During a routine checkup, Bill’s physician discovered something that didn’t seem right. Upon further testing, Bill’s results came back positive for prostate cancer – a cancer that at this point was very aggressive. His doctors offered him limited invasive options, and upon investigating other hospitals in the area, he was met with the same few choices.
Unhappy with the options he was given, Bill turned to the University of Michigan Hospital. Several years before, his son was treated at the U-M for a tumor on his neck. At the time, other doctors had told his son that there was not much they could do and he should get his affairs in order. Much like his father, he wasn’t satisfied with what he was being told and turned to U-M for help. Doctors here treated the tumor and today Bill’s son is cancer-free.
Based on that experience, Bill called the U-M Cancer AnswerLine to see if there were any other treatments available to him. The oncology nurse he spoke with at the Cancer AnswerLine told Bill that there were several possibilities and also told him how to go about making an appointment at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.
With Bill’s first visit to U-M, he knew things were different. “I met with a team, not just a single person. I saw a doctor, a surgeon, and a radiologist all at once. They went over my case, examined me, ran tests and, between all of them, came up with a specialized treatment plan.” It was a game plan that in the end offered him an alternative to the invasive surgery the others recommended.
For eight weeks, Bill drove himself back and forth to U-M from Livonia for daily external radiation. Not one to let prostate cancer be the total focus of his life, Bill even managed to squeeze in a couple of rounds of golf a week. He says the nurses he saw every day during radiation – Kim, Lisa, and Shannon – were wonderful. “They were so warm. They made you feel like family. They’d always ask me how my golf game was and even invited me to one of their softball games after one of my treatment sessions.”
It was a feeling and attitude Bill found throughout the hospital. “The minute you get there, you know they want to take care of you. If you walk through the door and look like you aren’t quite sure where you’re going, somebody walks up to you to help. As big as U-M is, it’s as personal as the individuals who treat you there.”
Bill recalls one particular instance when his doctor went above and beyond the call. “I remember, toward the end of my radiation -- it was a Friday -- and Dr. Pan had run some tests. They were tests the results of which he wouldn’t have until Monday. He must have sensed how worried I was and how it would make for a very long weekend for me, because by the time I drove home, there was a message to call him at the hospital. Well, when you get a message like that, I only thought the worst. I returned his call, and to my surprise, he had pushed to have the test results done as soon as I left. And the best part? Those test results showed my prostate cancer was almost gone. He never said why he did his tests so fast, but I know why.”
The good news continued for Bill. Today he is in complete remission and continues to work on his golf game, often playing with his son…thankful he made the call to U-M.
For more information on the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, click here.