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How a cancer patient found comfort close to his home.

  • Date Submitted: Jul 9, 2024
  • Category: Cancer

“ Come here. This place will save your life.”

Bill and Patti were enjoying an active retirement on their farm in Vermillion until, one night in the fall of 2023, Bill found himself unable to pass urine. That’s when he and Patti headed straight to their local emergency room. A few hours later, images revealed the likely cause — a mass on one of Bill’s kidneys.

The ER discharged Bill with a referral to a nearby urologist. He contacted the specialist the next morning, only to be told there were no appointments available for several months. That’s when Bill called Southwest General — the hospital that, years earlier, had performed his open heart surgery following a heart attack. At the time, Bill and Patti had been unfamiliar with Southwest General. However, after experiencing difficulty finding a local surgeon who accepted his health insurance, he and Patti began researching and found its cardiac care was among the best in the state. “They saved his life,” Patti recalls.

An Unsettling Diagnosis

Following the discovery of the kidney mass, Southwest General’s urology department fit Bill in for an appointment that very week — a significant relief to both Bill and Patti. Recalling the way they accommodated Bill, Patti said, “This place is just amazing. You guys go above and beyond.”

Southwest General urologist [name] diagnosed Bill with kidney cancer. Like most patients and loved ones faced with a cancer diagnosis, Bill and Patti felt shocked, worried, and unsure of what the future would hold.

However, from advocating for Bill with insurance companies to developing a comprehensive treatment plan Bill and Patti felt confident in, the couple says Southwest General cared for every aspect of Bill’s treatment.

Cancer Care and a Campground

Bill made the choice of many Northeast Ohioans for his cancer treatment, the University Hospitals (UH) Seidman Cancer Center at Southwest General. But the drive from Bill and Patti’s farm in Lorain County was more than an hour away, making daily visits for Bill’s chemotherapy and radiation therapy a challenge. Upon leaving one day, the couple noticed the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds just down the street from the hospital — and that it had a campground onsite. The avid campers own an RV, so they made the decision to pack up and relocate to fairgrounds for the duration of Bill’s treatment.

“It lowered our stress level. It lowered the amount of money we were spending, and it was just comfortable,” said Patti. “We were five minutes away.”

When asked what she would say to other patients facing serious diagnoses, Patti adds, “Come here. This place will save your life. Because it has twice [for Bill]. They saved his life.”

Today, Bill, with Patti by his side, is back to doing the things he loves: gardening, hiking, woodworking, and getting on the road in their RV.

And they say Southwest General will continue to be the choice in healthcare going forward. “I've got a lot of experience with this hospital and the Southwest General network now,” jokes Bill. From cardiology to urology to medical oncology to radiation oncology, “I’m running out of specialists to see.”

A Good Experience and a Hopeful Outcome

Beginning with his initial consultation to his last day of treatment, Bill says he was “impressed with the facility and the doctors.” Patti adds that at Southwest General, they found that caregivers truly care. From starting every appointment on time to addressing every fear and concern, she and Bill felt heard and reassured. “No matter what department you're in, no matter where you're going, who you're seeing…they are so patient. They're not rushing you. They answer your questions.” Bill adds, “Thank you. To the doctors, the staff... everybody goes out of their way to make sure that you, as the patient, are cared for.”

Why Southwest General for Cancer Care

The UH Seidman Cancer Center at Southwest General prides itself on delivering comprehensive, patient-focused care. Through a combination of physician and staff expertise, state-of-the-art technology, and clinical trials, Seidman provides some of the highest quality care available for the best possible outcomes. By focusing on each individual’s needs, our knowledgeable team of cancer specialists includes oncologists, radiologists, nurses, therapists, social workers, and dieticians who work together to create personalized treatment plans for every cancer patient. Moreover, Southwest General’s cancer program is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (COC) as a Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Program. As a COC-accredited program, UH Seidman Cancer Center at Southwest General is recognized as offering patients the full scope of services required to diagnose, treat, rehabilitate, and support cancer patients and their families.