Illness pulls family closer at Thanksgiving
Families gathering for a Thanksgiving Day feast often are thankful for their loved ones and the many memories to come. That dynamic is different this year for Dena Houston’s family, however, as they know their time with her is limited.
Dena, 48, of Kasson, is known around town as the “mascot” of Erdman’s County Market, the president of the local TOPSMN organization and a dedicated member of St. John’s Lutheran Church.
At the beginning of October Dena and her husband, Mark, went on one of their many trips to the Boundary Waters. After returning, Dena noticed something wasn’t right.
“Even before the trip I wasn’t feeling the best. I had been having some episodes with my acid reflux, and then when I got back my legs started swelling, so I decided to go see the doctor,” she said.
She went to the Mayo Family Clinic Kasson and was sent to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for further testing. Dena was then told she had stage 4 metastatic cancer, meaning it had spread throughout her body.
The family was blindsided.
“It came out of nowhere, just all of a sudden it shook everybody,” said Samantha Houston, Dena’s daughter.
This is not the first time Dena’s family has been touched by cancer. Dena’s aunt, mother and grandmother all passed away from cancer.