and that I should go to the Emergency to rule out a heart problem.”
Rainer took Rolf’s advice and went to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Emergency where a CT scan revealed a serious illness; Rainer had a cancerous tumour growing on his pancreas.
Everyone would prefer to receive treatment close-to-home, but the Davids were told that unfortunately there weren’t any surgeons in Thunder Bay who were comfortable with performing a biopsy on Rainer’s pancreas.
"We are very thankful to all of the doctors, nurses and support staff of St. Joseph's Health Centre who showed such superior care & compassion to Rainer and I during this difficult time."
“Dr. Peeva from the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre recommended Dr. Shiva Jayaraman at St. Joseph’s,” said April.
Even though it would mean travelling 1,400 km to Toronto, Rainer, April and the medical team in Thunder Bay felt this would give Rainer the best chance of success.
Before undergoing the complex surgery to remove Rainer’s tumour, Dr. Jayaraman, along with Dr. Melanie Tsang and their team, needed to perform more tests to determine if he was strong enough to withstand the procedure.
The tests revealed that Rainer would first need to undergo open-heart surgery. For most patients, heart surgery alone is a major life event, but for Rainer, it was just the first hurdle.
The St. Joe’s team partnered with cardiologists from Toronto General Hospital to replace Rainer’s left aortic valve. Thankfully the surgery was successful, and the team of doctors believed that Rainer would be strong enough to survive the next step – removal of his tumour.
On November 30th, 2017, barely one month after being diagnosed, Dr. Tsang performed a distal pancreatectomy (removal of part of the pancreas) and splenectomy (removal of the spleen), removing the cancerous tumour before it spread to other organs.
This surgical procedure is extremely invasive and taxing on the body. During his recovery, Rainer was visited by volunteer Mark Reid and his wonderful dog Jack as part of St. Joe’s Pet Therapy program.
“As sick as Rainer was the day Jack came to visit him, Jack was able to put a smile on Rainer’s face,” said April. “Your Pet Therapy program is great – this is a perfect example of how pet therapy makes a difference in the lives of people who are going through difficult health situations.”
Rainer was discharged from St. Joe’s on December 6, 2017. April tells us that no chemotherapy is needed, and Rainer feels fantastic!
The Davids expressed their thanks to their full St. Joe’s team by making Circle donations dedicated to everyone who had a part in Rainer’s recovery – even Jack the dog!
The Circle program is a way for patients to say thanks to their doctors, nurses, staff, volunteers and team.
Have you received great care from a St. Joe’s team member? Honour them by adding their name to the St. Joe’s Circle program by clicking the button below, or by calling 416- 530-6704.