Perham cancer patient thankful for treatment in hometown

Weekly cancer treatments that used to take 3 hours round trip are now minutes from home

Perham cancer patient thankful for treatment in hometown

“It’s a godsend.”

“Oh yeah. This is top notch.”

That’s how Jodi and Wade Sjolie describe the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center at Perham Health.

A decade of cancer treatment

Ten years ago, on the eve of his 50th birthday, Wade found out he had multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of the blood.

“What a present,” Wade said. “At first, they indicated with a chart basically that I had probably three years to live. Now with the advancements in the chemotherapy, I’ve lived 10 years and I don’t see an end in sight.”

Wade is doing well, but his cancer does require constant treatment, including a blood draw every Thursday, and a chemotherapy infusion every Friday. For years, his wife Jodi drove him three hours round trip from Perham, Minnesota, to Fargo, North Dakota, for treatment. But now that trip is just two minutes each way.

“I tried to explain to people that coming to Perham (Clinic) was the biggest relief since his chemo started. And it probably sounds like, ‘Oh, it’s not that big of a deal,’ but it really is. I have to work it out with work and it’s a whole day to Fargo, and if we have anything else going on, you just have to go,” Jodi said.

Down the road in Perham

Even when Wade was switched to a new type of chemotherapy, Sanford Health made sure that people like Shelby Goodman, a nurse practitioner in oncology at Perham Clinic, would still be able to treat Wade.

“The RNs and the other staff working here in the infusion center went up to Roger Maris (Cancer Center) in Fargo to be trained,” Goodman said. “So they have the same amount of training as the nurses in Fargo. So it’s really an exact replica of the skillsets that they have up there.”

“The great people at Sanford and Fargo trained somebody in here so Wade could come back here again. And we are so thankful for that,” Jodi said.

The short commute also means a great deal to them because of the constant treatment Wade will need the rest of his life.

“A lot of people take a treatment for three months, maybe six months, up to a year,” Jodi said. “This does not end. Wade doesn’t get to ring that bell ever.”

Now, no matter what the weather is like, or what they have going on at work or in their personal lives, the Sjolies can go right down the road from their home for the best treatment in the region.

“It’s just great that the Perham community has a facility like this with the advancements and everything, and we’re keeping up right out here,” Wade said.

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Posted In Cancer, Cancer Treatments, Here for all. Here for good., Rural Health