CARLYLE - Two years ago, Dwayne Rogers and his wife Rosalinda were enjoying life. At the time they had only been married for three years.
Rogers was experiencing pain in his left leg which continued to get worse. Doctors thought it might be a blood clot, but that turned out to not be the case. When his blood work results came back, he was told that they showed blast cells, which meant cancer.
He was directed to the Allan Blair Cancer unit in Regina. His doctor went straight to the point, telling Rogers and Rosalinda that he had leukemia, and he only had three weeks to live.
Rogers remembers the emotions in the room at that time.
“It was difficult to hear those words and how forward the doctor was,” said Rogers.
There were a lot of tears shed at that moment.
He was told they would need to hit this cancer with aggression if he wanted to live.
It began with heart tests to ensure that his heart would be strong enough to take the vigorous chemotherapy treatment. His heart passed with ease and chemo began.
Rogers was admitted to the Allan Blair Cancer unit and a pick line was inserted into his heart. One bag of chemo treatment would be given to Rogers every 12 hours.
“I had five things given to me at a time,” he said.
The doctors and nurses asked him continuously if he felt sick, and not once during the treatments did he feel under the weather.
Regular bone marrow biopsies were done, along with blood work to check for more blast cells.
After his vigorous chemo treatment, it showed that Rogers was going into remission, but his immune system would be very low and need to be rebuilt.
For over a year, his leukemia was under control. He would still need the bloodwork done regularly but during this time the blast cells did not show up until one month ago. The cancer had returned.
Rogers has received two chemo belly shots in Regina and will need this done seven more times. He was able to get the remaining shots in Moosomin, which is much closer to his home.
He is slowly improving once again, but this time will need a stem cell transplant.
Rogers’ family all stepped up to the plate to be tested to see if they would be a compatible donor and his one sister was a perfect match.
To extract stem cells from a donor, two IV lines are given. The first draws the blood from the donor which is filtered through a machine that separates the stem cells into a bag. Once this is done, the blood returns to the donor through the second IV line. The donor will also need a bone marrow biopsy done, according to Rogers.
Four cups of stem cells are needed for Rogers. They will be frozen until Rogers is able to receive them.
Rogers will remain in the Saskatoon hospital for six weeks during the transplant. After that he will be an outpatient but must remain in Saskatoon for four to six months. His wife will remain with him at that time to be his caregiver.
This will be a critical time for Rogers and the doctors will watch him closely as the body could reject the stem cells, causing liver issues, heart failure and kidney problems.
Although the treatment is covered by Saskatchewan Health, his living conditions as an outpatient are not.
A furnished home is available, but it comes at a cost which Rogers cannot afford. Rogers must also maintain his home in Carlyle by paying all the bills, and now he would need a second home to pay for in Saskatoon.
This expense will cost the family $10,000, if not more.
Rogers has been in contact with the Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation, but before he is funded by them, he must exercise all other options.
A benefit dinner will be held for Rogers on May 28 at the Carlyle Hall from 4:30-7 p.m. The cost is $20 a plate. A take-out option will be available.
There will be food, music and fellowship, along with a 50/50 draw.
Father Chris Juchacz from the Carlyle-Forget church is hopeful that they will receive a great crowd to support Rogers.