f o r wo m e n
By CINDY SEASE and died at the age of 40. I’ve taken stock of the things I used to enjoy that
The Daily Inter Lake My father had prostate cancer. He jumped right on I’ve quit doing for whatever reason. I love live theater,
the treatments, going through various indignities with an but hadn’t gone in two years. Keith and I went to see
I’ve been more than a little inimitable style and a great sense of humor. “The Wiz” last weekend. We had a great dinner and
lackadaisical about going in spent some good time together. Keith is not really an
for mammograms. Although And Lisa, my assistant manager and right hand aficionado and accompanied me out of the goodness of
I’m pretty good about getting woman, my co-worker and friend, has just been diag- his heart, so it’s not likely that it will be a repeat perfor-
in annually for the basic exam, nosed with breast cancer. She will be having a double mance. That doesn’t mean I can’t find other friends who
I conveniently “forget” to fol- mastectomy on July 1. like theater, though, and I plan to see all of our local
low though with the imaging Lisa is vigilant. She goes in for her mammograms performances this summer.
appointment. So, I shouldn’t every single year, faithfully and promptly. She does what Up until a couple of years ago, I was always involved
have been surprised when I got she is supposed to do, and because of that they caught it in some kind of dance class. I’ve taken tap dance, bal-
called back last month for anoth- early. She will win this battle. let, Scottish Highland dancing, line dancing and country
er look following my second Watching Lisa face the fight of a lifetime is both heart- swing. Time to find a class and start again!
mammogram of the decade. CINDY SEASE rending and awe inspiring. She projects a sense of calm The last couple of weekends, I’ve woken up with
I obediently donned my and peace with what needs to be done that is amazing to nary a plan in mind. I’ve allowed myself to only think
front fastening cover up and waited to be called from behold. She says that little things become much more poi- of what I am going to do one thing at a time and then
my curtained cubicle. The obligatory squishing and gnant. She is filled with appreciation for each moment. to do that thing for as long as I please without worrying
pressing was completed, and I was told to wait while the I am not good about appreciating the moment. I am about what else must be squeezed into the hours ahead.
doctor reviewed the results. I went back to my little stall, always thinking ahead to what will happen next. I plan It’s definitely a mental adjustment, but a good one.
assuming I’d be told that all was well and I could head and plan, making sure that I will fit every single thing I used to get together with my girlfriends once a
on back to work. But no. The doctor wanted to see more. I want and need to get done into the most efficient pos- month for our “No Marginal Members” club. Our sole
The next step was an ultrasound. I was getting worried. sible time frame, allowing the maximum amount of purpose was to laugh, and we did a good job of it. I was
Was there really something wrong? Did I have cancer? additional time to be devoted to still more things that also involved in “Women on Wine,” another monthly get
Just when I’d found a hairstyle I really liked! Was I will come along and be planned and allocated into appro- together where much fun was had by all.
doomed to wigs, hats and scarves? My imagination was priately spaced blocks. Both groups have fallen by the wayside, and I’m
running amok. I think this compulsive schedule driven behavior going to put the two together into “No Marginal Wines,”
The doctor came in and did one more scan herself. is a product of my business life, which runs along at with the first meeting of the combined organization at
Satisfied at last, she told me that there was a small clus- breakneck pace. Since I manage a team of advertising the end of this month.
ter of benign cysts that we should just keep an eye on. salespeople at a daily newspaper, the fast pace comes I’m going to swim in the lakes and walk through our
She asked that I come back in six months. with the territory. Watching Lisa, I’m reminded that marvelous Montana evenings, enjoying the starlit skies
I’d been laboring under the arrogant notion that can- outside of work, there is a whole world to enjoy a and the warm summer breeze. I’m going to delight in the
cer was a disease that happened to other people. moment at a time, with no guarantee as to the span of moment and thank God that at least for this moment, I
There was no reason for me to be so smug. My father’s those moments. am safe.
eldest sister died of uterine cancer in the early 1960s. With my daughter Lena away at college and now And I am going to pray with all my heart that Lisa be
My mother tells me that my Aunt Edna, a good and staying in Bozeman to work through the summer, I’ve given the courage and fortitude to face the trial before
dear woman with three teenage children, was experienc- focused too much time on counting days until the next her and that she emerge on the other side healthy, happy
ing symptoms that should have sent her running to her time I will see her. With a new appreciation for the and whole in mind, body and soul.
