Submitted photo

Young Invermere mom faces medical trouble

GoFund Me set for Kasia Kowaloka to help with expenses

Kasia Kowalowka thought she had faced her biggest battle yet. And beaten it. But two months after one health crisis was over, Ms. Kowalowka is fighting for her life again.

Her trouble started last year. The young Invermere mother, aged 22, began experiencing pain in her arm and shoulder. Her doctor told her it was tendinitis, but the pain kept getting worse. One day at work she felt an electric shock charge through her body and then found she could not lift her arm. A coworker saw that her whole arm was swollen and took her to the hospital. While the Xray showed nothing was wrong, she was still in agony. She went back to her doctor again, but nothing new was uncovered.

“It was so painful … I cried most nights going to bed,” she said. “I was in so much pain, they were giving me morphine.”

Five or six months later, and still aching, she was on her way to work another day when she slipped on some ice and popped her shoulder. After her shift she walked to the hospital to ask them to put her shoulder back in place. The hospital took an Xray and spotted something unusual.

A couple doctors were pulled in to look at the results.

“I heard a doctor say ‘that was the strangest thing I’d ever seen’.”

They sent her to Cranbrook for a CT scan where they uncovered the source of her incredible discomfort.

“Hardest thing in life was to be given a box of tissues and told you have cancer,” she recalled.

It was osteosarcoma cancer (cancer of the bone). She underwent multiple surgeries. This past January, Ms. Kowalowka was finally in remission, and was ready to live a normal life again. But then in March, she got very sick. She went to the hospital, where she was given anti-nausea medication and sent home. After being home from work for a week and still not well, she knew she needed to seek out further help.

“I knew something was wrong. I went back and demanded help,” she said. “They put me in an ambulance to Cranbrook.”

In Cranbrook, they found that she was in the early stages of liver failure. And her gall bladder was inflamed. And it appeared her stomach was not digesting properly. After a CT scan, the puzzle was solved. Her heart was failing, and that was leading to her other organs shutting down. Her heart is now functioning at only 20 per cent of normal.

“I was dying,” she said. “There was nothing more Cranbrook could do to save my life.”

She was airlifted by STARS to Foothills Hospital in Calgary, where she spent two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit fighting for her life.

“I almost didn’t make it,” she shared.

But she made it out of ICU and spent two more weeks in the hospital before she was released. However, she is unable to return to Invermere because she is quite sick and needs to stay near the specialists in Calgary. To add to the trauma, Ms. Kowalowka is unable to be on the heart transplant list until she is five years cancer-free. Doctors have told her heart failures never gets better, they only ever get worse. But Ms. Kowalowka chooses to cling to hope.

“I believe in miracles,” she said.

She has faith, because she has faced hard things before and made it out the other side. When she was 17, she met a guy. Jon was her first love, her first boyfriend, her first everything. They got pregnant, and she contemplated getting an abortion. Then on September 19th, 2013, the unexpected happened.

“He woke me up and said ‘I’m going to work’. One hour later – an hour after he walked out the door – he died in a car accident.”

She decided to keep the baby. Her daughter Daniela is now almost five years old, and Ms. Kowalowka says through all of this, it is love that keeps her going.

“Love for my daughter, love for my family, love for my friends,” Ms. Kowalowka summed up.

Her daughter is living with her grandmother in Calgary right now, and Ms. Kowalowka is bouncing between living with a few relatives and friends. She was on disability funding in B.C. because of her cancer. However, since she has now been out of the province for more than 30 days, that funding has been cut off. Because she is not an Alberta resident, that province will not support her financially either. Her sister has started a GoFundMe to help her through this time. To support Ms. Kowalowka, go to and search ‘help kasia overcome her second battle!’.

Just Posted

Kootenay National Park No Stopping Zone in effect

No stopping and area closures during bear

Canal Flats Council briefs

Budgets, zoning, grants and more

Minimum wage goes up again

Increase goes in effect June 1st to $15.20

RCMP Report

Some of the more interesting callouts this past week for Columbia Valley RCMP

Recreation plans, Segways and a take-out restaurant in Radium

Eclectic collection of topics discussed at last Radium Council meeting

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

Judge: Mississippi 6-week abortion ban ‘smacks of defiance’

The new law would prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected

Oil companies, 24-cent gap between B.C., Alberta to be focus of gas price probe

Premier John Horgan called the spike in gas prices ‘alarming’

Motorcycle deaths spike 50% since 2017

Riders were most likely fatally crash on the weekends compared with the rest of the week

Mother of accused charged in death of Surrey teen girl found in torched SUV

Manjit Kaur Deo charged with ‘accessory after the fact’ in 2017 death of Surrey teen

Family of B.C. pilot killed in Honduras trying to ‘piece together’ tragedy

Patrick Forseth has a number of friends in the area and was loved by everyone

Justin Trudeau credits immigration for Canada’s growing tech sector

Trudeau stressed that Canada has become a major source of talent for tech all over the world

Feds launch tourism strategy designed to boost sector 25 per cent by 2025

The fund is supposed to back experiences that show off Canada’s strengths

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Most Read