The Hugo Delzer Band
Hugo Delzer is famous in the city of Oconto Falls, Wisconsin. For thirty
years, on any weekend, any person in Oconto Falls could go out for a night
on the town and hear the Hugo Delzer Band play. His instrument of choice
was the piano accordion. The band would play all night long especially
if anyone was still awake. His piano accordion is silent now. Hugo had
to put his accordion on the shelf. Not because of age, arthritis or want
of spirit. Asbestos. Hugo Delzer was a pipefitter. Forty years in the
Scott Paper Mill. He has pleural mesothelioma.
In December he and Betty Delzer had set up camp in Florida and were on
an early morning bicycle ride when he his skin became bitterly cold. He
began to again experience shortness of breath and a severe cough that
felt like "it was ripping me in two". He thought he just had
a cold and tried to ignore it. He was losing weight rapidly. His condition
became worse and he went to the hospital. A chest x-ray revealed a huge
right pleural effusion, bilateral pleural calcifications and a complete
COLLAPSE of the right lung. On December 21, doctors performed a thoracentesis.
Mr. Delzer's right lung continued to accumulate fluid. Two surgeries
later, his doctors recommended a wedge biopsy of the right lung, a biopsy
of the parietal and ciscera and a pleura and pleuradesis. It was not until
New Years Eve that the doctors, using special stain techniques on the
tissue samples of Delzer's lung, were able to diagnose malignant mesothelioma.
Mr. Delzer was still losing weight and becoming weaker.
The Delzer's sought a second opinion at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
& Research Institute in Tampa, Florida. The Multi-Disciplinary Thoracic
Oncology Conference at Moffitt confirmed the diagnosis and concluded that
a surgical resection would be the best treatment. On February 6, 1997,
Dr. Lary A. Robinson performed a bronchoscopy, right thoracotomy with extra pleural pneumonectomy
and resection of the diaphragm and pericardium with a mediastinal lymphadenectomy.
That night Mr. Delzer was rushed to intensive care when he developed atrial
fibrillation. Mr. Delzer thought he was about to die. He was treated with
cardiac medication and after seven days was discharged.
Betty and Hugo Delzer - 1997
"This has been a tough winter for us" says Betty. He has always
been active outdoors from fishing, walking and riding his bike. Hugo is
optimistic his strength and endurance will return. "Hopefully, my
strength will come back." Currently, he is under the care of
Dr. Linda Garland of the Thoracic/Oncology department of Moffitt. Mr. Delzer began four
(4) cycles of chemotherapy (adriamycin and cisplatin) at Moffitt on March 24, 1997.
Through all of this, Hugo Delzer has been realistic and brave. He is a
true giant. He has never backed down from a challenge. He is a hard worker
with a compassionate soul. Delzer grew up on a small farm in Oconto Falls,
Wisconsin. He knows first-hand the battles in life. And he has fought
and conquered (most of) them all. Not with a bludgeon or pitchfork. Sometimes,
your best weapon in the face of adversity is an even temper and tranquil
disposition. Then again, sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and
*** POSTED APRIL 10, 1997 ***
An Update -- June 22, 1999
Hugo continues to spend the winter in Florida, returning to Wisconsin in
the summer. He uses oxygen to sleep at night, otherwise he requires it
only as needed. "I feel the best when I am outdoors, especially if
the humidity is low."
He still occasionally experiences a dull pain in his side when he is up
and around, but it does not keep him from walking every morning . When
in Florida, he walks 2 miles a day. In Wisconsin, he can get in at least
1 mile a day. Hugo has also returned to playing the accordion "for
fun", but admits the instrument can get heavy quickly and wears him
out, "It does weigh 35 pounds you know!"
Before the Delzers left for Wisconsin, they dropped in on Dr. Robinson
for a visit. Dr. Robinson told Hugo that he is an "inspiration"
for us all. They spent a half-hour talking about the weather, life and
Hugo's travels. Dr. Robinson told Hugo to always keep in touch and
The Delzers cannot say enough about the excellent treatment and professionalism
of Dr. Robinson and the staff at H.Lee Moffitt.
An Update -- October 27, 2000
Dear Roger Worthington,
I haven't been able to play my accordion yet or do many other things
I used to do. My health is much the same as it was 2 years ago. But I
thank the Good Lord for my good wife and that I am still able to get around
and enjoy our family.
In your request for a donation to the
MARF program I think the law firms should donate more to MARF as they took
35% right off the top of my settlements. I'm also donating to the
Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida as it is for them and Dr. Lary
Robinson that I'm still here and alive today. Please find enclosed
a check of $3,000. I'm donating to the MARF fund and development of
As a Christian, I believe bringing others to Christ is also important in
God's Kingdom. So I'm also going to donate to our local programs.
Hugo H. Delzer
An Update -- April 26, 2001
Dear Mr. Worthington:
I'm writing to update you on my health condition. Up until February
everything seemed to be going O.K.
In February I developed a sore spot in my right chest area. This is the
same side I had the lung removal four years ago. Being here in Florida
this winter I went back to Dr. Lary Robinson at Moffitt Cancer Center.
He found I have a tumor. He ordered a needle biopsy cat scan. It showed
I have a recurrence of mesothelioma cancer.
Working through the Radiation Oncologist here at Moffitt Cancer Center,
I'm told the best way to treat it is with radiation that will involve
35 treatments over a seven week period. He checked with Drs. back in Wisconsin
and I can have them done back in Green Bay. I'm glad about that, rather
than be here in Florida until the end of May or later.
We plan to leave Florida in 2 weeks and start the treatments shortly and
trust this will clear it all up again.
Here is wishing all is going well with the MARF operation. Dr. Robinson
mentioned to me that he is on the Advisory Board forMARF.
Note: Hugo and Betty Delzer are back home in Wisconsin. Hugo will begin
treatments the first week of May at St. Vincent's, a new cancer center
located in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
An Update 8/15/01
Hugo and Betty returned to Wisconsin from Florida, and Hugo began his treatments
on May 1st in Green Bay. He endured thirty-five radiation treatments over
the course of seven weeks of 200 ccs of radiation per session. This past
Monday, Hugo went to St. Vincent's for a CAT scan to determine the
results of the rigorous five day a week therapy.
The results came back Friday. They were not good. The tumor that first
appeared on the radar in February had enlarged and spread to Hugo's
liver area, despite efforts to curb it, and a previously unidentified
dark spot on his left lung was confirmed as a tumor.
Hugo and Betty decided to take off to the self-proclaimed "Delzer
Compound" for the weekend. It's a campground for the family over
an hour's drive from home. The Delzers will learn more about what
the future holds and how they can control it on Monday afternoon at St.
Vincent's, but for this weekend, they're just going to get away
from it all.
Our thoughts and prayers remain with Hugo and his family.
Diagnosed in December of 1997, Mr. Delzer passed away on December 5, 2001.