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Your tickets support vital care services at the Grey Nuns and Misericordia Hospitals.
“Amputation was the hardest thing I ever did. But I’m so thankful to the Grey Nuns for the life I have now.”
Kirstin was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old. It is because of her illness that her feet became numb to touch and temperature. This would have a lasting effect on her health, as in 2006 she would suffer 3rd degrees burns on her feet and her quality of life and mobility would be severely impacted.
She was in and out of hospital for the next 12 years for skin grafts, pressure sores, ulcers and wounds with the constant threat of amputation. This brought her to Covenant Health's Grey Nuns Hospital, where she received IV therapy before being admitted permanently for the foot ulcers that plagued her. While she was in the hospital, she received personal care, especially from one nurse who was particularly committed to seeing her return home healthy.
“She was at my bedside every single day, sometimes for hours, just talking to me and getting to know me, and seeing what kinds of things I needed.”
Eventually Kirstin was on the road to recovery and healthy enough to go home.
“I was able to leave because of the amazing care I got from the nurses and doctors. They saved my feet at that point.”
Unfortunately, within a year, the wounds returned, and she was back at the Grey Nuns Hospital. At this point, the infection had spread deep within her bones and she had to make the life altering decision of whether or not to keep her foot.
“I actually had to say, “I want you to amputate my foot.” I couldn’t just nod, I actually had to say it.”
Though the decision was not an easy one, Kirstin opted to amputate and from that day has walked the road to recovery.
Kirstin was in the hospital for six months after the surgery, giving her leg time to heal and then be fitted for a prosthetic foot. She had to return a year later for a revision surgery, a very common surgery among amputation patients.
“The doctors and nurses that I had worked with before would recognize me and comment that I was back. I felt welcome and like I had a second home there.”
These days, Kirstin is stronger and more mobile than ever and very grateful for the opportunity she has been given to spend time with her children and her husband Jerry as a healthier, happier mom and wife.
“Thank you isn’t enough. There aren’t really words that can describe the way I was cared for there. The staff were so integral in my healing. They recognized challenges I was having before I even realized I was having them.”
Your support of DreamLife Lottery has allowed us to help patients like Kirstin on her road to recovery. Thank you.
"I didn’t know if I would ever speak again. The treatment I received at iRSM has had a huge impact on my quality of life.”
Kimberly’s life was dominated by her career, balanced with mountain hikes and yoga.
But early in 2014, Kimberly’s life took a drastic turn. She noticed a small white spot on the side of her tongue, and within several months, it had grown immensely and turned red. After her biopsy, Kimberly received a phone call at work. She was diagnosed with tongue cancer.
After a multitude of tests to determine the severity of the cancer, Kimberly found out that 1/3 of her tongue would need to be removed and reconstructed from a piece of her forearm.
Coming out of surgery, she could not speak or eat, and could hardly stand. “I had so much swelling you could barely tell I had a neck,” she said.
After this surgery and 30 rounds of radiation therapy, the pain became so intense Kimberly couldn’t eat. But the dedicated staff at the Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine (iRSM) located at Covenant Health's Misericordia Hospital helped Kimberly on her road to recovery. Consistent, thorough and compassionate speech and swallowing therapy allowed Kimberly to re-build the sense of self she had before her diagnosis. With the iRSM's help, she was able to talk again.
She is eternally grateful to the care she received at the Misericordia. “When care is compassionate, it gives so much confidence to a patient like me. I didn't think that I would ever be able to speak or eat on my own again. Or even breathe on my own without assistance”. The therapies and ongoing speech and swallowing monitoring gave Kimberly the confidence to start eating softer foods without fear of choking.
“They helped us feel included in our care and brought us true empowerment.”
It’s been nearly five years since Kimberly left the Misericordia Hospital, and she still visits for regular checkups, confident that she’s in the best hands.
“The program that exists here at the iRSM at the Misericordia is actually world-famous. Other countries come here to learn how to do the jaw, dental and facial reconstruction surgeries and treatments that happen right here in Edmonton.”
“I didn’t know if I would ever speak again. The treatment I received at iRSM has had a huge impact on my quality of life.”
Your ticket purchases help provide care to patients like Kimberly at the Misericordia Hospital. Thank you for your support.
“My babies were born at 4 lbs. The care we received at the Grey Nuns was second to none; it was exactly what we needed.”
At 27, Crystal was told she would never have kids, something that was really hard for her to accept. She did the only thing she could and threw her energy into creating a life she could be proud of.
But years later, fate intervened with a surprise pregnancy and a beautiful baby boy. More good news came a couple years later when she found out she was pregnant again – with twins.
“It’s incredible how much better life is with kids,” Crystal said. “My idea of heaven is reliving every moment of my kids’ lives over and over.”
Her second pregnancy was not as picture-perfect as her first. The twins were diamniotic, making her pregnancy higher risk. Crystal was put on bedrest for a month before the babies were born in a c-section – 2 months earlier than their due date.
The tiny twin boys were born at 3lbs 12oz and 4lbs 2oz, and quickly transferred hospitals so that they could receive care at Covenant Health's Grey Nuns. Thanks in part to the care they received, the 5-month-olds – who would be 3-months if born at full term – are now happy and healthy at 14lbs. Doctors have said that they are almost indistinguishable from full term babies, a testament to the care they received in their earliest days.
Nestled in at Grey Nuns, mom Crystal felt she received the best care she could have for her and her babies.
“They were vital to my mental and emotional health and they were vital to my babies every type of health.”
While being the new mom of twin boys could be an extremely overwhelming situation, Crystal was well taken care of and given the time she needed to rest.
She’s extremely grateful to the hospital that helped her through her most difficult times and would like to encourage others to support the facility that supported her.
“Projects like DreamLife are definitely a necessity when it comes to making sure that people are going to get the best care possible. I’ll do anything I can to help them out and I urge anybody, all my friends, to get involved.”
Your ticket purchases have been instrumental in allowing us to provide care for patients like Crystal and her twin boys. Thank you for your support.