Henrietta Lewis - Patient Story

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"I was referred to a surgical oncologist, and right away I knew that I could trust him."

— Henrietta Lewis

When I was 75 years old, and seemingly free of any health issues, cancer arrived in the mail.

I received a letter in April 2016 reminding me to get my routine endoscopy. That letter saved my life. When the endoscopy results showed precancerous changes throughout my stomach as well as an early gastric cancer, I was extremely nervous. However, my doctor recommended a second opinion and I went directly to Fox Chase, where my mother-in-law had been treated years earlier. She had been very pleased with her experience, and I knew Fox Chase had an excellent reputation.

I was referred to a surgical oncologist, and right away I knew that I could trust him. He told me that given the precancerous changes throughout my stomach and early gastric cancer, the best approach was to have my entire stomach removed and create a new stomach using my small bowel.

Agreeing to such an invasive surgery was a big decision, especially when I was still processing everything and simply the word “cancer” made me nervous. But he explained everything so thoroughly, and made sure I was completely comfortable. I felt safe in a way I hadn’t with other doctors. I wanted to be cancer-free, and I had confidence in him.

We scheduled my operation for the end of May. As soon as the lengthy procedure was completed, I had the constant care and attention of so many incredible doctors and nurses. The nurses were wonderful, and did more than enough when tending to my concerns and any pain I had. 

After I was discharged, I went through rehab to make sure I was healing properly and regaining my strength. Unfortunately, two months after my surgery I experienced some chest pain, signaling an infection. I went back to Fox Chase for several weeks to treat the infection. Despite the setback, I was glad to be in good hands at Fox Chase, and the treatment I received was wonderful. Just as before, I felt the entire staff worked together to take great care of me.

Soon after, I was able to return home to New Jersey with no issues. I was thankful to have my husband by my side. He helped with the chores around the house while I regained my strength and recovered.

Today, more than a year after receiving that endoscopy reminder in the mail, I am doing rather well. I feel confident and happy with the progress I’ve made. I know for a fact that it wouldn’t have been possible without Fox Chase. I have only good things to say about my experience there, and am grateful to be cancer-free.

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