Our names are Stefanee Erickson and Amanda Talbot, and together we have organized this to support Jen Guthrie during the battle of/FOR her life.
Jen is incredibly important to so many of us! In addition to being an incredible friend, she is also a selfless giver and irreplaceable asset to the Dog Rescue community. If you know Jen, you don't need any further explanation about how tirelessly she works to make sure that everyone she touches (both Human and Canine) know that they are loved, and will be safe.
Jen needs all of us now.
For those of you who are just learning the details of Jen's diagnosis, here is what is happening, in her own words:
"On February 14, I went in for a diagnostic colonoscopy after having some issues, and now knowing of family issues since my sister was diagnosed and treated for colon cancer last year. Not one to get overly concerned, I figured I was just having some typical GI issues. When they woke me from anesthesia, the word 'mass' seemed to echo from my doctor's mouth as she told me the results. Every day since then has been a blur, as my wife and I dropped everything for every doctor appointment and test.
We now know, and have a plan. The good news is the cancer hasn't spread...yet. I am stage 3 rectal cancer, and the lymph nodes surrounding the tumor are affected. To stop any further spread through the lymphatic system and blood, we are starting a pretty aggressive treatment plan starting with chemo therapy. I already went for surgery for my mediport, and began Chemotherapy today 3/1/22. I'll go for a few hours, then go home with a pump, and return after two days to remove the pump. This will continue every two weeks for three months, and then they will test to see if the tumor has shrunk to their liking. From there, we determine if another three months is needed, or if we switch to radiation with chemo pills. I will likely need surgery once the tumor has shrunk enough, and this may involve two surgeries with a temporary colostomy. The overall course of treatment will last from 6 to 12 months, and then I will be closely monitored.
The great news is we have a fantastic team--my oncologist, surgeon, and radiation oncologist have left my wife Tina and I feeling relieved and focused on the end goal: CURE. The words "highly curable" are now what echo in my head. On top of that, my baby sis is nearing the end of her treatment and doing amazing. I'm grateful to have her to look up to and help prepare me for what's ahead.
I'm ready to fight. I'm lucky. Lucky it was caught. Lucky to have the best damn wife and partner in life. Lucky for an amazing medical team. Lucky for my support system of family and friends. Lucky for compassionate clients and colleagues. I can honestly say the last two weeks have been the most challenging of my life. I know I don't have an easy road ahead, but I know I'll get through the journey a step at a time.
My doctors say I should be able to work as I go through treatment, but at a diminished capacity. Running our business is my life, and not being able to give it 100% every day is going to be tough in eery way. Being a dog trainer and working with behavior cases is physically, mentally and often emotionally draining. I will have to listen to my body and doctors about how much I can do as my treatment progresses. My number one priority is my health and getting back to normal. My kick-ass wife will be taking on the majority of our training clients while I run the back end of things from home, and I will take on training clients as I feel I can. With my downtime from clients and classes, we stand to lose up to half our income at times through this next year, which is simply not sustainable.
I'm determined to do everything I can to keep our life and livelihood intact for my wife, daughter and dogs. Everything from cutting expenses to working with a social worker to see what financial assistance may be available for upcoming medical bills, and other help to help us get through this next year. I'll be brainstorming and working on next steps along the way. We may also need some physical help around the acres as we head into the spring/summer. If you know me, you know that asking for help for myself is the last I am comfortable with or good at. But the time has come to admit I need it and reach out.
I am already humbled and grateful for everything, and ready to kick some ass-cancer ass!"You can also follow updates on our Facebook page: