James Myrtetus - Patient Story

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"There was never a time that I doubted my outcome was going to be a success."

— James Myrtetus, Father, Husband and Colon Cancer Survivor

I had already been experiencing intermittent blood in my stool for about six months when I raised my concerns with my primary care doctor. She referred me to a gastrointestinal specialist who ordered a colonoscopy at a community hospital near my home in Bucks County. That colonoscopy at age 50 likely saved my life.

The pathologist identified a cancerous polyp in my colon. My GI doctor referred me to a surgeon at my local hospital, but I preferred speaking to my primary care physician first. She told me that I should go to Fox Chase Cancer Center and advised I make an appointment with Sanjay S. Reddy, MD, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase. I saw him the next business day. I had been treated at Fox Chase in 2013 for removal of a noncancerous growth on my wrist and had very high regard for Fox Chase and the entire staff.  I was very willing to return there for my colon cancer care.

I could tell at my first appointment with Dr. Reddy that he was confident, kind, and smart. He ordered an MRI and explained his recommended course of treatment. I trusted him and knew that I was in good hands. In April 2015, he performed a minimally invasive procedure to remove a portion of my colon and retain its function. Because it was minimally invasive, I was able to get back on my feet much quicker.

My daughter Madeline and I were at a softball game when I learned that even though the cancer had been caught early, four of the 17 lymph nodes were cancerous. That meant I had stage 3 cancer and would need chemotherapy to ensure a good outcome. Michael J. Hall, MD, MS, a medical oncologist at Fox Chase who is brilliant, positive, and nice, managed my six-month chemotherapy regimen.

My team at Fox Chase also expanded to include a hematologist from Fox Chase, after a scan detected a blood clot, or pulmonary embolus, in my lungs. 

After months of chemotherapy, I was declared cancer free on October 16, 2015. I continue to feel stronger every day, and I appreciate the importance of continued exercise for my recovery.

James and his daughter Madeline at a softball game. James and his daughter Madeline at a softball game.

I am very grateful to Dr. Reddy. The morning of my surgery he greeted me with a bright smile and told me, “We got this today.” That reassurance was so important to me. Since he has been my doctor he has continued to prove to me that his plan was the right one. I have complete confidence in him because of his experience and training. There was never a time that I doubted my outcome was going to be a success.

I hope my story will give encouragement and hope to people who are just beginning their journey with cancer. Hearing that you have cancer is life changing and frightening. The day I met Dr. Reddy and talked with him about my treatment plan, I knew that my chances for being normal again were outstanding. Together with Dr. Hall, Dr. Reddy, and my Fox Chase team made it happen.

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