Staying positiveMother of five given six months to live
By: Loryn Caldie, South Washington County Bulletin
In July, just weeks after she thought she had become cancer-free, Tammy Oberg was told that she had six months to live.
The Cottage Grove wife, mother of five and grandmother of two, has stage four small cell lung cancer.
She first learned she had cancer when she went to the doctor because of a sore tailbone.
They did a CT scan, and found a spot on her right lung. Three-fourths of her right lung had a cancerous tumor and it had spread to her lymph nodes, but still, it was a good prognosis, she said.
She underwent treatment and on July 9, doctors said she was cancer-free.
Two weeks later, Tammy had back pain and learned that the cancer had returned.
“Small cell cancer means absolutely no surgery. As soon as the air hits, it spreads all over. It’s a very, very aggressive cancer,” she said.
Although she knows her prognosis is now bleak, she said she feels great.
“I’m up, moving and active. I’m trying to spend as much time with the kids as possible,” she said. “I won’t quit fighting, miracles happen every day.”
She is planning to spend a weekend with each of her children, so they get some one-on-one time with her.
“That way they each have one weekend that will be a nice memory for them,” she said. Everyone is making sure that they are home for dinner, too.
“It’s almost like our life has been slowed down. Everyone is taking more time to be together,” Tammy said. All of the children have been dealing with it in their own ways. “It’s never easy but I think that they’re handling it pretty well,” she said.
Her husband of 16 years, Bruce, says it’s going to be hard facing what’s ahead.
“It’s a really weird relationship, we do everything together,” she said. “We’re best friends.”
Tammy and Bruce started an auto repair shop in 2002 in Newport. In May of 2009, they moved the shop to a larger location in Hastings, and then ventured into auto body repair. In March of 2010, shortly after the move, Tammy got her initial cancer diagnosis, and the Obergs closed their business to focus on her health.
With the repair shop closed, the financial burden has been difficult on the family. Friends of the Obergs decided to have a benefit to raise money for them.
The benefit includes a spaghetti dinner, silent auction, bake sale, raffle tickets, clowns, balloon animals and more. Various companies have donated different packages for the benefit, including Duff’s Meats, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Roger’s Truck and Auto and more. The Cottage Grove VFW has donated its facility for the event.
“It’s nice to be involved with this benefit. It keeps me busier so I’m not just sitting there and thinking about everything,” she said. “You can sit there and dwell, but what good is that going to do?”
She said the family appreciates what the community is doing for them.
“It has just floored and overwhelmed me, the people who have come and wanted to help. This is very special to me and I am grateful for everything that they have done,” she said.
If you go
The Tammy Oberg Cancer Benefit is on Sunday, Oct. 10 from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Cottage Grove VFW Post 8752 Red Barn located at 9260 East Point Douglas Road. Donations are $10 for adults, $5 for kids, 10 and under, and kids under 5 are free. If you would like to donate, call Mary at (612) 382-2421.