Scott Beer

Scott Beer on his Multiple Myeloma Journey

When were you diagnosed with multiple myeloma?

In July 2019, I started experiencing pain in my lower back. My chiropractor was unable to make it better after a couple visits, so I switched to physiotherapy. This gave temporary relief only.

By the end of August, I was walking with a cane. By the end of September, I could barely walk and had lost 18 kg in my weight. On October 4, 2019, I went back to the ER and this time, they kept me. I am very thankful for the ER doctor there as she took the time to visually inspect me and could see a tumour pushing up the skin on my ribs. She knew the tumour and the back issues were related.

I was confused about how this could be. A week later, I received my myeloma diagnosis right in time for Thanksgiving!

Where were you treated?

Prior to my diagnosis, I felt that I was just sent away with quick fixes every time that actually fixed nothing. However, once I knew the source of my troubles was myeloma, I felt very scared and hopeless but also relieved. I was in a dark place but was able to start talking with medical teams who know myeloma and specialize in its treatment. I was able to ask questions and get answers.

In Oct. 2019, I spent one week in the Spinal Ward at the Foothills hospital as we waited for various test results to see if I would need back surgery. Once it was determined that myeloma was the cause of my back issues (I had two collapsed vertebrae), I was immediately sent to the Hematology Ward at the Foothills Hospital, and treatment started almost immediately in the form of chemotherapy. A week later, I was sent home with pills in hand and continued my initial treatment for four months leading up to a Stem Cell Transplant in March 2020.

The nurses and doctors in the Hematology Ward, Apheresis Ward & Tom Baker Cancer Centre are top-notch. They know their job very well, and they also have compassion.

What advice would you give to other cancer patients going through a similar experience to yours?

It is very tough to learn you have cancer. Life, as you know it, changes with one word. However, you are not alone and do not try to go on such a journey alone. Both patients and caregivers need support.

At that difficult time, I leaned on my faith, family and friends. As I started to improve, I found it very helpful to talk. Try not to be afraid to talk to those who have also been diagnosed. They can help in a special way. While big treatments were still on the horizon in early 2020, I started to exit the dark place and got renewed hope believing that I could achieve better days just like other patients I spoke to.

It was helpful for me to never ask the question’ “Why did I get cancer?” Such a question can’t be answered for me, so I did not dwell on it. Instead, I chose to focus on “What can I do about this and a new life with myeloma?”.

My first glimmer of hope came during my hospital stay just after my diagnosis. The nurse came and asked me if I would like a visit from two volunteers who were in the ward that day from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I accepted. One was a 10-year survivor. Next thing I knew I was in tears. Their short talk with me gave me hope. A life changing moment and I am forever grateful to them.

Reach out to support groups in your area. You will be able to get their contact information at cancer clinics and via hospital social workers. (Examples: Southern Alberta Myeloma Patient Society, Myeloma Alberta Support Society & Myeloma Alberta Support Society Myeloma Canada)


What are some of the most important things that you want people to know about multiple myeloma?

Multiple Myeloma is the second most common blood cancer affecting the plasma cells in the bone marrow, yet it is relatively unknown. There currently is no cure.

My current medications are keeping the myeloma in remission, but I will relapse one day. However, there is hope.

There have been great advancements in treatments giving many patients longer life expectancy and better quality of life. Personally, I am benefiting from treatments we now have with great gratitude to those patients who were and are part of clinical trials and great myeloma research ongoing in Alberta.


At the Calgary Cancer Centre, we’re bringing together researchers, medical teams, prevention experts, patients and families in ways never before possible. You can help us advance Multiple Myeloma research and treatment in Calgary, by donating to the OWN.CANCER campaign today.
Torey Erdman in OWN.CANCER

“Cancer Does Not Define Me” – Torey Erdman on her liposarcoma journey

Torey Erdman is a born and raised Calgarian, working as an Operating Room Nurse at the Rockyview General Hospital. In 2021, a CT scan revealed a ‘soccer-ball’ sized tumour in Torey’s abdomen, and she was diagnosed with a rare form of liposarcoma. Recently, Torey celebrated her one-year post-surgery anniversary and her one-year of being re-occurrence-free!

Today, she shares her story with us…


Torey Erdman with dog

Tell us about yourself…

My name is Torey Erdman, and I am 37 years old. I am a registered nurse working in the Operating Room at the Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary.

I love to travel, and I would consider myself an outdoor enthusiast… really anything that gets me outdoors and to the mountains. I have a 7-year-old boxer dog named Hank. Lucky for me, he joins me on most of my adventures and keeps me active and out of trouble.

I am close with my family, including my younger sister, Tamara, who I talk to every day. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing support network, and I have so much gratitude for my family and friends.

How did your cancer journey begin?

