Provided by the Daly Hospital Foundation
Juli Goss remembers the day she arrived at the emergency room at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital. She could barely speak or walk due to abdominal pain. Doctors soon discovered a tumor the size of a cantaloupe on one of her ovaries that was extending into her colon and triggering a stage 4 cancer diagnosis.
For years, Goss knew something was wrong, but endured the pain and frustration of undiagnosed problems during regular doctors’ appointments.
“Those ER docs recommended surgery to remove the tumor in either Spokane or Billings,” she said. “I chose to go to the Billings Clinic and made my appointment a few weeks later.”
Major surgery to remove the tumor kept Goss in the hospital for about a week and also included the installation of two ports – one in her chest and one between her ribs. After five short days of recovery, she began chemotherapy in Missoula.
“One treatment was to fill up my abdomen with fluid that contained chemotherapy medication,” Goss said. “And then I’d have to rotate every 15 minutes for the next two hours to slosh around the medication. It was so painful.”
Her chemotherapy treatments lasted from April to August 2019 and were administered on a 12-day cycle followed by a 12-day break and a cadre of medications in between.
After two years of being declared cancer-free, Goss was finally ready physically and emotionally for more surgeries in September to make some repairs on the damage done by her tumor.
“It took so long to recover,” she said. “The neuropathy and exhaustion were terrible. I still get very tired and I still have a lot of pain, but I’ve learned to live with it.”
During her healing, Goss said her body started cramping severely and she took that as a sign that she needed to move.
“Two things I did during my treatments, no matter how much pain I was in or if I was too sick to eat, I would at least drink some chicken broth and I would walk a mile every day,” she said.
Walking was tough, and sometimes she didn’t know if she’d make it back home.
“Always take your phone with you,” she said with a laugh, “just in case you can’t make it back.”
A few months ago, Goss also found relief by participating in strengthening aquatic exercises.
“I joined the gym, mostly to do pool work,” she said. “In the pool, I don’t feel pain. It took me a long time, but I’m up to swimming 300 yards and then doing a water aerobics class every week. It’s been great.”
In addition to physical fitness, Goss also found emotional support in Wendy Woods’ aqua Zumba class and among her classmates. Woods lost her mother to ovarian cancer and her sister to breast cancer and has been very active for many years in Colors of Cancer and Sprinkle Pink fundraising activities. Five women in the class have recovered from breast cancer.
“You find out you’re not alone and there’s so many people that will help you through this,” Goss said. However, then I had so many people telling me what I should do and what I shouldn’t do. The best advice I got was from a friend who suffered from brain cancer who told me, ‘This is your story, you live it how you need to.’ I’ve always appreciated that.”
Colors of Cancer fundraising activities continue during October for grassroots efforts to help construct a new Cancer/Infusion Center at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital and include:
• PINK OUT fundraiser at Hamilton High School’s last home volleyball game of the season on Thursday, October 21st. Senior Ella Gabelhausen has planned many activities, raffles and silent auctions for baskets for her senior project with proceeds benefitting the campaign to construct a Cancer/Infusion Center. Cancer warriors will be honored, so please support the evening.
• Pint nights on Friday, October 22 in Stevensville at the Tin Can Bar & Draft Room for Team Pink for breast cancer and at Nap’s Grill in Hamilton for Team Gray for brain cancer.
• Art donations are being accepted at the Daly Hospital Foundation for their third annual Art Swap and Show on Wednesday, October 27th where hospital staff can swap for fresh art in their office or patient spaces and then the remainder will be included in a silent auction that ends at 4 p.m. in the Blodgett Canyon Conference Rooms. Proceeds will be credited to Team Sky Blue for prostate cancer and benefit the Cancer/Infusion Center project.
For more information, contact Stacie Duce, Director of Philanthropy at the Daly Hospital Foundation, at 406-375-4674 or email [email protected]