Drive to Survive
RWJ: Colon Surgery – When Raymond Kaszyk was diagnosed with colon cancer last summer following a colonoscopy and told he needed colon resection surgery, he was overwhelmed by the possibility of a major operation, which he told was his only option by a local area hospital.
The diagnosis was a shock to him and his family. Mr. Kaszyk has worked in construction for more than 35 years and was physically fit from the labor and his hobbies, which include riding his Harley and restoring classic cars.
Mr. Kaszyk scheduled the traditional colon resection. The procedure requires a long cut of the abdomen. A section of the colon is removed, and the remainder is stitched together. After surgery, patients typically stain in the hospital for seven to ten days and may wear an ostomy bag for an undermined length of time. Full recovery can take weeks.
His parents died at a young age from cancer and he worried about his future. When he learned he had colon cancer, Mr. Kaszyk’s brother was already battling a different form of disease.
Determined to have a good outcome, Mr. Kaszyk, his wife, Pat and their son Brian,researched other options. In October, he found Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital to see Nell Maloney Patel, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery at UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Maloney Patel, a specialist in colon and rectul surgery, told him he was a good candidate for a newer, minimally invasive procedure.
“The major difference from the traditional approach is we perform the surgery laparoscipically or use a robotic approach,” she explained. “So the incision is much smaller, the recovery times are generally shorter (about three to four days) and patients usually are back to their normal activities and felling pretty comfortable within two weeks.”
After that meeting with Dr. Maloney Patel, Mr. Kaszyk decided to have the operation. ”She was optimistic and confident. The way she explained my cancer and the procedure, I felt safe with her,” he recalled. “She gave me so much hope.”
Dr. Maloney Patel and Craig Rezac, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery at RWJMS, prefer using minimally invasive approaches on appropriate candidates. ”You can guide and manipulate the robotic instrument through the pelvis, a confined space, and the camera allows you to see things in a way that we weren’t able to before,” Dr. Maloney Patel.
Mr. Kaszyk had a robotic colon resection on December 1st and very quickly progressed through the hospital’s fast track program, which encourages patients to eat and move about to facilitate getting them back home. ”Ray was the perfect candidate because he really didn’t want this to get in the way of his life.” she added. He was discharged on December 4th.
Today, Mr. Kaszyk is cancer free. He follow up with Dr. Maloney Patel every few weeks. He’s getting himself back in top shape, bike riding with Pat, restoring his ’67 Pontiac Le Mans and riding his Harley. ”Dr Maloney Patel guided us through this with such ease and confidence. We can’t thank her enough.”