The Power of Proton for Lung Cancer | Ted’s Story


– My name is Ted Fitzgerald.
I’m a retired teacher. I spent 35 years teaching
junior high language arts. Other than that,
I work part-time at a neurosurgical practice
in Lancaster and my wife is pleased with that because it keeps me off the
streets and out of trouble. I had a cough
that just wouldn’t quit. After I visited
my family doctor, he recommended that I go to
the pulmonology people at Lancaster General Hospital. We went for the X-ray, found a small spot on the upper
right part of my lung, and from there we went to see
a pulmonologist who did a biopsy
and it turned out to be cancer. As soon as I found
I had lung cancer, I went online
and looked at local hospitals. I looked at Hopkins.
I looked at Penn. I looked at
the University of Maryland. I spoke with my son whose friend had had
some terrific results at Penn. I started looking seriously
at Penn Medicine, specifically at something
called proton therapy. My experience at the Roberts
Proton Therapy Center was remarkable. Once we discovered that I was
a candidate for proton therapy, we talked about scheduling, and I was told
that this would involve 36 consecutive weekdays
of proton therapy, each treatment taking approximately 15 minutes, and of that 15 minutes, about 10 minutes involved
positioning on the table and 5 minutes
of actual radiation. At the end of
the treatment protocol, there was a bell that you rang, and part of the fun of that was you had your support system there. I didn’t expect my entire
support system to be there. I opened the elevator doors
and there was my granddaughter, “Hi, Pop-Pop.” [chuckles] I never expected that. And we rang that bell
with tremendous vigor, and that was the end
of the proton therapy treatment. I think it was something
in the nature of four months after which I went back
and was given an MRI, and the doctor
got the results of the MRI and started scanning through it,
and he looked at me and said, “Where was this?” That really made me feel good. He said, “There, I see.
There it is.” And he said all you have left
is a 1-cm ball of dead cells, and I said, well, thank God, and thank you for Penn Medicine, and thank you for LGH. The doctors at Lancaster General
and the doctors at Penn Medicine were absolutely wonderful. Very down to earth,
great sense of humor, extremely knowledgeable. Gave me terrific advice,
and if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be sitting here
talking to you today.