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Blumhorst Thankful for Care and Life Saving Detection at Fitzgibbon Hospital

July 03, 2024

Marshall Veterinarian, Tom Blumhorst worked 19 years ago to raise the funds needed to build the Fitzgibbon Community Cancer Center along with a team of people from Marshall and surrounding communities. While thought that he and his wife may wind up needing the cancer center sometime in the future, he could not have known just how important that work would be to him today. In January, Blumhorst had a brief illness in January that brought him to the emergency department at Fitzgibbon Hospital. That brief visit set off a series of events that Blumhorst says providentially saved his life.

“I had a diverticulitis flare up and I was feeling really sick, so I went to the emergency room. I was feeling normal in about 30 minutes, but by that time they had already done a scan,” said Blumhorst. “When they did the scan, they found an abdominal aortic aneurysm and another aneurysm in my right iliac artery.”

            According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a life-threatening condition. Arterial aneurysms are defined as a permanent localized enlarging of the vessel by at least 150% compared to a relatively normal diameter of the adjacent artery. Vigilant monitoring or treatment is required depending on the size of the aneurysm.

“So, they sent me to a vascular surgeon because of the aneurysm. The vascular surgeon said that he would design a graft that would be custom fit for my AAA and iliac artery, but he told me that I had two nodules in the liver that he wanted to be further evaluated before repairing the artery.”

Blumhorst went through more testing, most of which was conducted at Fitzgibbon Hospital. After a fluoroscopic guided biopsy of the two spots on his liver, a diagnosis was returned of small B-cell lymphoma.

“That’s how I got involved with the cancer department here and they determined that 16 radiation treatments would probably solve the problem,” said Blumhorst. “If I had not felt sick enough to go to the emergency room in January, I wouldn’t have had that scan done. I would have just let this sit and smolder for who knows how long.”

Blumhorst completed his 16th treatment on June 19th and rang the bell signifying the completion of his treatment regimen in the Fitzgibbon Community Cancer Center.

“The staff here all over the hospital has been fantastic. I have had to go to the Cancer Center several times, and the emergency department was fantastic in January,” said Blumhorst. “I don’t know how you can beat this cancer center. Dr. Tungesvik and Dr. Decker are just fabulous, and the staff is awesome.”

“The people out here clearly seem to get it. You are dealing with people who have challenges in their life so bring your best game to your job,” said Blumhorst. “You are dealing with people whose challenges are causing mental stress. Be good to them, and that is what this staff does across the whole hospital. I see them interact with everybody here in a very positive way.”

While Blumhorst is so appreciative of the caring staff across the entire Fitzgibbon organization, he also knows his faith played a huge part in getting him through the last several months.

“I’m 73 so I have watched my parents go to the doctor and they come out with a bad diagnosis or prognosis a few times, so I have thought, for many years, that my day is coming,” said Blumhorst. “It was a bit of a shock, but faith makes all things better, and that’s all there is to it.”

Do you have a primary care provider to provide medical care?  If not, the caring providers at Marshall Family Practice are taking new patients.  Call (660)886-7800 for an appointment.  If you find yourself needing medical care for an emergency after hours, the Emergency Department at Fitzgibbon Hospital is staffed with physicians 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.  Visit to learn more.