Tyler’s Story: Every day I fight

Tyler’s Story: Every day I fight

At 23 I had everything. After six years of working as a conductor for the Canadian Pacific Railway I had saved enough money to buy my first house and a new car. It was also at the age of 23 where I started to get severe headaches that took me to the hospital. After my second visit they finally did some tests to see what was going on. I had a CT scan, they hooked me up to an IV and heart monitor, and was told to sit tight and wait. After about 30 minutes three doctors came over to me and closed all of the curtains around me. “We found something in your head”. I immediately panicked and asked “What is it”? The answer was: “We found a tumour in the right side of your head and it’s going to have to be removed.” 

Within a couple of hours after I got the news, I had come to terms with having a tumour and had started making jokes about it, telling my family “I’ve got a tumour and I want it out” (talking like Arnold Schwarzenegger). I spent the next few nights in the hospital while they did more testing. I want to point out that hospitals are not designed for people like me who are 6 foot 7. Not only were the gowns short but so were the beds. My feet would hang off the bed by at least a foot. 

The Oncologist informed me that I had grade 4 glioblastoma brain cancer which is the most aggressive kind. It didn’t matter to me what grade it was, either way I knew I had to beat it. 
 
All my bills were starting to add up and I was starting to run out of funds. In January 2014, I had spent all my savings. There are a lot of extra expenses when you have cancer. I had acupuncture, my diet, only 80% of my drug costs were covered, and I was on a reduced income. A friend of mine designed a t-shirt that we could sell to raise money – we sold 500. My sister put together a big fundraising event to help me with my costs. Cancer comes with very high expenses on usually a reduced income – which can greatly add to the stress. This money went a long way to help pay for all my medical expenses from here on out. 
 
I was starting to get really bored not being able to work and staying at home all day so I decided I would buy a dog to keep me busy. I bought a golden retriever and named him Jax. Getting Jax was the best decision ever. Having him around would help me get out of the house for walks and keep me company while at home - while everyone else was at work.
 
Since my first surgery in August 2014, I’ve had two more surgeries at University Hospital in London, Ontario, in September 2016, and just recently in April 2017. I’ve done radiation, chemotherapy and even participated in a clinical trial and continue to fight whatever comes my way. I’m waiting on the results of the mass removed in April from my last surgery, however the surgeon said the majority of what was removed was scar tissue, so that was great news! 
 
I would not have been able to make it this far without the support of my family and friends. I try to maintain a positive attitude and my family and friends are there to help me through the tough days and the good days. It is also important to maintain a sense of humour. I remember talking to my mom before my first surgery, that I was really worried that my personality might change - I didn’t want to lose my sense of humour – I love to laugh, and make others laugh and smile.  
 
Since getting diagnosed a lot has changed but I truly believe it’s been for the best. I’ve travelled with friends, returned to work,Tyler and Amanda bought my second house last spring and moved in with my girlfriend in December 2016. We met through a mutual friend who shares the same condition. Who would have thought a brain tumour would help you find the love of your life? We are excited to start travelling together including when my sister marries my best friend in Mexico later this year!
 
There’s not a day that goes by where I’m not grateful to be where I am today. Stuart Scott, a sports reporter who recently passed away from cancer, wrote a book called 'Every Day I Fight' which was published just before he passed. I have used that motto ever since I read his book. Because when you have cancer every day is a fight. I’m going to leave you now with a quote from Stuart Scott. "You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live."
 
Tyler and his group of family and friends will be participating in the London Brain Tumour Walk on June 11, 2017 as team Fearless4Ty. 

Thank you to Tyler and team Fearless4Ty for joining the movement to end brain tumours!
The movement is stronger because of you!

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