“I’ve had the fight of my life and the shock of my life for the last few months. I am fighting and I’m going to get through this.” —Mika Midolo
Family time at the cottage
Television personality and co-host of CP24 Breakfast, Mika Midolo, knew something was wrong.
Mika was experiencing night sweats so severe she’d wake up “drenched in water.” She also had headaches, coughing, itchiness, a rapid heartbeat, fatigue and a heavy feeling on the left side of her chest.
For months, Mika struggled through. And then one Friday last May, she knew it was time to go to the hospital. “I could barely take a breath,” she recalls. “I went to Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) and they took me in right away. They did blood work, a stress test and an MRI, all in the span of three hours.”
We found something…
Later that evening, Mika called her husband to tell him she wouldn’t be coming home to him and her two boys that night. She needed more tests and a procedure to drain the water from her lungs. “They told me it was cancer,” Mika says. “I was in denial at first. I told the doctor she was wrong.”
As the hours passed, denial turned to fear. The doctors didn’t know yet what type of cancer Mika had, but there was a real possibility it could be stage 4. Mika’s mind whirled with questions: Why me? Why is this happening? And the biggest question of all: How can I leave my kids?”
“That first week was like a bad dream,” Mika recalls. “I couldn’t have a lot of visitors because of the pandemic, so it was a lonely time. But the staff at MSH was phenomenal. They treated me so well. I felt safe and comfortable there.”
And, it wasn’t just our patient care staff who helped Mika get through those first days of fear and uncertainty. “One of the housekeeping staff gave me a hug and told me I was in the right place,” Mika recalls. “I’ll never forget her kindness.”
After many tests, including a biopsy, 44-year-old Mika was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (blood cancer). She would need to endure six rounds of chemotherapy plus radiation therapy to treat the aggressive cancer.
When asked where she’d like to receive her cancer treatment, without hesitation Mika chose MSH. “I trust the team here, including my hematologist, Dr. Amanda Li,” says Mika. “The care is so personal. You don’t feel like just another patient here. It’s like a warm hug, especially after my initial shock.”
Over the summer and early fall, Mika underwent chemotherapy treatment at MSH. Every time she walked into The Shakir Rehmatullah Cancer Centre, she knew it would be a positive experience. “The nurses always went above and beyond,” Mika says. “They brought me extra blankets when I was cold and were funny when I needed to laugh. They made me feel like I could do this.”
In October, Mika’s care team, including Dr. Li, all gathered to see her “ring the bell” to signify her final chemotherapy treatment. “It was a shining moment,” Mika recalls. “It felt wonderful to share it with the people who made it possible. Thanks to my team at MSH, my life was beginning again.”
Chemo Treatment #5
Healing, hope and gratitude
Mika was also referred to radiation therapy by Dr. Li, which she received in December, and began the New Year in recovery. It will still be a while before she knows if she’s cancer free, but Mika is feeling optimistic. “I’m going to be here to watch my kids grow up,” she promises.
As for Mika’s team at MSH, they’ll continue to follow up with scans and tests every three months. “I will always be their patient. I will always come back to MSH,” Mika says. “It’s my safe place now.”
Mika is deeply grateful to Dr. Li and her team at MSH for saving her life. She’s also thankful to the hospital’s supporters and hopes you’ll continue to be generous.
Mika: cancer warrior
“Imagine if you or someone you love needs this care. You want your hospital to have the latest technology and best equipment to treat you. You want MSH to thrive,” Mika says. “That’s why I’m so thankful to every person who donates. You give people a chance to get better, to get the quality care they need.”