Boston for the Summer

I created this blog to keep my friends, family, and those who have shown interest in my journey updated while I have been so far away. Here is a brief rundown of my journey through the past little while. Brace yourself – it’s been a whirlwind!

December 2012, I met the love of my life, Paul Dueck, at the Asper School of Business. We dated for 3 years before getting married on January 30, 2016. We just received our wedding video this week and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Take a look at our wedding video, to see one of the best days of my life 🙂

 

Everything about our wedding was amazing, and we had a blast dancing with our friends and family at the beautiful Fairmont until they shut the party down. After the wedding we took off to Mexico for our honeymoon. When I returned to my job at National Bank Financial, much to my surprise, I was offered a new role as the Branch Administrator. After a couple weeks of careful consideration, I took the job, which ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. I love my job and am blessed to work with incredible people.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long in my new role before I started to experience lots of discomfort and unusual symptoms: severe neck pain, aches in my arms, and intermittent hearing and vision loss. On March 17th the symptoms were so bad that I didn’t think I could drive home from work, so I asked Paul to pick me up and take me to the Victoria Hospital to see if they would help me in the Emergency Room. The CT scan came back negative, and they sent me home telling me to keep an eye on the symptoms, that they thought were due to a minor car accident in a parking lot several months prior. Paul and I were frustrated by their prognosis and knew there had to be more to the story.

April continued and my symptoms grew progressively worse. The pain became unbearable, and some days I had to close my office door and lie down on the floor until the dizziness subsided. Up to this point I never missed an hour of work, and was also studying every evening for my Canadian Securities Course. On April 28th, I saw a great doctor in the ER that took time to do blood work and other tests, and scheduled an MRI for the next morning. After a day of waiting, I was told that they had found a brain tumor as big as a Christmas orange wedged between my brain stem and cerebellum.

The neurosurgeons told me that my symptoms were due to the fact that the tumor was pressing against my brain stem, and that they would need to remove it in a week (at Health Sciences, Winnipeg), before the symptoms worsened. Due to the location of the tumor, it was going to be a very challenging surgery, and they were going to have to be very careful to not damage the brain stem while attempting to remove all of the tumor. I was blessed to have a team of amazing neurosurgeons, and the surgery was a success, as they were able to remove the whole tumour. The doctors mentioned it surprisingly rolled away from the brainstem with ease.

We waited 3 weeks to get the pathology report back. Those 3 weeks were tough, as I recovered from surgery, and wondered if it had been cancerous. The report came back that the tumor was malignant, and was called Medulloblastoma; an aggressive tumor that would require further treatment (i.e., both radiation and chemotherapy) to make sure there were no cancer cells near the tumour site.

This kind of tumor is most commonly found in children, and very rarely in adults. CancerCare had only seen 24 cases in adults in the last 25 years. With such little data and recommended plans for adults, it was imperative for us to exhaust all our resources and find the best treatment plan. After long hours of careful research Mass General had come up with our family doctor as well as many colleagues we confided in. Mass General is one of about 13 hospitals in the United States that offer proton beam radiation therapy and 1 of 5 that treat my case. While the results of Proton Therapy do not differ from typical IMRT radiation (the type of radiation therapy that Canada uses), the side effects both long and short term are known to have more favourable outcomes.

It was a miracle that I was able to get in for treatment at Mass General so quickly, as one of the lead radiation oncologists at Mass General spent a lot of time talking with us, and pulled strings to get me in quickly. I require 30 radiation treatments (one each day Monday-Friday) that started on July 6th and finish around August 17th. On Tuesdays I also receive chemotherapy.

So here I am, living in an apartment for the summer with my husband, mom and and dad, just 40 feet from the hospital in downtown Boston. I never thought this would be my summer 2016, but I have been encouraged by the faith of my pastor, my family and friends and an amazing team of neurosurgeons and doctors along the way. Many of you reading have been praying for me and encouraging others to pray for me. For this I will be forever grateful and changed.

36 thoughts on “Boston for the Summer

  1. Courtney you are an absolute inspiration to us all. Your bravery and strength through this ordeal is extraordinary. We miss you here at home and look forward to your progressive recovery and return to normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Courtney, you’re an absolute warrior! Can’t wait until I can bug you with some Rebecca Black again on a Friday afternoon. Thinking about you guys!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Courtney, it’s Kim from work. I miss you a lot and think of you often. Praying for you and I know you’ll be fine xoxo Miss our Bachelor talks hope you are still watching all the drama (LOL)!! Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Courtney, I am in awe of your courage and strength! You are a walking miracle and be encouraged cause God will continue to do his miraculous to you, in you and through you! His best for you is coming! Love you tons and praying for you!
    Ginny

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for posting this, I think about you and your family often and am praying for your quick recovery. You’re strength and bravery are inspiring and I know you have an amazing support system that with help you through this. Take care,
    Judy, Brooklyn and Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Courtney, thanks for sharing your blog. Your faith and strength is an amazing example for others. I am sure the journey hasn’t been easy. Eldon and Lynn had shared your wedding Video earlier – it was so special to us since we couldn’t be there in person. It is so beautiful and when things get rough think back to that beautiful day filled with so much happiness and love. Be encouraged by the many daily prayers of God’s people. Love and prayers, Fran & Ron

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you Courtney for writing and then sharing your blog. Both you and Paul are in our prayers daily. Continue to be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you. We love you both and look forward to your return home. Werner, Debbie and Meaghan

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey Court, I’m glad you’re sharing your journey, allowing all of us to follow along your adventures, that’s we called them, and unfortunately you guys are forced to have them as well. Somedays they don’t seem like adventures, but when you’re done with this journey, they will be exactly that!… The Adventures and Paul and Courtney.

