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Advanced Bone Cancer Treatments get Grateful Grandfather Back to Family

When a routine blood test signaled kidney trouble, Raphael was sent to a nephrologist, who referred him to Memorial hematologist/oncologist Lyle Feinstein, MD, Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Memorial Cancer Institute. Dr. Feinstein performed a bone marrow biopsy, which confirmed multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow) and scheduled Raphael for a bone marrow transplant (BMT).

For certain adults with multiple myeloma, leukemia or lymphoma, BMT provides a greater chance of cure or prolonged remission than any other therapy. BMT makes it possible to give patients the massive doses of chemotherapy needed to eliminate blood cancers. The Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Memorial Cancer Institute is the only program in Broward and Palm Beach counties offering this lifesaving treatment, and the only program south of Tampa that does not require patients be hospitalized.

Raphael was given chemotherapy twice weekly for several months. He was then given injections to stimulate the stem cells in his bone marrow to multiply. The cells were harvested in a dialysis-type procedure and preserved for later use.

A couple days later, he was given a high dose of chemotherapy to wipe out his bone marrow and with it, the cancer cells. Then his harvested bone marrow was re-infused. Every morning for 30 days, Raphael returned to the Memorial Cancer Institute at Memorial Hospital West so the team could monitor his progress and treat any side effects, such as fatigue and loss of appetite.

Although the transplant process left him severely fatigued, he looked forward to seeing his medical team.

"The nurses were just wonderful. I must confess I didn't know there were such nice people in the world. And Dr. Feinstein is one of finest physicians the Lord has made," Raphael says.

Outpatient BMT Has Many Advantages

"We think it's important to offer this standard-of-care for patients with blood cancers. Broward residents don't have to uproot their lives and support systems to travel far from home when they can receive the treatment as an outpatient in their own back yard," says Dr. Feinstein.

Now that Raphael is feeling better, he is working on rebuilding his business. He is delighted he has the energy to keep up with his young grandchildren.

"Memorial is a great place to go when you are sick. A patient can expect great care. I have not been ill much in my life, but I know there are hospitals, and then there are hospitals. Memorial is one of the best."


 

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