physician. Unfortunately, Aunt Edna was an extremely moment, I’m enjoying just being able to talk to her on
modest person and was mortified at the prospect of the the phone and to explore thoughts and ideas with her Inter Act editor Cindy Sease can be reached at
gynecological exam. She waited until it was far too late, even at a distance. 758-4410 or by e-mail at email@example.com
2 June 2009 Graphic Design for inter act by Anna Mahlen
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Ideas? Insights? inter act at 406.758.4410 June 2009 3
The life of a cancer patient – Chapter one
Day 1 — I looked up at the clock and it was women get those. I just a bad dream. I’m me of when I was young and had slumber parties
4:45 p.m. I just hung up the phone and sat back did however go in to By LISA FLEMING sure I’ll be waking with my girlfriends. We would all gather in close
in my chair as my world suddenly came to a get it checked right up anytime now and and tell stories, share secrets and talk about what
halt. It seemed as if time had stopped. But as away even though my The Daily Inter Lake everything will just boys we all had crushes on. Dr. Rourke began to
I looked up through the windows of my office annual wasn’t due for be fine. explain everything to us. I learned not only did
I observed employees doing their day-to-day another month. They Wait a minute! I have lobular carcinoma in situ, but I also have
duties. Someone from composing just dropped scheduled me for a Stop it Lisa! Calm INVASIVE lobular carcinoma. When she said the
off some ads to a sales rep that had been com- diagnostic mammo- down, I told myself. word “invasive” I freaked a bit inside. I imme-
pleted. A coordinator was picking up tickets and gram and an ultra- I have got to have diately looked up at my sister and friend, and I
ad copy from someone else. Our Internet guys sound the next day. a positive attitude could tell they were experiencing some intense
were focused on their monitors separated from After the ultra- and think positive feelings also. There was a moment of silence
the world by their headphones. I could hear sound the radiologist thoughts. I can do amongst us as we tried to digest that word. I think
chatter of sales reps making phone calls and the told me they saw the this. It will be OK. I went into some sort of a daze for a few minutes
ringing of incoming calls from clients wanting to same cyst but there Today was the while my supporters continued to ask questions. I
place ads. was a mass touching day. I had my close was rattled to my core.
“Lisa, we got the results from your biopsy and it. They then sched- friend and my sister Dr. Rourke discussed various options, but first
I am sorry to say that it is cancer,” came from the uled me for a biopsy with me. I walked up she needed to get an MRI on my breasts. The in
calm, steady, yet gentle voice at the other end of two days later. I was to the receptionist’s situ part of this cancer could mean it has a ten-
the phone. I can only imagine the training a medi- not having a good desk and checked in. dency to affect both breasts.
cal professional must go through when it comes feeling about this. As As I filled out some “WHAT?” I asked.
to giving someone bad news like this. I think back I remem- paperwork, she must Yes, I learned there is a strong possibility that
“Did you say cancer?” I asked. “What kind? ber the ultrasound have been able to tell the other might be affected. They needed to do
How bad is it? What do we do now?” technician and the that I was nervous. the MRI to get more information and also to get
“Are you sure?” radiologist showing Suddenly she said, a better measurement on the mass. I was think-
“Yes,” she assured me. “We are going to me on the screen what “Lisa, take a deep ing, OK, I can deal with one bad breast, but now
schedule you an appointment to consult with a they were seeing. It breath. It’s really there’s a possibility the other might have an issue.
surgeon. Her name is Dr. Loren Rourke. She is a also showed up on the going to be OK.” I I’m not liking this.
cancer specialist and she is one of the best. mammogram. They admitted I was ner- By the end of the visit, for some unknown
“You will be in good hands. Now make sure told me I was very vous and she said, reason, I felt dazed, but yet calm. The way Dr.
you bring someone with you to this appointment.” lucky to have found FLEMING sailing on Flathead Lake. “By the time you Rourke walked us through that first visit I will
I’m sure she said something else, but all I this lump and it prob- leave this office, you never forget. She was absolutely wonderful! I
heard was that word ... CANCER. She could not ably was caught early. will feel much better, have now turned myself over to her. I know I can
give me any more information as not all of the The doctor that came into the room said to me, I promise you this.” She then asked me to intro- trust her fully and that I am in the best of hands.
pathology reports had come back. In the mean- “We can’t say that word, but it looks like we duce my supporters to her. I am now walking the first steps of a journey so
time, she phoned in a prescription to help me might be going down that road.” The three of us sat down and proceeded to many millions have walked. I am starting to real-
sleep and for any moments of anxiety. She would I just stared at them like a deer in the head- wait. I noticed an American Indian woman to my ize how precious life really is and that we all take
be able to tell me more tomorrow. lights. I realize now it was their subtle way of left and an older married couple across from us. so many things for granted.
