Benefit planned for Slayton farmer
SLAYTON -- The family of Allen Nasers will host a hog roast benefit on Saturday to assist with Allen's medical bills. He was diagnosed with colon cancer just two days before Christmas and will begin radiation treatments Monday at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.
The benefit will include a free-will donation supper, silent auction and raffle from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Bigelow Fire Hall, 1537 Broadway, Bigelow.
Nasers, who does not have health insurance, grew up on a farm near Bigelow and now farms in the Slayton area. He and his wife, Heide, have two daughters, Kristin of Avoca and Zara of Worthington.
It was during a routine doctor visit in early December that Nasers had blood work done as part of his yearly exam and to meet the requirements of his CDL license. He followed that visit up with a colonoscopy, figuring that at age 50, it was time to have another one done. His last colonoscopy had been at age 40.
During the colonoscopy, Nasers' doctor, Sajjad Rizvi, discovered the tumor and took a biopsy. Five days later, on Dec. 23, Nasers learned the tumor had tested positive for cancer. Further testing in Rochester during a two-week visit in early January resulted in the diagnosis of Stage 2 colon cancer.
Stage 2 means the cancer has not spread into the blood or the lymph nodes, he said.
"They were checking for cancer everywhere and where it's at," said Nasers. "There may be a little piece at the top of the right kidney -- it could be cancer and it could be a different kind of tumor. They're not worried about that -- they can cut it off and (sew the tissue up)."
While Nasers said he is feeling fine, he begins radiation treatments on Monday in Rochester. He plans to stay there with his wife for the planned 28 treatments over 5½ weeks.
"(Doctors) will have to treat the tumor first with radiation," he said. "They haven't yet decided about the chemo treatment."
Nasers is already thinking about how the treatments will impact his ability to get his crops planted in the spring. He said there's a six-week wait between the last treatment and his surgery, and then another six- to eight weeks after his surgery when he can't do anything too strenuous.
"I'm just glad to be getting going on (the treatment)," he said. "It seems like things just don't move fast enough."
Nasers said he has always considered himself to be in good health. He has yearly checkups and he and his wife go to health fairs for additional screenings as well.
"I really thought I was invisible. I took care of myself and got looked at," he said. "(The cancer) blind-sided me.
"People out there shouldn't be afraid to take one of those colonoscopies," he added. "It's an easy procedure, and people should do it sooner rather than later."
In fact, Nasers has been credited by his nurses at St. Marys for asking to have a colonoscopy done.
"I guess I'm lucky I did what I did," he said. "A lot of people don't catch it that early."
Saturday's benefit is being planned by Nasers' sister, Kristi, his daughters and other family members.
"Me and my wife have always been quiet, kind of shy people," he said. "I guess where we're at now, (with the help of) the community and all the folks, the businesses, it's a good feeling. I'm just blown away."
Nasers said he also appreciates all of the support of prayers and prayer groups in the area.