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Branson's Valerie Seitz gives update on cancer journey

Nearly two years after her initial diagnosis of cancer, Branson resident Valerie Seitz, wife of State Representative Brian Seitz, is beginning to feel more like herself again. As any cancer patient will concur, the disease brings with it many physical, mental and emotional complications, but also rids many people of their basic identity.

Seitz was first diagnosed in August of 2022 with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma is her left breast. The cancer (ER Positive, PR Negative, HER 2 Positive, BRCA 2 Positive), had already metastasized to nearby lymph nodes. The diagnosis was Stage 4, with an additional Stage 1 tumor in the middle lobe of her right lung.

Traditional treatment for most cancer patients is chemotherapy, and Seitz began her treatment immediately.

"I started chemotherapy on August 30, 2022. My combination included Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin and Perjeta. We did every three weeks for six cycles, and then continued immunotherapy for a full year of Herceptin," explained Seitz. "My first surgery in August of 2022 and was a port placement, my next was a radical bilateral mastectomy and removal of 17 lymph nodes in January of 2023."

Radiation soon followed, and Seitz endured 33 rounds of the treatment.

Seitz was soon scheduled for a second surgery to remove the middle lobe of her right lung. It was this surgery that resulted in severe complications.

"I developed a pleural effusion in February 2024 which sent me back to the OR for a second thoracotomy," explained Seitz. 

Following the surgeries and complications, Seitz now has some excellent news. "At this time, thanks to God and the support of my family, along with incredible doctors, I can say I'm cancer free. I will continue on cancer medication for the next five years," said Valerie. "I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. The most difficult part of cancer often isn't the physical pain, it's that it strips you of your identity in a way. The emotional pain was every bit as difficult as the physical. I'm slowly regaining my strength and starting to do more things that I enjoy."

Seitz credits her family and friends for helping her get through this difficult time. Said Valerie, "My support system was phenomenal. My wonderful husband Brian was able to be with me for every surgery, while still continuing to be an excellent state representative for our area. My son Taylor took me to every radiation. My son Daniel and my daughter-in-law Stella helped as they could even while living in Oklahoma, and my daughter Reagan and her husband Doug came up from Arkansas regularly. My extended family, church and members of the community, some I've never met, prayed for me and lifted me up to the Lord. I truly felt their love throughout the whole process."

The smiling faces of Valerie's grandchildren also helped during her recovery. Valerie and Brian are the proud grandparents to grandson Kal-El Brian and granddaughter Callie Jean. Their first grandchild, Jessie Jane, who sadly only lived an hour earthside, now awaits the family in heaven. The family was also blessed with two new additions this week. Twins—a boy and a girl—were born to son Daniel and daughter-in-law, Stella on June 29. Wilson Allan and Mandalena Mae Seitz—along with Mom and---are doing well.

Seitz relied heavily on her strong faith, as well, during her journey.

"Without God and faith, I don't know that I could have gotten through all of this. Prayer and faith played the biggest part in my recovery and my motto remains, ‘Either way, I WIN'," Valerie explained.

Seitz shared some words of encouragement for anyone who is beginning or traversing their own cancer journey. "Hang in there, have faith, give yourself time to feel each emotion," said Seitz. "Cry, scream, fight. You can do this and I'm in your corner. Feel free to reach out to me if you need to talk, need someone to hold your hand or pray with you."

Valerie also wanted to thank the community, including our Branson Globe readers, for their support and help throughout the past two years. Said Seitz, "Thank you to all who have prayed, reached out and been supportive throughout this journey. I truly cannot thank you enough. Your prayers, support, cards of encouragement, etc. are more than appreciated! OUR GOD IS SO GOOD."

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