Anderson named Relay honorary survivor
On the morning of April 10, 2017, Hallie Anderson found a lump.
After feeling around, Anderson found another lump that was the size of her pinky tip. She went to work and later mentioned it to her mother.
“She said, ‘Make an appointment now,'” Anderson said. “At that point, my blood pressure went up and it was all I could think about until I had an answer.”
Anderson received an answer from one of her good friends, Dr. Gillian Lavik. After mammograms and ultrasounds in both Rugby and Minot, Anderson had a biopsy for three lumps.
Anderson suspected the results would come back positive for breast cancer. On April 24, Lavik called Anderson to tell her the results.
“By her voice I knew and she told me it came back positive and I have breast cancer,” Anderson said.
Lavik told Anderson a mastectomy would be a recommended treatment and that she should go to the Mayo Clinic for it.
“I also met with my oncologist in Minot and sitting in that room, while he is going over everything, I think I was numb and like in this tunnel,” said Anderson,”but I’m trying to listen to everything he says because I know I have to tell my family everything and they will have questions.
“I think my family was more in shock than I was, I just needed to know what I needed to do to get this out of me.”
Anderson went through five months of chemotherapy in Minot from May 31 to October 13. Anderson recalled receiving “the red devil” the first two months of treatment, and having to spend two nights in the hospital due to a depleted white blood cell count after that was complete. The next three months were a lighter dose.
A double mastectomy followed at the end of November 2017 at the Mayo Clinic.
After that came weekly trips to Rochester for five weeks 25 treatments in all of radiation therapy, which started in January.
“Everyday I looked at that bell with excitement as I started to count down,” Anderson said. “On February 27 I rang that bell and a wall of emotion hit and flooded me.
“I hadn’t taken the time to cry or think about what was happening. My only thoughts were ‘Go, go, go’ and focused on what step I was on and to get through that to get on to the next step. I had my fists up with fighting gloves on and only positive thoughts, so on that day my guard came down briefly and I took my first breath.”
Anderson is awaiting reconstruction surgery in September, and is also hoping to wait until then to have her ovaries removed.
“This year has brought on a whole new meaning of life, and since last April I have seen more positive come from this poison than negative, and for that I am truly blessed,” said Anderson. “Now it is time for me to rebuild what this has taken from my body.”
Anderson was named the honorary speaker for this year’s Relay for Life event in Rugby. She found out via a Facebook message.
“It made me happy and [I] thought, there are so many others that would be great, so why me?” Anderson said. “But I am completely honored and am excited to share my crazy story!
“I was working at a visitation in Towner when I read my message, and I am sure there was a bit of jaw drop, big eyes and my face just lit up. I think I was a little surprised, but again, so happy and honored.”
Pierce County’s Relay for Life will be held Friday, June 1 at Johnsen Field in Rugby.
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