Donor Shows She Cares, Gives Back to Hospitals That Cared For Her

Glenys Berry is quite familiar with our hospitals. Her and her husband Reg are part of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s donor family, but Glenys has also benefitted personally from transformative care and crucial CT scans in our hospitals in recent times.

After 13 scans over five years, she can attest to just how essential they are for patients like her whose lives are turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis.

Glenys felt the impact of cancer deeply in her life, even before her own battle began. She’s now lost six of her close friends to cancer.

A persistent backache and unexplained weight loss in the summer of 2014 had Glenys worried. A friend with ovarian cancer had similar symptoms—intuitively, she knew something was wrong.

She visited her GP with this concern despite no family history of cancer. A blood test for the protein CA (cancer antigen) 125, a type of bio-marker, came back with a score of 59. A high level of this protein often indicates ovarian cancer.

But that test didn’t give Glenys and her doctors the big picture of the care she needed, so they turned to imaging. When Glenys came to Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJH) for a CT scan, it revealed a mass on her ovary.

She’s one of thousands of patients at our hospitals each year who rely on CT scans for fast, accurate diagnoses. Glenys recently shared her story with the Victoria Hospitals Foundation in support of The Big Picture campaign, which aims to raise $4 million to fund priority imaging equipment, including a new CT scanner at RJH.

Following CT scans, Glenys was referred to a gynecologist who performed an ultrasound to confirm the presence of the mass. “I’m so lucky to have doctors who care so deeply about me, and who have the right technology available so they can see what’s going on inside my body right now,” says Glenys.

Ten days later, she had surgery to remove the mass and determine whether it was, in fact, ovarian cancer.

Nearly every surgery performed at our hospitals requires imaging before, during, or after. Can you help us equip our surgeons with the most advanced tools?

Glenys recalls hoping that the mass would be benign as she was preparing for surgery. “When I saw my husband Reg’s face for the first time after coming out of the operating room, I saw compassion, but no relief. That’s when I knew the mass was cancerous.

She then met with her oncologist to make a plan for treating her cancer with chemotherapy. Inspired by her passion for horses, Glenys refers to her experience starting each chemotherapy treatment as riding in to battle. She rides her horses often on the trails around her and Reg’s Sooke acreage. She even steeled her nerves before each treatment by listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack.

Unfortunately, twice she had a bad reaction to her chemotherapy and had to return to the hospital to treat diverticulitis and later sepsis, resulting in a permanent colostomy and having to stop her chemotherapy for weeks at a time. “I was afraid that the cancer was growing back.”

A CT scanner is a fundamental tool for cancer treatment from diagnosis to follow-up. Donors like you can put the most advanced CT technology in the hands of our caregivers by supporting The Big Picture campaign.

In the fall of 2015, her scans showed no evidence of disease. She was in remission. But her journey wasn’t over yet—an elevated CA 125 count and follow-up imaging revealed that her cancer had come back, this time on an artery.

To operate on this delicate structure, Glenys relied on talented surgeon Dr. Jeff McCracken. “Having surgeons you trust is so important,” Glenys attests. “I can’t say enough about the kindness of the staff at our hospitals. They make such a difference.” The surgery was a success and she is now cancer-free once again.

Glenys is still being monitored with CT scans every six months and bloodwork every three. She now welcomes her CT scans—they give her peace of mind and help her dedicated care team monitor her condition closely.

“I’m never fully cured, but I’m not worried anymore,” Glenys says. “I feel incredibly lucky that we have such great healthcare here in Victoria.” She credits her good health to her relationships with her family, friends, and doctors, as well as the excellent care at our hospitals and the equipment funded by donors to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.

Glenys and Reg have been donors of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation for many years. In fact, just recently, Reg chose to make an ongoing commitment to our hospitals by becoming a monthly donor. Their ongoing support means more patients like Glenys have access to world-class care, right here at home.

As a neighbour, a mom, a teacher, a grandmother, a friend, and a donor, Glenys is a vital part of our community. She hopes sharing her journey in support of The Big Picture campaign will uplift fellow patients and inspire our community to give.

We need champions like Glenys and Reg. Champions like you. Please join us to fund vital imaging equipment at our hospitals.