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Benefit planned for Howard Lake man with cancer

October 15, 2007

Dennis Hesse of Howard Lake is battling stage-four stomach cancer

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

Dennis Hesse of Howard Lake has been battling stage-four stomach cancer and has undergone eight rounds of chemotherapy since this past May when he was first diagnosed.

Because Hesse has been driving truck for years and working on them in the evenings, he thought his recurring back pain was attributed to his profession. But as the back pain intensified, along with indigestion symptoms, he sought medical attention.

The first doctor Hesse consulted with told him to take Ibuprofen for two weeks and then come back if he didn’t feel better. Before those two weeks were up, Hesse felt much worse and went straight to the emergency room where a different doctor began diagnostic tests.

A CT scan revealed stomach cancer, and further tests showed that it was advanced stomach cancer that had spread to other areas of the body such as the small intestine, the bone, esophagus, pleura around the lungs, blood, a spot on his spine, an adrenal gland above the left kidney, and some lymph nodes, according to Hesse.

This type of cancer is not curable, according to Hesse, and chemotherapy drugs can stop its growth, but can’t get rid of it.

Hesse had started his own trucking company this past January, and since then has not carried medical insurance. Previously, Hesse worked for Donny Arnes’ trucking company out of Delano for many years.

“I was eating Rolaids all the time, but I thought it was from the stress of being self employed,” Hesses said.

Hesse and his wife BK explained that because of insurance rules for people who don’t carry health insurance, diagnostic tests are not always done at the onset of health complaints, and is one frustrating reason why his cancer wasn’t detected sooner.

“We’ve both gotten an eye opener since this started,” BK said.

They also found out that stomach cancer is currently on the rise, especially in men, and is the fourth or fifth deadliest type of cancer.

Since May, Dennis’ chemotherapy has been on a strict schedule of IV chemotherapy for one week, followed by two weeks of chemotherapy pills, and then one week off. He’s been in and out of the hospital since May not only for chemotherapy treatments, but also for complications.

“They poked a hole in my lung accidentally during one of my treatments,” Dennis said. The lung then filled with fluid and took some time to heal.

Dennis has been unable to work during this time, and a benefit spaghetti dinner and silent auction is planned for Saturday, Oct. 20 in Delano at the American Legion from 4-7 p.m., a bake sale will take place during that time also, a kids karaoke contest will be from 7-9 p.m., an adults karaoke contest from 9-12 p.m., and a silent auction will take place from 4-10 p.m.

Local merchants have generously donated items for the silent auction, and the Hesses are very appreciative.

“Most of our small-town businesses didn’t even hesitate at all, which is amazing for someone they didn’t even know,” BK said.

A fund for Dennis has been set up at Bank West in Buffalo. Those interested may donate to the benefit of Dennis Hesse c/o Bank West, PO Box 546, Buffalo, MN 55313.

Dennis Hesse benefit

A benefit spaghetti dinner and silent auction is planned for Saturday, Oct. 20 in Delano at the American Legion from 4-7 p.m.

A bake sale will also take place during that time, a kids karaoke contest will be from 7-9 p.m., an adults karaoke contest from 9-12 p.m., and a silent auction will take place from 4-10 p.m.