“She rang the bell— the sound of hope”

It was a momentous day when Ronna Seydel of rural Badger “Rang the Bell” at Mayo. This signified that Ronna had completed her course of radiation treatments and shared her “Sound of Hope” with others on the journey. (submitted photo)

“I saw so many people that had it so much worse,” she remarked.  “I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself.”
Meet 56-year-old Ronna Seydel of rural Badger.  Her family includes  daughters Rondi of Badger, Raechel (Brent) Newgard of Edmore, N.D., Rebecca (Jon) Fleming of Appleton, Wisc., and four precious grandchildren.
It will be four years next month since Ronna began her duties as food service director at the LifeCare Greenbush Manor.
About a year ago Seydel first noticed a little lump behind her right ear. It seemed to be growing.
“One day I was feeling dizzy and my balance was off so I went to the Emergency Room in Roseau.  The doctor on call who saw me said, ‘We have to find out what’s wrong with you.’ I was there most of the day doing tests.”
An upper CT scan showed a mass behind Ronna’s right ear.  After telling her what had been found it was suggested she go to a ENT (ear, nose, throat) specialist.
“My daughter Raechel was with me at Altru in Grand Forks, N.D., when I met Dr. Patel – he was an awesome doctor.  He told us straight out,  ‘I can tell by the way it looks it’s cancer – just by looking at the shape of it.’
“Right then Raechel grabbed my arm; both of us were in shock. It was a just a lump, I thought… just a lump.
“He told us I had to have surgery to remove the mass.
“Raechel asked, ‘If it was your mother where would you go?  He said, ‘I would go to Mayo because they do it every day and I only do it when a case arises’ … it’s difficult when you’re dealing with the head.’
“Dr. Patel showed us on his computer the difference between a cancerous and non-cancerous mass. It was easy to see that my mass was cancerous.”
The biopsy was done on March 28.  Ronna said the results came back with the diagnosis being Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma at Right Frontal Gland.
“It was cancerous just as Dr. Patel had said. It didn’t phase me until I heard the final results.”
When Ronna got to Mayo on April 23 the first time she saw her doctor he told her that because the cancer could have spread to her face, she could lose her facial expressions.
The specialists explained what steps they would be doing. They had marked areas on her body where they would remove fat and skin to replace everything that was removed during the surgery.
“I took that really hard,” Seydel stated.  “I said I have to have my smile … the LifeCare residents wouldn’t know me if I didn’t have it. I’m always smiling.”
The day of her surgery, May 2, the doctor informed her three daughters he didn’t know how long the surgery would be or what they would find.
Four of Ronna’s teeth, two on each side, were removed during surgery also because radiation would cause them to decompose.
“It’s better to remove them beforehand. Afterwards, your immune system isn’t up to par,” she explained.
The surgical procedure included cutting up through the front of her ear and down behind leaving a six to seven inch scar alongside of her neck.
On Facebook, Ronna said she was in need of all the prayers she could get.
“After the surgery, the surgeon told me, ‘I’ve never seen this before.  The mass was right on top; it was very easy to remove’.
“It’s the power of prayer,” I said.
A Pancake Breakfast benefit for Ronna Seydel is scheduled to take place Sunday, August 19, 2018, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Badger Community Center in Badger, Minn. On the menu are ham and pancakes, and/or with strawberries, ice cream, and syrup, coffee and juice.  Free-will offering; everyone welcome.
To see the full story, read the August 8 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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