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Idaho couple facing cancer diagnosis together

Briana Steinbrecher got diagnosed with stage three cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma just weeks before her wedding.

BOISE, Idaho — What should be one of the happiest times of their lives, quickly took a turn for the worse.

On Sept. 25, Kevin Racine and his fiancé Briana Steinbrecher went to Saint Luke’s emergency room in Boise. The couple did not get good news.

Steinbrecher had been dealing with back pain for about a month before that, Racine said. But they thought something bigger was going on.

“They did an abdominal CT scan and found 68-centimeter mass, about the size of a baseball,” he said, “kind of behind the stomach in a weird spot that they didn't feel comfortable getting to for a biopsy.”

So, Racine said they left their home in Boise and flew down to Arizona. Doctors later diagnosed Steinbrecher with stage three non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

American Cancer Society data shows non-Hodgkin's lymphoma accounts for 4% of all cancers. It was estimated back in January, over 80,000 people would be diagnosed with it throughout the year.

Steinbrecher started chemotherapy last week. She said every day is different – some better than others.

“Day four and five definitely hit me harder,” she said. “I just hate being nauseated, vomiting, anything like that.”

Because of Steinbrecher’s diagnosis, the couple had to postpone one of the most important days of their lives. Something four years in the making.

“There’s never good timing for something like this,” Racine said. “But even worse timing, we were supposed to get married Thursday.”

Steinbrecher said she is scheduled for treatment every three weeks in Arizona. This will continue for the next three to four months. Doctors will reassess whether she needs to continue chemotherapy at the end of that time period. 

Their wedding is now scheduled for April. Steinbrecher’s immediate family lives in Arizona; she said being with them helps her stay positive.

The couple says trusting your gut is extremely important. He said Steinbrecher is 28 and seemed perfectly healthy.

“Just knowing your body and knowing something wasn’t right, I think you potentially saved her life,” Racine said. “So, if anybody in the future, you have a gut instinct that something isn’t right, just go get checked out – even if you’re healthy." 

The couple has a GoFundMe set up to help cover medical costs.

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