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Kenneth Kittel - Patient Story

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"If anyone asks where to go for cancer care, I would tell them to RUN, not walk, to Fox Chase!"

— Kenneth Kittel

I was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in August 2006. Physicians at a large university teaching hospital in Philadelphia made the diagnosis and recommended that I have radiation therapy. Unfortunately, the hospital said that I was too heavy—over 300 pounds—to be treated there. My wife, Mary, and I decided to go to Fox Chase Cancer Center for a second opinion. 

At our first meeting at Fox Chase we met with a team of radiation oncologists who have expertise in treatment of head and neck cancers. They had no problem with my weight and agreed to start treatment right away. A transport orderly, Chris Davis, arranged for us to have a handicapped parking spot every time we went for an appointment, and he always met us with a wheelchair. My wife uses two canes to walk, so that was a great help to us each time I went in for treatment.

In the spring of 2009, I starting having aspiration, which meant I had trouble breathing and swallowing food. I met with an oncologic surgeon at Fox Chase, who ordered several tests. The results showed that I had scar tissue from previous surgery. The surgeon performed a minimally invasive procedure to remove the scar tissue, which created more space and made it easier for me to breathe. There were no external incisions, and I was able to go home the day after the procedure.

I have met a lot of nurses at various hospitals, but none compare to the fantastic nurses at Fox Chase. When I stayed overnight after my surgery, the most attentive nurses cared for me during every shift.

I am doing well. I have always enjoyed working with my hands so when I retired I started building wood models. My first project was two very large doll houses for my two granddaughters. Then I moved on to large wooden boats for my five grandsons. I also set up an N-gauge train platform to them to play with when they visit us.

I have periodic check-ups, and if anyone asks me where to go for cancer care I tell them to run, not walk, to Fox Chase.  One of my jobs these days is to be an educator and ‘good-will ambassador’ for Fox Chase whenever and wherever I get the chance.

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