Cancer Loses – Kathi Trostad Wins
13 Jun e 2011 marks six months cancer-free for survivor Kathi Tronstad of Poulsbo!
After four operations in five and a half months, after times being told, “You have Cancer”, Kathi celebrates six months CANCER FREE.
Where does the Kathi Trostad cancer story begin?
Did her childhood add to the someday-adult Cancer risk?
1. Kathi’s mother took DES to avoid miscarriages when she was pregnant with her.
2. Kathi was sexually abused as a young child that turned her as an adult into an outspoken child advocate
3. Kathi took HRT and lived with stress.
6. Kathi’s mother’s aunt died of breast cancer about 1942.
7. Kathi’s mother had breast cancer, developed Lymphedema and lived another 27 years with COPD and the Pulmonary Fibrosis that killed her brother.
8. Kathi’s father had prostate cancer, and it spread later to his bones and lungs. His stomach ruptured and he bled to death.
9. Her uncles died of lung and prostate cancer. Each of Kathi’s parents had a sibling female with uterus cancer in their 30’s but both survived to their 70’s.
“Then cancer came to my cousins but still I was told I had only a small risk.”
Following is Kathi’s story…
In April of 2010 after feeling rotten and in treatment for a UTI and kidney stones, I went to the ER in Silverdale. An urgent care doctor said I might have Diverticulitis. Of course I said oh, no wouldn’t I know if I did?
2 1/2 weeks in the hospital to drain the abscess in my colon then home to rest and of course I had a hole although it didn’t show up on the test so then I had a fistula. I was making 3 dozen krumkake one night and was on #30 when I thought I was getting too warm from the iron, so I put on summer pajamas.
On the #34 krumkake, I went in the bathroom, saw a red round circle on my tummy, and took my temperature, 102ᵒ. After doing #35 and #36 krumkake, I told my husband to get me to the Silverdale ER fast. Emergency surgery drained the wound. They left it open for a colon resection the next week. I was feeling lucky, feeling great and could eat for the first time.
I was on 4 West and I love those people – they were so good to me! My surgeon is Dr. Halligan and what an angel of a man. I had 18 inches of colon removed – all old abscess scars – so how I am alive is a miracle.
Of course, I had to change my check up with my gyn doctor and to get my regular mammogram so when I was well enough in August, I had no idea what was ahead.
December 13th I was diagnosed with breast cancer and then again on the 21st so I had a double lumpectomy on the 22nd. I had one node involved.
Hearing it was cancer 3 times is a tad much. I felt sorrier for Dr. Halligan than for myself but he did a fabulous job. It looks more like the cosmetic mini-breast reduction that I was wanting.
Two years ago without all these new tests now available, they would not have found the spots. I had tumor tests so did not need chemo and the 60 dose4s or radiation left me only a little tired.
The day after my last radiation treatment, I started my work on the NK Relay For Life. Claudia Kilburn has joined the team too. I spoke for a couple minutes at Poulsbo’s Daughters of Norway, they donated $100 to the ACS, and another member gave me a check for $25. We have lost too many members to breast cancer.
Dr. Halligan has ordered two low key years for me -maybe a tad boring!!! 4 surgeries in 5 1/2 months is a bit much but it is all on the same deductible so it is all good! I have met so many wonderful people it has been a blessing and I have renewed passion for some things I do.
My tumors were found in a regular mammogram and could not be felt by me or any of my doctors.
I was shocked when my doctor told me that the Norwegian community in the PNW has a lot of MS and breast cancer. I have heard of pockets of both here. They do not know why. My brother just passed away May 29 of Muscular Dystrophy at 42 years – most of those years in a wheelchair.
I now have about 36″ of scars on my torso! The cancer center has a knitting class for us to help us think after all the meds, drugs and such. I was new that day and we were of course discussing things. We were thinking of all the positive things that had happened to us during treatment.
Breast Cancer survivors is a real sisterhood (men get it too). Cancer does not care who you are or what your plans are. Nobody cares how much or how little money you have, what kind of house you live in, or if you have many degrees or none.
One of the funny comments was that now I have no need for dental records!
