NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 24, 2012

A gift like no other

Cancer patient credits Port medical team for a gift of life after treatment

NEWBURYPORT — Holiday presents come in every category, shape and style, but one-time cancer patient Frank Pelosi is happy to accept a very basic gift this Christmas: good health.

Last fall, the 70-year-old Pelosi was treated for cancer in his mouth and neck through Anna Jaques Hospital.

Pelosi, who recently received a clean bill of health from his doctors, feels he is one fortunate man this holiday season.

“Health, that is my gift,” said Pelosi, with a smile. “There were times I didn’t know what shape I would be in or what kind of future I had. This is a great holiday season for me.”

Pelosi, who lives in Sandown, N.H., was a tool-and-die maker who retired about a decade ago from Lucent Technologies. Last June, he had trouble swallowing. After consulting his local doctor, he was referred to medical professionals at Anna Jaques.

Among members of a team created to assist him were Dr. Daryl Colden, Dr. Catherine Iasiello and Dr. Claire Fung.

“It was what (actor) Michael Douglas had,” Pelosi said. “I wanted to get started on treatment right away —even yesterday.”

Fung, who came to work closely with Pelosi, said, “He presented a serious condition, stage 4 cancer. It was located at the base of the tongue, and surgery was not an option.

“We explained to him what was happening, and he was a good patient. He had a positive attitude, and was ready to undergo treatment.”

In August, Pelosi began a regimen of radiation and chemotherapy. His lifestyle changed considerably.

“I stopped going to my grandkids’ games and I didn’t go out very much at all,” he said. “My immune system was way down, and I couldn’t risk getting a cold or catching something.

“Dr. Fung explained the situation, and I was ready to follow. She weighs about 90 pounds, but she has 5,000 pounds of knowledge.”

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