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Jerry's Story: Keeping cancer care close to home

No one expected Jerry to collapse that day in July 2020. Leola, his bride of 54 years, thought it was his atrial fibrillation acting up again. The next day his body still seemed weak and unstable, so Leola took him to the Veteran’s Affairs Clinic in Kalispell for further investigation. They recommended he go to the Emergency Department at Logan Health Medical Center.

Upon arrival, Jerry had begun to cough up blood. The emergency physicians and staff helped him through imaging and various diagnostic tests. The results were devastating. Jerry had stage-four lung cancer. Jerry and his family have lived in Kalispell their entire lives; he hoped this diagnosis wouldn’t force him to leave the comforts of his home for treatment. He followed up for a consultation with Dr. Ryan Roop at Logan Health Hematology & Oncology. Logan Health’s thoracic surgeons determined that the cancer was non-operable, therefore Jerry was to start a scheduled plan of radiation and chemotherapy right away.

Jerry and Leola then met with Dr. Jeffery Eshleman at Logan Health Radiation Oncology. Radiation of the tumor in his chest was to begin as soon as possible. “These doctors told us they were going to do everything they could to help me,” explained Jerry. “And, they did. Throughout my whole treatment experience, every person we encountered truly cared about us and what we were going through.”

Jerry and Leola were able to stay in Kalispell, receiving specialty care and innovative treatment at Logan Health. Jerry is doing well and he continues to have regular visits with his medical treatment team. These caregivers and physicians, who guided Jerry and his family through a complicated and multifaceted treatment plan, soon became friends. The clinic staff always greeted them with a comforting smile and encouraging attitude. Whether at the infusion clinic receiving chemotherapy or undergoing radiation therapy, Jerry was met with competent, compassionate and focused care. “We live just a few miles from the hospital,” said Jerry. “I can’t even explain how thankful I am for the level of care I received here—not just the doctors, but everyone. These people allowed me to still have a life and be with my family during this uncertain time. I will always be grateful.”

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