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Osakis woman battles rare form of cancer

Pictured are Kyle and Dayni Imdieke (center) and their children (from left) Drew, 6, Luke, 10, and Logan, 13. Dayni is battling a rare form of pancreatic cancer. The community is invited to a benefit for Dayni on Sunday, April 22 at the Osakis Community Center. (Contributed)

In an instant, everything changed for a 38-year-old Osakis woman and mother of three.

After coping with bouts of abdominal pain for about five years, Dayni Imdieke was diagnosed last September with cancer, specifically, a neuroendocrine tumor on her pancreas.


Two years ago, Dayni decided to have her gallbladder taken out.

"They checked it out and didn't really find anything wrong with it. I just kept having bouts of pain," she said. "I'd go months without any pain. Finally, I'd had so many in a row I said, 'OK, let's take the gallbladder out.' They took it out, but it didn't do anything. I still kept having attacks. They just couldn't find anything."

Then, about one year ago, Dayni was told she was suffering from pancreatitis attacks - and the abdominal pain continued.

At the end of August 2011, after an MRI, the doctor said he wanted to do an endoscopy with ultra sound and biopsy.

"We were like, OK, I mean what do you say? And it came back positive - it was cancer," Dayni said.

More tests revealed the cancer had spread to her liver.

"Once it spreads, surgery is not going to help, because it's not a curable cancer," she explained. "Radiation and chemo don't affect this tumor - it's a rare tumor."

The tumor is on her pancreas, but it's not pancreatic cancer.

"[The tumor] is on the head of my pancreas, blocking my ducts so they think I've been having the pancreatitis attacks because I'm not getting enzymes and my pancreas is working so hard."

Doctors told her she's likely had the rare form of cancer for years and if the tumor wasn't where it is in her body, she probably still wouldn't know she has it.

It's the same cancer Apple founder Steve Jobs battled before he died last year.

"All within one week, I found out I had cancer, Kyle left his job at Verizon and he started a new job. It was kind of a crazy, long week," Dayni said.

She had her last scan in February and said nothing had changed with her condition.

"So, we wait. But I'm not waiting. I'm doing some naturopathic medicine... otherwise it's just sitting around waiting for [the tumor] to grow.

"But I can't just sit. I tend to worry a little bit more about every little symptom I have - what's next, you know?"

For now, she said, her biggest challenge is finding a steady balance with her diet to try and keep the abdominal pain attacks under control.

"And that's hard because I like to eat," Dayni said with a laugh.


Dayni said it just recently hit her that she has cancer.

"In my head it's like, no, I don't have cancer, but now it's just really sunk in that I do."

But she said she's fortunate to have the support of her family and friends - even strangers.

"All the people who have come out - it's amazing, really. I don't even have the words to say thank you. People I don't even know have sent their support through things like thoughts and prayers. And the people setting up this benefit... I don't feel worthy of it."

A benefit will be held Sunday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Osakis Community Center to help pay for Dayni's medical expenses.

Last week, through tears, Dayni said she's incredibly grateful and humbled by the generosity of everyone planning and coordinating the benefit.

"Remember how important family and friends are and enjoy every moment with them," she said.


Dayni and her husband, Kyle, have three children: Drew, 6, Luke, 10, and Logan, 13. She operates a daycare in her home.

Follow #AlexMN @EchoPress Reporter and Osakis Review Managing Editor Amy Chaffins on Twitter at @TheOsakisReview.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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