Stories of Care - Patients

Cancer patient Areej

Areej - Defying Cancer, Sparking Generosity

May 27, 2024

Areej's health care journey began when she was pregnant with her third child. Though she delivered a healthy baby boy on November 24, 2022, she was hospitalized for an additional ten days due to complications related to preeclampsia. In the weeks following her return home, concerns arose when her stomach began growing again, defying the natural postpartum trajectory. As her stomach continued to grow to the point that she was in excruciating pain, she returned to the emergency room.

At intake, seeing Areej's abdomen distended like she was nine months pregnant and listening to her complaints of acute pain, the doctor's first thought was that Areej was in labour.

"I was like, no, no, we just did this. There's no way it's labour," says Areej.

Courage in Adversity

An ultrasound uncovered a much more profound issue: two masses on her ovaries and significant fluid buildup. The fluid was drained and tested, culminating in a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

In January 2023, Areej underwent a complete hysterectomy, with surgical intervention extending to her abdomen, liver and spleen. Three weeks of recovery paved the way for a determined battle against cancer through six rounds of chemotherapy that lasted through June. Now on maintenance therapy with 'No Evidence of Disease,' Areej hopes that this two-year regimen of maintenance medication will keep her cancer-free.

Finding Strength in Community

Areej's journey was buoyed by a robust support network. Her family, especially her husband, sister and mother, played a crucial role in managing the challenges of surgery, chemotherapy and caring for a newborn. Areej especially drew strength and inspiration from her mother, a cancer survivor who underwent radiation therapy for breast cancer at the Juravinski Cancer Centre, throughout her own grueling treatment process.

Areej is grateful for the exceptional care provided by Hamilton Health Sciences, specifically recognizing Dr. Nica and her oncology team. She emphasizes the empathetic and genuine care she received, highlighting the pivotal role of compassionate support in her journey.

This autumn, Areej found herself not only a survivor but a ray of hope for her community. In October, she united her community to partake in Illuminight (Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation's annual signature fundraising event), and together, they fundraised a staggering $7,836.

Areej's triumph is more than a personal victory. Her story stands as a testament to the strength of the community and the unwavering dedication to ensuring the best possible care for those bravely confronting the challenges of cancer.

Your generous support makes these kinds of life-saving interventions possible. It’s your commitment and compassion that equip dedicated health care teams with the tools they need to save lives. Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre serves a region of 2.3 million people across south-central Ontario, and the need for its specialized services — like cancer care that saved Areej's life — is only growing. Donate today.

More Stories of Care

Read the stories of patients whose lives were touched by donor support.
Alleviating an Abdominal Aneurysm
Dramatic Developmental Growth
Exceptional Care is a No-Brainer at The General
Diabetes Leads to Life-Threatening Coma