I just sat there. It seemed like eternity. This trying to prepare me for this journey I was about Every now and then the older woman would look These professionals really are experts at what
can’t be happening, I thought. I was just diag- to take. I want to thank them even though I did up at me. I would turn away. My supporters were they do. They actually had the other appointments
nosed with breast cancer. I wish my mother was not understand at that time. busy visiting back and forth and all of a sudden that I needed already set up for me before I walked
still alive. Today was May 21. My mother died on Two days later I had the biopsy. Later that it hit me. I suddenly realized that people don’t through the door ... even my surgery date.
the 21st, but only a different month — August. I afternoon I received that dreaded phone call. come here to get checked out. The only people I shared this news with my boss and some of
could not sleep that night. Now I just sit and wait. Boy, our minds can that come to this office are people who have my co-workers and of course my family. Never
do a number on us sometimes. As I tried to stay CANCER. There’s that word again. Is this really have I worked at a place where people have
SHE CALLED me again the next day. She busy at work each day, questions would race happening? I am here, I have cancer. reached out so much to show their support. I am
said she received more information and that it throughout my mind while waiting for the visit. Soon a nurse came out and gave something to truly blessed and touched and am ever so grateful
was lobular carcinoma in situ and when I meet How bad is it? What stage is it? When did I get it the older couple and they stood up to leave. As the to work with such a wonderful group of people.
with Dr. Rourke, she will be able to go over and how and ... WHY? Is it in my lymph nodes? woman walked past us and through the door, she Even though the newspaper industry is a very fast
everything with me. She said again that I will be Will my name soon be in the obituary section of paused and turned to me and said, “Good luck, paced business with many deadlines daily, with
in good hands. our paper like so many others whom I have read ladies.” I immediately felt a bond to this stranger every day being an absolutely different day and
I asked her again, “Are you sure it’s cancer?” about and their battles with this enemy? Will I whom I will probably never run into again. Who a very high stress level ... I absolutely love what
She paused, then said again, “Yes, it is cancer.” win? How long will it go on? Do I get a lumpec- was she? What was her name? I hope she will I do and these people. Yes, I am scared but I am
She said I could call anytime and that she hopes tomy or a mastectomy? Will I have to go through be OK. also realizing I am not alone on this journey.
everything will work out OK for me. chemotherapy or radiation, or both? Will it make We were there for three hours. I’ve never had Thank you, Cindy, for giving me this opportu-
I hung up. This is not right. I am 47 years old. me sick? Will I lose my hair? Oh my God! What such a long doctor’s visit. Dr. Rourke was abso- nity to share my experience with others through
I faithfully have been going in for my mammo- will I look like bald? Do I get a wig or wear some lutely wonderful. Her conference room was in this publication. I hope I can somehow give sup-
grams yearly since I turned 40. Everything was kind of hat? How much is insurance NOT going use at the time so she said, “Let’s gather around port to others who are on the same journey. My
always fine. Yes, I did feel a lump a week or so to cover? How will I pay for this? Oh my God, in a circle.” surgery is just a couple weeks away. I’ll keep you
ago, but I thought it was that the fluid-filled cyst this can’t be happening! I’ve known people who We shuffled our chairs around and sat down. posted. Thank you.
that was aspirated three years ago had come back, have had cancer but have never thought I would She said, “Lisa, I want you to sit by me.” She Lisa Fleming can be reached at 758-4409 or
because it was in the same area as before. Most get it. It’s NOT FAIR! I don’t want this! This is then had us shuffle in even closer. It reminded by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
4 June 2009 “When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” Anonymous
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Ideas? Insights? inter act at 406.758.4410 June 2009 5
Health Issues Got You down?
More birthdays By CAROL MARINO ■ The Daily Inter Lake
Gilda Radner, who was one of the original cast members of
NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” remains one of the most celebrat-
ed women comedians of our day. She died of ovarian cancer in
1989 at the age of 42. Despite having had a family history of the
disease, she was persistently misdiagnosed for 10 months.
