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.
"This wasn't how I planned on ending my career," she said.
"That says it all," said Duso's sister, Cynthia Trudo-Hamilton, as she looked at her sister's T-shirt. "She's a testament to faith and love. That's why she's still here today."
This Saturday, April 24, Duso will be surrounded by people she loves as a benefit is held for her at Gilligan's Getaway, 7160 State Route 9, Plattsburgh, from 12-6 p.m. The event will consist of food, games, raffles, auctions and face painting for children. Performances by local bands Angry Neighbors, Nite Train, Jay Walken Band, The Mongrels, The Four Fathers, and Steve Borst will round out the event.
Admission will be $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 3 and older and free for children younger than 3.
Donations are being accepted for the auctions and raffles. Those interested in making a donation or more information may contact Trudo-Hamilton at 335-4437.