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Anthony P. Reres - Patient Story

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"Everyone at Fox Chase was amazing, especially the nurses. I can't say enough about them."

— Anthony P. Reres

I can’t help getting a choked up when I talk about welcoming my first great grandson into the world, Lucas Anthony Reres, born March 4, 2010. Because of Fox Chase, I was around to meet my great grandson when I was 76. I never expected to live this long.

In November 2006, I was traveling from Florida with my wife Helen, still the love of my life after 54 years of marriage, when I passed out suddenly on the plane. I hadn’t been having any symptoms. Preliminary tests at a Florida hospital were inconclusive. After a spinal MRI near my home in East Windsor, NJ, showed abnormalities in my pancreas, my family doctor recommended I see an oncologist.

My family urged me to seek medical care at Fox Chase Cancer Center. We heard the words pancreas and cancer, and it frightened us. After some online research and much discussion with my children, Andrew, Diane, Anthony, and Denise, it was agreed that I seek the best possible cancer care at Fox Chase. There, I met with a medical oncologist and a surgeon, both of whom specialize in treating patients with complex gastrointestinal cancers. After several more tests, my team of cancer specialists confirmed I had a neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas.

The team recommended a Whipple procedure, also called a pancreaticoduodenectomy. The procedure, which involves removal of the head of the pancreas, some of the small intestine, and the gall bladder, was likely to save my life. I knew it was a dangerous situation, but the surgeon was a comfort to us. He answered all our questions openly. I had the successful surgery in January 2007 and spent one month recuperating at Fox Chase. My family stayed close, with each of my children taking a week off from work to stay with their mother and visit their dad in the hospital.

I’d send anybody I know who gets cancer to Fox Chase. No question about it. People with pancreatic cancer can find hope at Fox Chase. Everyone at Fox Chase was amazing, especially the nurses. I can’t say enough about them. I remember one nurse, Michelle Dooley, who was especially outstanding. The surgeon was incredible because he’s so knowledgeable in this area. It’s really because of him that I’m here.

In 2011, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was treated with radiation therapy at a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner hospital near my home in New Jersey. I continue to keep a positive attitude and appreciate the efforts of the staff.

In 2015, I turned 81 and marked four years of being cancer-free. I’m back to enjoying my regular active lifestyle, which includes a love of hunting, horses, and the outdoors. My greatest times are spent with friends, my children and their spouses, my 10 grandchildren, and of course, my first great grandson, Lucas. These are the moments I cherish every day. 

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