After her death, her husband Gene Wilder established the
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here are seven killers every woman potentially in 2008. With early detection and treatment, the five year after sweating or swimming. Wear a hat and other clothing Gilda Radner Ovarian Detection Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical
Center in Los Angeles to screen high-risk candidates. Licensed • Insured
faces in her lifetime. You won’t encounter them in survival rate is 98 percent. that covers most of your skin.
an alley, a smoky bar or a deserted park after dark. The Breast and Cervical Health Program at the Flathead Today, there are more than 30 Gilda’s Clubs in North Big Mountain to Bigfork 739143
They lurk in such unsuspecting places as your breasts, County Health Department offers breast and cervical can- Lung cancer — Lung cancer is the leading cause of America where people living with cancer, and their families and
lungs, ovaries, uterus, cervix or under your skin. If cer screening for uninsured or under-insured women 50 death due to cancer. It’s also the most preventable. More friends can gather to share their experiences. The clubhouses
you’re a woman, and you’re aging, you’re a candidate
for one of these seven most prevalent cancers.
to 64 years of age. Limited funds are also available for
screening women as young as 30. Mammograms, clinical
than 80 percent of all lung cancer is due to smoking.
The amazing thing is that if a person stops smoking
offer workshops, lectures and social events — all free of charge;
www.gildasclub.org Vanessa M. Ceravolo, Esq.
In spite of medical technological advances, cancer
is all around us. In 2009 cancer will strike 1.5 million
breast exams, Pap tests and pelvic exams are also funded.
If you are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer while
before cancer occurs, their lungs will slowly return to
healthy pink tissue. Cessation aids such as patches and “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, Certified Mediator
Americans, and over half a million patients will lose their enrolled in the program, you may apply for continued cov- nicotine gum help. Get started. Call the Montana Tobacco that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a
battle with the disease. With those statistics, a person erage. For further information, call 751-8162. Quit Line, 1-800-QUIT-NOW; or Leslie Deck, Tobacco clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, hav- Resolve your disputes out of court. Save time and money.
would have to have their head buried in the sand to think The program also provides services to all seven reser- Use Prevention coordinator at the Flathead City-County ing to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, with- An experienced attorney provides alternative dispute resolution services
“It can’t happen to me.” If it’s not you, it could be your vations in Montana and urban American Indian centers. Health Department, 751-8107. out knowing what’s going to happen next.” — Gilda Radner
for difficult legal issues and conflicts.
sister, mother or grandmother, a close friend, co-worker For more information, call 1-888-803-9343.
or neighbor. Kalispell Regional Medical Center is helping eliminate Uterine cancer — Most cancers of the uterus start in • Family Law (Dissolution, Property, • Commercial & Contract Disputes
Increasingly more of us practice healthy living to stave geographical barriers with the Winkley Women’s Center, a the lining or endometrium and typically affect women Parenting & Support) • Neighborhood Disputes (Covenants,
• Construction Cases Easements, Quiet enjoyment)
off disease — we schedule the annual mammogram and mobile mammography coach that brings the technology to 50 and older. Chances of developing this kind of cancer • Real Estate Matters
Pap test; we eat right and exercise. We wage war against women who would otherwise go unscreened. In addition are about 1 in 40. Because it can go undetected until it’s
our demons — alcohol, cigarettes, stress. We count our to stops in Eureka, Plains and Browning, the bus travels in an advanced stage, be aware of some of the red flags For More Information or to Schedule an Appointment, please call
blessings and we pray. to several other small communities east of the mountains. including abdominal swelling and digestive problems, No one needs to make the journey alone.
In the doctor’s office, the words “We found something” Contact your health care provider for information. weight loss, frequent urination, pelvic, back or leg pain, (406) 755-1958 P.O. Box 1197 • Kalispell 739145
hits you like a sucker punch. A person’s emotional state any abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge. American Cancer Society Cancer Survivors Network ACS Lodging Program — Lodging services
can ricochet from shock to panic to a Herculean call to Colorectal cancer is the third most-diagnosed cause of — A free online community of support for for patients traveling longer distances to
arms. The journey from cancer patient to cancer survivor cancer death in Montana. When diagnosed in its earliest Cervical cancer — Once you become sexually active, cancer survivors, the newly diagnosed, Kalispell or Missoula for treatment. Call
is arduous. Those who have walked the walk will tell you stage, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. If undi- you are susceptible. Those who have had the human papil- caregivers, or those who have lost some- the Resource Center at the number listed
that life as they knew it came to a screeching halt. The agnosed until the cancer has spread to other organs, the loma virus (HPV) passed on through sex, HIV or AIDS, one to cancer. Chat rooms, discussion below or the Great West Division Patient
future suddenly becomes something to fear. The tears fall. five-year rate is reduced to 10 percent. smoke and have poor nutrition are also more vulnerable. boards, blogs, a resource library and Services Center at 1-866-500-3272.
