Denise’s Story of Hope

Denise’s story

Denise is a single mom of two grown kids that is battling stage IV head and neck cancer.

Denise is a waitress at a local restaurant, who worked long hours, but didn’t have health insurance. She had noticed a small lump behind her ear, but without insurance, she wasn’t able to go see a specialist. By wearing her facemask all day at work, it irritated the lump. In March, she was laid off from her job and at that time she was able to apply for Medical Assistance insurance. Denise reached out to a long-time family friend Cindy that was a Nurse Navigator with a head and neck surgeon. Cindy was able to get Denise in for an appointment. The surgeon did a biopsy on the tumor, but it came back inconclusive.

On September 8, 2020, Denise had her first surgery. Unfortunately, during surgery, the surgeon knew right away it didn’t look good. The cancerous tumor had grown around her facial nerve and had to be cut.  This caused the left side of her face to droop. The surgeon replaced the nerve with a nerve from her leg but it will take time to see if it worked. During her surgery, they also removed 18 lymph nodes and they were all clean! “COVID ruined a lot of people’s lives, but it actually saved mine”, said Denise.

Bringing Hope Home was introduced to Denise through her social worker, Carla, at Lehigh Valley Hospital. BHH was able to help Denise and her Family through the Light of Hope Grant by paying her electric bill. She also received a Thanksgiving meal through the BHH, ACME & Ertz Family Foundation Thanksgiving meal giveaway and received gift cards through the Adopt-A-Family Program.

Where Denise is today

Denise finished her radiation treatment on December 11, 2020. She is currently dealing with Lymphedema, but hopefully she can get the swelling down before her next surgery which is scheduled on February 2, 2021. She will be having gold weights implanted in her eye lid to help keep her eye lid closed at night and help with constant tearing.  Her next pet scan is scheduled for March 2021.

We’d also like to share the beautiful thank you note the Family sent to the BHH team