Working 70 hours a week running a dry cleaning business, Victor Greenberg really didn't have time for cancer.
In 2008, at the age of 71, Victor felt a soft lump under his right arm, but he didn't pay much attention. "I had my annual physical and everything had been fine. So I let it go."
Almost a year later, around Labor Day, 2009, he noticed the lump again, but this time, it felt harder. So he went to his family doctor who did a biopsy, which came back malignant. His diagnosis? Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL.
There was no doubt where he would go for treatment: Fox Chase.
For Victor, there was no doubt where he would go for treatment. "My father was treated at Fox Chase more than 27 years ago, " he said. "He had lung cancer that metastasized to his brain. Every step of the way, he was treated with dignity and got the best possible care." Victor describes his dad, who has since passed, as his best friend. Through the years, Victor never forgot the quality care his dad received at Fox Chase.
"I knew that if I was diagnosed with cancer, that's where I want to be. The doctors and nurses are just remarkable."
For his own treatment, Victor turned to medical oncologist Adam Cohen, MD. In October 2009, he began a regime of 6 months of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and banish the cancerous cells from his blood. "They told me it wasn't life threatening, what I had was treatable," he recalled. "Somehow I just felt that everything was going to be ok. My doctor was confident, so I didn't worry about it."
Fortunately, other than feeling tired, Victor had no real negative reaction to his treatment. And despite advice from his doctors and his family, he continued to work full-time throughout. "What are you going to do, close the place down? So I was a little tired. You work anyway."
"I think Dr. Cohen was surprised at how well I did. He's a very sweet guy. "
After 6 months, all of Victor's blood counts were normal. "I think Dr. Cohen was surprised at how well I did. He's a very sweet guy. All the nurses too - day in and day out, dealing with this. They still manage to keep a cheerful face, to really care about people. Their attitude is they want to help, to serve the patients any way they can. I admire that."
Besides seeing Dr. Cohen regularly for blood work, Victor's life after his cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy is completely back to normal.
"I was very pleased with the results," he said. "Let's just say that if I had a hat, I'd throw it up in the air."