Michael Fenick - Patient Story

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"It has been said that to beat cancer, the patient needs to feel confident. Dr. Chen instilled that confidence within me."

— Michael Fenick, Bladder Cancer Survivor

On my 56th birthday in October 2012, I learned I had a mass on my bladder, and eight weeks later I was told that I had bladder cancer. Now, years later, my wife, Michele, and I enjoy spending time with children and grandchildren, traveling, and socializing with our friends.

Earlier that October I had noticed blood in my urine, which prompted me to immediately call my primary care physician. My doctor, Dr. James Sheerer, sent me for a urinalysis that day and also prescribed an antibiotic because he suspected I had some type of infection.

After a second urinalysis a few days later revealed microscopic levels of blood in my urine, he scheduled me for an ultrasound at a community hospital in Scranton, PA. The ultrasound revealed the mass, and weeks later the biopsy confirmed bladder cancer. The recommendation was that I would need to have surgery to remove my bladder. I decided I needed a second opinion.

My urologist recommended I go to Fox Chase for another opinion, and the doctor got on the phone and scheduled an appointment for me. Dr. Sheerer agreed that if anything had to be done, it should be done at Fox Chase. When I heard his opinion, I was confident that Fox Chase would be the best choice for me. I really thank him for his advice.

My first appointment was with David Y.T. Chen, MD, FACS, a surgical oncologist. He was patient, calm, professional, confident, and responsive. When I walked into his office the first time, I was scared, but he assured me that everything was going to be OK. He explained the diagnosis and recommended a course of chemotherapy before any surgery. He brought Elizabeth Plimack, MD, MS, a medical oncologist, onto my team.

Dr. Plimack, Michele and Michael Fenick and Dr. Chen.Dr. Plimack, Michele and Michael Fenick and Dr. Chen.

Dr. Plimack began my treatment with 3 rounds of chemotherapy in January 2013, which I finished the following month. She is a doctor who genuinely cares about her patients. She explained in full detail what I could expect during chemotherapy, and she answered all of my questions.

On March 6 that year, Dr. Chen performed a radical cysectomy to remove my bladder and built a urinary diversion for a new bladder, called an Indiana pouch reservoir, to allow urine to leave my body.

My wife has been my rock throughout it all. I feel grateful every day for the care I received from Dr. Chen, Dr. Plimack, and the entire Fox Chase staff. If not for their knowledge, dedication, caring doctors and nurse and the entire staff, I probably would not be here to tell my story.

It has been said that to beat cancer, the patient needs to feel confident. Dr. Chen instilled that confidence within me, and I cannot thank him enough. His calming presence was a blessing for me.

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