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Pipefitter And Musician Looks To Dr. Lary Robinson


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 hunker down.

*** 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 visit anytime.

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 your program.

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.

Sincerely Yours

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 for MARF.

Sincerely yours,

Hugo Delzer

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.