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I don’t know if I’d be here now without Horizon Health Care

Mar 9, 2024 | Blog

Jay Schriever says he hit the jackpot with the care he received during a routine checkup.

Schriever works for the South Dakota Department of Transportation. He’s not the type to go to the doctor with every cut and bruise.

“It’ll go away,” Jay said. “It’s just pain.”

Working for the state meant Jay was mandated to complete a yearly wellness exam at Horizon Health Care’s Woonsocket Community Health Center. His timing was fortuitous because a potentially deadly situation was developing.

During the wellness check, Katlyn Rostyne, CNP, ran tests indicating Jay had elevated PSA levels. She thought it might be the result of an infection. He had no symptoms that something was wrong with his prostate. He came in a couple weeks later for another issue and Rostyne tested his levels again. Instead of going down they’d gone even higher. He was referred to a doctor in Mitchell who gave him the bad news. He not only had prostate cancer, but the doctor suspected he had colon cancer as well.

“I got the two-for-one special,” he jokingly says of the news.

Doctors in Sioux Falls confirmed the diagnosis that he did have two different cancers. Two surgeries, in a three-month span, eliminated the cancers without requiring him to go through chemo or radiation.

Nearly two years later, he is cancer free. He still goes in for check-ups every three months, but so far, his scans are clear.

Talking about his close brush with what could have been a life-threatening situation, leaves him a little emotional still.

“I’m pretty lucky,” Jay said “I’m positive of it. Most people don’t get quite that lucky. They got it at the right time.”

He’s originally from Sioux Falls but now lives in Woonsocket with his wife, Lori. He said it’s likely that due to a lack of symptoms, he would have waited until it was too late.

“I feel like a million dollars today,” he said. “I’m on the right side of the dirt, at least today. I’m not watching the grass grow from the bottom side.”

Rostyne says Jay’s situation confirms the necessity of annual wellness checks.

“I had the opportunity and do every day that we can catch things early such as Jay’s story.” Rostyne said. “I just feel that the quality and access to health care is very important in our rural communities.”

Starting at age 40 it is important that males especially come in for regular screenings, she said. She focuses on preventative health with prostate screenings and colon cancer screenings starting at age 45. With women she talks about breast health, cervical health, uterine health and different groups of screenings that address potential cancers.

“As a rural health care provider, I think it’s very important to be a leader in health to live a healthy model for my patients, my children, my family,” Rostyne said. “But also, living in a small town we know everyone. We want people to have a positive response and a positive outlook on the health care we provide.”

Resources from donors to the Horizon Health Foundation help provide needed screenings, Rostyne said. She’s grateful for the added services she can give her patients as a result.

“It is my duty to open up that access, to be a resource to help de-jumble these big terms if they’re going through something acute,” Rostyne said. “People really confide in us, and we need to be there for our patients.”

Rostyne said she’s seen a change in Jay since the beginning of his treatment. He’s the picture of a cool, mellow guy who didn’t ake any extraordinary steps with his care. Their provider/patient relationship has developed to the point where she suggests preventive measures he should take to help him stay cancer- free.

“He has a totally different mindset of being ahead of the game,” she said. “That’s something really rewarding in my position that I can share with not only him but my other patients to show how important it is to be ahead of your health.”

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