Daryl Lloyd - Patient Story

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"I consider myself lucky to have Dr. Reddy in my corner and to have an incredible support system in my friends and family."

— Daryl Lloyd, Cancer Didn't Slow Me Down

Working for the Willingboro School District in New Jersey and the Colonial School District in Delaware, as an educator for over 25 years, I know the value of good health insurance. I never took for granted the benefits provided to me by the state, and that meant making sure I routinely got a colonoscopy. They aren’t fun, but they might save your life – they saved mine.

In the fall of 2017 I began experiencing stomach pain. While on vacation in November, I began having extreme abdominal pain and soon after the pain started I had a bowel movement. When I looked down, I was shocked to see blood in my stool. That, accompanied by the pain I was experiencing, left me feeling very nervous. I had been to my primary physician about stomach pain in the past, but he couldn’t spot anything, even after a blood test. When I went back for an appointment after my vacation, he advised me to get a colonoscopy.

In early February 2018, I had my scheduled colonoscopy. When I came to, the doctor informed me I had a cancerous tumor about the size of a lemon in my colon. As a person who had been healthy his entire life, I was shocked. I made an appointment in March with a specialist near my home in New Jersey. I remember researching him before the appointment and felt good about his credentials, but when we met in person I found him to be very matter-of-fact and lacked a friendly demeanor. I didn’t have a bad feeling about him, just indifference. That’s when I knew I needed a second opinion. It was important to me that my doctor not only have excellent credentials, but have a good personality – someone I could connect with and confide in, someone I could trust completely.

Before my diagnosis, I would see commercials for Fox Chase Cancer Center. Their tagline is what stuck with me, “where you start matters,” but I never connected with the message because at the time I didn’t have a connection to cancer. But things changed, so I called Fox Chase and made an appointment. I was amazed that I got an appointment the next day.

Immediately Impressed 

Daryl with his wife, Antoinette Daryl with his wife, Antoinette

When I arrived, I was initially impressed with the team mentality displayed. I was also impressed at their insistence in doing their own tests and scans. When I met with Dr. Sanjay Reddy, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase, I knew all he did was surgical oncology and nothing else. He had performed hundreds of surgeries and had a wonderful success rate. I also learned that his father was a doctor and he spent a great deal of time learning from him as a youngster. But the thing that sealed the deal for me didn’t have anything to do with his credentials and talent as a surgeon, but in the way we connected. When I found out he and I grew up in the same hometown, Passaic, New Jersey, I knew he was the guy for me.

After my first appointment, I was committed to Fox Chase and to Dr. Reddy. We scheduled my surgery for April 6, 2018, which was only two weeks away. They wouldn’t know what stage the cancer was or if it had spread until the surgery, which was their main concern. I was also impressed by Dr. Reddy’s team because they scanned my liver and kidneys to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread there, to avoid multiple surgeries which was something the other surgeon hadn’t even mentioned. The procedure was a robotic, laparoscopic surgery, which meant I only had a few minor scars.  He noticed I had a hernia, while performing surgery, and made sure to repair it for me right then so I wouldn’t have to go through an extra surgery. That meant a lot.

After the surgery, I was in inpatient care for less than a week and my experience was wonderful. The nurses really took great care of me. During my stay I bonded, in particular, with the chaplain, who came to visit me every day. Everyone from Dr. Reddy to the janitorial staff treated me with kindness and respect.

I had very little pain from the surgery and took very little pain medication. The only pain I experienced was from the hernia repair that Dr. Reddy performed during my surgery. Another impressive quality of Dr. Reddy is his commitment to excellence.

Once it was confirmed that my bowels were working properly, I recovered at home.

About three weeks later, I came back for my follow up and to go over the results. Dr. Reddy was really happy and reported they had gotten the cancer and it hadn’t spread to other sites. He also informed me that I wouldn’t need chemotherapy or radiation. I was very happy about that because I knew someone who went through chemo and understood how harsh it could be, so I was grateful to have avoided that treatment.

All of the scans and tests revealed that I could possibly have a family history of Lynch syndrome, so I was scheduled to see Dr. Hall, a clinical geneticist, another excellent doctor that was part of the team. I have a very low chance of being effected by the syndrome, but Dr. Hall and my genetic counselor, Michelle Savage, are taking it very seriously. They sent part of my tumor to a lab in California for a full biopsy, to make sure I had not developed this syndrome. I am so grateful for their care.

Remaining Active After Cancer 

Daryl on one of his many travels Daryl on one of his many travels Although I am a retired history teacher, I am still very active. I host a political talk radio show, The Turning Life Corners Radio Show on 106.5 FM in Philadelphia, on Monday nights at 7 PM, and also produce stories on a television news broadcast for PhillyCam Voices, which broadcasts on Comcast Xfinity channels 66/966 HD/967 and Verizon FIOS 29/30 in Philadelphia, which I’m very proud. I also travel quite a bit with my wife Tonee. When I look at my life, think about my family and my wife and about all of the things I’ve done and yet to do, I am extremely grateful for the care I received from Dr. Reddy and Fox Chase. Because of them, I am able to keep living the life I love so much.

Anyone going through cancer should know that it’s ok to be scared, but don’t let that fear paralyze you. Medicine and technology are moving so rapidly, that there is a lot of hope. Seek out the best help you can get, and never ignore a symptom. But most importantly, feel comfortable with the people who treat you – they have your life in their hands.

I consider myself lucky to have Dr. Reddy in my corner and to have an incredible support system in my friends and family.

Now, I am under surveillance. I see Dr. Reddy for follow-up visits and my scans are clear. I am hopeful and confident I have defeated this disease.

Learn more about colon cancer treatment at Fox Chase.

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