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Cancer survivor: Vicki Crosland tells of fight

Vicki Crosland and husband Lee have been fighting her cancer since 2006.

Guest Writer

As part of Emery County's Relay for Life 2010, we honor and remember those who have battled cancer valiantly and taught us many truths in the process, and we salute survivors. This year's Relay theme is: "Save More Lives, Celebrate More Birthdays."

In that spirit we spotlight Vicki Crosland of Ferron. Not only is Vicki a three-time survivor since 2006, but she is remarkably co-chair of 2010 Relay for Life while undergoing cancer treatments again.

Vicki is a loving wife, devoted mother, dedicated grandmother, and fierce advocate for cancer research. She has been active in Emery County Relays for several years as she has observed improvements in cancer detection and prevention. Vicki believes relay is all about hope and finding a cure.

If anybody understands what cancer is, it's Vicki. Cancer runs in her family, she has seen several family members struggle and win, and some have lost. Vicki has had genetic screening completed due to the high rate of cancer in her family. This testing can provide warning signs for her daughters and granddaughters. Cancer is tough on families, everyone is affected. Cancer is a battle that Vicki has waged war against using a positive attitude, a sense of humor, and hobbies to keep busy. Her theory that "cancer doesn't have to be an end - it can be a beginning" is evident in the forward strides she has made since her original diagnosis. Cancer helped raise Vicki's awareness of the preciousness of life and the importance of her family. Even though she goes to bed with it and wakes up with it in her life, she credits good doctors, faith and prayer, and a good support system for helping her make it this far.

Vicki's introduction to cancer came in February 2006 when she discovered a lump. Her treatment for this breast cancer was surgery, chemo, and radiation, followed by hormone treatments. She chose to go to the hospitals in St. George and Cedar City for these treatments so she could stay in Cedar City with her daughter. Her final radiation treatment took her right up to the holidays of 2006 recreating the meaning of Thanksgiving. Vicki enjoyed about six months off when a PET scan revealed bone cancer. Chemotherapy is very damaging to a patient's entire venous system so Vicki added artillery to her armory by having a port surgically placed. This would allow direct access to her artery thereby saving her veins. She began battling this new villain in the spring of 2007 with chemo treatments three times per month. With repeated CT and bone scans she was able to reduce the frequency of the treatments to twice a month, and is currently taking chemo only once a month. Vicki's typical treatment lasts three to four hours. She is grateful not to have suffered many side effects since she has not gotten another break in treatments as rounds two and three have come back-to-back, covering virtually every month for three full years now. A brief respite came when she was able to receive several treatments at Castleview Hospital in Price, but the vast majority of treatments were in Cedar City.

Vicki encourages all women to get mammograms and regular check-ups to help conquer cancer. There are so many kinds of cancer; you have to be diligent to be cancer-free.

An important message Vicki shares is 'connect.' A card, a call, a visit, and prayers for a cancer patient can mean more to them than you can know.

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