October 2, 2017
When Dennis Zeto went to the Sanford Bemidji Walk-In Clinic with what he thought was a bladder infection, he expected to leave with a prescription for antibiotics and get on with his day.
Instead, Melissa Meyer, a certified physician assistant, took the time to look for the root of the problem. Zeto had bladder cancer, and because of Meyer’s dedication to finding the right diagnosis, the disease was caught at an early stage.
“Melissa really was a miracle worker,” Zeto said. “She showed such tenacity and wasn’t just going to take an easy answer. She wanted to make sure we found the real problem. I’m so lucky she did.”
A little more than a month after he went to the walk-in clinic, Zeto had surgery to remove the tumor in his bladder. During the surgery, performed by urologist Dr. John Kosko, he was also given chemotherapy to treat any remaining cancer cells.
Just three days later, he returned to work.
“Being diagnosed with cancer was a shock to the system,” Zeto said. “Fortunately we caught it early enough, and there have really been no lasting repercussions.”
The walk-in clinic recently extended its hours and will now be open seven days a week, 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., something Zeto is happy to see.
“I’m so thankful we have it available,” Zeto said.
Zeto knows how important it is to have expert medical care available locally. In 2000, he started volunteering for the Sanford Health Foundation of Northern Minnesota. He wanted to bring better care to Bemidji and expand existing services for the community.
At the time, Zeto had a very stressful career as a stock broker. He already had suffered two stress-related heart attacks and a couple years later he’d have his third. He had to go outside the region for care.
“It’s so important we have a sound medical system that can save people lives,” Zeto said. “Now we probably have the best medical care in the region available right here in Bemidji.”
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