A letter from Emily Ager

My name is Emily Ager, I'm 23 years old, and a CT scan at Bluewater Health saved my life.

Just a few years ago, I was your average 20 year old. I was living in St. Catherine’s on my own for the first time while attending Brock University for psychology. When I began experiencing drenching night sweats, I knew something was wrong. I had some tests done in St. Catherine’s that came back compatible with Lymphoma. I was rushed home to Sarnia where I received a series of additional diagnostic scans at Bluewater Health.

Emily, in a hospital gown with her head shaved, sits with her mom outside the CT suite before getting a scan.

Hanging out with my mom, Cathy, before a visit to the CT
scanner. It wouldn’t have been possible to get through
this without her support.

The first CT scan I had said there were masses in my chest and neck. I then had a chest biopsy done with the CT scanner which came back inconclusive. Finally, a neck biopsy in the CT scanner indicated what I had feared most: I had cancer. On Valentine’s Day 2014, I was officially diagnosed with stage IIB Hodgkin Lymphoma.

There were other little things that you probably wouldn’t even think twice about that I was thankful for; like parking, arranging for transportation to appointments, length of transportation, even having to ‘dress up’ to come to the hospital. When you’re busy worrying about something as serious as cancer, it was a relief to not have to worry about the smaller stuff like this.

This diagnosis left me feeling so many different emotions; I was scared, angry, sad, and confused. There’s a lot of uncertainty that comes along with receiving and then trying to navigate through a cancer diagnosis, but I was so thankful that I was able to be so close to home and have the support of my family and the amazing staff at Bluewater Health help me through. I remember during one of my CT scans I was crying, overwhelmed with everything that was going on, when the nurse came over, rubbed my leg, and told me that everything was going to be ok.

I had dealt with previous doctors in St. Catherine’s, but it didn’t feel like they had any personal connection to me. It was completely different with Dr. Almalki. He was so caring. I genuinely felt like he cared about me and wanted to get everything figured out so I could be healthy again. He actually reached out to me afterwards to check in on how I was doing.

From the beginning of my journey, I told myself to stay positive and stay brave. I thought, “I have to. I have to stay strong.” But there were some days when you just felt like you couldn’t do it anymore. But the support I received at Bluewater Health was incredible. I wouldn’t have made it without their support. 

So, where am I now, you ask? Well, I am a little over two-years in remission, feeling pretty good, and trying to work on my ‘new normal’. I graduated from Brock University and am working as a tutor in Toronto. I am so thankful to Bluewater Health for diagnosing my cancer and getting me back on the road to recovery. Without them, I might not be here today.


Emily Ager's handwritten signature.
Cancer fighter and survivor
Grateful patient