Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Walkerville custodian battles rare cancer

By Craig Pearson,
Windsor Star
Published: Friday, February 22, 2008
He'd have a better chance of being hit by lightning - and maybe he'd choose that over the rare and ravenous tumor now eating his insides - but Scott Wilson refuses to consider himself unlucky.
"It hasn't changed me in any way," the affable 29-year-old father of two said Monday. "I'm not going to let this take me down. I have a family to take care of."
Just before Christmas, Wilson started feeling nauseous. A few days later he felt a lump in his abdomen. By the time he had the diagnosis confirmed in late January, the cancerous tumor had wound around his intestines - and began spreading, showing up in diagnostic images as nearby specks.
"It's wrapped around my bowels right now, so there's no possible way they can do surgery," Wilson said. "It's a very rapid aggressive cancer. It's spreading."
Wilson travelled to a specialist in Toronto, who confirmed that he had something called a desmoplastic small round cell tumor, a soft-tissue sarcoma.
Soft-tissue sarcomas represent less than one per cent of all cancers, while the desmoplastic variety are even rarer, usually attacking boys or young men.
"My doctor told me there were only six people in Canada who have this," said Wilson, adding that his doctor also told him the condition is incurable but can be treated. "I would have a better chance of winning a lottery twice than getting what I have now."
Desmoplastic tumors show high recurrence rates and can be fatal.
The news, which Wilson said initially angered him, comes at a difficult time for his family.
"It was really hard," said Wilson's wife Tonya, 27, an American who met Scott through an Internet chat room about five years ago and moved to Canada a year ago. "We're just starting our family. What are we gong to do? What's going to happen? I don't want my husband taken away."
The couple have a one-year daughter, Aubrey, and Tonya's eight-year-old son, Conner.
Besides his inspiring attitude, Wilson has something else going for him: an extended family at Walkerville Collegiate high school, where he works as an afternoon custodian.
Wilson began 30 weeks of chemotherapy on Monday - in hope the tumor can be shrunk enough to be operated on - and has thus been feeling nauseous and tired.
But fellow custodians, faculty and students have rallied behind him.
They have raised more than $1,000 through bake sales and hot-lunch programs, to help the Wilsons cover travel and lodging expenses in the coming months. And the Walkerville crowd will hold a fundraiser for him tonight at the Fogolar Furlan - complete with sports memorabilia, since Wilson's a sports fan, and Elvis impersonators, because he loves The King.
Wilson said he looks forward to getting together with his school community, since he cannot work - nor continue to help coach the school badminton team - while undergoing chemotherapy.
"We miss him. He's family," said fellow custodian Rick Hancrar. "It's quiet around here. Kids are asking me about him every day."
Wilson said he now appreciates his family that much more, not to mention his Walkerville Collegiate friends.
"I can't say thank you enough times to tell them how much it means to me what they're doing," Wilson said with a smile. "There aren't enough thank-yous. There aren't enough hugs for me to give."
Helping hand
A fund-raiser for Walkerville Collegiate custodian Scott Wilson, recently diagnosed with a rare desmoplastic tumor, will be held tonight at the Fogolar Furlan Club. Tickets are $15. For more information or to donate, call 252-6514.
Desmoplasia 101
Desmoplasia refers to the formation of adhesions, or scar tissue. Desmoplastic small round cell tumors are classified as soft-tissue sarcoma. Because it is so rare and spreads so quickly, the disease is often misdiagnosed, and primarily occurs as multiple masses in the abdomen.
Source: Wikipedia

No comments: