The Oregon Cancer Foundation believes survivorship should be celebrated. And on Sunday, June 4, a special event will be held in Springfield to honor cancer survivors in Lane County. Survivors including Bonnie Settera.
If you ask Bonnie about living with cancer, she is quick to tell you she is blessed and thankful—blessed that she is responding well to treatment, and thankful to those who have offered her help since her diagnosis.
Bonnie’s cancer journey began nine years ago when she noticed changes in her right eye. “My granddaughter said I looked like a koi fish, because my eye was so bulgy and red,” she says.
Bonnie was diagnosed with an orbital pseudotumor, a swelling of tissue behind the eye in an area called the orbit that acts much like a tumor but is not cancerous.
She received radiation treatments at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center, and the condition appeared to go away. Four years later, in 2012, Bonnie’s symptoms returned and tests determined that she had a rare form of cancer called neuroendocrine carcinoid that began in her colon, then metastasized to her right eye.
Bonnie underwent surgery to remove the cancer in her colon and since diagnosis, she has been receiving a type of chemotherapy that requires a shot in her hip once a month. This week, she will receive her 62nd injection.
“There is no remission from this cancer and no cure. This is something I will have to manage as long as the treatment keeps working. It’s not fun, but I’m doing well,” Bonnie says. Although, she admits, she gets nervous each time her next six-month check-up approaches.
“I do a lot of praying, and I’m very fortunate. Although the tumor lays on my optic nerve, my vision has remained unaffected. I’m thankful for that.”
Now retired, Bonnie spends a great deal of her time each week volunteering as a senior companion at Sweet Briar Villa, an assisted living and memory care facility in Springfield.
“I’m a people person, and I couldn’t just sit home and worry and wonder about what’s going to happen with my cancer,” she says. “But I can help others by putting a smile on their faces.”
Despite her positive outlook, Bonnie says her cancer has taken a toll financially, but she’s found support from Oregon Cancer Foundation (OCF).
Through OCF’s Financial Assistance Program, Bonnie was able to receive new eye glasses when her Medicare plan would not cover it. OCF has also provided her with prepaid minutes for her cell phone, so she can make her doctor appointments.
“The help that Oregon Cancer Foundation offers is immediate, and they understand what I’m going through. It’s such a blessing to have this organization in our local community,” Bonnie says.
On Sunday, June 4, in honor of National Cancer Survivors Day, Oregon Cancer Foundation is hosting a special event to celebrate Bonnie and other cancer survivors in the community. The event, which will be held from 12:00-2:00 p.m. at Lively Park in Springfield, is an opportunity for cancer survivors to connect with other survivors, celebrate milestones and acknowledge the contributions of family, friends and healthcare providers who have supported them along the way.