Survivor stories across the region
Patients inspire us every day with their strength, determination, and humility. They come from all walks of life from towns across a vast region, facing the challenges of a cancer diagnosis and treatment with grace and dignity. We are honored to offer cancer services across Montana and Wyoming through clinics and partnerships that keep patients close to home. These are just a few stories about our incredible patients and the messages they have to share about prevention, early detection, and living life after a cancer diagnosis.
Tina - Colstrip, MT
Fitting for a dental hygienist, Tina Mauer has a smile that shines. She’s the kind of person who stops a stranger in the grocery store just to ask how they are doing with their own cancer treatment, making life-long connections through support and encouragement. With her significant other, Jim, and her dog, Jax, by her side she faced four surgeries, five months of chemotherapy and twenty-five radiation treatments like a fighter. She continued to work at dental clinics in both Colstrip and Baker, stopping along the way at Billings Clinic Miles City to see her oncologist and receive treatment from the caring infusion team. She has learned not to sweat the small stuff and to appreciate what every day brings.
Pam - Billings, MT
As a driven local business owner, Pam works hard at everything she does. She spends the evenings with friends, laughing and sharing stories. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer on New Year’s Eve 2018, she started a journey that led to the discovery of two other cancers, in her lung and colon. With amazing poise, she told her care team that “the gauntlet is thrown” and she faced treatment head on with everything she had. Now cancer free, she attributes early detection, especially routine mammograms, for her life. That’s why she encourages her close-knit group of friends to get their yearly mammograms. Thanks to those words of wisdom, her friend Donna was diagnosed at an early stage with breast cancer from a 3D mammogram at the Reger Family Center for Breast Health. Pam exudes enthusiasm for life and, with Donna by her side, continues to inspire everyone around her.
Elizabeth "Ann" - Meeteetse, WY
Even though she is in her 70s, breast cancer did not stop Elizabeth “Ann” Lawler, nor her sense of humor. Ann’s battle began in January 2018 with the double mastectomy on Valentine’s Day. Initially, it was overwhelming but then she settled into the fact that it’s “basically fat” they removed. Ann has two daughters who are nurses, so they kept her informed and comforted throughout the journey.
Having her infusion at Billings Clinic Cody was a blessing for Ann, her husband Charley and the rest of her family because it kept her close to home. She spent up to 5 hours at the clinic several days a week and it was only 32 miles from her home in Meeteetse. She speaks highly of Dr. Cesar Ochoa and Physician Assistant Betsey Neddermeyer.
Ann continues to live life to the fullest, she is hoping to raise her 10-month-old great-grandson with her husband. She also drives the Meeteetse recreation bus every Thursday so she can keep up on the latest town gossip from the ladies who ride. She loves spending more time with her kids, grandkids and great grandkids. If you ever have the pleasure to meet Ann, she can fill you in on the history of Cody and Meeteetse.
Her best advice to others is to check your breasts regularly and get your yearly mammogram!
Jennifer - Lame Deer, MT
Jennifer Magpie from Lame Deer, MT has a message to share. Diagnosed with breast cancer in July, she learned from Billings Clinic Cancer Center staff that many women who live on Indian reservations don’t seek treatment until they are stage 3 or 4. As a registered nurse and advocate for the women in her community, she urges her friends and family to get their regular mammograms.
Hearing a cancer diagnosis was shocking and overwhelming for Jennifer at first. She called it the “big bad C-word.” Thanks to 3D mammogram technology, it was caught when it was the size of somewhere between a flake of dust and a grain of rice.
Jennifer made the decision to have “the full Angelina” in September, because she doesn’t want to live in fear of the cancer returning. She is recovering from her mastectomy and starting to return to normal life with her husband and two sons.
Facing cancer has been a spiritual and life-changing journey for Jennifer, and brought out a fierceness in her to educate women about their health and wellbeing.