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Kevin Logan - Patient Story
"Dr. Murphy highly recommended Fox Chase Cancer Center. So that's where we went."
I first noticed the lump on my neck while my wife, Devra, and I were heading to my daughter Lindsay’s graduation from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in May 2010. While there, Devra noticed the lump too, but decided not to mention it so that we could enjoy the celebration.
On Monday, I went to my family doctor who sent me to a local general surgeon for an evaluation. I was scheduled for surgery within a few weeks. I work in Cumberland, MD, so I went to our local hospital. On June 24, surgeons removed a lymph node and sent it for biopsy, and three days later, I learned I had squamous cell carcinoma on the base of my tongue.
Devra’s brother, Dr. Russell DeVore, III, is a medical oncologist in Knoxville, TN. After learning of my diagnosis, he called a colleague at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Barbara Murphy, a head and neck cancer specialist and world-renowned researcher. When she heard we were willing to drive to Philadelphia, she was pleased. She highly recommended Fox Chase Cancer Center, so that’s where we went. Fox Chase was the only choice we had—and I’m glad it was our only choice.
I scheduled my initial appointment in July with the head and neck cancer team, including Dr. John A. Ridge, a head and neck surgeon, and Dr. Eric Horwitz, a radiation oncologist. Devra and I were so impressed with the team of experts. We were just in awe of everyone at Fox Chase. Not only were they experts in their fields, but they were so nice and compassionate about treating my cancer.
My treatment was scheduled to begin in August, so Devra and I made arrangements to check into Hope Lodge for our seven-week stay. The American Cancer Society has free lodging at Astra Zeneca Hope Lodge across the street from Fox Chase for patients and one caregiver at a new facility with all the amenities. Hope Lodge is typically available to patients actively undergoing cancer treatment on an outpatient basis. We stayed there while I underwent a course of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Hope Lodge was a Godsend. Without it, I would have had hotel bills and other expenses. During our seven-week stay, I had radiation Monday through Friday every day at 1 p.m., and then I received chemotherapy every three weeks. I got very sick; my throat was sore, I couldn’t eat, and I lost a lot of weight. But I made it through it, and each day now is a blessing. I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else. After 35 radiation treatments, I was finally ready for the ceremonial ringing of the radiation bell (see YouTube video).
With my treatment behind me, I was happy to return to my full-time job as the president of Kelco Federal Credit Union, where I’ve worked for 12 years. I’ve been in the banking business for more than 30 years. Devra and I were fortunate that both of our employers allowed us to take the necessary time off.
After my cancer diagnosis, I started setting my priorities differently—although golfing is still pretty high on the list! Dr. Ridge just gave me the OK to coming back once a year now in December, rather than every six months. They asked me if I wanted to go to a doctor or specialist in Cumberland, but to me, it’s worth the 500-mile roundtrip to go to Fox Chase. I just have so much confidence in the group there. The last time I went, I was there for 20 minutes, and it did not bother me a bit. I just was happy to be there and to be on my way back home when they told me everything looked good. I go back to Fox Chase not only for the doctors, but I also had a nurse there, Karen, who was like my angel. She took care of me during treatments. Every time I go to Fox Chase, I go and give her a hug and thank her.
Now, I am 61 years old, and my wife and I have four grandchildren. I treat every day as a good day. My cancer experience brought me closer to church and closer to God. I thank God every day for every day that I have on Earth. And it still chokes me up when I talk about it. I can’t watch the video of me ringing the bell after treatment without crying.
Many people who knew about my cancer often called to ask where I was treated, and I’m always telling them, “Fox Chase is the place to go,” and I always will.