Woman thanks doctors for saving her life - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Woman thanks doctors for saving her life

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

A woman, who nearly died, is alive and feeling better than she's felt in years. Tuesday afternoon, she and her family showed their appreciation to Billings Clinic in a big way.

A Northern Cheyenne Native American woman nearly lost her life to a hernia. Today, thanks to her doctors and nurses, she's able to continue watching her grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up.

Over a year ago, Sandra Spang was unable to walk, she was bound to a wheelchair, had hypertension and diabetes.

"I didn't have any skin on half of my stomach and it was protruding. I could of died at any time," she said.

Since 2007, Spang has undergone nine major surgeries. During one of them, something went wrong and she developed a Hernia. Another surgery would be needed. this time one wrong move could have cost Spang her life.

"Basically narrows your stomach down into a sleeve-like container. Instead of a balloon-type container and it allows one to feel full after a minimal amount of food, so instead of eating a chicken breast you eat a chicken wing and feel just as full," Dr. John Pender said.

Complicating matters a new illness was discovered prior to surgery.

"Three months before the surgery I found out I had diabetes," she said.

But today, Spang and her family stood before Dr. John Pender and his team of nurses, thanking them for getting her to feel better than she's been in almost ten years.

As a thank you, and a Cheyenne tradition, they sang a song and gave Dr. Pender a blanket and the nurses beaded pens. 

"I want to thank him and the team for everything they've done to keep me alive, and I'm grateful for that," Spang said.

Spang said the surgery did more than save her life. Today, she's 90 pounds lighter and off her diabetes and blood pressure medications.

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