Crystal Stark is thankful to have the Regina Cancer Patient Lodge in her life.
“I don’t know how I could have gone through this as well if I didn’t have the Lodge,” says Crystal.
Crystal has come through six months of chemotherapy at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre for Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She was diagnosed in October 2019.
For the resident of Mossbank, southwest of Moose Jaw, her treatment plan meant trips to Regina every month for 2-3 days at a time. Her brother offered her the chance to stay at his place in the city. Not knowing what to expect from chemotherapy, the Lodge made the most sense.
“I remember going in the first time (to the Lodge), and it was my first time having to go in for chemo. My head was just kinda spinning. Being greeted at the door, ‘Hi, you must be Crystal,’ and being shown around. It was so nice to be treated like that,” Crystal explains.
Her husband would bring her into the city for the first few treatments. Realizing she was tolerating the treatment okay, she eventually came on her own. For Crystal, the little things the staff did are what meant the most to her. They made her stay as relaxed as possible, just like home.
“Every time I stayed there, everybody always went out of their way to be helping,” she says.
On one occasion, the guest parking lot was full. A staff member offered her a space in the employee lot overnight.
At the Lodge, Crystal could nap when she felt tired. If Crystal’s treatment was over the lunch hour the staff would either prepare food she could take with her or set food aside if she would be coming back late to the Lodge. She could be by herself if she needed but also around other patients when she was up to it.
“And I really appreciated being there with other cancer patients once I got settled in. It was nice to be able to talk to people that were not on the same journey as me but similar journeys,” she says.
Crystal’s cancer journey has not been easy. She is cancer-free right now but her type of cancer is aggressive. At the time of writing this, she is undergoing a STEM cell transplant in Saskatoon. Afterwards, she will also need maintenance chemotherapy regularly for three years. Her time at the Lodge is not over.
That’s why Crystal is sharing her story today. For her and cancer patients across southern and central Saskatchewan, the Lodge is essential. She wants to ensure the Lodge, her home away from home, is there when she needs it.
She’s encouraging everyone to support the urgent upgrades needed at the Lodge.