2012 Honorees

Gene Windhorst

Gene WindhorstMy life was changed forever on Friday March 11th, 2011.

I had been experiencing sharp pains in the right side of my head for a month prior to my appointment at the Alexandria, MN clinic. From my symptoms, our doctor first ordered a blood test to rule out a condition that causes blindness which came back negative. Our doctor then ordered a CT scan. We met with the doctor that afternoon and he told Vivian and I that the scan showed a spot on the right side of my brain. We were shocked and sat and cried. I had an MRI that evening which confirmed a 1" diameter tumor on the bottom right side of my brain.

Vivian and I drove to the Mayo Clinic on Monday, March 14th. We met with a neurologist on Tuesday and after reviewing my scans with his team, he said the tumor was puzzling. They couldn't tell if it was on the inside of the brain pushing out or on the outside pushing in on my brain. We then met with the neurosurgeon, Dr. Folgelson, who told us the tumor was operable and that he would remove it "perfectly" which was comforting to hear. We scheduled a surgery for Monday, March 28th.

During the next two weeks leading up to my surgery, I got myself mentally and spiritually prepared for what lie ahead and spent a lot of quality time with family and friends.

Surgery went very well and on March 30th Dr. Folgelson came into my room and told us that the pathology report showed that the tumor was a Grade 1 Meningloma, a benign tumor. I felt like a giant weight was lifted off my chest. We were so relieved. I still get occasional headaches and have numbness in the right side of my face, but I can "live" with that. There is about a 20% chance that the tumor can come back, so I need to have MRI's for the next 15 years. My most recent scan on June 17th, 2012 was clean!

The toughest part of the tumor experience for me was not the physical aspect but dealing with the anxiety and emotions between March 11th and March 30th, not knowing if I would enjoy more life with my wife or live to see my kids grow up. during this time, the power of prayer, support from family and friends, and trust in Jesus helped me complete the journey. The tumor experience has changed my life in a most positive way. I thank God for life everyday and live each day to its fullest potential.