Lois Lemcke - Mt. Pleasant, MI
"I was with Aaron, David and Renee five days a week for six weeks and they were marvelous. There was not one day when they didn't make me laugh. They made the process so much easier because of the way they cared for me."
A Positive Attitude and Outstanding Care
In the fall of 2012, Lois Lemcke of Mt. Pleasant was being treated for repeated urinary tract infections. “I had pain in my back and abdomen but no UTI symptoms,” she said. “It just wasn’t right for me.” Following her instincts, she sought out a specialist, and her primary care physician referred Lois to Cheryl L. Dwyer, D.O., who specializes in gynecology. She diagnosed uterine cancer. “Dr. Dwyer saw me on a Friday. On Monday, I got the word. I immediately started searching for the right surgeon.”
In early November, Lois underwent a complete hysterectomy at a facility in Lansing. “The surgery was done robotically and I recovered quickly,” she said. “I even went to a CMU football game the next week.” Her surgeon recommended follow-up radiation therapy at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland. “I chose radiation. I took an active role in getting rid of the cancer.”
Lois started radiation therapy one month after surgery. Five days a week for six weeks, she made the trip to Midland, where she received radiation therapy treatment customized to her condition. Radiation Oncologist Rajesh P. Kotecha, M.D. and the team of specialists in the Radiation Oncology Department treated Lois using the most advanced technology in radiation therapy. With X-ray image guidance each day to pinpoint her treatment, Lois could be treated in less than 12 minutes using RapidArc® radiotherapy technology. This treatment technique provided her with the highest degree of accuracy, minimal side effects and a quicker recovery.
The radiation treatment process begins with an initial exam and preparation. “At the first visit they made the ‘saddle’ I used for treatments,” Lois said. “It secured me so I was in the exact same position at every treatment and couldn’t move. They also did a lot of measuring and marking so the radiation would be delivered precisely.” After the initial preparation and setup, Lois said the treatments were relatively quick. “They were efficient and prompt! The treatment itself took only six minutes. From the time I arrived until the time I left was usually 20 to 30 minutes.”
Efficient, however, did not mean rushed. “They are absolutely the kindest and most caring individuals I’ve ever met in my life,” Lois said of the radiation therapy team. “I was extremely impressed with the whole group. I saw Dr. Kotecha once a week and a nurse once a week, but I was with Aaron, David and Renee five days a week for six weeks and they were marvelous. There was not one day when they didn’t make me laugh. They made the process so much easier because of the way they cared for me.”
Lois said her experience changed her at her core. “When you hear the word cancer, your world, from that day forward, is never the same,” she said. “I knew I needed to put my trust in the Lord first of all. Beyond that, I knew I needed to be positive. I decided I could feel sorry for myself or be grateful for how fortunate I am to have such good care. Every morning I said to myself ‘I’m bigger than this and I can do this.’”
She also looked to family and friends for support. Lois said she was blessed with an adoring husband and a wonderful cadre of friends. “The notes, calls and visits all made a huge difference and helped me stay positive,” she said. “My little grandniece, Marcilyn, was my light. She’s 3½ going on 18 and every day she added something positive to my life.”
Months after completing radiation therapy, Lois feels well and has resumed her active lifestyle. She plays golf at least once a week, volunteers at a thrift store that supports a preschool, and does a vigorous, hour-long aerobics workout three times a week, a practice she believes heals both the body and the mind.
Lois is deeply grateful to the professionals at the Medical Center who played such a pivotal role in her life. “The key for me was to trust the people who were caring for me,” she said. “They are wonderful. I can’t say enough about these people. I gave a part of my life to them and they gave back to me in every way. They kept me from looking at a whole different scenario.”
RapidArc® is a registered trademark of Varian Medical Systems.
Lois Lemcke’s story is just one example of MidMichigan’s advanced technology and expertise for cancer treatment and rehabilitation. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with cancer, ask your doctor for a referral to a MidMichigan surgeon or oncologist, or call the MidMichigan Health Line for a physician referral at (800) 999-3199. Online, visit www.midmichigan.org/cancer or www.midmichigan.org/rehabilitation.