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Melanoma: Rosemary's Story

Cancer Care
“Don’t cross bridges until you get to them. Just take it one day at a time. When you have that perspective, you always can find a positive side — no matter how bad it is.”

A Bridge of Hope

In 2014, Rosemary Reimenschneider of St. Cloud found a small bump inside her nose. She had two sinus infections, and after months, the infections worsened into painful sinusitis. The mass started to bleed and had grown to the point it made breathing difficult. That’s when Rosemary knew she had to visit her doctor.

The mass was quickly removed, but nobody expected the devastating biopsy results that followed. Rosemary was diagnosed with stage IV Mucosal Malignant Melanoma, a rare and aggressive cancer that accounts for less than one percent of all melanomas. Despite two more surgeries, within a year the cancer had spread throughout Rosemary’s lymphatic system. She was given six months to live.

Rosemary shared, “When being diagnosed with cancer, it is important to find a good support system. I have been very blessed with a loving family and friends. You need them to bring you up when you are down, or just to be there to listen to you.”

Rosemary remained calm and remembered her brother’s cancer treatments and the powerful advice his doctor had offered, “The first thing he said,” Rosemary recalled, “Take your health care into your own hands. Do research and make your own decisions.”

So, Rosemary did just that. During her appointments she kept detailed notes and studied her cancer. Medical Oncologist Dahlia Elkadi, MB, BCh Coborn Cancer Center, described her conversations with Rosemary. “When patients have a good understanding of their cancer and their treatment, they can handle it better and ask informed questions. Plus, Rosemary is such a strong, positive lady. She accepts everything as it comes.”

Rosemary continued her treatments and remembered good advice, “Don’t cross bridges until you get to them. Just take it one day at a time. When you have that perspective, you always can find a positive side — no matter how bad it is.”

Another silver lining Rosemary found was getting to know the Coborn Cancer Center staff. She explained, “The Coborn Cancer Center is absolutely wonderful. You get to know everyone there because you’re seeing them so often. I tell them they’re my second family. They’re just absolutely beautiful, compassionate, wonderful people.”

But by far the most positive part of Rosemary’s cancer journey is that she is still alive today — five years after she was given six months to live.

Rosemary still is living with cancer, but she likes to focus on the living. She retired and now spends her time traveling and catching up with family and friends. After a life of hard work, Rosemary enjoys sitting back and appreciating each day.

She wants others who are battling cancer to know, “After going in with almost no hope, I feel blessed. Even when the news is bad and you think you’re going in the wrong direction, there’s always some good. If you look for those blessings, they’ll keep you going and it’s just wonderful.”