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Denise’s Story

If you would like to donate to Denise, click the "My Story" link below to see instructions. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and donations. They are greatly appreciated!  

(Please note donations for Denise cannot be made through the CaringBridge website.)

Almost 2 years ago, Denise  Matteo was given the diagnosis of Stage 4 Maxillofacial Cancer and told she would have had only months to live if this cancer went undetected any longer. A slim chance of survival if she opted for the surgery that was offered as a possible option. 

This grim diagnosis and prognosis came shortly after a divorce that left her family without a home, no income, and no child support.
The surgery to remove the baseball-sized tumor resulted in the removal of her teeth, cheekbone, jawbone, lower orbital socket and sinus cavity, and also involved a neck dissection to remove 23 lymph nodes.  Her face was reconstructed from her leg’s fibular bone, muscle, tissue and vein. 

Believe it or not, this brave, strong and determined mother of two survived.  Her children
are the reason for Denise’s strength to keep fighting to win this battle.  Denise does not qualify for Medicaid.  However, the operation for teeth and implants and facial reconstruction to repair damage from a hospital incurred staph infection around her eye, will cost an additional $30,000.

Her surgeons have watched Denise’s positive approach to this series of life altering events, and have been so impressed with her recovery, her continued positive attitude, the support of her children who maintained their grades and employment throughout this ordeal of taking care of their mother, that they managed to get the remaining surgery and related costs steeply discounted.
We are trying to raise that remaining $30,000 for her. COBRA has dropped her and this is why she needs our help.

If you could contribute any amount towards Denise’s final medical expenses, Denise, her family and all of us would all be incredibly grateful.  She wants only to have herself physically put together so she can once again be a part of society and actively seek work again. She also very much wants to become an advocate for this type of cancer and eventually begin a foundation for other patients with this form of cancer.
 Thank you,
Friends of Denise Matteo

Donations can be made at all Wachovia branches in person. Click "locations" at the top of the Wachovia web page to find a branch:  

To mail a contribution, send a check to:
ATTN: Bank By Mail
MACR 3455-01K
Wachovia Bank
P.O. Box 26090
Richmond, VA 23260-6090 

Denise Matteo Trust Account #1010279531700 on the check.
You can also write a note saying who it is for.

Latest Journal Update


Here is the latest to my mother's continued battle with her surgeries.  She has had 9 as of now. The most recent surgeries since her last update!

The latest surgery was in October 2010 to close the hole in the soft pallate which has torn repeatedly since her initial first surgery in 2008. This hole was allowing food and drinks to go up her nose and come out of her nose. They tried multiple times to close it but it would never stay closed due to the damage that radiation caused. This surgery in Decemeber was a last and final attempt to close the hole. The surgery was a partial success -- a part of it remained closed, the other part did not.
The other surgery in December 2010, was to remove the staph infection from her face permanently. Doctors had to remove all the plates, screws, and other hardware in her right cheek (that they put in during her initital surgery). Then they took fat from her stomach and injected it into her face (where they removed the staph infection). This built her cheek back up a little so that it was more even with the left side. But it is still not completely normal. They also took at skin graft from her stomach to cover the hole in her face where the staph infection was.   And the last surgery, in Decemeber 2010 as well.. but the end of December.... here they cut her gums in her upper jaw and inserted 6 implants into her mouth and did a bone graft. They did a bone graft in her jaw.    Now... what is left (this is why she needs an additonal $8,000) is to re-cut the gum and expose the implant rods so that they can make the permanent dental prosthesis so that she will have permanent teeth and be able to eat like you and me. They also need to reconstruct her lip on the bad side (where they removed the tumor 2 year ago). Additionally, they need to FINISH her cheek that they never finished before. There is still a lump on her cheek and it is not even with the other side yet.