Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.
KINGMAN – It was a scary lesson that Diane Marschall learned from surviving a golf ball-size cancerous tumor that was found in her kidney. The diagnosis came during last year’s pink October.
Whether the timing meets the definition of irony or is mere coincidence is a matter for discussion, but Marschall is giving back with amazing gratitude and courage.
“Get rid of all the negativity in life, negative people and negative things,” the 58-year-old cancer survivor and volunteer with Kingman Cancer Care Unit said Thursday during an interview at the Daily Miner.
And be thankful for the good people around you, like all of the friends, family and coworkers who supported her with prayers and words of encouragement after she underwent a six-and-a-half-hour surgery in Tucson to remove her cancer.
That’s what compelled Marschall to volunteer with Kingman Cancer Care Unit, which helped defray her travel costs to and from the hospital in Tucson and paid bills if needed.
“They helped me. I want to help them,” she said. “I don’t consider myself religious, but I’m very blessed and I know that.”
Kingman Cancer Care Unit was formed by a compassionate group of citizens who’ve been helping cancer patients for more than 40 years.
Its mission is to provide financial and moral support to the patient and family, including assistance with travel, food and hotel rooms. Marschall volunteered to take charge of the “Pink Heels” craft booth at the organization’s annual arts and crafts fair coming to Mohave County Fairgrounds Nov. 12-13.
She’ll be counting votes from people judging the decorated high heels contest. When it was discovered that Marschall’s tumor had metastasized, her doctor told her she would be a good subject for robotic surgery.
But once inside, doctors had to take out her kidney, the tumor and 15 lymph nodes, so relatively minor robotic surgery turned into major surgery.
She had just started her office job at Hualapai Home Health, and had accrued no time off, but the company held her job for her return after three weeks of recovery. She’s grateful for that.
Now there’s a question mark to her happy ending. Marschall felt tightness in her chest while at work, and the nurses didn’t want to “fool around,” so they rushed her to the hospital for a battery of tests. A chest X-ray found a 1-inch nodule on her lung.
“So with my (cancer) history, I have to have that biopsied,” she said. “Has my cancer returned? I’m not going to stress about it.
“I’ve learned a lot of things from cancer. Don’t expose myself to anything controversial, like politics right now. I’m not going to get caught up in controversy. I won’t.”
Marschall said her kidney cancer did not respond to chemotherapy and radiation, so she’s going to have to be “really diligent” about taking care of her last remaining kidney.
“I’m very fortunate. It was a miracle,” she said.