2012 Honorary Co-Chairs
I was diagnosed January 8, 2010 with stage I Breast Cancer. I met with doctors January 13th and had a mastectomy January 20th, the same day my granddaughter Gailee was born. I underwent 4 months of chemo in Mitchell. Due to an inactive perodontal disease, I had to have all my teeth pulled shorthly after my 2nd chemo treatment. I also have rheumatoid athritis. I had more support than any person could imagine from my family near and far, co-workers both at school and from the town of Letcher, as well as my community (both school and town). I had wonderful, caring, medical staff. The prayer and love of so many carried me through my rough days. I will stress repeatedly that attitude is a big part of recovery. I would like to recognize a few others who have fought the battle, such as Stacy Morgan, Carol Johnson, Deb Moody, and Joyce Ackman. These individuals were all inspirational influences for me during my battle. Cancer isn't always a death sentence, but stop and appreciate what you have, smell the roses, and embrace each day with those you love!
My journey with cancer started March 3, 2008. I went in for what was supposed to be a simple health care procedure and woke up in the recovery room being told that I had colorectal cancer. It's probably one of the scariest moments of my life. There was a period of disbelief, fear, and confusion. My son Lee, an oncology nurse, was very intrumental in helping me find an oncologist and a surgeon. My wife Barb, son Lars, and family provided lots of support.
The tests started with bloodwork, X-rays, CAT scans, PET scans, and 3 colonoscopies in 4 weeks. The oncologist recommended radiation and chemotherapy before surgery. I had 29 sessions of chemotherapy and radiation. I received treament right here in Mitchell at the Avera Queen of Peace Cancer Center. I can't say enough about the care and compassion I received from all the staff there. I had surgery June 26, 2008, 6 weeks after treatment. A secondary infection complicated matters and slowed recovery to 6 months.
The treatment and surgery were tough, but worth it. I am riding my motorcycle, hunting, fishing, and enjoying life with my grandkids. I am thankful for my family, my church family, so many special friends, and a great community for the great care, love, and support I received. I am humbled to be part of the Heart and Sole Cancer Walk.
For those of you who have not had a colonoscopy, please get it done. If you think a colonoscopy is scary, try colon cancer. You might not be looking forward to it, but early detection for colon cancer saves lives!
On August 5th, 2011, I found out that I had lymphnoma Cancer in my left and right groin. I was transferred to Avera McKennan on August 23rd. I was doing better and got to come back home on September 9th. I did my first chemo treatment on September 21st, and then the next day I coded here in the ER in Mitchell. I was airlifted to Avera McKennan. I received 2 chemos in Sioux Falls, and I never felt so good. I was discharged out of McKennan on October 18th and had to go to Good Samaritain Center. On November 9th, they did a PET Scan and nothing showed on the scan so I was able to come home. I did another chemo treatment on November 18th. Another scan was done February 22 and showed no cancer. On February 24th, I had to do an angiogram in the Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls. I found out that day that I had a pin size hole in one of my heart valves that had been caused by chemo. I had open heart surgery on March 8th and I now feel great. I have just one more chemo to go!