My cancer journey began in October 2021, following thanksgiving dinner. Like many people, I overindulged in dinner and was left with a very uncomfortable “full” feeling that I assumed was from eating too much turkey. Only the feeling didn’t really go away.

The next week at work, I just happened to have a casual conversation with a surgeon colleague of mine, who thought my symptoms warranted further investigation. An urgent CT scan revealed a 26cm tumour in my abdomen. I was completely shocked to hear the news as the idea of a soccer ball mass in my tummy seemed impossible. The following days were consumed by more tests, appointments and a biopsy to determine I had a very rare form of liposarcoma cancer.

The words “I have cancer” were inconceivable.

Liposarcoma cat scan

Scan of Torey’s abdomen showing 26cm tumour

The Tom Baker Cancer Centre staff were very welcoming and sensitive to my diagnosis. I remember sitting with the surgery team with my notebook of questions ready. As an OR nurse, I felt relatively prepared for whatever news they were going to deliver.

I remained strong and stoic during the appointment until the surgeon told me that the surgery would entail not only removing the 26cm tumour from my abdomen but also my left kidney, spleen, and portions of my pancreas, bowel and diaphragm.

The news shattered me, and I finally broke down in the office. My incredible team, including my surgeon, sat and consoled me.

Like so many newly diagnosed cancer patients, I was not prepared to hear those details.

Torey Erdman in hosptial bed

The days and weeks that followed were very unnerving and filled with uncertainty. I went down many rabbit holes on the Internet looking up sarcoma cancer, only to realize there was very little research or good data to support my prognosis. An intense shadow of sadness, grief, and terror crept over me.

In November 2021, the TBCC became very familiar to me as I visited daily for my radiation treatments. The process was rather simple, and lucky for me, I had very few side effects.

I finished radiation on December 24, 2021- Christmas Eve. As I left my last appointment, I was greeted outside and surprised by a group of my closest friends and sister who cheered me on and congratulated me. This wonderful support, combined with the great care I received at the TBCC, left my heart full of gratitude and appreciation.

I then had surgery on January 26, 2022. As an OR nurse, I thought I had realistic expectations of what the surgery would entail. But I can 100% tell you that being on the other side of the stretcher- being the patient is a whole different experience. The surgery took almost 8 hours but, overall, went really well.

I cannot thank my fellow surgical teams enough, and my surgeon is my hero. However, I struggled after surgery and spent 3 weeks at the Foothills Hospital. A few hardships and complications later, I returned home a mere 40 lbs lighter and feeling like a much different version of myself.

With time- the body heals, and my incredible sister helped nurse me back to health. I would not have made the recovery that I did without the support and outpouring of love I received from family, friends and colleagues. They continually uplifted me, brought me joy and supported my recovery.

Coincidently, shortly after surgery, I saw a segment on the Calgary news about a local firefighter named Lorne Miller raising money for the Children’s Hospital in honour of a young boy. I immediately reached out over social media and discovered that he and I shared almost identical cancer stories. Lorne, without a doubt, has been an incredible inspiration and source of support for me over this last year.

How are you doing today?

Today as I look back, the whole experience seems surreal. I am back to my regular habits- enjoying the outdoors and being active again. It turns out the human body is pretty incredible, and with a little love, time and healing, it can do anything!

Coincidently, I just celebrated my one-year post-surgery milestone and being 1-year re-occurrence free!

So what did we do to celebrate? My friends and I hosted a 1 hour workout at The Method Gym to move our bodies and remind us all that our health should never be taken for granted. We had a great time, worked up a sweat and raised $600 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

What was a challenge you faced through your journey, and what advice would you give to someone facing a similar challenge?

One of the greatest challenges that I faced was struggling with the decision to do chemotherapy treatment or not. Following surgery, my oncology team presented me with an option to do adjuvant chemo. Unfortunately, because my sarcoma cancer type is so rare, there was very little data or research to support that chemo would be effective or not. I waffled with the decision for weeks and literally flip-flopped daily on the choice.

It was the hardest decision I had to make throughout my entire journey. In the end, I decided against adjuvant chemo- recognizing that at that time my body needed time to heal.

My advice to those experiencing something similar would be to reach out, ask questions and try to find someone going through a similar experience. The power of connection with another is invaluable.

Torey Erdman receiving cancer treatment

How do you own cancer?

I choose to OWN cancer by staying positive. A cancer diagnosis can be extremely physically and emotionally overwhelming, but I refuse to become a victim to it. I am a cancer thriver!

I am the author of my own story. Cancer does not define me, and I just have to remind myself that this is just one chapter in Torey’s story.

No one can OWN cancer alone- you need a community. I want to live a life of joy and gratitude, and I do so by surrounding myself with those that uplift, support and cheer me on. The new cancer center will offer many great services to cancer patients and their families. But maybe its greatest gift will be the physical space it allows for cancer patients to network, share their stories and fight the battle together.

