"I am now cancer-free. I have the support of loved ones and dedicated doctors."
I am a father and a grandfather, and I have been married to my wife, Sandra, for more than 50 years. I am retired from a long career in retail management and sales consultation, and I have stayed active in my church and local credit union, where I serve on the board.
It was in the fall of 2015 at age 74 that I was growing more frustrated with the hoarseness of my voice. It seemed to be gradually getting worse, and I was having trouble talking. When I started losing weight without trying, I decided to get a referral from my primary care doctor to see an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.
When the ENT doctor was not very helpful, I turned to my family and friends for advice about what my next step should be. A fellow congregant at my church suggested that I contact the Temple Head and Neck Institute, so I called and scheduled an appointment. A complete examination of my head and neck and a videostroboscopy revealed a mass on my larynx. Finally, a biopsy gave the diagnosis of grade 2 chondosarcoma, a rare cancer that would need surgery.
Getting to Fox Chase
At that point, I was referred to a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, who specializes in patients with head and neck cancer. Dr. Margaret von Mehren, a medical oncologist, was brought on to help manage my case as well. It was recommended that I have surgery to remove my larynx and the embedded cartilage that also was cancerous.
I went into surgery confident of success. My reconstructive surgeon never rushed me during appointments, and they took time to explain everything and to answer my questions. Both of my doctors were excellent communicators. My oncologist shared his gift and his knowledge with me, and my outcome was a success. In a situation like mine, it was important to realize that there were providers who would go the distance with me.
Life after cancer
I believe that my strong faith helped me through these medical challenges, as did the support of my loved ones and my team of dedicated doctors. Their support and my positive attitude kept me going. Fox Chase is solely focused on cancer, and the staff is compassionate and professional. Fox Chase is the ultimate in quality care professionals, and I will always be extremely grateful to them. Today I am cancer free.