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As many of you know, Christmas 2022 was not a good one for Monica Fournier this year as she ended up in Benefis Hospital in extreme pain in her abdominal/pelvic region. Tests determined that she had a “high grade serous carcinoma” (cancer) on her uterine wall which will require surgery to remove the enlarged ovaries, uterus, lymph nodes etc. “High grade” means it is a faster growing cancer, so there was an urgency for medical attention. That diagnosis was delivered to Monica January 6, 2023.

As she is still a Canadian citizen, there were two options: Surgery in Alberta, Canada OR Surgery in Billings, MT.  Calls were made to the closest Cancer Clinic in Calgary, Alberta first. Unfortunately with the doctor shortage and long wait times for surgery in Alberta right now, that option quickly became the least viable. There is an estimated four to six weeks wait before she could have a consultation and then another four to six week wait until surgery. That’s if there are not any bureaucratic hold ups.

So the choice was made to pursue having the surgery done at the Cancer Clinic in Billings. Thanks to Dr. Braget at the Great Falls Ob/Gyn Clinic, a referral was made to Dr. Megan Petersen in Billings who is a gyn-oncology surgeon specialist with over 15 years experience. Currently this type of surgery cannot be done in Great Falls.

Her first consultation appointment with Dr. Petersen happened January 30th in Billings. Monica and Pat had driven down the day before, on icy roads, staying at the Riversage Inn which happened to be right across the street from the cancer clinic.

Dr. Petersen was very thorough in explaining how the surgery would be done, with the use of a diagram and the catscan from her hospital visit in Great Falls on Christmas Eve. She also prepared us for any worst-case scenarios, such as: if the cancer had progressed to the bowels a colostomy might be needed, AND if the ovaries were cancerous. She didn’t “sugar coat” anything! Left that appointment with supreme confidence that God had found us the surgeon Monica desperately needed.

A couple days later the phone rang with a surgery date – Wednesday February 8th. Sigh of relief!!! But coupled with that sigh of relief was worry and anxiety. These types of surgeries come with a high cost, and we’re just pensioners. Unfortunately, Monica doesn’t have health insurance down here. Hence the reason for fund-raising.

Surgery happened on February 8th and took less time than anticipated because the worst-case scenarios were non-existent. Praise the Lord! No cancer in the ovaries, nor the bowels, so no ostomy! Dr. Petersen said it looked like the cancer was caught early enough and prognosis was excellent. To be sure, there will be chemotherapy and radiation treatments to follow. Pat and Monica are putting their faith in the Lord for a positive outcome to all this.

If you find it in your heart to assist with the financial costs of out-of-town appointments, surgery expenses, and follow-up chemo/radiation treatments, please donate. If you’re unable to donate, please help by sharing this post. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

P.S.: Any overage of funds received, after expenses are taken care of, will be donated to a Cancer Institute.


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