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"Learning you have cancer is a very sobering moment. It was exactly that for me. I felt like my life was over," said Alvin Rollin when he recounted the doctor visit when he heard he had bladder cancer.
Al's next step was to call his doctor, who recommended three cancer specialists. "By the time I was able to see the first doctor, my mind had been through many scenarios, most of them bad," Al recalled.
Keeping the Faith
Before his diagnosis, Al had always been a religious man, involved in many of his church's activities. He thought, "This should not be happening to me. I was in the middle of an expansion project at my church. My faith wavered, but I continued to pray. During my first meeting with Dr. Robert Uzzo at Fox Chase, I knew that he was the one for me."
From Dr. Uzzo's quiet and competent demeanor to his compassion and confidence, Al felt that he could put his life in Dr. Uzzo's hands. He thought Dr. Uzzo was the answer to his prayers. During the surgery, Dr. Uzzo not only removed his bladder, but he reconstructed a new one (a neobladder), so that Al could urinate normally and would not have to wear a bag.
"I cannot say enough about the caring and compassionate staff at Fox Chase. This includes the nurses and nurse practitioners, administration, orderlies, support staff and volunteers. Everyone I met seemed to understand the turmoil I was experiencing. They did whatever they needed to keep the stress level from becoming overwhelming," said Al.
Back to Business
Since his surgery, Al has successfully supervised two additional construction projects at his church's facility, and hopes to be involved in a new project that will break ground in 2013.
In the years following his treatment, Al has been volunteering for the American Cancer Society's "Road to Recovery" program, which provides free transportation to treatments and doctor visits for cancer patients in need. "If you or someone you know is in need of such a service, just call the ACS and ask about 'Road to Recovery,'" says Al.
Christmas of 2011 marked eight years, four months and twenty-eight days of Al being cancer free, but who is counting? Al is. "I owe it all to the skill of Dr. Robert Uzzo, his nurses and the entire Fox Chase staff," concluded Alvin. "Fox Chase's medical staff and support services continue to make a difference in so many lives of those afflicted with cancer and their families by providing the hope and reassurance that the patient will receive the best care possible."