World-Class Care Brings Grand Forks Patient to Bemidji



“I’ve got nothing but praise for that place,” said David Sage, of his experiences as a patient at Sanford Bemidji. “I can’t say enough good about the doctors and staff and how I was treated there. I have great pride in what they did for me, and a special place in my heart for that hospital and those people.”

Sage, 59, of Grand Forks, lived in Bemidji for nearly four months last year while he was being treated for a rare, often fatal, form of cancer. Still cancer-free since he finished his treatment in August 2013, Sage continues to regularly drive to Bemidji from his Grand Forks home for follow up with Dr. Mitchell Marion, the Sanford Otolaryngologist, an ear, nose and throat specialist, who diagnosed his condition.

“Sanford was there all the way through for me and they are staying on top of it now,” Sage said.

Choosing Dr. Marion was his first good decision, Sage said. A chronic discomfort in the area of his mouth and throat had troubled him. But when he had asked medical providers about it, they’d dismissed his concern. Sage persisted, doing his own research at a medical library. His findings convinced him that Dr. Marion was the best ear, nose and throat specialist in the region and so he made an appointment.

Dr. Marion listened carefully to Sage’s concerns and then took samples from his mouth and throat for a biopsy. The results confirmed that Sage had squamous cell carcinoma of the buccal mucosa, the same type of oral cavity cancer that had led to his mother’s death in 1997. Sage’s cancer was located in his mouth and neck.

He began an aggressive treatment regimen that included two surgeries and several weeks of simultaneous chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Dr. John Bollinger, Sanford Radiation Oncologist, motivated him to keep going, Sage said.

“He and Dr. Marion are a fabulous team and I’m lucky to have had them,” Sage said.

Besides their impressive medical skills, Sanford providers’ heartfelt compassion and personal interest really touched him. They always greeted him with a smile, answered his concerns and went the extra mile.

Most of all, Sage is thankful to God. He’s glad to be back home with his wife, Diane, who stayed with him in Bemidji and who continues to support him in recovery. He is deeply appreciative of life’s little joys – like fishing again with his wife.

Generous donors to the Sanford Bemidji Cancer Center ensure patients throughout the region have access to the latest in diagnostics and treatments and specialists for cancer.

For more information or to make a gift, visit http://bemidji.sanfordhealth.org/foundation or call (218) 751-5430.

Posted Date: February 2014

World-Class Care Brings Grand Forks Patient to Bemidji

“I’ve got nothing but praise for that place,” said David Sage, of his experiences as a patient at Sanford Bemidji. Donors helped provide the equipment and specially-trained medical team to save his life.