Canadian stuck in Thailand with fatal brain tumour
A resident of Kitchener, Ontario is having a nightmare of a situation. What was supposed to be a nice vacation with his wife has turned into the kind of story only an insurance company could print, finely. Now he’s stuck in Thailand with a fatal brain tumour.
Alex Witmer and his wife Jennifer Witmer had been living in Moncton for the last five years before quitting their job and travelling to Thailand for a six-week excursion. The plan was to return home and relocate to Toronto. Alex, 30, unfortunately, began suffering from a migraine.
“He got a migraine that didn’t go away,” Jennifer Witmer told CTV News Toronto from a hospital in the southern Thailand.
Jennifer Witmer was expecting to acquire some pain medication for the migraine however a brain scan revealed that is was a “massive tumour deep inside his brain” that was cancerous.
“My husband was extremely healthy, he was an international athlete. He has never had any issues,” said Jennifer.
Alex Witmer was given medication to reduce the pressure inside his brain that was causing the headache but was told that it was only a temporary solution. Doctors told him he needs immediate brain surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Alex was told furthermore that the medication they gave him would only work for a couple of days and it was in that window of time that he best fly back to Canada.
“We have travel insurance, so we opened a claim and there was no issue we just got the go-ahead yesterday. They were sending an air ambulance,” Jennifer told CTV news.
“A few hours later they called back and said they received his medical records and it showed he checked into an emergency room in Moncton a month ago and had symptoms of the flu. He reported a mild headache and because he said that they cancelled our claim based off having a pre-existing condition.”
“They offered to still send an air ambulance service and quoted me $265,000 but that’s obviously not an option.”
“We are right now waiting for them to call and give the final word on our claim but they have been telling me it doesn’t look good.”
“It’s just cruel. Our neurosurgeon here said his flu symptoms are not pre-existing conditions. It’s insane they are flagging this.”
A GoFundMe page has been organized to help raise funds for Alex Witmer’s care and has received more than $10,000 in six hours.
Dr. Jordan B. Peterson’s personal troubles are celebrated by his detractors. After his daughter, Mikhaila Peterson, opened up about the difficulties her father faced during this past year, a torrent of ill-wishes were released to social media.
A data scientist, engineer and social justice activist had this to say: “do I think he deserves sympathy despite him not extending it to others? Also no.”
Peterson’s legacy is evident in just how many people have been helped by his work. His message is simple, to take charge of yourself and your life, to avoid being controlled by aimless desire, and if you don’t know where to start, begin by cleaning your room.
A professor of law and medicine at the University of Ottawa also prefers to show no sympathy. Here’s hoping he doesn’t teach ethics.
Peterson’s message is one that so many who hear it can relate to, and he’s travelled the world speaking to sold-out audiences. His views are rooted in western ideas, stem from our most ancient myths and legends, and embrace the Christian hero story of self-sacrifice as the ultimate strength.
A writer for the Toronto Guardian had this to say.
Some guy with the Twitter username “im nice” who fancies himself a comedian had this to say:
Peterson has been vilified by detractors in media and the public at large about as much as he has been praised. The reasons behind this are that people don’t like to hear that relativism is not the best way to live life. People who are mired in our contemporary driving philosophy of meaninglessness, that no one way to live is better than any other, that no one choice is a better or worse choice than another, don’t want to listen to someone who says that the hard work of life is worth doing.
Yet a podcaster, community organizer, and author from Quebec City wishes eternal damnation on Jordan Peterson.
Peterson says that the idea that we should accept ourselves as we are is misguided, because at our core, we’re all probably monsters. He brings up the genocides and massacres of the 20th century as proof, invoking the memoirs of concentration camp guards to show that any of us are capable of the most horrific of human actions. None of us are safe from our own worst, or best, impulses. He holds us all accountable to ourselves, to each other, and to the people we love. He speaks about marriage as a relationship that must be nurtured and tended, not abandoned. Peterson recommends that you don’t let your kids turn into unlikeable children.
Not everyone wished him harm, and some pushed back.
Through podcasts, books, speaking engagements, interviews, and YouTube videos, he talks about how essential it is that we each take on our own hero’s journey. He brings up the legend of King Arthur’s knights, recommending that we must seek our journey in the dark place—meaning we must face our fears, not so that we can overcome them, but so that we can know that we are afraid and act bravely in the face of those fears. One very real place where this approach can be made is in the face of addiction. There is perhaps nothing more difficult than kicking an addiction that has you in its teeth.
