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2017 Honorary Co-Chairs
Teresa Gebel, of Mitchell, had a routine mammogram done in September of 2015. A couple days later, along with her husband, they found themselves meeting with a breast cancer specialist/surgeon who did his best to prepare them for her cancer diagnosis. The mammogram had revealed multiple masses, deep into the breast, near the chest wall. A biopsy was performed on the multiple masses. On Sept. 28, she got the call. The one where your doctor says, "I'm so sorry, but all the masses are positive for cancer." She started a series of additional tests, MRI's, scans, blood draws, appointments with genetics counselor and plastic surgeon, etc. During all of this, her husband and her tried to reassure their son, who was just starting Middle School, that all the testing was normal.
On November 4, 2015, Teresa had surgery to excise the ugly rogue cells that had morphed into cancerous masses. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 multi focal invasive ductal carcinoma, (5 tumors), that had spread to her lymph nodes.
Complications developed after her mastectomies, which required more surgery to remove additional skin and tissue. Those complications also took some treatment options off the table. The Avera Center for Precision Oncology at Avera McKennan did a DNA analysis of her cancer, which indicated she was a candidate for genetically targeted chemotherapy. She proceeded with 6 weeks of radiation treatments, followed by 6 months of genetically targeted chemo. Additional surgeries will be required.
Teresa was supported by her husband, son, family, and by her Avera family, (co-workers, friends, and confidants) She could not imagine this journey without them.
Cancer screenings are not about "saving the ta-tas", they are about saving lives. Not all women diagnosed with breast cancer have a single tumor, nor does every person feel a lump, see a dimple, have discharge, etc. Yes, screenings are uncomfortable, and no screening is tool is perfect, but cancer does not discriminate. It doesn't care who you are, where you came from, what gender, age, or color you are, or, that you don't have time for this cruel disease.
A surreal life changing experience....she is relieved, angry, grateful, guilty, Blessed, anxious, and humbled. She is, a work in progress.
Paisley's cancer journey began on Thursday, January 19, 2017. She woke up and was happy and smiley that morning. She was dropped off at daycare like any other day. She had been fighting croup, but she was getting better day by day. Daycare contacted her Mom, Brooke, saying something wasn't right with Paisley. She wouldn't eat, her stomach was hard, and she was very unhappy, which is very unusual for her.
Paisley's Grandma and Grandpa Zoss went and picked her up and knew something was not right with her. The right side of her stomach was bulging. They decided to take her to the E.R. in Mitchell. Once there, they did an x-ray and an ultrasound. Doctors informed her parents that she had a mass on her liver and sent them to the Castle in Sioux Falls. Paisley's Dad was working in Oklahoma and he began the 15 hour drive home while Paisley was admited to the Sanford Castle that night.
On Friday, January 20, the oncologist, Dr.Wagner, broke the news to the family that Paisley had liver cancer. She explained that it was common in premature babies and that Paisley fit the bill, being 5 weeks early. The oncology team explained that her tumor was 10 centimeters in diameter, and was contained in her liver. Unfortunately, it was too large to remove at that time, so chemo would be needed to shrink the tumor. A port was placed and she started her first round of chemo January 23.
After completing 2 rounds of chemo, the doctors rescanned the tumor March 6, and found that it had shrunk by 50%. The oncology team decided to do two more rounds of chemo to shrink the tumor more so they could leave over half of her liver. The family met with the transplant team at the University of Minnesota March 20-21, just in case the liver was unable to be saved after the 4th round of chemo. Paisley finished her last round of chemo April 20, and they received good news. The tumor had shrunk enough to be able to safely remove it. Surgery to remove the tumor was completed on May 8th, and she recntly completed round 5 of chemo.
Paisley has been a trooper through this whole process. She begins and ends each day with a smile! She is an inspiration to us all!
Jan, of Alexandria, was diagnosed with bladder cancer on October 24, 2011. After seeking a second option in Sioux Falls, and receiving the same results, she did 6 weeks of BCG treatments. There were some blockages, so surgery was needed.
It was during this surgery that they found out the cancer was on the outside of the bladder, so a cystectomy, bladder removal surgery, was performed on March 22, 2012.The pathology reports showed that the cancer was in Jan's lymph nodes. She spent 14 days at Avera McKennan Hospital, then several weeks at home recovering. She did 3 rounds of chemo, which consist of treatment once a week for 3 weeks, then 1 week off.
Jan was cancer free on August 29, 2012. Biannual checkups followed with the oncologist and urologist. It was during her visit with her oncologist this past December, that she would be moving to yearly checkups. She was also told that bladder cancer has a 100% chance of returning somewhere else in the body.
For now, she is cancer free and enjoying life to the fullest. Jan and her husband, Tom, have 5 children and 12 grandchildren, which keep them busy. Her family was a huge support system throughout her cancer journey, and she couldn't have gotten thru it without them.