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2018 Emmet County Relay for Life Honorary Cancer Survivors

Lela and Wayne Kruse

May 29, 2018
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

By David Swartz

Managing Editor

Having cancer in the same bloodlines of a family isn't unusual. Husband and wife each dealing with cancer is not as common, but that's the case for two of this year's Emmet County Relay for Life Honorary Chairpersons. The annual event is from 5-11 p.m. Friday in downtown Estherville.

Article Photos

Wayne and Lela Kruse both have fought cancer and won against the disease thus far.

For Lela, the battle began in the summer of 1998.

"I was diagnosed with colon cancer and had a colon resection in August," she said. "I had six months of chemotherapy and since then it has been in remission."

However in 2007, Lela was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

"Since having colon cancer, they'd been monitoring by white blood cell count," Lela said.

She said doctors saw white blood cell count increasing. After more chemo, the white blood cell count came under control.

"it's good right now," she said.

While Lela returns for checkups every six months, the leukemia is in remission.

"The biggest problem is fatigue,-I'm sleeping all the time. I' also worked nights for 36 years," Lela said.

She retired from nursing at Avera Holy Family in June 2017.

Wayne, a long-time farmer in the Ringsted area, said he was diagnosed with skin cancer in 1979.

"I credit that to the insecticide I used when planting.

Wayne said he took precautions with using gloves and a mask, but with some days of 40 mile per winds, that wasn't enough.

"I got that taken care of," he said.

But then in 2002 during a regular checkup, his doctor insisted he get his prostate checked.

"He was bound and determined I should have it checked," said Wayne. "I went to Spencer then came home without it 10 days later. I've had a clean bill of health ever since. I lucked out doe to the persistence of the doctor in Estherville."

Wayne said otherwise, there were no signs of cancer and if he hadn't gotten checked out them, it might have been another five or six years before it was discovered.

However as a long time farmer, he has had skin taken off his arm due to sunburns received when he was younger

"I go about every six months to a dermatologist," he said.

The couple currently has four children and seven grandchildren and keep busy going to the grandkids' events around the country.

They say all four of their children have had colonoscopies since Lela was diagnosed with colon cancer.

Since Lela was 46 when diagnosed with colon cancer, officials suggest children should have those checked when they are at least 10 years younger. So far, all of their children are cancer free.



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