Knowing about these diseases, what you can do to A high-fat diet (particularly animal fat), obesity, smok- Fortunately, cervical cancer is highly curable. A Pap test audio and video personal stories; www.
help prevent them, and early detection can save your life. ing and being inactive increase your risk. can uncover changes in the cervix at a very early stage. Get cancer.org/csn. American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Center
Cancers that can be detected or prevented by screening Cramping, weakness, and/or chronic bowel irregulari- annually tested within three years of becoming sexually — General information and emotional
account for half of all new cancer cases. ties are common symptoms. Sometimes, but not always, active or by age 21. The American Cancer Society states Look Good... Feel Better — A free program support 24/7; 1-800-ACS-2345.
there will be blood in the stool. that women 70 or older with three consecutive normal Pap that offers beauty techniques from cosme-
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed Removal of precancerous polyps found during a CRC tests may choose to cease testing. tologists for women cancer patients to help Kalispell Regional Medical Center Cancer Support
cancer in women and second in fatality rate only to screening is the most critical preventative measure you combat appearance-related side effects Group — Meets from 5 to 6:30 p.m. the
lung cancer. can take. If you’re 50 or older you should be screened Ovarian cancer is highly treatable when caught early, during treatment such as hair loss and second Tuesday of every month at the
The good news is that death rates have annually. Recent data shows that only about 50 percent but unfortunately, the vast majority of cases go undiag- skin changes; For self-help materials and Cancer Center, 343 Sunnyview Lane. Call
been declining steadily since the 1990s. Today, of Americans over 50 get screened. Testing could reduce nosed until it’s grave, mainly because the symptoms of a video, call1-800-395-LOOK or www. Karen Hunnicutt at 752-1790 for more
nearly every kind of breast cancer can be fatality rates from colon cancer by up to 80 percent. ovarian cancer are vague and often confused with other lookgoodfeelbetter.org. information.
successfully treated if found early, before it conditions. This cancer usually occurs in women 55 and Or call the Great West Division Patient
has spread to the lymph nodes. A mammo- Skin cancer is the most common cancer. Melanoma, older. It accounts for a fifth of cancer deaths in women. Services Center at 1-866-500-3272 to The ACS Cancer Action Network lobbies at the
gram is the best way to detect tumors early, which often looks like a dark brown or black mole on the About 75 percent of women with ovarian cancer sur- find out what is available in your area. state and federal level against discrimina-
before they can be seen or felt or other skin, accounts for less than 5 percent of skin cancer cases vive at least one year after diagnosis, and only 45 percent tion of the sick, and for more affordable
symptoms show. but causes nearly 80 percent of skin cancer deaths. live longer than five years after diagnosis. Because only 20 Reach to Recovery — Free one-on-one sup- health care and better screening programs.
Women in their 20s and up The number of new melanoma cases in the United percent of all ovarian cancers are found in an early stage, port for women or men facing breast As health-care costs increase hyperboli-
should have a clinical breast exam States is on the rise. The American Cancer Society women should look for symptoms of abdominal swelling cancer with volunteers who are breast cally in comparison to income levels for
every year by a health professional. reported 62,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in the or permanent bloating, abdominal pain or pressure, dif- cancer survivors. Support can be given in Americans, affordability becomes increas-
Beginning at age 40 women should U.S. in 2008 and more than 8,400 deaths from the disease. ficulty eating and frequent urinating. person or over the phone, and patients are ingly out of reach.
