Ginger and Jonathan Zierdt
Ginger and Jonathan Zierdt
Jonathan Zierdt isn't taking cancer lying down...for the long haul, anyway.

He might have to recline temporarily as he recovers at Methodist Hospital. Jonathan, son of former Spring Valley residents Jack and Judy Zierdt, is currently recovering from surgery related to prostate and kidney cancer after being diagnosed in November.

The 47-year-old Mankato resident, president and CEO of Greater Mankato Growth, Mankato's chamber of commerce and economic development organization, was visiting the doctor for a regular prostate checkup when he developed septic shock, or a very serious infection of the blood.

"He became ill in early November following a biopsy of his prostate for cancer determination," his father explained. "An infection invaded his body following the biopsy, and he was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms and a high temperature and back pains. He was hospitalized in Mankato, where they gave him antibiotics by IVs and did a CT scan to see what was going on. That is when they spotted a mass on his left kidney that looked cancerous."

Jonathan's prostate cancer was rated as an aggressive form, and the mass on his kidney gave the Mankato doctors reason to refer him to the Mayo Clinic for tests and treatment. The hospital in Mankato is part of the Mayo Health System, and the staff there determined that because of the prostate cancer and the finding of the kidney cancer, they would be better equipped to handle the surgeries and treatments at the main Mayo campus in Rochester. Surgery to remove the cancerous mass on his kidney was successful, and subsequent surgery was set to deal with the prostate cancer. Jack related, "As of this time, they removed the cancerous mass from the left kidney, which was completely encapsulated, and only 2 percent of the kidney. The cancer had not gotten into the lymph system or the kidney. He is expected to do just fine, with only periodic follow up checkups for the kidneys. However, we do not know, as of this time, if there will be further treatment following a radical prostectomy at Rochester Mayo Hospital Methodist Campus on March 3."

The elder Zierdts are hoping that their son's health issues will be resolved soon, and Jonathan, according to an article in the Mankato Free Press, "has vowed to fight and share his story...so he can encourage other men to get serious about their health."

Of course, there's an entire community keeping him in their prayers, or, make that two communities.

"Parents are always concerned about their children," said Jack. "We are more concerned now that he has health issues. However, we are confident in his health care teams and the great care he is getting from the Mayo Health System, as well as his loving wife, Ginger. We also realize that with the faith and positive outlook that both he and Ginger have, that they will conquer these cancer issues in their lives! We can only ask that people continue to keep Jonathan and Ginger in their prayers and thoughts. We know that Jonathan and Ginger, as well as the rest of the family members, are very grateful for all of the support and powerful prayers that have been radiating their way from the Spring Valley area.