2013 Honorary Co-Chairs
Late May to early June on 2012, "I thought" I was going through some ulcer like symptoms. I went to the doctor and he sent me home with a prescription and told me to come back in a couple of weeks. I was not getting better. I started swelling in my ankles and stomach and knew something was wrong. A CT Scan confirmed that my liver was enlarged with tumors. The biopsy said it was unknown primary neuroendocrine. This means they do not know where the cancer came from.
I was declining rapidly and was sent to McKennan in Sioux Falls. They only gave me 2 weeks to live. I was treated with chemo therapy and managed to get out of the hospital 3 weeks later. The chemo was working! Half way thru the chemo regiments, my tumors had shrunk by 75%. By the time I finished my chemo treatments in October, the tumors were 80-85% gone. The doctor was happy with the results.
I went back to work 2 weeks after finishing chemo treatments. Everything was going well for the first few months, but a couple of weeks before my 3 month check up with the doctor, I started to have pains that just were not right. I went into the doctor early and another CT Scan confirmed that the tumors were coming back. Presently, I am getting help Cancer Treatment Center of America (CTCA of Illinos). My cancer is rare and the doctors here did what they could do here. CTCA sees this kind of cancer more than they do around here. Right now I am going thru chemo therapy again with a different battle plan. As of right now, I am feeling as good as you can after chemo treatment, and working 6 hours a day. I am enjoying life with my family day by day.
In November 2007, I found a lump in my right breast doing a self breast exam. I went to the Doctor and was sent to the Breast Health Institute in Sioux Falls. Five biopsies and an ultrasound were done, and I was told it was nothing to worry about. I continued to go to my scheduled appointments every year after.
This past August, 2012, I went for my scheduled appointment, and found out that my lump had grown. The Doctor wanted to do 4 more biopsies and an ultrasound. I had told the Doctor no matter what the outcome was, "I want this lump removed" and he agreed. I received the biopsy report, and it came back negative. The Doctor at the Breast health Institute said that he would refer me to a surgeon, but before I could have surgery, I needed to heal. The plan to have surgery in October didn't happen as my family had a house fire October 4th, 2012 and lost everything. My surgery was then set for November 19th, 2012. On November 26th (the Monday after Thanksgiving) I received "the call" that changed my world, saying that I had breast cancer. Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) is the correct term.
December 19th (my Dad's birthday) I started my radiation treatments...Monday thru Friday, for the next 6 1/2 weeks. Dr. Dick and his staff were, and are, wonderful. Through my needle scares to the smiles and jokes, it made it a lot easier. On February 13, 2013 (the day before my birthday) I went to the Doctors in Sioux Falls and was told that my persistence on wanting the lump removed, saved me. The Doctor told me that in less than a year it could have been full blown. That is when he told me I was "CANCER FREE"............ My treatment of oral medicine started March 15th. I will be taking Tamoxifen, for prevention, for the next 5 years.