Having been born and raised in Timmins in Northeastern Ontario, I have a particular sensitivity to cancer patients living away from the larger metropolitan areas of the country. A myeloma patient in Timmins, for example, needs to travel 3-4 hours (depending on road conditions) to see a hematologist in Sudbury. Sometimes it is difficult to arrange for transportation, adding to stress and anxiety. And if a stem cell transplant is required, then it’s usually off to Ottawa, an 8-hour drive away. Far from family, friends and familiar surroundings for an extended period of time, and not mentioning the added financial burden that this entails.
This month’s newsletter profiles the personal experiences of four myeloma patients living in “remote” communities. Despite the challenges they face, their stories are inspiring and underscore the importance of having a strong support system.