One-and-a-half years removed from a cancer diagnosis, Linda Fultz continues to live life on her terms. On Friday, she will share her story of resilience and perseverance as an honorary chairperson at the 2018 Lyon County Relay for Life.
Christmas 2016 brought little holiday cheer to the Fultz family. The holiday season for Dennis and Linda included a vacation to Costa Rica, but after that their lives changed.
Linda said it was in late 2016 when she started to not feel right. After a five-day getaway to Costa Rica, she returned to seek medical treatment at Sanford Health in Tracy and after a CAT scan, she and Dennis drove to Sanford in Sioux Falls where Linda would be admitted on Dec. 23.
“It was Christmas Eve Day when we got the confirmation that there were major issues in the brain,” Dennis said.
The diagnosis was Gioblastoma Multi-Forme IV cancer.
“Gioblastoma Multi-Forme IV is a very stubborn type of cancer, but because of mom’s wonderful team of medical professionals who have been cheering her on through this journey, prayers from many friends and family, as well as her feisty personality she has beaten the not favorable odds,” said Linda’s daughter, Jen Kainz.
The timing couldn’t have been worse.
“One of the problems we ran into was because it was Christmas weekend and they didn’t have the full staff available, even the day after Christmas, so they couldn’t do surgery until the 27th,” Dennis said.
The couple ended up spending three days in the hospital before any surgery could even take place.
“That was a long period,” Dennis said. “It takes you awhile to mentally process the gravity of the challenge. It was probably just as well that we were there and not distracted by other things at home. It was just the two of us and the nurses.”
“It was OK,” Linda said matter-of-factly. “It was OK.”
The cancer, Dennis said, was on the surface of the brain on the left side, not a specific tumor in the brain.
The oncologist who handled Linda’s case didn’t exactly give the Fultzes hope for the future.
“He told me that I was going to be dead in six months,” Linda said. “I was so mad. I kept telling him, ‘I am not going to die,’ and he would not listen to me. I’ve never been so mad.”
For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.