A Republican candidate for lieutenant governor talks about her bout with cancer.
Rebecca Kleefisch says she began to feel sick in April with cramping, headaches, and an upset stomach. She blamed it on her rigorous campaign schedule — eating on the run, lack of exercise, not enough sleep. “I’ve never been a candidate in my life,” she thought, “everyone must be going through this. Everyone must have the stomach cramps from eating on the run and having too much fast food; and everyone must be really tired and having symptoms from drinking too much caffeine.”
But, Kleefisch soon found out it was something more than a grueling schedule. Her symptoms persisted, even after visiting her doctor a second time. A few weeks before the primary, the 35-year-old told her doctor she was seriously sick. “I was losing blood and I had been for a while, and we needed to get something done. And so they scheduled an endoscopy. That revealed nothing. And then a colonoscopy … and that’s when they found that I had colon cancer.”
On September 2nd, Kleefisch had laproscopic surgery at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee to remove a grapefruit-sized tumor. The surgeon says the prognosis is good. Kleefisch had survived Stage 2 cancer. She calls it a miracle.
As for the grueling campaign schedule in the weeks before the November election? “That’s nothing new. I’m used to the grueling campaign schedule. It’s just that now I get to do it without the colon cancer symptoms.”
Why disclose this information now? Kleefisch says, at least for now, she’s got the power of the podium, and she’d be remiss if she didn’t take advantage of it to raise awareness about colon cancer.
Kleefisch is running with GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker.
NOTE: Kleefisch has yet to discuss with her oncologist whether chemotherapy will be necessary.