In June 2009, Denis Mangen had an abnormal colonoscopy, followed by a PET scan. The results weren’t encouraging: two tumors, 10 spots on his liver, equaling inoperable cancer. A friend and colleague introduced Denis to John Walker, an empathetic friend who was going through the same thing. John suggested Denis talk to doctors at the OSUCCC – James.
At John’s suggestion, Denis met with Tanios Bekaii-Saab, MD, at the OSUCCC – James. “I was given two years, plus or minus [before meeting Dr. Saab]. Dr. Saab told me he could get me five to seven. He’s a remarkable man.”
Denis had colon cancer in December 2009 and liver surgery seven months later, in July 2010. In December 2012, he had another liver surgery.
His treatment hasn’t been easy. “I’ve had 60 rounds of chemotherapy,” he said.
Since his diagnosis, Denis has lost 18 inches of his colon and up to 40 percent of his liver. His liver has grown back — “The only organ that regenerates,” he said.
However, in April 2014, doctors found three more spots on his liver. They removed the spots, but a May colonoscopy showed that his colon cancer had returned. He underwent a series of chemotherapy treatments with the hope he wouldn’t have to have surgery again. Unfortunately, the percentages weren’t in his favor, and his second colon surgery was scheduled for October 8, 2014.
“I’ve been healthy as a horse my entire life,” he said. “It was a shock. It was a complete shock.”
Denis, the father of three boys, credits the progressive work at Ohio State for extending his life.
“They are very progressive,” he said. “They’re basically trying to find a cure like everybody else. Quite honestly, when this all started, if somebody told me I was going to have 60 rounds of chemo, I probably wouldn’t have made it. You just get to a point you look on a wall and you say, hey, it’s worth it. I’ve stolen three years so far.”