Meet Todd Denault
“You know how you think bad things only happen to other people? Well I was that guy.” Todd Denault
On a cold and snowy winter’s day, Todd Denault, age 42, sat down to be interviewed for this story. He begins by taking us to mid-March 2017 when he began to experience sharp abdominal pain. Thinking it was indigestion, he made an appointment to see his family doctor. Medication to treat his indigestion was prescribed but the pain did not go away. In fact, his symptoms progressed to the point where he could no longer keep food down. This is when he became quite concerned and sensed something was really wrong.
A CT Scan was ordered and on March 31, 2017 Todd’s fears were realized. “The radiologist came in to my room and told me I would be having emergency surgery that very same day.”
The CT revealed Todd had a tumour growing inside his large intestine. The tumour had grown so large it had punctured 3 of the 4 large intestine walls. “If the 4th wall burst, it could have been fatal.”
Dr. Allison Tilley performed the emergency surgery to remove the tumour and testing later confirmed it was full of cancer. “I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Colon Cancer,” states Denault.
“After spending 2 days recovering on the Medical Surgical floor, things were good. I was getting stronger, I had the catheter removed, and then…I developed a septic infection. I was transferred to the ICU, a surgical team was once again assembled and I had another surgery. I was told I had a 50/50 chance of survival. Things were happening so fast.”
Following his second surgery, Todd was placed into an induced coma and was eventually released from hospital on Easter Sunday.
“When you’re in a situation like I was and you’re not prepared, it can be a very scary time. Dr. Andrew Stratford, surgeon, took a keen interest in my case and came in to visit me most mornings. He went that extra mile to make me feel comfortable and I’m grateful for that. He was such a calm influence”
In fact, Todd is grateful for a lot of things. Having been raised in Cobourg, he found that many of his caregivers were people he’d grown up with. “It meant a lot to me to have my school mates looking out for me and I’m especially grateful to John Hobart, RN who was so kind to my mom during this time.”
“I can’t say enough about the staff at NHH. I felt very well cared for. The girls in the Cancer Clinic are just fantastic. Dr. Tilley took charge of my care and she has been wonderful.”
When asked how he felt about not having to travel outside the County for his care, Todd says it was a huge benefit. “People don’t realize how exhausting chemo can be. You just don’t feel well and to be able to get my care here in my own town was such a blessing and made the situation easier.”
Todd also mentions the strong family support of his mother and brother. “Mom’s always been there for me and I know this has been a hard situation on both of them. But we’re getting through it.”
In fact, Todd’s mom is so grateful for Todd’s care she made a significant donation to help other patients in our community.
At the time of this writing, Todd has completed 10 of his 12 chemo treatments. He’s anxious to resume life as he knew it. As a Manager/Assistant Coach with the Nighthawks Bantam AA hockey team, he’s hoping to be back in the arena in time for playoffs.
“Your life can change on a dime. But instead of thinking “why me”, I think about lucky I am. Lucky that the fourth wall did not puncture. Lucky to have the love and support of my family. Lucky to be able to get my care here at home. I’m on a journey.”
Donations to NHH Foundation help people like Todd every day. Thank you for making a difference in the care provided to west Northumberland residents.