Healthcare worker now needs cancer treatment - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Healthcare worker now needs cancer treatment

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Cameron (WQOW) - An area woman who's worked in the healthcare industry for years is now hoping surgery and chemotherapy can help her beat cancer.

"Either I don't taste sometimes, or it's a heightened taste. It's super salty or super sweet. And I know, it's just me, it's not that food that I'm eating," said Noreen Lieberherr of Cameron.

Having worked in the medical field for decades as a nurse, Noreen Lieberherr knew something was wrong last summer. After experiencing abdominal pain, doctors suggested a routine colonoscopy.

"With the colonoscopy, my body just shut down. You have to drink a gallon drink, and it just didn't do what it was supposed to. And that sent me on an emergency trip to Marshfield," explained Lieberherr.

It was there Noreen learned she had rectal cancer, which according to the Centers for Disease Control is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the U.S.

"First you're just completely in denial, because I'm the healthy one. You know, I exercise and I'm on top of my health visits, so when this hit it was like "You've got to be kidding me. And they tell you you've got stage four rectal cancer and in my mind knowing that means you may not live. All I could do was cry, because it was like it can't be me, it's got to be that unhealthy person that doesn't take care of themselves. It just can't be me," Lieberherr said.

Long a provider of care, Noreen says she now sees how important her role is.

"Going from super healthy, that I was always the caregiver, to the patient, now I'm almost teaching them how to do different things to make the patient feel better. I've had different nurses come back and say "Thank you. You've actually helped me more explaining how to do something so now I can be a better nurse," said Lieberherr.

Her friends have set up a benefit for her Sunday in order to help cover medical costs.

"For someone that has as many balls in the air as Noreen, stopping and trying to heal is a life altering experience. One that isn't easy for her. She's the type of person that would much rather give than receive," said Annie Antonson, a family friend.

Noreen has faced several complications from the chemotherapy, but doctors say they're hopeful for a full recovery.

"Whatever needs to take place where we get that 100 percent cancer free, that's what we're aiming for," Lieberherr said.

Noreen's benefit will begin Sunday at 11:00 a.m. at the Ferris Auction Center in Chetek. Events include a spaghetti dinner, silent auction, and an appearance by a Green Bay Packer. Monetary gifts can be sent to the Noreen Lieberherr Benefit at the Community State Bank of Cameron.

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