get a yearly mammogram. In addi- Detected early, melanoma is often curable, but the survival While routine pelvic exams may identify ovarian matched with someone close in age and Currently, 47 million of Americans are
tion to these screenings, breast self- rate decreases significantly when found in later stages. cancer, more effective screening methods are being had a similar cancer experience; 1-800- without health insurance and roughly two-
examination should be part of your People of all colors get skin cancer; the most common researched. In studies, oral contraceptives have been ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org. thirds of those have incomes below 200
routine. MRIs are recommended for and treatable forms are basal and squamous cell cancers determined to reduce risk. Research is ongoing regard- percent of the federal poverty level, which
women who have a family history of which are most often the result of prolonged sun exposure. ing the risks and benefits of their use regarding ovarian Road to Recovery — Free transportation ser- is about $44,000 for a family of four.
breast or ovarian cancer or who are While risk increases with age, these cancers are now being and breast cancer. vice to and from treatments and appoint- (www.americanprogressaction.org).
otherwise at high risk. seen in younger people too. ments for patients who have no other
Nearly 180,500 women were diag- When outdoors, use sunscreen and lip balm with an Inter Act features editor Carol Marino can be reached at transportation options; 1-800-ACS-2345
nosed with breast cancer in America SPF factor of at least 15, reapply every couple of hours and 758-4440 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.cancer.org
6 June 2009 “Happiness and sadness run parallel to each other. When one takes a rest, the other one tends to take up the slack.” Hazelmarie Elliott “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” Colette June 2009 7
Relay for Life —
A quarter century to
Celebrate. Remember. Fight back.
By CAROL MARINO ■ The Daily Inter Lake
For 25 years, Relay for Life has been the father’s 100th birthday. Not only did her father
American Cancer Society’s signature event. Over die of cancer but all of his five siblings did.
3.5 million people across the country and in 20 McKiernan’s family will also have cause to cel-
foreign countries participate annually, joined in ebrate because she and her own six siblings have
solidarity to celebrate those who’ve survived, those remained cancer-free.
who are fighting, and those whose lives have been Kalispell has hosted a Relay for at least 15
lost to cancer. years. This year opening ceremonies commence PHOTOS COURTESY OF JONI McKIERNAN
If you haven’t participated in a relay, the time is at 6 p.m. June 19 when over 120 survivors will Local Relays for Life
now. The money raised globally by Relay for Life take their victory lap around the high school
has contributed significantly to every major discov- track led by a bagpiper and followed by about Kalispell — June 19-20, Flathead High School Legends Field.
ery in cancer research, prevention, detection and 40 teams. Sky divers will then descend amid Call Joni McKiernan, 261-0184, email@example.com
treatment. The direct result — saving lives, those in drifting purple ribbons — the American Cancer Whitefish — June 19-20, Whitefish High School track.
your family, your community, even your own. Society’s trademark color. Call Joan Paulson, 862-5374, firstname.lastname@example.org
While teams are encouraged, everyone is wel- Dinner for team members and survivors is Columbia Falls — June 19-20, Columbia Falls High School track.
come to come and be part of the relay community. complements of Qdoba Restaurant. Live music Call Kathy Emerson, 892-2578, email@example.com
Kalispell chairperson Joni McKiernan says people by The Flathead Community Band will entertain Polson — June 20-21, Polson Stadium.
should come to see what Relay for Life is all about the crowd as teams take turns lapping the track Call Heidi Trytten, 261-2879.
— if you purchased a luminaria you can walk along throughout the event, pausing only for the light- Bigfork — July 17-18, Bigfork High School track.
the track in search of it. Everyone should witness ing of the luminarias, perhaps the most poignant Call Debbie Ingram, 837-6280, firstname.lastname@example.org
the luminaria display at dark. moment of the relay.
The luminaria ceremony is amazing in itself. At midnight, everyone gets together for an ice
Over 1,500 luminarias are the sole light source dur- cream social, and in the morning has breakfast
ing this reverent, memorable part of the night when cooked by the Montana National Guard before Relay for Life turns 25
all other activity ceases, to honor cancer survivors closing ceremonies. Relay for Life first got its legs in the mid-1980s when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a
and those who have died. More than anything, Relay for Life is about colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Wash., was looking for a way to raise money
McKiernan initially got involved with Relay for empowerment. Your participation directly impacts for his local American Cancer Society office. A marathon runner, Klatt spent a
Life with her admittedly reluctant husband, Bill, a your community and inspires those who are strug- grueling 24 hours circling the track at the University of Puget Sound, covering
nine-year prostate cancer survivor. gling with cancer in their lives. over 83 miles while his friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him.
“Four years ago I dragged him to the relay,” To find out more about how you can help more of He raised $27,000 that first year.
