No one knows better than Ashley and Alexander Meyer about how life presents some serious challenges, no matter what your age.
It’s been a difficult 2 1/2 year journey for the Chemainus couple, but Alexander finally received the long-awaited news that his lymphoma cancer is in remission. To say it’s a huge relief for them is the understatement of the year.
Alexander, a Chemainus Fire Department member who turns 33 in October, didn’t stop living his life to the fullest both during and between treatments.
After being told during the summer of 2021 that he was not done with cancer treatments, he completed one month of radiation every day from Monday through Friday, and then went and fought forest fires on the Lower Mainland and the nearby Mt. Hayes fire.
Wife Ashley has been a real trooper through the whole experience, providing emotional support for Alex while obviously enduring all his ups and downs that took a toll on her just as much.
“He started another round of chemotherapy in September 2021 which was to span over one year, 16 rounds of chemo,” explained Ashley. “This was about once or twice a month depending on how the weeks landed. He managed these rounds of chemo really well, only experiencing some side effects such as numbing in his feet and hands.”
All treatments were fortunately done at the Cowichan District Hospital, negating the need to travel.
While going through those rounds of chemo, Alexander worked full time for BC Ambulance, originally stationed out of Lake Cowichan before moving closer to home after six months to work from the Chemainus station.
“He has been so happy to be able to return back to the fire hall in Chemainus as well,” added Ashley.
“In June, we found out Alexander has some heart issues that they believe has been due to his chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He had to start taking some heart medications and we are hoping with no more chemo on the horizon this will help mend some of the issues he is having, but it does sound like this could be something he has for the rest of his life and can be managed with medications. As you can imagine, again, for a man who is generally really healthy this was quite upsetting for him.
“Thankfully this does not change what he is or isn’t able to do physically besides they have recommended he does not run in any marathons.”
Alexander had, in fact, planned to run a marathon to mark the end of his chemo, but won’t be able to do that – a small price to pay in the big picture.
As of July 19, Ashley noted Alexander finished his final chemo appointment and “we had to wait a few weeks for them to give us the final results.”
The big news came Aug. 31st that Alexander is officially done all treatments and his cancer can be deemed in remission. He will continue to do checkups every three months as Hodgkin’s lymphoma is known to come back within the first two years.
After five years of remission with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a person can be deemed as “cured” so getting to that point is the next goal, Ashley confided.
Alexander is now going back to school to take his primary care paramedic course in Port Alberni that started Tuesday. He will drive Monday through Friday until the end of January to complete that program.
Alexander will then work at a higher level, in more locations and secure a permanent full time position.
When Alexander and Ashley got married, they had to do it in their living room due to his cancer situation and COVID. During the last week of July, they finally had a chance for a real wedding in Las Vegas while celebrating the end of his chemotherapy.
Ashley noted the support network with them every step of the way has been incredible.
“We absolutely love the community of Chemainus and are so proud to have Alexander working and taking care of those in the community,” Ashley enthused.