"I was also blown away by the kind words and well wishes from our listeners. It was amazing to know I had so many people pulling for me."
As one half of the Deminski & Doyle talk radio show on New Jersey 101.5, I have the privilege of being able to talk to new people every day. It’s my dream job, but when I was diagnosed with cancer, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to do it again.
Talk of the Town
The only thing I’ve ever wanted to do is be a talk radio host. I got a communications degree, after a couple of years moving around, I settled in New Jersey, and landed a job at 101.5. I’ve worked there for eight years, co-hosting a show with my colleague, Jeff Deminski, during weekday afternoons. We talk about all things New Jersey: sports, traffic, local celebrities, the shore, you name it. I have such a passion for our listeners and for our community – it was scary to think that it could all go away when, in 2016, I started noticing blood in my urine.
At first, I thought it was a kidney stone so I didn’t think much of it. But when it didn’t go away, I went to my urologist in New Jersey, who ran some tests and told me I had “cells consistent with cancer” in my bladder. I then had a biopsy called a TURBT, or transurethral resection of bladder tumor, which was a way for my doctor to determine if the cells were cancer, and whether it was invasive or non-invasive. The results showed multiple cancerous tumors in my bladder, and at the age of 52, I was diagnosed with early stage, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.
The diagnosis was scary. Cancer wasn’t even on my radar as something that could happen, and it was stressful to not know what was coming next.
A Rough Round of Chemo
My urologist cleared out the tumors, but didn’t get them all, at which point my urologist referred me to Marc Smaldone, MD, MSHP, FACS, a urologic oncologist at Fox Chase. My journey was far from over after coming to Fox Chase, but I felt that I was in excellent hands with Dr. Smaldone. First, he removed the rest of the bladder tumors and recommended BCG therapy, or Bacillus Calmette–Guerin, which is a form of immunotherapy to prevent cancer from returning.
But the cancer came back and spread to lymph nodes surrounding my bladder, which bumped up the stage to Stage 4 bladder cancer. After exhausting all other options, Dr. Smaldone performed a radical cystectomy to remove my entire bladder and built me a neobladder to replace it. Because the cancer had spread to nearby lymph nodes, he also did a prostatectomy because the prostate and seminal vesicles are prime locations for the cancer to metastasize.
After my surgery, I underwent four rounds of chemotherapy under the direction of my medical oncologist, Daniel Geynsiman, MD, to ensure – once and for all - the cancer wouldn’t return. I felt it was important to share this part of my cancer treatment with our listeners at 101.5 and so I wrote a series of blog posts on the website and filmed video updates to their YouTube page. The first three rounds of chemotherapy was smooth sailing, but the last infusion was tough. I had a bad reaction, which landed me in the hospital. The ER doctors discovered I had a bad UTI and my red blood cell count was far too low. I was extremely nauseated, dehydrated, had bad mouth sores, I dropped 40 pounds, and I lost all my hair.
The following couple months of recovery after that last infusion treatment weren’t pleasant, and by the end of the summer of 2017, I had a CAT scan. It showed I was cancer free.
A Return to the Airwaves
As I was recovering in the hospital, my wife was my rock and my three kids were a massive source of support for me, as well as my co-workers at the station. But I was also blown away by the kind words and well wishes from our NJ 101.5 listeners. On my first day back from the hospital, I arrived to hundreds of cards and emails from listeners wishing me a speedy recovery. It was amazing to know I had so many people pulling for me.
These days, I’m lucky to not have to think about cancer that much. I check with my doctors at Fox Chase once a year and get a scan to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned. And now, I’m able to be a resource for our listeners who may be battling cancer and I’m grateful to be back on the air.