McKiernan said. “As he approached the survivors your friends, family and neighbors celebrate more The event evolved into a 24-hour team relay event, and in 1986 the first
tent to register, he was amazed to be surrounded by birthdays, visit www.kalispellrelay.com. For more Relay for Life took place at the historic Stadium Bowl in Tacoma, raising
many of his golfing buddies, friends and neighbors details or to purchase a luminaria, call McKiernan $33,000 for the American Cancer Society.
— all of them survivors too whom he’d never even at 261-0184 or e-mail email@example.com. This year, in addition to honoring those who have lost their battle to cancer
known had cancer.” Inter Act features editor Carol Marino can or are still fighting, Relay for Life honors the man who started the world’s larg-
At this year’s relay McKiernan’s entire fam- be reached at 758-4440 or by e-mail at est movement in the fight against cancer.
ily will commemorate what would have been her firstname.lastname@example.org
8 June 2009 “Nobody really cares if you’re miserable, so you might as well be happy.” Cynthia Nelms
BY TOMAHAWK by Tomahawk
131 Central Avenue On Whitefish
Whitefish, MT 59937 Mountain Resort
406-862-9199 Whitefish, MT 59937
800-862-9199 www.McGoughandCo.com 406-863-9199
Ideas? Insights? inter act at 406.758.4410 June 2009 9
Find support in creating the life you want with a
gathering of women who honor the sacred in nature,
in one another, and in themselves.
Sep tembe r 13- 19, 20 09
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Katt Ellis exemplifies the spirit of Montana
By KASA ZIPFEL ■ The Daily Inter Lake go back in my mind to the places I’ve been when I GREAT SMILES
Katt Ellis’ life has
was young,” she said.
There’s no line between work and leisure for
been a fairy tale. She Ellis. When she’s outside “playing,” whether it’s GREAT CUTS
played the role of rodeo hiking, canoeing, kayaking, hunting or fishing, her
experience in nature feeds her art and her art is a
queen, riding the rodeo
circuit and traveled the contemplation of her outdoor adventures. 191 Jewel Basin Ct.
world in the military. A “Being outside is such an enlightening experi- Ste. 3D
Montana native, Ellis ence — in my work, it just sets me free,” she said.
“The kinetic energy that comes from Montana just
explained that, “These
mountains have always
called me home. I’ve ELLIS
feeds my soul. Montana has so many faces, so
much history and so much to offer me that it’s like • Call for Appointment •
Call for Appointment
made my circle.” a breath of fresh air.”
On a cloudy Thursday in early May, she sits on When she’s not translating her outdoor adven-
top of a plateau in the Charles M. Russell Wildlife tures into three-dimensional masterpieces, Ellis
Refuge overlooking the Missouri River. spends her time helping others understand and
Places such as these are where she does her appreciate Montana through outdoor promotions.
best work. Whether it’s teaching women or younger people that
“We’re on the wind,” she said. “When you live they can get out, she believes that showing people
on the wind, you become part of it.” that they can independently experience the outdoors
Reflecting on the expansive view that spread instills self-reassurance, confidence and connection.
out beneath her she explained, “This is where we Each year she hosts “Nana camp” for her
do business in Montana — on top of the peaks.” grandchildren.
Her life, carved by the rugged landscape and “We go fishing, swimming and I’m going to
rich history of Montana, is fueled by her connec- teach them about bows, which is all about hand-
tion to nature. As a young girl, her father shaped the eye coordination, dedication and concentration,”
path that would become her passion, her clarity, her she said.
strength and her legacy. “When they get older they’ll be involved in
“My father worked for the Forest Service and things in our state that help promote them and
we spent many summers in the mountains in look- help them to be part of this state. It’s about pro-
outs and cabins,” she explained. “It was such an moting young people.”
enlightening time in my life because when you are For Ellis, “All the stuff beyond the surface is
so young and so supple, your mind just engorges what really matters.”
all of these things.” “That relates to Montana because you can’t just
Her father taught her about wildlife, the envi- look at it, you have to be involved in it.”
ronment and “how to respect all these things.” Ellis currently resides in Ferndale near the
“That’s where it all started and I’ve had an Swan River and each morning, she begins her day
extreme love of nature from there,” she said. being humbled by sunrise.
