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					f o r wo m e n
     june 2009
       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 csease@dailyinterlake.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
                                                                                                                                                                                                    nurture

     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 lfleming@dailyinterlake.com


4   June 2009                                                                                                                  “When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” Anonymous
LIFE HAS ITS MOMENTS...
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                                             406-752-2646 (coin)
                                                                                                                         June 19th 5 P.M. through
                                               1-800-643-3330                                                               June 20th 9 A.M.
                                                                            Relay is a Celebration of Survivors and their battle with this disease, that will
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                     Plant Care & Floral Design                             Survivors can call Fran Ruby at 857-3801 or Joni at 261-0184 to register and
                                                                            be a guest at dinner, walk the first lap in Celebration and enjoy an evening of
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           Breast Cancer does not discriminate ...
                                                                                                       Joni McKiernan
            don’t wait ... start your exams early.                                                       Broker, CRS, GRI
                           (between 20-40 years of age)                                          Certified Foreclosure Counselor                                    Glacier Country
                                                                                                   jmckiernan@montana.com                                                1 Main Street
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         2828 Helena Flats Rd. • Kalispell, MT                                                           Check out my website to see
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                                                                                                                                                                Office ~ 406-257-8900
                                                                                                                                                                  Fax ~ 406-257-8901
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Ideas? Insights? inter act at 406.758.4410                                                                                                                                 June 2009     5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Health Issues Got You down?
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                                                   More birthdays                                                                  By CAROL MARINO ■ The Daily Inter Lake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gilda’s Legacy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                756-9811                                      Cal l For



              T
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Deta ils
                   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)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              CANCER SUPPORT
              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 cmarino@dailyinterlake.com              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
                                                                                                                                                                                   diversions




      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, joni@montana.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, jpaulson@flathead.mt.gov
    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, alexsmom89@hotmail.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, dibfrfl@yahoo.com
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 joni@montana.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             cmarino@dailyinterlake.com


8   June 2009                                                                                                        “Nobody really cares if you’re miserable, so you might as well be happy.” Cynthia Nelms
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Ideas? Insights? inter act at 406.758.4410                                                                   June 2009   9
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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
                                                                                                                                                                 GREAT SMILES
                                                                                                                                                                 GREAT SMILES
    Katt Ellis’ life has
                                                         was young,” she said.
                                                             There’s no line between work and leisure for
                                                                                                                                                                    GREAT SERVICE
                                                                                                                                                                    GREAT SERVICE
                                                                                                                                                                     GREAT
been a fairy tale. She                                   Ellis. When she’s outside “playing,” whether it’s                                                                GREAT CUTS
                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                   Open Tues-Fri
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




                                                                                                                                                                                                                     739139
Montana native, Ellis                                    ence — in my work, it just sets me free,” she said.
                                                         “The kinetic energy that comes from Montana just
                                                                                                                                                                                    Bigfork, MT
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 kzipfel@dailyinterlake.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
                                                                                                                                        savvy
               est!
   Simply The B



    "Once you                                    Navigating the path of
   ch oo se h o pe ,                            diagnosis and treatment

     anything's
                                                                            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
                                                informed decisions.”
                                                                                                     through the process.


          Since 1993
                                                    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
                                                                                                     kzipfel@dailyinterlake.com


“Problems are messages.” Shakti Gawain                                                                                                      June 2009   11
12   June 2009   Ideas? Insights? inter act at 406.758.4410

				
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