Posted on: January 01, 2008
You know, it's quite a shock to your nervous system when someone tells you that you have cancer. I worried about it a lot.
When Neil and Frances had her third child, Brian, at Northside in 1978, Frances underwent a 17-hour labor.
She had already given birth to two others - Todd and Lisa - and didn't even think about delivering anywhere but Northside.
It was a long labor, but nothing compared to Neil's experience in 2006.
And it started with a physical.
"I went in for a routine physical and my doctor noticed my PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) count went from three to four," Neil said. "I was referred to Dr. Fred Shessel for a biopsy.
At Neil's appointment, Dr. Shessel, discussed treatment options including prostate surgery. He recommended I see Dr. Scott Miller, one of the country's leading robotic surgeons. They made an appointment, and in the meantime, Neil and Frances researched the Web, ordered books online and read medical journals. They wanted to be sure they were working with the best doctors at the best hospital.
When it came time to meet with Dr. Miller, they had a list of questions and other appointments scheduled with other doctors in Baltimore, Cleveland and other leading hospitals across the country.
"During our discussion we found that a lot of what he said I had already read on the Internet," Neil said. "He went into all the options anyway and all of the pros and cons for each one. He had patients waiting in the waiting room, but it didn't seem to matter. It was like I was his only patient. He didn't rush us or hurry us out; he just answered all of our questions. We left and felt very good about it. As a matter of fact, we made another appointment that day so we would have a spot."
Neil and Frances continued to explore other facilities, all while waiting for the biopsy results, which typically take six weeks.
The news finally came the Friday after Labor Day in 2006, confirming that Neil had prostate cancer.
"You know, it's quite a shock to your nervous system when someone tells you that you have cancer," Neil said. "I worried about it a lot. I think all the options were open to me at the time, but I was not going to sit around and wait. I just couldn't imagine that. Coming back every few months for a check, I just couldn't do it. If I had cancer, I wanted it taken care of."
During our discussion with the urologist... It was like I was his only patient. He didn't rush us or hurry us out; he just answered all of our questions.
After weeks of research and weighing the pros and cons of every treatment, Neil and Frances decided together that he would receive robotic surgery at Northside.
Neil made it through surgery safely, but for two weeks, he had to wear a catheter. He said it was the most uncomfortable part of the whole procedure.
He credits the staff at Northside and Dr. Miller's expertise with his fast recovery. He continues to monitor his PSA count to ensure the cancer doesn't return.
"You know, my family physician was really on top of things," Neil said. "If he hadn't noticed the (PSA levels) in the first place, there's no telling what may have happened."
In 2007, Neil welcomed his second grandchild, Jacob. Both he and baby Lindsey were born at Northside.
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