Rebecca Kleefisch is running for WI Lt. Governor, along with Scott Walker for Governor. This is her story. It is a testimonial on why the government should keep their crummy Obama hands off of our health care system. Very interesting and uplifting. Under Obamacare she may not have lived.
About two and a half weeks before I became Scott Walker’s running mate, my life changed. No doubt my life changed the night of the primary, too, but what happened before is something I want to share with you.
Statewide campaigns are a rigorous business. I had traveled Wisconsin time and time again getting to know you. I was eating on the run, drinking a lot of coffee, and keeping a demanding schedule. My excuse for exercise was 8 consecutive Independence Day parades!
That’s why, when I started having stomach cramps and feeling tired, I blamed it on my schedule. I went to my doctor a couple of times and he agreed that I probably needed a lifestyle adjustment after the election.
A few weeks before the primary, I told my doctor that I was sick. Not just campaign-sick. Really sick. He ordered some blood tests and called me with the results. He wanted to know how I was feeling. “Fine,” I told him.
The test results were not as fine. He said that I was bleeding somewhere, that I might have an ulcer and that I needed an endoscopy right away, and probably a blood transfusion. I hung up the phone and got back behind the camera to shoot my “Mom with a Minivan” ad. I didn’t want a blood transfusion. The next day, I had an endoscopy that revealed no ulcer, but instead of being excited, my doctor told me I needed a colonoscopy the next morning.
It was August 26th. Two and a half weeks before the primary I woke up from my colonoscopy to my doctor telling me, “Becky… you have colon cancer, but, 9 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, and I’m here to tell you about it.” He was like an angel, giving me the bad along with hope. He refused to guess what stage the cancer was.
Eight years earlier, my dad died of pancreatic cancer, and I was so thankful the doctor hadn’t said “pancreatic cancer.” Regardless of the stage, I knew I could beat colon cancer. I went straight to get a CT scan and transfusion.
That weekend I researched my disease and the treatments available. I found the best colorectal cancer surgeon around: Dr. Kirk Ludwig. He was internationally renowned and taught others how to remove colon cancer laparoscopically. He was at Froedert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin…amazingly, just 30 minutes away.
I saw him Monday morning. My tumor was the size of a grapefruit, he said. When I asked whether he would still be able to take it out laparoscopically, he said it wouldn’t be a problem.
“And in ten years…?” I said. “In ten years, you’ll look back on this and say, ‘Oh, that wasn’t so fun.’ And that’s it.”
The next day when I went for genetic testing I started bleeding and was admitted Wednesday. Thursday morning, around the same time I got my diagnosis the previous week, the cancer was gone.
Dr. Ludwig sent my tumor to pathologists to determine the stage of the disease. After I had been home for a day, he called with the results: despite the fact that the tumor had broken through my colon wall and was creeping up my side, despite the fact that it looked like it had compromised lymph nodes, all the nodes tested negative. I had survived Stage 2 cancer. It was like a miracle.
Last week, the genetic test results finally came. “No mutation detected” they said. I will not pass this on to my daughters. Another miracle.
I’m telling you because perhaps you’ve been touched by cancer. If you have, you know that the stories of hope, of beating it, are the ones you hold on to. Just like my doctor awakened me with a story of hope, I hope you will share my story with someone who needs it.
My story also illustrates how dire my future might have been if we had socialized medicine. What if the government had told me I had to wait in a 6 month line to get a CT scan? Or that I couldn’t have Dr. Ludwig perform the surgery? That’s unacceptable to me and my family.
So please hug your family tonight and be thankful for your blessings. I have a renewed gratefulness for each day. And please join me in fighting for healthcare reform that keeps us in charge of our choices.
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