Civil War Doctors

April 2, 2022


Well, if we can’t beat this cancer with doctor names like Dr. Grant and Dr. Lee, I don’t think anyone can! I think it is so “funny” having your radiation doctors with the names of Civil War generals. Then we met the oncologist in Minot, who will be overseeing Dr. Gupta’s chemotherapy plan until March when we go back to Fargo, named Dr. Pierce. M*A*S*H, anyone?

I had a tremendous number of reservations about…

doing your six weeks of radiation, and immunotherapy til spring, in Minot instead of staying in Fargo, where I felt secure in the care you were getting. At least Dr. Gupta is still the main oncologist overseeing everything. He has been amazing! Luckily, Aimee, the nurse, and the doctors in Minot were able to help me feel at ease with the decision.

I am anxious to get this next part of the cancer journey started, and then behind us.

I am fearful of you losing more weight. There is nothing left of you as it is! I am scared you may need an IV for keeping dehydration at bay. You may even require something like a feeding tube to get the nutrition your body demands, to continue the fight and healing process from surgery and radiation. Something has to give with your smaller stomach; how will your body be able to handle all of this as the side effects of radiation take hold of you?

It is easier to take these steps in a positive light…

when I have a moment to voice all the fears. Fear, for me, is funny that way. If I don’t give it a voice, it keeps coming back to haunt my dreams, thoughts, body, and energy. When I let the apprehension out, I am able to move forward stronger, quicker, with the ability to tackle what is to come. I can find gratitude, and dare I say joy, even in this yucky process.

Gratitude and joy come in the little things such as…

holding your hand for another day, talking with you about the future, discussing our children and what is happening in their lives, the antics Leo, our dog, does for us on a daily basis, and just the contentment felt being with one another.

I know you also worry about the next step. How sick are you going to get, will you be able to handle it, how long will the side effects last?

It was affirming to hear you say…

you felt that all you have been through so far has been worth it to gain a year in your life. We are hopeful that we will gain even more after radiation. It was comforting to hear Dr. Lee state that the statistics we are going by right now is with people who did not have the privilege to do immunotherapy. We are fortunate you are able to do immunotherapy and hope you will be able to surpass the years the doctors have given us thus far. Thank you, Lord. We needed this hope. Best gift ever!

With all my love –


Note: This letter was written before Mitch’s passing.

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  1. You gave voice to so many things adequately. I can imagine what you were feeling when you wrote as it would be what so many have felt due to this awful, awful illness. You wrote well and I add prayers for your strength in this journey Nicole.

    1. Kathleen,
      Thank you. All prayers are welcome as I grieve. Grief is one of those feelings that you are clicking along doing ok and then bam, out of nowhere, it hits you like a truck.

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