Two and a half year old Emmett woke his parents up in the middle of the night to go potty in 2013. Ecstatic with his potty training progress, Cora and Scott Lahr gave their youngest son high fives as they took him to the bathroom. Excitement turned to confusion as their toddler struggled to urinate and started crying. “He said he had to go, but then there would be very little urine,” explains Cora.
She and Scott reached out to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) for answers. “We had recently moved back to Lake View after living in Des Moines for 12 years and SMCH is the hospital we trusted for our family when we returned,” says Cora. A urine test revealed Emmett had bladder infection and he started an antibiotic. “The next day, Emmett was still struggling. We worked with Mark Mogensen at the Lake View McCrary Rost Clinic and he ran blood tests which all came back normal. We started a different antibiotic in hopes of good results,” recalls Cora.
When Emmett still did not improve, Mogensen, a certified physician assistant, recommended Emmett be hospitalized for further evaluation. “In Lake City, Dr. Hornback ordered x-rays which revealed Emmett’s colon was backed up with stool and the process to clean out his bowels was started. We were really impressed with the care we received from Dr. Hornback and Mr. Mogensen. Their level of compassion is remarkable,” notes Cora. “
While Emmett’s constipation was relieved, he still struggled to urinate. Dr. Hornback suggested Emmett receive specialty care at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. “As young parents, we appreciated Dr. Hornback’s fortitude to find answers for Emmett,” recalls Cora.
“Quality health care is our top priority for our patients. If we are unable to solve a patients issues, we reach out to our trusted partners,” notes Dr. Hornback.
Additional tests revealed the source of Emmett’s trouble. A tumor the size of a tangerine was sitting in his bladder. He had stage 3 Rhabdomyosarcoma (pronounced rab-doh-my-oh-sar-coma), which is cancer of the bladder. “The doctors believed he would need an operation so we headed to Iowa City for surgery,” says Cora. The team of specialized surgeons was able to remove most of the tumor. “We were able to come home the day before Thanksgiving. We were counting all of our blessings and extremely thankful for the great team of medical providers that got us to this point,” notes Cora.
In December, Emmett started his 48-week treatment plan to become cancer free. “We did a lot of traveling back and forth to Des Moines for his chemotherapy and radiation. While we had to have most of his care at Blank, I commend the communication between Mogensen, Hornback and the team at Blank. When we were able to use SMCH and McCrary Rost Clinic, they were well informed of how Emmett was doing. The excellent communication made our care easier because everyone was on the same page,” notes Cora.
During his off weeks of chemo treatment or when his port needed to be flushed, Cora trusted the staff at SMCH. “Emmett would need lab work to see where his blood counts were at and it was very convenient to go to SMCH for those tests. It saved us time on the road,” says Cora. “In addition to benefiting from the convenience of our local clinic, we felt the care and compassion of the staff. On numerous occasions, Mr. Mogensen would call us and check in on how Emmett was doing. It’s comforting and reassuring to know our local medical team cares so much about their patients,” says Cora.
“A cancer diagnosis is a very scary and challenging time for patients. As a medical provider, I want to do all I can to help reduce their anxiety and answer questions. Caring for a patient with a serious diagnosis takes an entire team and I’m honored to be a part of that team,” says Mogensen.
In October of 2013 Emmett had his last chemo treatment. “It was a long journey and we learned so much about the unwavering strength and support of our family, friends, community and local medical team,” notes Cora. Emmett completed begindergarten this year at East Sac County School and is ready for a summer filled with his favorite activities instead of doctor appointments. “Emmett is thrilled to spend his afternoons casting his fishing pole along side his brothers again!”