DETROIT LAKES - When Lynette Mulcahy started feeling dizzy this past June, she just thought she was suffering from dehydration.
"I told my husband I felt light-headed all the time...I thought maybe I hadn't drank enough water," she said.
A couple of weeks later, she woke up one morning in severe pain, and went into the clinic in Detroit Lakes for a checkup. The diagnosis was a lot more severe than she was expecting.
"They ran some tests...I was there for six or seven hours," she said. "When the test results came back, she (the doctor) said I had stage 4 cancer.
Specifically, Mulcahy added, "I have colon cancer that has metastasized into my liver."
Mulcahy, an Audubon native who works for the Cormorant Sportsman's Club, handling their charitable gambling operations at the Cormorant Pub, has not been able to go to work much since then.
Instead, her time has been spent with trips to the Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo, where she receives chemotherapy treatments every other Wednesday, and the "chemo in a bag" treatments that involve being hooked up to a drip bag of fluids for another couple of days at home.
"I have to watch my diet and take a lot of medicine," she added. "It's been a roller coaster...I have good days, and bad days. Usually after I take the chemo is when I'm the sickest.
"I'm not really nauseous, I just don't feel good at all. I'm really tired."
She said the cold also really affects her now: She has to bundle up, especially around her face, to avoid having trouble breathing.
"The cold gets into my throat -- it feels like my throat is closing up," she adds.
Consequently, she hasn't been able to leave the house very much.
"I try to work at least once or twice every other week, but I don't do a lot," she said Friday. "My daughters took me down to Albertville shopping yesterday ... it was really nice to get away for a while. But it was really cold!"
Things are getting better, however. Her last CT scan, which took place two weeks ago, showed that "everything was stable." What that means is that the cancer has not spread further.
"It's very good news," she said.
Mulcahy, who lives with her husband of 36 years, Keith, at their home near Cormorant Lake, also has three grown daughters and six grandchildren. She said her family has been "absolutely wonderful."
"My family, my friends, my husband's family ... I can't say enough about how supportive everybody's been," she added.
Mulcahy's sister, Luann Porter, has even organized a benefit to help raise funds for her medical bills. The benefit is slated for Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Cormorant Community Center, from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be a spaghetti feed, silent auction and pictures with Santa.
Porter, who lives in Detroit Lakes, said it was the least she could do to help her sister, who has helped so many others.
"She (Lynette) is the most compassionate person I have ever known," Porter said. "Many times during the holidays, after getting the traditional meal ready for family, she will take a plate of food to someone she knows will be spending the day alone. She has either heard through someone else or knows first hand of this person's circumstance. Many times they are elderly with no family around. "If she hears of some child who doesn't have a warm winter coat, she will make sure they have one. She doesn't tell anyone she is doing these deeds, she just does them...She touches so many people with her kind humble spirit," Porter added.
A benefit account has been set up at State Bank & Trust in Detroit Lakes, Audubon, Pelican Rapids and all other branches. You can also donate via PayPal by using the e-mail address email@example.com.