"We pretty much prepared for the worst," Cahill said. "The communications we were getting we weren't sure how she'd be feeling."
Long before the world knew of Nielsen's awful dilemma - being trapped at the bottom of the world with breast cancer - her parents and two brothers were getting her e-mails. News that was hard to take:
"When you talk about it being tough to get some of that e-mail," Cahill said. "We did know for sure that this is an area where there is no getting in or out of. And so, ah, it was very [his voice cracks] tough to get those."
Their anxiety and hers were eased with the July air drop of medical equipment and chemotherapy supplies to the South Pole - medicine that initially stopped the lump from growing.
"That was a critical item. I'm not a doctor but i believe that without that her prognosis would be poor right now," Cahill said.
After her rescue and return home, Neilsen underwent surgery for removal of the malignant breast tumor, but doctors say it appears the cancer has not spread. Her family says Neilsen's next problem may be dealing with the wave of celebrity poised to sweep over her.
Reporters eager for her story, "As well as some agents representing actresses in California. Agents who want the story, who want to do a movie," said her sister-in-law, Diana Cahill.
For now, Jerri Neilsen is continuing her recovery at an undisclosed hospital. She is said to be feeling better and glad to be home
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