Luke Harris, from Aldergrove, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in late February. Him and his girlfriend remain in self-isolation with exception of trips for treatment and socially distant walks outside. (Submitted photo)

Aldergrove man battles ‘really scary’ stage four cancer diagnosis amid COVID-19 crisis

Luke Harris and girlfriend Ashley are out of work and in self isolation, due in part to the pandemic

An Aldergrove truck driver was recently diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, a battle made increasingly more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Luke Harris – after visiting a local walk-in clinic Feb. 26 – was told to head straight to Langley Memorial Hospital’s emergency room.

His partner of five years, Ashley Ferguson, said when she got there “he was dripping sweat, with a puddle of it on the ground and he was white as a ghost” from abdominal pain.

It was seeing “the strongest person she knows” collapse in tears, that Ferguson knew something was terribly wrong.

“It was really disheartening when nobody listens to you and just looks at you like just another number in the ER and tries to get you in-and-out quickly,” Ferguson related.

Eventually, blood test results from the walk-in clinic proved Harris had some sort of infection due to high protein concentrations discovered in his blood.

An ER doctor sent Harris for a CT scan, which revealed he had spots on his liver that appeared cancerous.

READ MORE: Cancer patients urged to keep all appointments if possible, despite COVID-19

After two more CT scans on Feb. 27, a surgeon told Harris they wanted to perform surgery to tackle what they thought was diverticulitis; infected pouches in his intestines.

After six-and-a-half hours in surgery, Harris came out with a stage four colon cancer diagnosis and a colostomy bag.

There had been a tumour that broke through Harris’ colon wall, causing the extreme abdominal pain and a host of other symptoms.

“He was shocked to come out with a colostomy bag,” his girlfriend said, but the hospital’s post-op nurses and porters were very supportive as Harris navigated the new territory.

The cancer has also spread to his liver, she added. Harris’ prognosis is that without chemotherapy he would have three months left to live.

“It has made him realize how precious time is and how important the people around you really are,” Ferguson said.

Fighting cancer in self-isolation

Harris isn’t giving up his fight with cancer, he said.

He started oral chemotherapy on Monday, and has switched to a plant-based diet at the advice of his BC Cancer Agency doctor.

Harris will start liquid chemotherapy treatment at Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s cancer centre in just over a week.

“I’m doing everything I can to fight this,” he said.

Though, both Harris and his girlfriend have been out of work due in part to the diagnosis.

Harris is now on medical Employment Insurance (EI) and Ferguson hasn’t been able to operate her house cleaning business due to the impacts of COVID-19.

The diagnosis, combined with complications from the pandemic, have compounded bills the couple still has to pay for their home and mortgage.

The couple has started a GoFundMe campaign to help with the cost of his naturopathic oncologist treatments and supplements not covered on MSP.

So far the web page has raised over $11,000 for Harris’ fight to live.

“It would mean so much to have help to alleviate the financial strain due to being off work,” Ferguson added.

The couple is currently self-isolating at home, with their two dogs, during Harris’ first weeks of treatment.

“We take walks, wear masks, make memories, and laugh and eat delicious vegetarian food. It is not so bad,” Ferguson said.

READ MORE: An inside look at the COVID-19 battle at Langley Memorial Hospital

But Ferguson said she doesn’t want to do this life without him. 

As of now, “the unknown is really scary and still lingers in the back of our minds. But we are being positive and praying for the best,” she said.

Harris has also used his time in recovery to urge people with a family history of cancer to get screened for the disease.

Both of his grandparents had bowel and colorectal cancer, he said.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Aldergrove zoo to reopen next week with new COVID-19 safety measures: spokesperson

Reopening to be ushered in by words from Darryl Plecas, Legislative assembly Speaker

School speed limits in force in Langley

Langley RCMP are asking pedestrians and drivers to be cautious as school resumes

There’s still Hope After Stroke during COVID-19

Program facilitator remains available by phone

Hot rods parade by Langley hospital at seven o’clock for front line workers

Few dozen from BC Hot Rod Association paraded their cars in private show for staff and seniors

Anyone participating in virtual Langley Walk this weekend?

Residents have until Sunday, May 31 to complete annual 5K challenge

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Langley Advance Times to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read