Torey Erdman ran a marathon

What else would you like to share?

I thought it might be worth mentioning that although my own personal experience with cancer began in October 2021, cancer has been an impactful part of my life for 27 years. My mom passed away when I was 10 years old from breast cancer. Losing a parent at such a young age meant I already had an established perspective of what a cancer diagnosis could mean.

I also lost a very dear friend to pancreatic cancer in August of 2021- although his death was inexplicably painful, his passing was also peaceful, beautiful and left me changed for the better.

My experience of losing these loved ones has shown me the true meaning of grace, humility, strength, resilience, bravery and love. Qualities I can only hope to foster in myself as I navigate this journey.

Sarcoma cancers account for less than 1% of all cancers. The yellow ribbon is meant to increase public awareness of sarcoma cancer, and the sunflower is a symbol of hope, used by sarcoma communities around the globe to remind those affected by sarcoma that they are not alone and they are strong.

Torey Erdman


At the Calgary Cancer Centre, we’re bringing together researchers, medical teams, prevention experts, patients and families in ways never before possible. Help make an impact on cancer research and treatment and donate to the OWN.CANCER campaign today.
You never know whose life you could change simply by talking about your own, share your story today.
Multiple Myeloma patient riding for a cause

Beverley Dunn on her Multiple Myeloma journey

Beverley Dunn was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2018. This cancer journey has taught Bev many lessons. Most of all, she learned the importance of support throughout difficult times. Today, Bev is the President of the Southern Alberta Myeloma Patient Society (SAMPS), helping to provide guidance and care for those facing this devastating blood cancer.

For Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month, Bev shares her story with us…


Beverly Dunn


When were you diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma? What were some of the initial symptoms you faced?

May 30, 2018, was the day my life changed forever.

In the Spring of 2018, I experienced fatigue and increased thirst. Those were my only indications that something might be wrong. These symptoms increased, and on May 30, 2018, I got up to go to work, and I was so fatigued I couldn’t stand upright long enough to finish my shower. That’s when the warning bells went off.
My husband took me to the ER at Rockyview, where bloodwork was done. Unbeknownst to me, my kidneys were failing! Later that evening, after more extensive bloodwork, the on-call Oncologist told us I had Multiple Myeloma, and I was admitted to Rockyview Hospital for further testing.

Where were you treated? How was your treatment experience?

After a week in Rockyview Hospital, I was referred immediately to the Tom Baker Cancer Center. I attended the Hematology Clinic for 4.5 months of chemotherapy and then transferred to the Bone Marrow Clinic for my autologous stem cell transplant, which occurred on November 16, 2018.


The staff, nurses and oncologists at the Tom Baker Cancer Center are marvellous! I felt absolutely supported by and had total confidence in the team at the Tom Baker and on the transplant unit at the Foothills Hospital. They went above and beyond to ensure that my husband and I understood what was happening during every phase of treatment.


Multiple Myeloma patient

What advice would you give to other cancer patients going through a similar experience to yours, and how can they find the support they need to keep moving forward?

First of all, listen to your body. Myeloma symptoms can be vague, as evidenced by my own case. What I thought was fatigue caused by stress and thirst I attributed to the HVAC heating of our older building downtown were actually symptoms of a life-threatening, incurable blood cancer!

Listen to your oncology team. If you have a question or a problem, contact them. Work with them and learn all you can about your particular situation. They always say “that’s what we’re here for”, and they mean it.


Reach out to a support group. I reached out to the Southern Alberta Myeloma Patient Society (SAMPS). They helped me through my journey, so I eventually joined their Board of Directors to learn more and give something back. Myeloma Canada is also a tremendous source of information on Myeloma.

Maintain a positive outlook and a sense of humour.


What is some knowledge you’d like to share that you’ve learned at the Southern Alberta Myeloma Patient Society?
  • Myeloma is the second-most common blood cancer but is relatively unknown. There is no cure.
  • Research has made great strides in developing treatments which have extended life expectancy by years [for Multiple Myeloma patients].
  • Symptoms can include kidney issues, bone pain, recurrent infections and cold sores, fatigue, or tiredness accompanied by other symptoms like loss of appetite, confusion, increased thirst, and nausea and vomiting. People experiencing any or all of these symptoms should see their doctor.
  • Myeloma is different for almost every person. Some people experience bone pain. Others, like myself, have vague symptoms like fatigue. Treatments are tailored specifically to each person. It’s not “one size fits all” treatment.
  • Every year, 3,800 Canadians are diagnosed with Myeloma.


At the Calgary Cancer Centre, we’re bringing together researchers, medical teams, prevention experts, patients and families in ways never before possible. You can help us advance Multiple Myeloma research and treatment in Calgary, by donating to the OWN.CANCER campaign today.