By Louise Oleson
Journal Managing Editor
“She’s the nicest person you’ll ever know.”
“Diane is such a kind and gentle soul.”
“She’s the nicest and kindest person you’ll ever meet.”
These are just a few of the comments about Diane Faye Togstad her friends, clients and acqaintences have offered recently as she’s been going through a health crisis.
In February of this year she went to the doctor after an incident at work worried her. She had been styling a client’s hair and suddenly her fingers and hands seized in spasms. “What the heck?” she thought, better get this checked out.
After numerous tests it was determined that she was very anemic but it was also discovered that she had stage three, or possibly four, colon cancer.
A terrifying diagnosis, to say the least.
Togstad credits her family, friends, faith and excellent medical providers for making it through the entire ordeal.
“It was very scary and overwhelming to hear the word ‘cancer’ but with the help of family, good friends, my faith in God and all the prayers - we’ve made it through,” Togstad says.
She had surgery on April 3 where 12 inches of her colon and a tumor the size of a grapefruit were removed. She recovered well from that, she says, then started a series of 12 chemo treatments in Grand Forks from May through October. Oct. 8 was her last treatment.
During it all Togstad continued working at her station in Adeline’s just as she has for over 40 years. She did take April off, after her surgery and the weeks she received the chemo therapy she could not work, so she went from earning wages five days a week, every week of the month, to working an estimated 10 or 12 days a month.
Quite a drop in income.
Togstad is a single woman with no children, but she owns her own home and has bills to pay, just like everyone else - not to mention the additional costs of having to travel for treatments to Grand Forks every other week for six months. She and her tiny canine companion, Romo, are “going to be okay,” Togstad says.
A group of Diane’s friends have come together and planned a benefit to help her recover some of the financial losses she incurred while fighting this battle. On Friday, Oct. 25 the benefit will be held in the KC Hall in Devils Lake from 4:30 - 8 p.m. It will feature a meal of three kinds of soups - knoefla, vegetable beef and old fashioned tomato - and chili catered by Old Main Street Café. You get to choose what you want. Homemade garlic toast will also be served.
Page 2 of 2 - There will be a silent auction that ends at 7:30 p.m. Already they have received numerous baskets, gift cards, craft items and gift certificates.
A bake sale will also be held in conjunction with the benefit featuring home made favorites priced just right.
An account has been set up at Gate City Bank for anyone wanting to donate.
Looking for donations
Anyone wishing to donate baked goods for the bake sale, bring them by the KC Hall Friday afternoon, Oct. 25, before the sale or contact Cindy at 662-4617.
Anyone wishing to donate an item for the silent auction contact Joyce at 662-8910. She has some suggestions: how about the donation of your time and talent?
“You could volunteer to cook a special meal for four, or rake someone’s lawn, or shovel their sidewalk - something like that would be very popular,” she said.
There will be a free will donation location at the entrance where you can just donate cash or a check written out to Diane F. Togstad, if you would like. No other fee will be charged at the door for the meal.
Thrivent for Lutherans will be matching funds received to help Diane.
A recent PET scan could not find any remaining cancer cells but to be sure Togstad is considering exploratory surgery in Fargo down the road to verify that the cancer is gone. Through it all she says she is grateful for all who have helped her along the way, those who have given her rides to Grand Forks for chemo, all the cards and calls and prayers. She says this whole ordeal has truly given her an even stronger faith in God and His love.