Harry Davidson: Getting Back To My Old Self

"I worked hard toward one goal, to beat this disease."
‐Harry Davidson

I am no stranger to hard work. Serving in the Korean War, working for 23 years at Scott Paper, and starting my own business doing home improvements after retirement, I understand the importance of discipline and work ethic. Now at 89 years old, I still keep busy helping friends and neighbors with home projects. So when I got the call that I had gallbladder cancer, I did what I always do. I worked hard toward one goal, to beat this disease.

In the past I had seen a urologist because of issues with kidney stones, so when my primary care physician recommended I get a routine check up for kidney stones I wasn’t worried at all. I felt no pain, so I was sure nothing would be found.  I made the appointment at the VA in Coatesville, PA in September 2017 to have a CT scan, and by the end of the day I had a phone call telling me they found a mass on my gallbladder. I was so impressed with the VA and their promptness in calling me with the results.

I went to my local hospital to consult with a surgeon, but after reviewing my chart I was referred to Fox Chase Cancer Center. My daughter called and made an appointment with Dr. Reddy. During this time there was a lot going on in my head. The surgeon at my local hospital said it was a mass, but didn’t confirm it was cancer. I had so many questions.

Fox Chase Treated Me with Incredible Care

When I met with Dr. Reddy, I felt more at ease. He was so professional and explained everything to me and my wife. He suggested we do a PET scan so he could see that mass for himself, and check to see if this may have spread. He was very thorough and I appreciated that. Once the results from my second scan came in, Dr. Reddy determined it was likely a cancer.

In order to remove the mass, I would need surgery, but at my age Dr. Reddy wanted to be cautious. I went to a cardiologist and had a stress test done. The results from the stress test were good and I got the ok to have surgery.

Again, there was a lot going on in my mind. While I waited for my surgery date, I thought about what led me to this point. It was hard to believe I had this disease. I felt no pain and had zero symptoms.  I went from healthy and active to needing surgery to remove cancer from my body; it was hard to wrap my mind around it. But I knew what I had to do to beat this and I credit that to Dr. Reddy.

I went into surgery on December 5, 2017 and Dr. Reddy removed my gallbladder and a portion of my liver. After the surgery I was an inpatient for 8 days. During that time I felt virtually no pain. Everyone was so professional and knew what they were doing. I was very impressed.

Life after Fox Chase

In January 2018, Dr. Reddy gave me the best news I could hear. All of the cancer was removed and no further treatment is needed for now. Today, I’m back to my old self. I’ve had no pain and have been able to exercise and resume my woodworking.

I feel so lucky. All throughout this process I had support from friends and family. So many people called and prayed, and my daughter and a few friends drove my wife to see me while I was in the hospital. They really helped me through. This is a big year for my wife and I. We will be married 65 years, I’ll turn 90 and she will turn 85 and because of Fox Chase and Dr. Reddy I will be around to celebrate.

Learn more about the Liver, Gallbladder, and Bile Duct Treatment Program at Fox Chase.