Patient Stories: Wendi Campbell
This story was written in June 2023, one year after Wendi's tumour was first detected. Unfortunately, Wendi passed away in January 2024.
Wendi Campbell couldn’t explain the mysterious tremors that sent shockwaves through her entire body in the spring of 2022.
She felt they were serious, but when a CT scan at St. Mary’s revealed a lesion on her brain the size of a golf ball, she couldn’t comprehend it.
Hearing the diagnosis from Dr. Bob Wickett was overwhelming, Wendi says, but the compassion he showed in delivering the news stuck with her.
“He was giving me really difficult information and it was resonating with him too,” says Wendi, who’s on medical leave from her role as CEO of the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.
“There was something reassuring about it, as overwhelming as it was.”
The ER doctor got to work quickly, setting up appointments for Wendi with a neurologist in Hamilton. He had everything laid out before returning to Wendi’s side to explain the images on her scan.
Wendi stayed at St. Mary’s for a week before having surgery to remove the tumour.
Communication from St. Mary’s staff was constant and impeccable – a nurse even accompanied Wendi to her initial consultation in Hamilton. The nurse asked the neurosurgeon complicated questions, ensuring the Campbells had the information they needed to make some sense of a staggeringly stressful situation.
“When you’re dealing with something so overwhelming, it’s the little things that make a difference,” Wendi says. “There was a sense of calm for all of us knowing we were in the right place.”
Wendi’s tumour was aggressive, she says, but the surgeon believes it hadn’t been there long.
Her story highlights the importance of quick and accurate diagnosis – something St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation has put at the forefront of its fundraising efforts for the next few years.
Upgrading old equipment and securing new machines will lower wait times for essential tests and scans, getting more patients started on treatment plans earlier.
“You hear stories about people waiting months and months for tests, but what if it’s more serious than they’re led to believe?” Wendi says. “We need that access.”
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