By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN Three days before Christmas, the Pauna family of Waverly received devastating news when Darryl was diagnosed with cancer.
Darryl and Lisa’s children, Seth, 13 and Chad, 12, attend St. James Lutheran School in Howard Lake.
In order to help the family during this time, a Dad’s Belgian waffle benefit will take place at St. James Lutheran School Friday, March 9 from 4:30 to 7 p.m.
Aggressive treatment for aggressive cancer
Although the family thought surgery to remove a tumor the size of a baseball Jan. 5 would take care of the cancer, Darryl’s oncologist told them in a meeting Jan. 13 he had a much larger mass in his abdomen that was affecting his kidneys.
Due to the fast-growing nature of the cancer, Pauna immediately began a four-week, aggressive chemotherapy regimen.
The therapy is working, Lisa said, because the tumor is shrinking.
“God is doing amazing work and answering prayers for us,” Lisa said.
Last week was the last scheduled daily chemotherapy for Darryl, where he is at the hospital from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. receiving treatment.
He will have another CAT scan Monday, March 19, and is hoping for good news, but will then receive radiation treatments, as well.
Because the therapy Pauna is receiving is so aggressive and hard on his body, he has been unable to work during treatment.
Love of God felt through support of family and friends
Throughout the ordeal, the family has had a good group of family and friends praying with and helping them, Lisa said.
“God is good. I’d like people to know that no matter what they are going through, to have faith and trust in God,” Lisa said. “He is there to comfort, love, and take care of us if we allow him.”
Darryl works as a custodian at Mound-Westonka’s Hilltop Primary School in Minnetrista, and Lisa works at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted’s Humphrey Elementary School in Waverly.
The family attends church at the First Baptist Church in Cokato.
Lisa credits the support it has received through its network of family, friends, and co-workers, as well as community, church, and school members for getting them through this difficult time.
Meanwhile, the boys are taking everything in stride, Lisa said.
Darryl and Seth have a relationship where they joke around a lot, and that has not been damaged by the illness.
When Lisa asked Chad recently if he wanted to talk about what was happening, he looked at Lisa and asked, “Why does everybody keep asking me that?”
For those who cannot attend the benefit, but would still like to help the Pauna family, a fund has been set up with Wells Fargo Banks.
Checks can be made payable to “The Darryl Pauna Fund” and dropped off at any Wells Fargo Bank, or mailed to: Wells Fargo Bank, 407 Pine Street, Monticello, MN 55362. Write “For Deposit Only” on the back of the check.