Maridith Geuder's Story
Maridith Geuder of West Point has always done monthly breast self-exams while standing in the shower. About a year ago, she was lying in bed reading and happened to feel a “heaviness” that she inspected more closely. She discovered the lump on Sunday, and on Monday called her long-time physician, obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Charlotte Magnussen, who saw her in clinic that day. It had been a year and a half since her last mammogram, so Dr. Magnussen referred her to the NMMC Breast Care Center for more testing.
Because of her cystic breasts, diagnosis was a big first step. “After several mammograms, a couple MRIs and a couple biopsies, we found out it was definitely cancer,” Maridith says. She was diagnosed with stage 2 non-invasive breast cancer.
She had four rounds of chemotherapy as her first line of treatment. She had a rare bad reaction to her first treatment that caused her sodium levels to drop very low, which landed her in NMMC’s ICU and led to a week-long hospitalization.
“Thankfully, Dr. (Paschal) Wilson adjusted my treatment and I had no problems afterward,” she said of her medical oncologist with NMMC Cancer Care. “I did lose my hair, but my fabulous hair dresser found the best wigs that I ordered from Germany. I would get compliments on my hair – you couldn’t even tell I was wearing a wig!”
After she finished her first rounds of chemotherapy, she had a lumpectomy at NMMC, followed by 20 more rounds of chemo.
Maridith has been a caregiver to her husband for 19 years after he had an organ transplant.
“I am used to the role of watching out for someone else’s health,” she says. “The hardest part for me was learning to let that role switch, and slowing down a bit. With cancer, you are not self-sufficient. You need a strong support system, and people around you who have an attitude that you are going to be OK.”
Maridith said she didn’t have quite her normal energy levels, but overall felt pretty good and didn’t have many bad days during her treatment. She attributes this to her family stepping up to support her, as well as the support of her work and church families.
She coordinates special projects for Mississippi University for Women’s Foundation. “My W family really kept my spirits up. They threw a party for me at the end of my treatment. My church, First Presbyterian in Columbus, sent me card after card.”
She and her twin sister travel together frequently, and now that she is finished with treatment they have filled their schedule with more trips.
They were planning a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland right around the time she was diagnosed and had to reschedule it. This summer they went on that trip and spent nine days there. She very recently went to Albuquerque.
She enjoys cooking, reading, playing the piano and is “always doing something with the W,” she says.
Before her diagnosis, she was a regular with a personal trainer at the NMMC-West Point Wellness Center. “I saw him recently, and he told me I was looking strong,” she said. “That compliment meant so much to me.”
The song, “Hang on Little Tomato” by Pink Martini is one of Maridith’s favorites because of the lyrics. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX2Hg4ldMws