Scott Parker - Patient Story
Scott Parker knew something was wrong when he started losing his voice. As a locomotive engineer, he frequently needed to communicate with his colleagues through radios and without his voice, he couldn’t work effectively. Scott’s primary care doctor diagnosed him with allergies but the problem persisted and finally Scott visited an ear, nose and throat doctor who spotted the cancer right away.
Scott, who was 45 when he was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in 2009, headed straight for Fox Chase Cancer Center because he knew of the center’s name and reputation.
"I knew Fox Chase did cancer and that’s their thing."
“I knew Fox Chase did cancer and that’s their thing,” he explains. “Thank God I came here.”
In 2010, Scott underwent 6 weeks of radiation (30 treatments) at Fox Chase in Buckingham under the care of Shelly Hayes, MD, a radiation oncologist who is director of the Buckingham facilty.
"I give Dr. Hayes five stars."
“I give Dr. Hayes five stars,” Scott says. “That whole facility - they just go out of their way for you.”
After finishing with the radiation, Scott returned to his daily routine but in 2013 he began to lose his voice again. In December 2013, Fox Chase head and neck surgeon, Miriam N. Lango, MD, performed a laryngectomy to remove his larynx (voice box). The procedure was followed by reconstructive surgery performed by Neal S. Topham, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
“It hit me pretty tough. Any surgery is tough but losing my voice box was hard. They sent me home after three weeks with all the support in the world,” Scott recalls.
After recovering at Fox Chase, Scott was released just before Christmas. Though he had a long road to recovery, he was aided by the staff at Fox Chase, his wife Denise, and his dogs, Sammy and Brutus.
Even after his surgery, Scott continued to come to Fox Chase, working with the speech pathology department to regain his communication function.
“You couldn’t ask for anything better,” is how Scott describes the care he’s received at Fox Chase. “They take their time and don’t rush. They work with you one-on-one.”
Scott recently got the green light to come for check-ups and screening with Dr. Lango every six months rather than every three months. After working closely with a speech pathologist for many months, he can use this service on an as-needed basis.
In 2016, Scott is taking full advantage of his new lease on life by enjoying his retirement and spending time with his wife and dogs. He recently took up golfing with a neighbor and is having fun working on his game.
"I’m lucky and I’m grateful."
“I’m not bitter or angry,” Scott shares. “I’m lucky and I’m grateful.”
Scott also serves as the vice president of The Speakeezy Club of Delaware Valley, a laryngectomy support group that provides information, education and psychosocial support to patients and their families and meets monthly at Fox Chase. Patients are able to connect with one another to talk about their experiences, offer tips to one another and talk about what new patients can expect before and after their surgeries.
“It really is a good support system. I walk around and never run into someone like me,” explains Scott. “That support is just phenomenal.”
Scott has been so impressed by his experience at Fox Chase that he recently had a routine colonoscopy done and a non-cancerous cyst removed from his colon here.
“If they offer it at Fox Chase, this is where I come,” he describes. “I’m so confident in the people here.”