Carol Kalinich - Patient Story

"I am so thankful that Dr. Farma was my surgeon."
‐Carol Kalinich

"On October 29, 2012, I thought I had a bad case of the flu. I had slight pains on the right side and was really tired. I decided to go to the local hospital for a checkup and that’s when everything in my world started to change. I ended up with emergency surgery that day for an appendectomy. Afterwards my surgeon, Dr. Carlos Villarreal, and my best friend, Dr. Richard Bindie, told me that if I had waited a couple more hours I would have been dead. Dr. Bindie is the Medical Director, Laboratory and Pathology at Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and is well-known throughout the country. 

After the surgery, I recovered as quickly as possible because my granddaughter was due to be born at the same hospital four days later. I was discharged from my hospital room and traveled right up stairs to the maternity floor. Yes - I made it in time and our precious Angelina Isabella was born.

I thought I was making great strides until the moment a scary phone call came from Dr. Villarreal who had been informed by Dr. Bindie  that he had found an uncommon type of cancer within my appendix. Unfortunately, it had burst and further surgery would be needed to see where or if the cancer cells had invaded my organs.

Needless to say, I was miserable, shaken, and nervous; every emotion you can imagine. I called Dr. Bindie (who rules my life as far as my health is concerned) because I do not make a move without talking to him first. He advised me to get a second opinion and told me that Fox Chase Cancer Center would be a great place for me to go. I resisted, he insisted, I went. Dr. Bindie knows best and he guided me to Fox Chase. He was right and I was in the end very thankful and satisfied.

At Fox Chase, I met with an oncologic surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Farma, who made me feel important and hopeful right from the very beginning. He and Dr. Tomay a fellow surgeon, answered every question my husband and I asked. Dr. Farma was so patient as I was asking the same questions over and over. They also referred me to meet with a medical oncologist for another opinion. I was also referred to Dr. Sara Kim, who assisted in my surgery.

Surgery was scheduled for December 10, 2012. I knew I had to face this journey head on and I went as scheduled.  

My surgery was performed using the da Vinci robot, which is extremely precise. Dr. Farma performed a right hemicolectomy and a bowel resection and Dr. Kim performed a total vaginal hysterectomy. I spent five days recuperating as an inpatient at Fox Chase. Everyone - from the nurses to housekeeping to the whole medical team - made me feel like I was some kind of celebrity. Being two hours away from home was difficult and they did everything they could do and say to make me feel comfortable and well taken care of. Fox Chase also took care of my husband by having a local hotel offer him a shuttle service and offering a discounted rate for families of Fox Chase patients.

I am so thankful that Dr. Farma was my surgeon. I trusted him, which isn’t easy for me, but he was 100 percent professional and, at the same time, compassionate, understanding and sympathetic.  He is wonderful, dedicated to his patients and profession, an excellent surgeon and is indeed a HUGE asset to Fox Chase Cancer Center.

I recovered quite well and I’m happy to say that the pathology reports were all negative, so, for now I’ll take it. I’m very blessed to have been joined on this journey by such fantastic medical professionals. I'd like to give a special thank you to my first surgeon Dr. Villarreal, to Fox Chase, to Dr. Jeffrey Farma and to Dr. Sara Kim. A special thanks to all the nurses who took such great care of me, and to my guardian angel, Dr. Richard Bindie, who is the BEST. You chartered this trip and steered me in the right direction - to the best possible place for me, Fox Chase."