The NK Relay For Life is July 8-9. God is good. Our team name is the Peninsula Cancer Center. Dr. Madsen asked me to join on one of my first visits to her, which to me was a good sign! The good Dr. thinks I will be here to do it!
The morning of Dec. 13 when I went for the first report after having a biopsy at the hospital I was planning lunch with my husband and then some more Christmas shopping for the grandkids. The sun was out and the sky was blue! When my doctor told me I just got light headed and thought, he is saying something I do NOT want to hear, but I simply said how much of this can you do before the end of December so I can get it on the same deductible as my resection! The blessing here was I had already had 3 surgeries with Dr. Halligan and so I knew I was in good hands and could trust his judgment. My breasts look great, the incisions are pristine, and fine lines almost the same color as my skin.
I saw three doctors at the Peninsula Cancer Center in a calm atmosphere instead of me driving around the County to different appointments. They had met before I arrived to discuss my case and the plan. The bottom line is I am not maimed. When I count my blessings, I count Dr. Halligan twice!
I am in the best health of my life after 60 doses of radiation and I have met so many wonderful and helpful people in this past year.
We have a wonderful health community here. Dr. Halligan, Dr. Truong, Dr. Chiricella, Dr. Madsen, Dr. Meeks and Dr. Esser all got me the best care right here at home. I know me and if I had to go to Seattle every weekday for six weeks for radiation I would not be this far along to recovery! In addition, my tumors were tested so I did not need chemo because of the type they were. I do need to say that Harrison Hospital, AMI, the 4 WEST staff, Kristen Bakke at KPT and KPS did so much to make my recovery seem easy. My husband of almost 44 years, Rob, did everything he could to make recovery easier. There are so many people to thank.
Over the last year, I have learned so much about myself. So many people have helped along the way.
The day after my last radiation treatment, I met with Brie Storset at Starbucks to discuss the NK Relay For Life. Brie oversees the Relays in Kitsap and Mason County.
I know I am blessed and I do count my blessings every morning. I thank God for life.
While 4 surgeries in 5 1/2 months is a bit over the top, I do know lots of prayer and God given skill by my caregivers set me on a better path. I feel great, which is new to me but I am adjusting after feeling so awful for so long. I believe there is purpose in all of life’s experiences and I intend to spend the rest of my life doing things to help find a cure. Cancer still makes me grit my teeth.
I have had too many friends and family die from it and some at a young age. My daughter said that cancer will be sorry it paid me a visit.
One of the staff at the Center told me that I know how to make lemonade out of a basket of lemons. I do indeed!
Today I am a six-month survivor of Sequential Breast Cancer. I intend to have many more birthdays!!
One of the North Kitsap Cancer activities is the NK Luminaria Ceremony honoring those still fighting and those who have passed away.
Melanie Cena is the Luminaria Chair for this year’s North Kitsap Relay For Life.
American Cancer Society | www.RelayForLife.org |1.800.227.2345
Following are faces of cancer. The photographer for the first 5 is Kathi’s husband, Rob Trostad – 6th photo was taken by son-in-law, Marshall Menne.
1. Me in the radiation room with Anthony, a radiation therapist. It was not scary or embarassing. He was showing my husband and they let Rob see the computer and watch while they did the treatment.
2. Me in front of the Peninsula Cancer Center
3. Me ringing the bell to celebrate my lst treatment, it is a tradition in cancer centers and let people in the clinic know that one more person has graduated.
4. Sometimes I wore costumes. One the second day Anthony said he could see me in a Vking helmet and my hair braided! The cake is a Boob Cake to celebrate the best breast care anywhere. Dr. Madsen loved it! You need comnedy relief during treatment. I went as the first day of spring,a leprechaun and a Viking Warrior princess and I wore hats.
5. Me with my radiation therapists, Cheri and Anthony
(these might me out of order as my memory is still a little off)
6. Life goes on. Be with my grandchildrens who are teenagers first cousin on their daqd’s side. I look healthy and holding newborn mattox was a healing experience. This is the best photo I have had of me in years!!!
Thanks, Kathi! Your inspiring story is a Shout Out – why so many people are so passionate about cancer. My own daughter led a Federal Way Cancer team last night.
Thanks for reading…. Sharon O’Hara