A beloved pillar and generational citizen of Trent Hills, Norma Thompson says she was not feeling well for a couple of years. Norma was a board member of the Campbellford Memorial Hospital (CMH), who served two terms, from 2000 to 2009, including as Chair from 2004 to 2006. Always advocating what’s best for the hospital and the community, Norma has also been and continues to be involved with many boards and committees in Trent Hills. She is still one of the few honourary board members of the Campbellford Memorial Hospital. Norma is a loving mom to Jim Thompson, Heather Keelan and Beth Wismer. She has seven amazing grandchildren and six (soon to be seven) great grandchildren. One of her most memorable moments on the board was being a part of the first CT Scanner Initiative at the hospital. “I knew it was going to have a deep impact for the hospital and the community.” Norma proudly told us, “Knowing how many people it will help, by having a CT scan in our hospital instead of the cost and time it takes to get transported to Peterborough or Cobourg.” Little did she know years later the CT scanner would detect a life-threatening condition.

In September of 2021, after dealing with a lengthy indescribable gastrointestinal pain, seeing doctors, specialists and dietitians and prescribed many types of medications and diets to no avail, Norma’s pain continued. She was exhausted and anxious as her condition was not improving and she was quickly losing weight. “I was discouraged, fatigued and extremely worried.” said Norma.

On September 14th she had bloodwork taken, ordered by Dr. Jamie Read, and was told she had to go to CMH the next day because her potassium levels were dangerously low. After her potassium infusion, she went home, but returned on the 17th to the CMH Emergency Department with no signs of improvement. She was quickly admitted to the hospital. She had numerous tests and hospitalist, Dr. Karishma Bhimji, ordered a CT scan. When asked how she felt about using the CT scan, she said, “It was a waiting game, but I was grateful that we have this wonderful technology in our hospital and hoping that it found my issue.” Her granddaughter Helen, who is a Sonographer at CMH, reassured Norma about doing the tests. “It’s comforting to have my granddaughter working at the hospital and knowing that there are so many professional people there who are compassionate and empathetic.”

The CT scan discovered a large mass in Norma’s upper abdomen. It was a cancer called a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour. Shocked but grateful that her pain was finally diagnosed, “I put my faith in the doctors, nurses and staff, what had to be done had to be done.”

The next few months were a whirlwind of hospital appointments and admittance for Norma.

On November 4, 2021 she had surgery to remove the tumour. “I was fearful knowing that I had to have an operation but grateful that my family came to visit.” The surgery to remove the tumour took 8.5 hours due to past medical issues. “It was longer than expected because of a previous gall bladder surgery, but thankfully it was removed, and the surgeon told me the tumour was over 8 cm and was malignant and encased.”

Tests after the surgery confirmed that Norma is completely cancer free but will have to continue with routine checkups.

“If I hadn’t had the blood work at the hospital or my dangerous potassium levels found I don’t know what would have happened. The CT scan and the hospital staff saved my life,” impressed Norma.

Norma is thrilled about the new CT scan at CMH, grateful that her yearly donations went to help fund it and encourages everyone to donate to the Campbellford Memorial Hospital Foundation, whether it’s yearly donations, in memory, in honour or a tribute gift. “Better care close to home, especially the CT scanner, is an important diagnostic equipment to have in our hospital, it enables anyone and everyone in our community to have a diagnosis close to home, without having to travel far. We have an aging population in our community, this is a great benefit”.

Another option to donate to the hospital is the CMH Foundation’s Monthly Giving Program, Norma offers “Monthly giving is a great option for younger families and farmers especially when you have to budget accordingly.”

Norma and many other patients at CMH rely on vital equipment like the CT scanner to diagnose their cancer, and other medical issues, and the Foundation, in turn, relies on caring supporters like you to help our hospital become equipped with the latest technology.

For more information about the Circle of Friends Monthly Giving Program please contact Catherine Holt, Senior Development and Stewardship Officer at cholt@cmh.ca or 705-653-1140 ext. 2104.

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