Reidenbach serves as honorary survivor for cancer relay
Jane Reidenbach has always carried lots of respect for cancer fund raising efforts; in fact, she has made her share of donations to them over the years.
But it wasn't until she was actually diagnosed with cancer late last July that she threw her whole-hearted support behind this year's cancer relay, which will be held at the Adams Central track from noon this Saturday until late Sunday morning.
"I found out that I had a form of bone cancer at the end of July last year when I went to the hospital for asthma problems," observed Reidenbach. "The doctor there asked me if I knew that I was anemic. He gave me some medications and asked me to come back and recheck with him."
The next visit indicated the same problem, so she was given several tests to determine if there was any internal bleeding. Once they ran a series of blood tests, the cancer diagnosis was made.
"I am such an active person; I have to be doing something all of the time," observed Reidenbach. "I would sit down to visit with my husband or to watch television and I just fell asleep."
Reidenbach was placed on a chemotherapy program, but initially it wasn't successful. Doctors then switched her to a different medication which proved more successful. She was also placed on an IV program designed to strengthen her bones.
Late in the year, Reidenbach opted to receive a bone marrow transplant with her own marrow. On Jan. 29, she entered an Indianapolis hospital to have bone marrow withdrawn in preparation for surgery within a few days.
"On Thursday morning they gave me a high power shot for chemo," said Reidenbach. "Friday morning I received the transplant. It was just like they took it out of a freezer and poured it into a port. They also kept enough so that it would be available if I had to have another transplant some day."
Reidenbach stayed in the Indianapolis hospital for four weeks while her body adjusted to the procedure.
Once she returned home, her health started to recover. Doctors were pleased but worked out a regiment where she goes to the cancer center in Decatur once a month and visits her doctor in Indianapolis every three months.
As her health returned, Reidenbach began some of the hobbies she has enjoyed over a lifetime including sewing, making blankets and embroidering shirts.
"I get to visit with my grandson in my spare time," said Reidenbach. "He (Rowan Lothridge) keeps me going. There were times when I felt like giving up and my daughter told me that he needed me and wanted to see me. That would perk me back up again."
Rowan's mother, Casey Lothridge is Reidenbach's daughter. In addition she and her husband, Robert, have a son, Aaron and family that live near Indianapolis.
"This is something you always think happens to someone else, but not yourself," said Reidenbach. "I have a sister, Becky, who is a cancer survivor. Her sister, Karen, was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease in high school in 1971 and survived for 31 years before passing away.
“Oh, I moped around for a few days. It was a couple of days before I told my husband," noted Reidenbach. "I didn't get so depressed about the cancer as the worry of losing my hair."
In addition to the support of her local family, Reidenbach's sister, Marcia, came to the area from Tennessee to provide support.
"There were a lot of prayers," said Reidenbach. "My sister in Kentucky had a prayer chain going. There were a lot of friends around here praying. Until something like this happens, you don't realize how many friends you have.
"I don't take anything for granted anymore," continued Reidenbach. "I take one day at a time; some days I feel better than other days. I try to pace myself but sometimes I can't help wearing myself out. I'm so grateful for my family and friends and everyone who is behind me."
Reidenbach plans to attend each month of this year's upcoming relay that is possible.
"I think this is a wonderful thing for our county, all the support that the people here give," said Reidenbach. "The whole city of Decatur came out recently for the benefit for Ebony (Fawcett). You don't realize how much people do until you're the one with need."
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