Murdock brings lesson of early detection to Relay
For De Soto resident Lori Murdock, surviving cancer is a family affair.
Murdock, her husband, Rodger, their two children, her sisters and their families, and sometimes even her mother, are De Soto Relay for Life regulars.
"We have a big team," she said.
Along with some friends, the group will continue the tradition by participating in De Soto's seventh annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life Friday at Lexington Trails Middle School.
Six years ago, Murdock walked in De Soto's first Relay for Life in honor of her mother, who battled and survived ovarian cancer when Murdock was in college. Two years ago, Murdock herself was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
After a series of irregular results from annual screenings, Murdock had surgery in 2002 to remove abnormal cervical cells. Knowing she didn't want to have any more children, her doctor recommended that, as a precaution, she get a full hysterectomy, too.
"I about didn't do it; I about put it off," she said. "My doctor talked me into it, and it was a good thing that he did."
Following surgery, the removed cells were sent in for a routine biopsy.
Expecting good news after several weeks of waiting for results, Murdock was shocked when her doctor told her the cells were cancerous.
"When a person is first told they have cancer, it's a scary moment," she said.
Murdock had to wait several more weeks to see an onocologist before beginning treatment.
Instead of radiation, Murdock underwent a series of surgeries to remove surrounding tissue and lymph nodes before the cancer could spread.
So far, Murdock has not had a recurence.
"Early detection -- that's what's important in my story," she said.
Regular exams, a healthy lifestyle, and close attention to any kind of symptom "that just doesn't seem right" are all good cancer-fighters, Murdock said.
Murdock also cited faith, prayer and the power of positive thinking.
"You can beat things for that reason," she said.
When Murdock's mother, Evie Tingelhoff, experienced abdominal pain, weight gain and excess bloating, she put off going to the doctor. She was busy, Murdock said.
Doctors later found two huge tumors -- the size of grapefruits -- on her ovaries. Tingelhoff underwent surgery and a year of chemotherapy to rid her body of the disease.
After that kind of battle, Murdock said her mother was very lucky.
"She has been cancer-free for 19 years, which is really amazing," Murdock said.
Murdock said telling her children she had cancer wasn't easy. It was hard for them to talk about, she said.
"It was kind of scary, because I didn't really know what to think about it," said her daughter, Kayla, now 16.
Since then, Kayla said she has learned a lot more about cancer. She said the Relay for Life was a fun way to help other people.
This Friday, Kayla and Murdock's son, 13-year-old Brian, will lead their own Relay teams. Kayla will lead a group of De Soto High School cheerleaders, and Brian will lead his Boy Scout troop.
Murdock said almost everyone everywhere was somehow affected by cancer.
She said the Relay was a great way to raise money to research the disease, but there was more to it than that.
"For me, it's more important that all these people are coming together," she said. "That's a night of only doing good, and that doesn't happen all the time anymore."