October 24, 2018
At 33 years old, Desri Neether had her whole life ahead of her. The Bismarck Realtor® was in a serious relationship and looking forward to excelling in her career, getting married and one day having children.
Then in an instant, a breast cancer diagnosis put her life on hold.
“It can happen to anyone, at any age,” Neether said. “Cancer doesn’t discriminate.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, only about 7 percent of women under age 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. In January 2015, Neether, a runner who ate well and had no family history of the disease, joined that small number. As a licensed pharmacist, she had some medical background and tried to stay healthy.
Her diagnosis was one of the most difficult experiences of her life.
“My initial reaction was, ‘How many months do I have to live?” Neether recalled. “I didn’t know it was treatable. I thought it was a death sentence.”
Luckily, Neether’s cancer was not just treatable but curable. However, the experience changed her life in more ways than she could have imagined.
“There were a lot of big decisions I had to make up front, not just for myself but for my relationship,” Neether said. “That was really hard.”
One of those decisions was to undergo IVF therapy before starting treatment. Knowing that cancer treatment can affect fertility, Neether didn’t want to risk her ability to have a family someday.
She also chose to have a double mastectomy, in addition to undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, hoping to completely eradicate the cancer.
“Even a 1 percent chance of it coming back was too much for me,” Neether said. “I wanted to treat it to the fullest right away.”
At every step, the team at the Edith Sanford Breast Center helped guide and support her choices.
“There are really no words to describe my care team,” said Neether. “I felt they were truly invested in giving me the best care possible. They gave me a second chance at life and made such a scary journey the best possible experience.”
Join the fight against breast cancer today! With your support, we can accelerate breakthroughs and save and improve lives of breast cancer patients across your region.
To make a donation or find other ways to get involved, visit sanfordhealthfoundation.org/edith.