If you have fought cancer and won you know that's only part of the battle. The next few years will mean repeated check-ups to make sure the cancer hasn't reoccurred. We meet a cancer survivor from Tea who was smart to take those doctors visits seriously because his cancer came back and he has every intention of beating it again.
Gerry Berg has certainly seen his share of exam rooms and specialists at Avera McKennan in the last two years. It started in March of 2008 when he found out he had rectal cancer. He went through 6 rounds of chemo, radiation, minor surgery and had blood work done and endoscopic ultrasounds every 3 months plus a CT scan once a year.
Gerry says, "At some point the cancer had moved. I had a spot on my liver. I had a PET CT and found a spot on my lung. So I started all over again on March 13th of this year."
Even though Gerry's rectal cancer had metastasized had he not been vigilant in his initial follow up treatment, his Oncologist Dr. Mark Huber says his prognosis would not be the same.
Avera Oncologist Dr. Mark Huber says, "If he'd hesitated another 6 or 8 or even 12 months and things had continued to grow as they were it probably would be widespread and their wouldn't have been any role in curative intense surgery. Instead we would mainly use chemo to slow down the cancer. Right now we are still in the mode to cure him."
Gerry says, "I've got an oncologist that's upbeat about it. He was upbeat when I first saw him. He said to me you've got stage 4 cancer but you have curable stage 4 cancer. That's what I want. I want an oncologist that's on my side with a good outlook. I want all the positive around me that I can get."
After three months of chemo, the spot on Gerry's liver went from 2.5 cm (the size of a quarter) to 1.5 cm (the size of the dime) which he is having removed on June 1st. The spot on his lung disappeared after chemo.
Gerry says, "I'm actually anxious for it because the sooner it happens, the sooner I can get on my way to healing. Get it out of the way and behind me."
Gerry has a lot of living left to do and plans to do just that. Once his surgery is over he'll go through more chemo and once again come in for more follow-up checkups every 3 months. He knows cancer caught early is more often cancer that's curable.
Benefit for Gerry Berg
Saturday, June 5th
5pm-7pm Larchwood Park in Larchwood, IA.
There will be a free will supper, bake sale, and silent auction. To donate for the bake sale or silent auction, contact Colleen Miles at 605-321-3687.
Donations need to be received on or before June 4th. Donations can be picked up or dropped off at the Sinclair station in Larchwood.