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From gym guru to Liver, Gall Bladder & Bile Duct Cancer Survivor

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I Truly Believe I Wouldn’t Be Here Today If It Were Not For Fox Chase

— Christopher Kreider

Going to the gym has always been like therapy for me. In addition to improving my health and fitness, I truly enjoy spending time there. Outside the gym, I own and operate independent businesses. My life is fast-paced, and I used to think that nothing could slow me down.

The first sign of trouble came in the spring of 2013, when severe pain on my left side turned out to be a hernia. I went to my primary care physician to get it checked out, and he was just as shocked as I was when a scan showed two large, billiard ball-sized masses growing on my liver. He sent me for further testing, and I was diagnosed with cancer. This is news no active, healthy person thinks they will ever hear - especially someone in his thirities. 

From friend to Fox Chase. 
Initially, I was shocked and scared. My doctor referred me to a nearby hospital, but I was told I would have to wait longer than I wanted to have an initial appointment. Too anxious to wait any longer, I got in touch with my friend, Chris, who works at Fox Chase Cancer Center. He was surprised I hadn’t come to him sooner, and told me to come to Fox Chase immediately.

I scheduled an appointment for that week, and met my surgical oncologist. He showed me an endless well of patience and understanding from the beginning, along with his expertise. I can definitely be stubborn at times, and had so many questions and concerns, but he answered them all earnestly and kindly. He said I would need two separate operations because of the size of the tumors and the complexity of the procedure to remove them.

Although the first surgery was successful, thanks to my doctor's perfect care and precision, my recovery was painful and difficult. I was on various medications and treatments, and still had a hard time coping with the discomfort.

Despite this, I feel fortunate to have been at Fox Chase, and to have had the support of my family, friends, and coworkers, who came to visit me while in recovery.

We allowed my body to heal for two months after the first surgery, and then I returned to my surgical oncologist for the second one. This was a difficult period for me, as I couldn’t get back into my fitness regimen or get back to my job. Just like the first time around, I was in a lot pain after the operation.

But on my fifth day in the ICU, it was like a switch had flipped and I was feeling better. I was amazed yet again at my doctor, and the helpful staff at Fox Chase, who contributed to the remarkable progress I made.

Back to the gym. 
Fortunately, after my surgeries I didn’t need any further treatment. I have remained cancer-free, although I come to Fox Chase for regular check-ups to make sure I stay healthy.

Eventually I returned to my job, and was especially happy when I was able to get back into the gym and start building my strength back up. I know how fortunate I am to be back in great shape, running a successful business, and living at the fast pace I prefer. Without the care I received at Fox Chase, I can truly say that I would not be here today. 

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