Bertha Kreinhop believes that her faith, family and friends helped her win the battle against cancer.
She wanted to share her message of hope with others. With the help of Mel Calvert, her journal notes that she wrote each day were chronicled in “Bertha’s Battle – A Lesson in Faith and Survival,” published in 2013.
The Batesville resident recalls how the journey began. A few days after Christmas in 1978, “I woke up about 2 in the morning and had a terrible pain in my chest. My husband, Earl, insisted that I go to the doctor because heart conditions run in my family.”
X-rays were taken and, as she writes in the book, “If only it had been nothing more serious than a heart attack!”
She had a huge tumor growing around her heart and needed surgery. “I wanted to go to Indiana University Medical Center. I thought that was my only hope.”
Kreinhop was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and later went back and forth to Indianapolis for treatments. “I knew it was going to be a long and hard battle, but I was now more ready than ever for it.”
In addition to her husband, her support system included her twin sister and brother-in-law, Dorothy and Paul Fullenkamp, Batesville, as well as many others. “I had a lot of people backing me up .... It was a tough and rough time, but I always had the hope I was going to make it.”
She thinks that smoking caused her cancer, but she never smoked a day in her life. “When I was a patient at IU, they (medical staff) didn’t believe I didn’t smoke .... I blame the people who smoked around me (at the former Union Furniture Co., Batesville) for all those years for the problems I was facing .... when break time came, they had to light up their stupid cigarettes.”