I am DeeDra Vosburg, a 47 wife and mother of three kids, Sam (21), Maddie (19) and Will (16). I grew up in North Mankato and have loved calling this place home for my entire life. I am a graduate of MSU – Mankato’s college of business and work as a Brand Manager for Mayo Clinic. In my free time I like to run, walk my dog Maggie, paddle board, watch my kids play sports and take photos.
Cancer is part of my story, a single chapter in a book that I hope will be a very long read. I had just started a new job at Mayo Clinic as brand manager for Mayo Clinic Health System in April of 2020. Little did I know that I would gain a deep understanding of the knowledge and expertise of the care teams at Mayo only two short months after my start date. As a remote worker, one might have had a rough start learning about the organization, but I was on the fast track being quickly immerse into a club I never expected to join. I quickly learned firsthand how my now employer cares for patients beyond the everyday care which was my only past experience. I was healthy. I ran or walked nearly every single day and was feeling fit except for a nagging abdominal pain that had last for weeks. It was nothing, I was sure, but after a little prodding from my husband and neighbor late on a Wednesday night I decided to visit the ER in Mankato. The pieces of the puzzle came together over the course of a couple of weeks. After multiple tests and what was planned to be a minimally invasive surgery and I got my diagnosis of stage four mucinous adenocarcinoma of the appendix. I woke up post-surgery to the news that I had a rare cancer affecting only 1 or 2 people per million each year. I met with both medical and surgical oncology teams at Mayo Clinic in Rochester just days later and got plan to tackle my disease. Over the next 8 months I would do chemotherapy in Mankato at the Andreas Cancer Center and then have a second highly specialized surgery and chemotherapy treatment in Rochester called HIPEC (also called the “mother of all surgeries”).
Reading this is sounds terrible, right? I assure you chemo is tough, and surgery takes a toll on your body but the good things that cancer brought into my life outweigh the bad. I got to see and feel so much love from my family and friends. It is remarkable how the people in my life showed up to help me on my journey – with lasagna, pajamas, pity parties, and companionship – it was all such a joy.
Two years later my scans show there is currently “no evidence of disease.” I know this cancer can come back but I don’t dwell on that. Instead, I live in appreciation of this awesome life I get to live each day.
Why the JZ Cancer fund is important to me
I worked with Jonathan on the YMCA board of directors for 6 years. During a portion of this time, he was battling cancer and I always admired the energy and optimism he carried. My hope is that the JZ Cancer Box brings the same energy and optimism to all local cancer patients in a time when they most need it.