Frances Hatalovsky - Patient Story
"I'll never forget how patient, kind, compassionate and attentive my doctor was when he first met with us."
— Frances Hatalovsky
When Fran Hatalovsky turned 74 in 2006, she wasn’t even entertaining the idea of retirement. In fact, when she was told by her Fox Chase Cancer Center surgeon that carcinoid cancer had spread throughout her body, her main concern was whether she'd be able to return to work. Her surgeon assured her that he would do everything in his power to make it happen. Just two months after her surgeon performed a very complex procedure to remove the cancerous tissue that affected Fran's colon, small intestine, ovaries and liver, she was able to return to work and couldn't have been more pleased.
Fran's story began in 2000, when she began to experience colitis, stomach bloating and all kinds of abdominal discomfort. Rounds of tests were inconclusive, but when she had her diseased gallbladder removed in late 2005, the surgeon identified a tumor nodule on the adjacent liver. A biopsy of the tumor revealed Fran had metastatic carcinoid cancer, and subsequent tests showed the cancer had spread throughout her body. Fran was referred to Fox Chase Cancer Center and specifically to her doctor by her family physician. Fran and her husband John felt fortunate that her doctor was on the case. "I'll never forget how patient, kind, compassionate and attentive the Fox Chase staff was when they first met with us," said Fran. "They reviewed my records and test results, showed us my X-rays and pointed out exactly where the cancer was located and how far it had spread. They asked me how I wanted to proceed and gave me the confidence I needed to know I could beat the cancer."
In January of 2006, Fran underwent the procedure to remove her cancer with the spirit and determination to recover fully and to remain active and engaged. "All of the nurses were really great at boosting my morale."
"My doctor visited me during the evening of my surgery to report what he had to remove to rid me of my cancer, and for that I was very thankful," says Fran. "He was the first surgeon I had that followed-up like that. All of the nurses were really great at boosting my morale," recalls Fran. "We had a lot to celebrate on the days following my surgery. The day after the surgery was my birthday, and then the day after that was my daughter's birthday, so we had several cakes and all of the nurses shared in our celebrations."
On January 17, Fran was discharged from Fox Chase. Coincidentally, this was also the date of her and her husband John's 53rd wedding anniversary. John was thrilled to be able to carry Fran over the threshold of their home just as he had 53 years prior.
In 2014, at the age of 82, Fran finally retired and follows-up with Efrat Dotan, MD, her Fox Chase medical oncologist, every few months. Together they monitored her medication, including sandostatin (a type of chemotherapy that is administered by a monthly shot and inhibits carcinoid tumor cell growth). In addition to work, Fran loves reading, shopping, going to the movies, an occasional trip to the casinos, taking drives, working on various craft projects, and spending time with her loving husband, children and grandchildren."I received phenomenal care at Fox Chase."