Vicki and Gary’s Story

When Gary and Vicki Leigeber said, “In sickness and in health”, they never knew they would truly need to uphold their wedding vows.

Vicki found a lump in her breast, but was between jobs and had no medical insurance, so she didn’t have it checked. By the time she had insurance and a mammogram, she had a very large mass in one breast and another mass in her other breast. The prognosis was not good. The only glimmer of good news was that the cancer was contained.

Vicki endured two rounds of heavy chemotherapy to help shrink the larger of the two tumors so it was operable. She ended up having a bilateral mastectomy. Her positive, attitude helped her immensely. Little did she know that same attitude was going to help her husband.

Couple Finds Complete Cancer Care at Atrium

A few months after Vicki’s last radiation treatment, Gary was diagnosed with rectal cancer. The first decision he made was to seek treatment from his wife’s medical oncologist, Mary Ellen Broadstone-Gaeke, MD, at Atrium Medical Center.

When the shoe was on the other foot, Vicki told Gary she wasn’t sure she could handle watching him go through the surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Gary simply asked her to be there and push him through the tough times. “And she was there for me,” he said. 

Dr. Broadstone-Gaeke said there are medical studies that show people who have a great support system ultimately do better than those who tackle the disease and treatment alone.

Gary said a calming aspect to his and Vicki’s ordeal was Dr. Broadstone-Gaeke’s clear, easy-to-understand, and confident explanation of what they were about to endure. He said her ultimate goal is to get rid of the cancer, but at the same time she took care of them emotionally and physically.

Gary and Vicki had all their treatments done at Atrium Medical Center and they couldn’t be happier. “It makes it so much easier to go through the process of healing when you have people who genuinely care,” said Vicki.

Today, Gary and Vicki are doing very well. Neither has shown any recurrence of their disease.

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