    The Lord will not put you in a situation you cannot conquer, it’s amazing to see the strength one can summon when the opportunity arises.

    We love you guys!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Courtney and Paul
    Thank you for making a blog and sharing it with us. Love love love the Wedding video. Continued prayers going out to you Courtney and Paul. You are a Warrior! God is doing incredible things in you. We’re cheering you on this last stretch of treatment! Continued healing and strength and energy to you. We Love you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Courtney and Paul,
    Truly your love story is beautiful. You both inspire so many through it all. As the lyrics of the song says, through it all my eyes are on You and it is well in me. Words you’ve written here shows the miracles and wonders continues to flow. In the midst of this, Courtney and Paul, you both demonstrated your love and care to me last June 12 by sharing your oil. 💓 Looking forward to your coming home. Seeing how He Who began a good work in you will complete it. Sweet blessings from Mapue Crew.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Courtney,
    So sorry to hear what you’ve been going through!
    Stay strong in your faith. Our God is an almighty God! Praying for you!

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  12. Courtney and Paul you have been in my family’s thoughts and prayers. Stay strong in our Almighty God and thank you for sharing this journey. You are a beautiful couple and Jeremiah 29 v 11 certainly promises a great future for the both of you as you continue to put your trust and faith in him.

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  13. Continually praying for you Courtney. God is working right now. Stay strong!

    Thinking of you and your family. 🙂

    Steve and Paloma.

    Hugs!!

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  14. Keep up the fight Courtney… we’re all praying for your speedy recovery and can’t wait for you to get back to the office. The place has not been the same without you looking out for all of us, literally. God bless.

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  15. Courtney and Paul. Our family keeping you In our prayers and thoughts. Love the verse in Jeremy that you blogged. Our God has great plans and an awesome destiny for you each as well as a couple. Keep strong in the faith. God bless you

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  16. Oh my word! I just found out about your ordeal when Heidi shared the link to your blog. I loved your wedding video! Congratulations! It’s been so long since the Wurch family and the Dueck family got together. Please know that you are in our prayers. Thank Goodness we have a Savior who loves and takes control of every situation and turns it into something good. I miss you guys. All the best and keep up the updates. Love you all!

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  17. Courtney…so thankful you’re sharing your journey. Now I can stop harassing everyone over at NBF for an update on you!! LOL
    You’re always in my thoughts and I miss your smiling face. I know you’re a fighter and you’ll come out a champ!!!
    Love you lots gf!!

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  18. Courtney, Courtney, my beautiful Courtney! You are constantly in our prayers!! God is going to do mighty things….this will be one more page in your testimony! Thanks so much for doing this….now i don’t have to “harass” your parents all the time for updates!!
    Love you!! XOXOXO

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    • Congratulations on your wedding, and thank you for posting that beautiful video.
      Courtney, we are sorry to hear about your health issues and we do wish you good recovery. Our prayers for you on your journey, your medical teams, your precious family, and your loyal friends. God bless!

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  19. Congratulations on your wedding Courtney. What a beautiful video you have to remember your special day. We are so sorry to hear about your health issues and we wish for you a speedy recovery. It is our prayer that your highly specialized medical teams, dear family, and treasured friends will be your beacons of faith as you travel this journey. God bless!

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  20. Courtney, you are such a beautiful Godly young woman. I have watched you over the years face a few battles. Your faith and trust in the Lord is such an example and inspiration to many people. Many times things happen to us or our loved ones and we wonder why. We may never know while we are here on earth .But I know we serve an awesome God and what ever we go through He is there beside us. He will bring you through this victoriously ! Praying for you and your family.
    Hugs!!

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  21. Thank you for sharing Courtney! My brother is Carl Pfahl and he shared the news with me and my husband Malcolm back in April. We have been praying and thinking about you – thank you for starting this blog to keep us up to date! Though we have never met your in our thoughts. ❤

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  22. Hey Courtney! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us, I know a lot of people at work were touched by your kind words and are following along on your website. We’re all thinking of you and can’t wait to get your smiling face back in the office!!

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  23. We are praying for God’s abounding grace and healing for you as you continue to trust Him through this trial that He uses to mould you into His image.

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    • Dear Courtney , although we don’t know You in person, but your Father told us your story , we are praying for the ” happy ending”
      All the best
      Jan &Marta

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  24. Hi Courtney. I just wanna let you know, you are Redeeemed!!!
    This chapter shall be closed & be no more as it has no place in your future.
    Many blessings to you & your growing family :).

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  25. Courtney !!
    We all send our love to you and your whole family. Please know that our family sends you our prayers each and every day
    Blessings,
    Jon and Janice Botterill

    Like

  26. Hi there…I just finished reading your recent blog…please know our thoughts & prayers are certainly with you & Paul!! ( You are very beautiful!) Love Aunt Mary & Uncle Larry Hugs xoxox

    Like

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