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Joseph Lindsay - Patient Story

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“At Fox Chase I was confident that I was being cared for by the most compassionate and talented people"

— Joseph Lindsay

I have always been proactive about getting check-ups, so I decided to see my primary care doctor right away when I detected blood in my urine. Initially, I was treated for a urinary tract infection.

Two months later, in February 2014, I went for a check-up with my cardiologist. Blood tests showed that my creatinine levels were elevated, and I made an appointment with my primary care doctor for additional testing. When a CAT scan showed that my right kidney was swollen, I saw a urologist the same day.

A cystoscopy did not show anything specifically abnormal, except for some inflammation, but the urologist ordered a biopsy. A bladder mass was detected at the connection with the ureter, which was blocking the normal drainage of my right kidney into my bladder. I went home from that visit with a nephrostomy to drain the right kidney to restore its function. On March 25, 2014, the urologist confirmed that cancer cells had been detected in the biopsy.

My family felt it was important that I seek a second opinion before starting any treatment. My daughter, Meg, manages cancer research studies and 2 other family members are physicians, so they reached out for information and suggestions. Two suggestions appeared on most lists: one was at a large teaching hospital in Philadelphia and the other was Dr. David Y.T. Chen, a urologic oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Meg’s nursing school roommate is a case manager at Fox Chase, and she encouraged me to make an appointment there. I met with physicians at both institutions and decided to select Dr. Chen at Fox Chase, where the treatment of cancer is the major focus.

My wife and I met with Dr. Chen’s nurse, Susan Burke, and his fellow, Dr. Phillip Abbosh. Our initial impression was positive; both people were calming, compassionate, and informative and patiently answered all of our questions.

We then met with Dr. Chen and were immediately impressed by him, and we liked his calm demeanor. Dr. Chen explained what he found on my reports and listened to our questions and concerns. He gave us all the time we needed, explained the approach he would take for my situation, and outlined what I could expect to happen. Because the cancer had spread beyond the bladder, he suggested that we also meet with the oncologist with whom he works closely.

My treatment began with a course of chemotherapy. In June that year, Dr. Chen performed a robotic radical cystectomy with ileal conduit urinary diversion. I recovered quickly and left the hospital after 4 days.

At Fox Chase I was confident that I was being cared for by the most compassionate and talented people. Throughout the process, Dr. Chen and his team walked me through step by step. They were available to me, they were supportive, and they cared. That is just what one needs when faced with the prospect of cancer.

If I can share my story and help someone else facing the same diagnosis, I would tell them to go to Fox Chase doctors and nurses. My wife, Chris, and I are able to enjoy retirement and spend time with our 8 grandchildren. Our family is a big part of our lives. One of the goals I shared with my doctors was to buy ice cream on the beach that summer for my grandchildren. Thanks to them, I did!

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