This story was provided to the Millionaire Lottery team by the VGH + UBC Hospital Foundation.
In the summer of 2018, Kimberly Touen started to feel chest pains. As a lifelong athlete and health nut, she was convinced she had exerted herself too much and began to pull back from her exercises to give herself rest. But when the problems persisted, she went to her local hospital in Alberta to receive answers. They told her she must have had asthma and asked her to go home with a puffer.
Kim wasn’t convinced. The problems were onset too fast, and as a nurse herself familiar with health care, she wanted a second opinion, and she wanted the best. So she returned home to Vancouver where she was brought into the care of the doctors at VGH.
It was here she was given her true diagnosis - Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. A rare disease that usually found in the salivary gland or brain, but in her case it displayed in her lungs. The disease had caused a cancerous tumour to form and without an operation, she wouldn’t make it. As a young mother, the idea of not being there for her child was devastating, but thankfully she had made the right decision and was given the very best care at VGH.
In steps Dr. John Yee, who in October 2018 extracted the cancerous tumour. The operation was a success, and three weeks later Kimberly was sent home, officially cancer free.
It has been more than a year since her surgery and Kim is grateful to be alive and well.
Inspired by her time spent with Dr. John Yee, she is planning a return to school to train and become a surgeon herself. In the meantime, she is working part-time as a nurse in Fraser Health (she was working with VCH until recently) in the stroke/brain injury units.