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Steve Deschene

Even distance motorcyclists need a home base

Steve Deschene poses next to the motorcycle he received for his college graduation present. Where do you go when your outpatient treatment is six hours from home? Bismarck, N.D. resident Steve Deschene, 59, was confronted with this very  question when painful cancer radiation side effects brought him to St. Cloud. 

Though Steve loves long-distance riding, he wasn’t about to make the daily trek on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. During his six weeks of outpatient treatment at CentraCare Wound Center, Steve found refuge at Gorecki Guest House across the street from St. Cloud Hospital. 

Gorecki Guest House across the street from St. Cloud Hospital“Without Gorecki Guest House, I’d likely have had to stay at a motel for 95 bucks a day and probably take out a loan on the house in the process,”  Steve said. “I was really surprised and thankful when I found that the Guest House was so reasonably priced and clean. I saved all kinds of money when I made my own meals in the kitchen, too.” 

Steve was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2008, and radiation therapy  provoked another problem: obstructed blood flow to the jaw, causing severe  mouth pain. The Wound Center is one of three sites in the Midwest that offers the hyperbaric oxygen therapy Steve needed to relieve the severe and persistent pain.

The Wound Center’s Denise Larson, DO, administered the treatments once daily on weekdays for 30 sessions over six weeks. The therapy works to increase the body’s natural wound-healing  abilities by allowing patients to breath pure oxygen in a clear, pressurized chamber.

Each day after treatment, Steve returned to the Guest House to  prepare meals, watch the History Channel in the living  room and enjoy phone calls from his wife. House guests cycled in and out, but Steve became fast friends with the regular staff. 

“People stay at the Guest House for certain reasons, and they’re  usually really sad reasons. But the staff — Sally, Kate, Mary —  they’re all fantastic and so cheerful,” Steve said. “They were  always ready to help me navigate around town, find a Walmart and whatnot. I told Kate I really like Chinese, and she pulled the China Star address up for me and told me to treat myself.” 

Steve’s wife and first love, Priscilla, and his Harley — a  close No. 2 — were waiting for him upon return. He just had to  work in a few motorcycle rides before the frost to make up for lost time. Steve Deschene poses next to the motorcycle he received for his college graduation present.

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