Living Life One Day at a Time

Four years ago, Marcia “Diann” Beimfohr, 75, was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

Fast-forward to January 2019. Diann was again diagnosed with cancer; this time she had surgery to remove her left adrenal gland and kidney. A few months later in November 2019, Diann was treated with radiation therapy for inoperable brain stem cancer.

“When you hear the word cancer – it’s such an unusual word to deal with,” Diann says. “But you know what? Each time my life went on.”

“I’m amazing the doctors and I take nothing for granted. I live life one day at a time.”

Diann’s husband Jim has also recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and is undergoing treatment.

To celebrate and recognize survivors like Diann and Jim, June 7 is the 33rd annual National Cancer Survivors Day. Decatur Memorial Hospital, Cancer Care Specialists and St. Mary’s Hospital have traditionally joined forces to recognize thousands of local cancer survivors. Due to COVID-19, this year’s event has been canceled.

“After going to the Cancer Survivors Day celebration for several years, you come away feeling better,” Diann says.

Also due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Diann says she misses the camaraderie provided by the Facing Cancer Together support group, led by DMH Cancer Care Institute’s oncology social worker Leslie Roberts.

“As part of phase 3, we’re slowly re-introducing our support groups,” Leslie says. “We miss the mutual sharing and support the groups offer. We will be mindful of the safety of our patients and caregivers by using proper screening and protection as we begin to meet again.”

“Being able to be part of the group and talk was a positive release,” Diann says. “It’s been hard without that. I definitely feel a void without Leslie and our support group.”

Diann says she has found other avenues of support, including frequent phone conversations with her two sons and two grandsons. “They’d be here in a heartbeat if I needed anything,” she says.

“I am very, very blessed,” she adds. “I’m fortunate to have my husband and neighbors. We cuss and discuss.”

Diann says she’s also been blessed to have other support as well – including a good friend who recently passed away.

“Until she died, I had not really let myself think about dying. But then I found myself wondering ‘what did dying feel like?’ And other questions I just never allowed myself to think about.

“I have decided that after all my friend and I have been through that if the two of us don’t end up in heaven, then by golly, no one else will either,” she laughs.

For more information about programming and support groups at the DMH Cancer Care Institute, visit www.dmhcares.org/care-treatment/cancer or contact Leslie Roberts at Roberts.Leslie@mshil.com or 217-876-4735.

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