Avera Medical Minute: Husband and wife battle cancer together

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (DAKOTA NEWS NOW) - Dennis and Myra Kronke from Marshall Minnesota have been through one of the toughest battles of their lives, and are relieved to be on the other side.

Dennis and Myra Kronke battled cancer together

"God was watching over me like he did for both of us. It's a miracle," said Dennis.

Myra Kronke's health crisis was first. "In the middle of the night, I had back pain, like I was in labor. It was so bad," said Myra.

Many tests followed. "That's when it came back: stage four lymphoma," said Myra.

A time of fear, pain, and uncertainty. "I could still get tears over it," said Myra.

The chemo was ongoing for days, so instead of going to an infusion center for a few hours, she was hospitalized.

"96 hours of chemo. Each bag takes 24 hours to go through," said Dennis.

Myra was so sick that when Dennis had severe pain with kidney stones, his granddaughter drove him to Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center, then to Sioux Falls. The surgeon discovered more.

"They went and got the kidney stone out and put a stent in. They spotted a little, little tumor just hanging by a string in my bladder," said Dennis.

Dennis sees that kidney stone as a gift, leading to the discovery of the tumor. "Four months down the road that little tumor could have grown into something bad. God was watching over me," said Dennis.

The couple both received care in Sioux Falls with follow-up in Marshall.
Avera nurse practitioner Jess Moriarty says that communication is imperative to patient care. "She would do one week in Sioux Falls doing chemotherapy, and then follow-up appointments. Her IV fluids for hydration, monitoring her lab values, giving her booster shots. That would be done locally so she wouldn't have to go back and forth," said Moriarty.

Everything is digital, so the entire Avera system can access how to help.
We're able to see those orders and just do those orders here, without having to get a paper order and get it sent over, and then verifying everything. So that part is really smooth by having the same computer system," said Moriarty.

"And the staff here and in Sioux Falls is so great. Sioux Falls, all the nurses, everybody was great just like they are here. But I definitely thank God. He was the one that pulled us all through," said Dennis.

The Kroenke's are back to doing what they love: traveling, babysitting their great-grandson and creating music.

"Myra had a stage four cancer and here she is, walking down the hall, being able to spend time with family, being able to go on vacation and being able to not live in constant pain. That's why I get up every day to help people navigate that journey," said Moriarty.