Jessie Veeder: Battling cancer and counting her blessings

Published: Jun. 7, 2020 at 3:42 PM CDT
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Jessie Veeder is a singer, a writer, a daughter, a mom and a wife. And now, the Watford City woman is a cancer patient. But she refuses to feel sorry for herself. Instead, she is counting her blessings.

Jessie Veeder’s newest album is filled with her favorites: her favorite people, her favorite songs, recorded for her favorite little girls.

“I wanted my girls to have it and to hear the songs the way I learned them and played them,” explained Veeder.

The album, titled “Playing Favorites,” is even more special in light of Veeder’s recent cancer diagnosis.

“The cancer I have is called adenoid cystic carcinoma,” she said. “I have been struggling with this cough. I think I got it at the end of November.”

Veeder couldn’t catch her breath. Doctors thought she maybe it was asthma, but a visit with a specialist and a CT scan showed it wasn’t asthma but rather a tumor in her airway, blocking 90 percent of her airway.

“One lung was completely blocked, the other was almost completely blocked.

Surgeons removed all but 30 percent of that tumor. The rest will come out in a second surgery.

“They’ll go in through an incision in chest. Where that cancer is at is a high traffic area. it’s right around my lungs and right around my heart. They will have to move a lot of things to get it out,” said Veeder.

Doctors are confident the cancer hasn’t spread.

“It’s a slow-moving cancer which is very good news. I’ve likely had this for years. It just now appeared to bother me, which is a blessing,” Veeder explained. “I’m having a great life. I’m doing the things I love to do. This thing that has happened to me, I can handle it. I’m going to be okay."

She is determined to recover.

“I have to be here for these kids,” said Veeder.

And she is determined to sing again.

“Anything can happen and if it does, we’ll climb that mountain when we get there. Singing has been a big part of my life, but story telling is also in there," said Veeder.

And while the ending is still unknown, Veeder is ready for whatever comes next.

“Time marches on no matter what is going on. You must move with it. Sometimes you have to sit back and reflect and be thankful and grateful," said Veeder.

Veeder will go back to the Mayo Clinic in the next few weeks for her second surgery. If doctors can't remove the rest of the tumor, she will undergo radiation.

She plans to release her new album, “Playing Favorites,” in July and hopes to be back on tour in the fall.