My story begins on my 40th birthday. While most people celebrate that milestone with "over the hill" themes, I was with my dad while he was getting a biopsy of his prostate. I knew it was possible that my dad could have cancer and realized, of course, that people don't live forever. However, I tried to be optimistic. My dad already knew the outcome in his heart. We received his results a couple of weeks later, and his suspicions were confirmed. He had aggressive prostate cancer at age 57. When we went to meet with his urologist, we were referred to another doctor because my dad's case is a bit complicated. He had his colon removed in 1990 and has a J-pouch. The area of the proposed surgery would be close to the J-pouch, making the procedure a risky endeavor. The doctor told us that our best bet was to have the surgery, but he also said he had never removed a prostate where a J-pouch was involved. He said he would have to consult doctors at UTSW, which is where Claus Roehrborn, M.D., came into the picture.
We met with Dr. Roehrborn before Thanksgiving. He was very businesslike and told us that we would have to have some additional testing completed before the surgery would be scheduled. To be quite honest, I left after that initial visit feeling dismayed. I felt that it had been a wasted trip, but I believed that Dr. Roehrborn had our best interests at heart.
During the next few months, Dr. Roehrborn introduced us to Prabhakar Swaroop, M.D., a gastrointerologist at UTSW. My dad now had a team that would work together. They performed medical tests and introduced medicines to prep my dad for surgery. I was scared at the thought of losing my father, but I knew that he was in impeccable hands.
Surgery wasn't scheduled until mid-February. During that anxious period, Dr. Roehrborn answered the many questions my dad and I had – he answered his phone and did not act put-out with our inquiries, which goes a long way toward explaining how wonderful a doctor he is. During surgery, Dr. Roehrborn called me personally to let me know of dad's progress throughout the procedure. I'm from Amarillo, and we don't get that kind of attention from the doctors we see all the time! How kind he was to think of the loved ones in the waiting room. I can never thank Dr. Roehrborn enough for the compassion he showed to my father and to me.
Once the surgery was finished, Dr. Roehrborn let me know that it had been difficult because of the amount of scar tissue that was left years ago from the J-pouch. We got my dad back to a room, and he was on his way to recovery. To make a long story short, my dad had complications stemming from the scar tissue being disrupted during surgery. Dr. Roehrborn came by every day at 6 a.m. to check on his progress. He also sent a team of residents to look in on him. When matters got worse, I called Dr. Swaroop to let him know of dad's condition. Dr. Swaroop immediately sent a team of gastrointerologists to visit. Even though it got scary a time or two, I knew that my dad was in excellent care.
Fast-forward to this present Thanksgiving. As we are about to celebrate and give thanks for our blessings, I want to let Dr. Roehrborn know that I'm truly grateful for him. He treated us with kindness, and he took excellent care of my father. I know in my heart that if we had stayed in Amarillo I wouldn't have my dad here with me. We send heartfelt thanks also to Dr. Swaroop for the part he played in my dad's care. Future patients need to know that if they have these doctors, they have been given a blessing. Thank you for your sacrifices, your work, your kindness, and for giving me another Thanksgiving with my dad.
Daughter of patient
Copyright 2014. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
For emergencies please call 911. Make an appointment - Adult: 214-645-8300 or Children: 214-730-KIDS