“It’s amazing how back then my mind was being “The light cracks and dawn breaks. I see the
shaped to do what I’m doing now. It’s funny how morning light dancing on the water and I know it’s
we make a full circle in life.” a whole lot bigger than I am and it makes me so
Ellis’ connection to artwork transpired in humble and so grateful,” she said.
her starting her own business, Upstream Wall “I tell people to kiss the morning because it’s
Designs, in which she creates custom three- fresh everyday and it’s a gift.”
dimensional murals, borders and designs in plas- To view more of Ellis’ work please visit www.
ter relief. Her artwork fuses the history, culture upstreamwalldesigns.com.
and landscape of Montana. Writer Kasa Zipfel can be reached at 758-
“I get lost in my work because I immediately 4457 or by e-mail at email@example.com
10 June 2009 “If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Mary Engelbreit
Simply The B
"Once you Navigating the path of
ch oo se h o pe , diagnosis and treatment
By KASA ZIPFEL ■ The Daily Inter Lake
The word “cancer” carries the weight of the care of themselves. Let me worry about the
millions of lives the disease has claimed. When logistics of appointments,” Rourke said.
uttered out loud, it can have the sinewy effect Although undergoing diagnosis can be a
of a bomb dropping, shattering perceptions tumultuous time for the individual, Rourke
pos sib l e. "
and priorities. It can align one’s priorities or explained that most of her patients, “just want
devastate one’s life. to be treated normally. They don’t want to be
Sally Cameron-Russell, Licensed Clinical treated like a broken egg.”
Social Worker (LCSW), has worked with “Helping to return normalcy to the patient’s
cancer patients and survivors for more than 20 life is a big deal,” explained Rourke. “They
years. One thing that has been clear about her don’t want it to be a 24/7 cancer talk issue.”
work is, “Everyone is unique.” Often times, according to Rourke, “I hear
– Christopher Reeve
“There isn’t a recipe for this,” she said. my patients say that they would like the little
Although each person is unique, Russell things done like picking up the house or having
said anxiety, fear, shock, disbelief and a sense dinner cooked for them.”
of things being surreal are common emotions Key advice that Rourke gives to her patients
that she encounters in people who are dealing is to refrain from going to extreme measures.
with diagnosis. “Now, more than ever, it’s very important
“What I think is very important at that point that patients eat a balanced diet. Everything in
Flathead’s is to learn as much as you can about the diag-
nosis and treatment options,” she said.
“In a time that feels out of control, it gives
moderation,” she said.
Rourke has also witnessed a lot of posi-
tive experience for patients that try journaling
Window Covering Experts you a sense of control. It also helps you make
through the process.
Russell cautions about the flipside of infor- HELPING CREATE a sense of centered-
mation overload. ness, grounding and connection with other
“There’s a point where you can feel people can be beneficial to someone during the
overwhelmed with the amount of informa- process of diagnosis and treatment, according
tion out there to the point where you feel to Cameron-Russell. She said activities such as
immobilized to make a decision. It helps yoga, journaling, being with friends and sup-
to know when you’re just flooding yourself portive family members can all be helpful.
and that’s not helpful.” She recommends, “engaging in activi-
Dr. Loren Rourke of Kalispell Regional ties that bring joy, whether it’s just walk-
Medical Center’s Bass Center explained, “We ing, gardening or taking a ride in a car to
always ask every new patient to bring someone look at the beauty around us. I think it’s
with them. The first visit is usually an hour pretty individualized.”
and half and it’s a long information packed “For some people, being able to establish
session. The patients only hear about half of some kind of structure or routine that involves
what we say so it’s nice to have someone else exercise, good diet, and going back to work
www.blindmanmontana.com with them.”
Bringing a friend, relative or advocate to
is helpful,” Cameron-Russell said. “But also,
some people really aren’t able to go back to
862-5154 • 3930 Hwy 40 help record the information and ask questions
allows the patient to absorb the experience
work or establish that structure because of the
demands of the treatment. It does require some
(between Whitefish & Blue Moon) while having support. For Rourke, offloading
the treatment and appointment scheduling of
flexibility to things that weren’t planned, sort
of like life in general.”
the patients is a priority. Writer Kasa Zipfel can be
Free Estimates • Satisfaction Guaranteed! “I try to tell them to offload some of the
burden on me and that their job is to take good
reached at 758-4457 or by e-mail at
“Problems are messages.” Shakti Gawain June 2009 11
12 June 2009 Ideas? Insights? inter act at 406.758.4410