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Benefit Saturday for Gloria Duso, cancer survivor

BEEKMANTOWN - Gloria Duso will tell you - cancer sucks. In fact, it's even printed on a T-shirt she proudly wears from time to time.

"My daughter found this on the Internet and knew I would love it, with our sense of humor," she said.

Duso said it's her sense of humor that's played a big part in her surviving two bouts with cancer and in her facing her third round with the disease.

In 1989, doctors found Duso had a sacral tumor on her colon, leading her to undergo six weeks of radiation therapy in Boston, Mass., and undergo a colostomy.

"I figured better that than dead," Duso said with a laugh.

The healing process after an evacuation of the tumor took almost a year. Duso's husband, Stephen, helped by assisting her with her day-to-day medical needs like changing bandages.

"My husband, God bless him, has been just beyond what anybody could want for a spouse," she said. "I never could have made it without him."

Four years later, Duso went to her primary care physician complaining of a loss of her sense of smell. Though Duso said she never found out the reason, doctors found and eventually removed a small tumor from her brain.

"It was a very short process. Compared to the other one, it was a walk in the park," she said.

Then, last May, Duso went to her doctor with pains she thought were related to her gall bladder. However, an even worse diagnosis was given - an inoperable form of liver cancer.

"It's a pretty rare form of cancer with no definitive cure right now," Duso explained. "So, it's a matter of finding something that can extend your life with a reasonable quality of life."

Duso recently retired from her 38-year career with CVPH Medical Center, and now takes things "one day at a time." She's currently undergoing chemotherapy and, in a few months, will undergo another medical evaluation to see if the treatments were successful.

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