Denny's Road to Recovery

In October of 2017, Denny noticed a bump within his right upper gum. As time moved forward the bump did not go away and neither did his sinus infection. After a few treatments and the beginning of pain not just in his sinus region, but his teeth he made an appointment with his dentist. It was at that visit that the dentist saw the bump and directed him immediately to an oral surgeon.

A biopsy of the bump was done and confirmed to be cancer, more specifically Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer. This is the most common type of head and neck cancer and is also known to aggressive. A PET scan and CT of the brain were performed to make sure the cancer was not anywhere else, and thankfully those were negative.

His next doctor’s visit a combination of doctors decided surgical removal would be the best option followed by radiation, and possibly chemotherapy. As we prepped for the upcoming surgery, another doctor’s visit reported that the cancer had spread from just within the gum into the maxilla bone. As the stress rose even more, we could not wait for surgery day, February 8th, to come. His doctors stated that this surgery would be 10-14 hours and that depending on how severe the cancer was they would need to use either the bone and muscle from the arm or leg. Denny did great through the surgery but due to further spreading of the cancer to the tip of his nose the surgery took over 15 hours and they needed a larger graft so the leg was used. In order to reconstruct his upper lip the surgeon had to remove part of his fibula bone from the leg along with some muscle and skin from his thigh. Then due to the aggressive nature of the cancer, he needed one-third of his lymph nodes in his neck removed to prevent any reoccurrence of the cancer.

The breathing tube was removed several hours after and with surprise to everyone was able to speak. The doctor had warned us that the swelling may prevent him from talking right away but to everyone’s disbelief he was pretty easy to understand. We also received the remarkable news that the surgeon removed all the cancer from the face and therefore chemotherapy will not be needed. It was the exact news we needed to hear to begin this phase of recovery. Due to Denny’s athletic nature, he was recovering at an excellent pace to which all the nurse commented on. He was able to get up and move around quite well with a walker that after his 7th day stay he could bear weight on his walking boot.

He is home now and cannot wait to get out of the house. His biggest wish before this journey was to just be better by baseball season. Radiation is begining March 12, and as you can imagine the bills are piling up. Although we are ecstatic about Denny’s recovery and all the improvement he has made, there is still the overwhelming realization of debt that we cannot pay. 

 Anyone that has met Denny and the Belisle family knows that Denny would give anyone the shirt off of his back. His kids are his pride and joy and attending their sporting events is what he LOVES to do. This is going to be a long road ahead for their family physically, emotionally, and financially. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kind words, prayers and donations. God Bless!

Donations (28)

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  • Mary Johnson
    • $35 
    • 6 yrs
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Sarah Belisle
Andover, MN

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