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Dassel man fights third battle with cancer
OCT. 3, 2011
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‘Fighting for Gale’s Ride’ benefit set for Saturday, Oct. 15

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – Six years and three cancers later, one Dassel man has found himself nothing short of a miracle.

Gale Posusta was first diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2005, after finding a lump on the right side of his neck.

Upon visiting an ear, nose, and throat doctor, “He knew it was cancer without a biopsy,” Posusta said. An emergency surgery was then scheduled over Labor Day that year to have the tumor removed, which at that time was roughly the size of a walnut.

As a form of preventative medicine, Posusta went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, which made him very sick.

“I had to force myself to eat,” Posusta said, who lost 30 pounds and needed to have a feeding tube.

After that, he was informed the cancer was in remission.

Two years later, Posusta was stopped in his work vehicle by a Wright County deputy, which he later would find was a lifesaver for him. Posusta is a self-employed construction worker and was pulling a skid loader behind his truck.

The deputy asked for his health card, which is required when pulling heavy loads, but Posusta didn’t have one.

So he went to the doctor, which was when he was told his PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) counts were “off the charts.” A PSA test gives the doctor an indication of the health of the prostate gland.

He then underwent a prostate biopsy and one of roughly five samples came back cancerous.

Because of Posusta’s age, he was 52 at the time, he was advised to have his prostrate removed, which he did.

“I wish I would’ve got a second opinion,” he said, adding that the surgery has been life altering for him.

After being deemed cured of prostate cancer, Posusta was once again faced with bad news in the summer of 2010.

When Posusta first started seeing blood after clearing his throat, he didn’t think much of it.

But when it persisted, he went to a doctor who treated him for an ulcer.

When that wasn’t the cure, a CT scan showed a spot on his lung, and he was then treated for walking pneumonia.

Symptoms continued.

He was sent to an ear, nose, and throat doctor and was given another CT scan, which allowed an irregularly shaped esophagus, but no tumor was detected.

Eventually, he was sent to a cardio-surgeon, where he had an enscopic biopsy to remove specimens of a tumor that was determined to be inside his trachea, or windpipe.

Results showed the tumor was cancerous.

To treat it, the doctor recommended taking out the tumor and reconstructing the trachea.

As a result, Posusta would need a tracheotomy, which he wasn’t willing to do.

Looking for another alternative, Posusta’s sister, Gloria Kotila, informed him of someone she knew who had success with a homeopathic remedy involving a strict Candida diet and an herbal mixture known as Hoxsey therapy.

With the help of his wife, Helena, Gale followed the diet regimen for seven months.

“It made me feel better and I had more energy,” Posusta noted, but he still had symptoms from the tumor.

His doctor in Mexico, who provided the dietary supplements, told him there weren’t any signs that his body was fighting an infection and said he was healthy.

Posusta decided to see his primary doctor and had a CT scan to affirm that he was cancer-free.

Results came back that the tumor had actually grown a centimeter. Fifty percent of his airway was closed.

Posusta then gave up the diet.

“I got duped,” he said, of the doctor in Mexico.

Knowing the credibility of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Posusta decided to get its recommendation.

After a number of tests, he was given both good news and bad news, he said.

The good news was that the cancer hadn’t metastasized into his lungs, which is even more likely to be fatal.

The bad news was that the tumor was on the foundation of his larynx, and 3 to 4 inches of his trachea would need to be removed. This would ultimately damage his voice box.

“That news was really devastating to us,” he said, adding that the doctor scolded him for trying homeopathy.

“If I’d known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have done it,” Posusta said, adding that he wasn’t given the option of chemo and radiation the first time.

This time, the doctor did give him that option as opposed to surgery.

Knowing what he was in for with the side effects of cancer treatment, Posusta looked to God for strength.

“I turned to God and asked him to make my body strong so I can handle it . . . and He did,” Posusta said. “I’m a miracle.”

Throughout treatment, his blood cell counts remained strong and though he was still nauseous at times, “It was nothing like the first cancer,” he said.

After just two weeks of treatment, he could already tell the tumor had shrunk because he could breathe much better.

Believing in the power of prayer – four parishes have been praying for him – Posusta is now in his final sessions of radiation.

“I just thank my Lord and Savior for easing my pain, and all the people who have prayed for me,” Posusta said, adding that his wife, Helena, has been really great. “It’s a lot of stress put [on the spouse] and a lot of ‘what ifs’.”

He will know in two months if he is truly cancer-free.

Until then, friends and community members are welcome to show their support during a benefit Saturday, Oct. 15 at St. John’s Education Center, located on Highway 12, west of the high school.

From 4 to 8 p.m., there will be a silent auction, quilt raffle, and spaghetti Dinner; $7 for adults, $5 children 6-10, and 6 and under eat free.

The theme is “Fighting for Gale’s Ride,” incorporating his love for motorcycles and his life journey.

Proceeds will go toward medical bills from the Mayo Clinic, which is out-of-network.

Monetary gifts can also be directed to any Wells Fargo Bank: Benefit for Gale Posusta.

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