On addiction and physical dependence, Peterson can speak from experience. That he has this understanding makes his message that much stronger. How trite it is to hear from a teetotaller who has never touched a drop that we should give up the hard stuff. Where it has more power is coming from someone who has been there before us, whether they’ve beaten the addiction or not.
The calls for Peterson’s head on a spike came from the contemporary left, which is a movement that mirrors the heavy-handed vitriol that we used to see with the late 20th century right. This moralistic grandstanding on a foundation based entirely on narcissistic pleasure principles is eating itself. An ideology that purports to care for others only cares for those who adhere to the ideology. There is a growing intolerance for disagreement.
Peterson’s struggle to overcome benzodiazepines is so incredibly humanizing and real. It shows us that, in many ways, he is right. We are all capable of losing control, even those among us who are so great at guiding us how not to. Peterson’s all too human struggle can give the rest of us strength to know that we are not alone in ours. The identitarian, intolerant left could do well to face its demons, just as Peterson is facing his.
The last year has been extremely difficult for our family.
Dad was put on a low dose of a benzodiazepine a few years ago for anxiety following an extremely severe autoimmune reaction to food. He took the medication as prescribed. Last April when my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, the dose of the medication was increased. It became apparent that he was suffering from both a physical dependency and a paradoxical reaction to the medication. A paradoxical reaction means the drugs do the opposite of what they’re supposed to. These reactions are rare but are not unheard of.
For the last eight months, he’s been in unbearable discomfort from this drug, made worse when trying to remove it, because of the addition of withdrawal symptoms, stemming from physical dependence. He experienced terrible Akathisia, which is a condition where the person feels an incredible, endless, irresistible restlessness, bordering on panic, and an inability to sit still. The reaction made him suicidal.
After several failed treatment attempts in North American hospitals, including attempts at tapering and micro-tapering, we had to seek an emergency medical benzodiazepine detox, which we were only able to find in Russia. It was incredibly gruelling and was further complicated by severe pneumonia which we’ve been told he developed in one of the previous hospitals.
He’s had to spend four weeks in the ICU in terrible shape, but, with the help of some extremely competent and courageous doctors, he survived. The decision to bring him to Russia was made in extreme desperation when we couldn’t find any better option. The uncertainty around his recovery has been one of the most difficult and scary experiences we’ve ever had.
So: Finally Dad is on the mend, even though there’s a lot of physiological damage that he needs to recover from. He’s improving and is off of the horrible medication. His sense of humour is back. He’s smiling again for the first time in months, but he still has a long way to go to recover fully.
It appears that we are going to get through this by the skin of our teeth.
So let me make a couple of things clear:
- Neither our family nor the doctors here believe that this is a case of psychological addiction.
- Benzodiazepine physical dependence due to brain changes can occur in a matter of weeks. It can be made even worse by paradoxical reactions that are difficult to diagnose and can be extremely dangerous.
- We’ve been told and hope that Dad will recover fully but it will take time and he still has a ways to go.
- We are extremely lucky and grateful that he’s alive.
The next update will come from him directly. Thanks again for all the support.
A 99-year-old Canadian war veteran wants one thing for his 100th birthday, and the internet is looking to make his dreams a reality.
Fred Arsenault, who served with the Cape Breton Highlanders during World War II, had his photo posted to Reddit, where it went viral. It was later posted by Mayor John Tory as well as NewsTalk 1010 AM’s Twitter.
“I’m a WW2 veteran about to turn 100 years old on March 6th, 2020 and would like to receive 100 birthday cards,” reads the sign.
Arsenault’s address is also included on the sign.
Twitter replies to Mayor Tory’s tweet show a number of people from across the globe who say they’ve already sent cards, including many from the Netherlands, where the post also went viral.
Today is Bell Let’s Talk day and Canadians from across the country are opening up to share their stories about mental health. Many Canadians went to Twitter to talk about their struggles, friends and family members they’ve lost to mental illness, and to show their support to those who are dealing with it.
Bell Let’s Talk day began in 2011 as a corporate commitment to raising awareness around mental health and an attempt to end the stigma that surrounds it. It is the single largest commitment to mental health in Canada.
Many Twitter users are sharing their stories of their struggles and those who commented below showed their support.
Brave Canadians opened up today about the individuals closest to them that have been lost as a result of unchecked or misunderstood anxiety and depression.
One Twitter user compared the way we approach our mental health to the way we perceive our physical health–the two aren’t that different after all.
A security video posted here shows just how much even a stranger might care about you. Symbolizing the importance of an open and honest dialogue around mental illness, free from judgement.
Bell pledged 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet and retweet, social media video view and use of our Facebook frame or Snapchat filter.