When Dick Manson, age 66, was hit with a severe case of the chills, accompanied by fatigue and pain in his right midsection, he figured it was a gall bladder attack. To better diagnose the pain, his doctor ordered a series of tests, including blood, ultrasound and a CT scan. Two days after Thanksgiving 2011, Dick learned that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer that had metastasized to his liver. “From that point until I saw the doctors at Roger Williams, I was anxiously searching for answers,” he said.
Dick’s primary care physician, Dr. Peter Hollmann, had referred him to Roger Williams, where he witnessed firsthand the collaboration between specialists in the cancer center and throughout the hospital. First came a colonoscopy with Dr. Alan Epstein, Director of Gastroenterology, to determine the extent of his colon cancer. It was Stage 4.
Next came his first visit to the cancer center. On December 6, he met with Dr. Ritesh Rathore, Director of Hematology/Oncology, and then with Dr. N. Joseph Espat, Chairman of Surgery. As Dick put it, “I’m not exaggerating when I say that was a wonderful day. Both doctors had a detailed knowledge of my case and a plan for treatment. With Dr. Espat, I had to move to a chair so he could use the tissue covering the examination table to diagram my situation and how the surgery would work. Time frames were established. I couldn’t have been more impressed, or more relieved, really. It was going to be a long road, but we were on the way.”
Colon surgery followed on December 19. Then, after approximately three months of chemotherapy with Dr. Rathore, Dr. Espat and his team removed the left lobe of the liver – which was home to two tumors, one the size of a softball. After allowing his liver time to regenerate and restore function, and another round of chemotherapy infusions, Dick went in for his second liver resection, where four more tumors were removed (one by microwave ablation), this time from the right side of the liver.
Once again, though, a round of chemotherapy infusions followed. Dick describes his chemotherapy experiences in positive terms, however: “I’ve told my friends over and over again that my chemo days have not been at all unpleasant. They think I’m crazy, but it’s true. The atmosphere is always cheery and the staff does a great job.”
In the first two months of 2013, Dick underwent a CT scan and a PET scan to check for any recurrence. He was very pleased to learn the results showed no signs of active cancer. A few months earlier, Dick had been asked to speak at the CharterCARE Gala, which raised money for surgical programs at Roger Williams and its affiliate Fatima Hospital. As he took the stage in front of more than 650 attendees, he was accompanied by Dr. Espat. It was another part of the journey.
“It’s been fascinating to learn how many things have progressed in cancer care over just the last few years,” said Mr. Manson. “I could not have received better care anywhere else in the world than I have received at Roger Williams. The treatment, and every member of the staff, has been terrific all the way through. I couldn’t be more grateful.”