Finding Hope and Healing after Losing Mother to Terminal Brain Cancer – The Wasstrom Family’s Story

May 22, 2020

Lois Wasstrom and Family
Lois (middle), pictured holding her grandson, Colby, alongside her daughter, Kathryn, and two sons, Eric and Steve

In March 2014, after a family dinner out, Lois Wasstrom unexpectedly felt faint. Thanks to the fast action of her daughter and husband, she was taken to the hospital and underwent a CT scan. It was soon after the results came back that Lois underwent brain surgery, which found evidence of a tumour. After surgery, Lois and her family learned the devastating news that she had been diagnosed with Stage IV glioblastoma multiform – an aggressive form of brain cancer with a low survival rate.

After diagnosis, the reality of the situation became even more terrible when the family learned their mom had only 14 months to live.

“For someone who had struggled with anxiety her whole life, my mom was really calm about the whole situation. I don’t know if that was from the cancer or if it was just her approach,” says daughter, Kathryn Wasstrom. “She didn’t want to know about “numbers”, rather she just wanted to thank everyone for taking good care of her and being kind.”

As Lois began her treatment journey at BC Cancer – Surrey, Kathryn remembers how the family was pleasantly surprized with the warmth that came both from the center itself, as well as the compassion seen through the oncologists, nurses and volunteers.

“The Cancer centre was not at all what we imagined it would be. Bright hallways filled with art and hopeful quotes were so unexpected after a month in a neurology and trauma ward. Every person we met was kind and wanted to really know us,” remembers Kathryn. “The volunteers would bring around their coffee cart and give us so much more than a drink. Every doctor, nurse, technician, and staff member treated our family, my mom especially, with kindness and respect and, most importantly, dignity.”

After a courageous treatment journey, Lois sadly passed away in the Fall of 2016 with her loving family by her side.

The Wasstrom Family
The Wasstrom family including Lois, her husband, their daughter, sons and son’s partners and a family friend. 

Today, Katheryn and her family remain full of gratitude to the teams at BC Cancer – Surrey, and hope that everyone facing a cancer diagnosis can experience the support and care that they were shown throughout their experience at the centre.

“Most of all, I hope that we are able to support and sustain the incredible cancer research being done in B.C. so that no one ever has to walk through life without their loved ones by their side because of this disease.”

We thank Katheryn and her family for sharing Lois’ story as a way of raising awareness for more critical research and care.  around May’s brain tumour awareness month.