Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Todd Hardy

Lung cancer - Stage IA

This testimonial includes a description of this patient’s actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.

View CTCA treatment results for lung cancer

Overview

My story

I was 41 years old when I was diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer after having treatment for a painful kidney stone. I felt healthy; I had never smoked a single cigarette in my life, and had no symptoms.

Finding my doctor—and so much more

When we got home I started searching online for information about the cancer with which I’d been diagnosed. I was looking for whatever I could find. During that research I came across the website for Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) and clicked the link to start “chatting” with a representative. After typing back and forth and explaining my story, the representative suggested that I just call CTCA®.

I called CTCA and the person I spoke with was in Chicago. I didn’t rule out the option of traveling so far away for treatment, but I explained that I wasn’t sure that was what I wanted. She asked if I could get to their facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma, instead. A five-hour drive was easy to say “yes” to. I made the trip the next day.

The doctor I met with at CTCA made the same diagnosis and actually suggested the same treatment that I had received elsewhere, a lobectomy. But although these were the same facts the other doctor had provided, the approach felt entirely different.

Then I met with Dr. Baik, my surgeon, who told me that he had done many, many of these operations, but that CTCA would be getting a new robotic surgery device in three weeks that would make the procedure less invasive and less painful. My recovery time would potentially be faster and I would be in the hospital for a shorter stay. I decided to come back to CTCA in three weeks for a lobectomy with robotic surgery.

I chose CTCA because the doctors I met with explained everything. They discussed all the variables, all the scenarios, and made sure I understood what they were saying. My doctors at CTCA listened to me when I said I wanted to run and lift weights again, two of my passions, and they suggested the option that they believed would help me.

Dr. Baik was also honest with me. He explained that when he removed the tumor, he could find that the cancer cells were touching the top of the next lung lobe, which would mean a more extensive surgery and chemotherapy. He told me there was no certainty about what he would find, and he made sure to find out what I wanted with each possible scenario. He took the time at the start so that he could do whatever was needed during the first surgery; if he wasn’t sure, he would have to wait for me to wake up and then operate again. His approach avoided that, and reassured me that he was listening and including me in the decision-making process.

A speedy recovery

Three weeks later, I was back at CTCA for the procedure. The top left lobe of my lung was removed on a Wednesday. On Thursday, with an IV in my arm and a tube in my chest, I walked a mile. Five weeks later, I ran a 5K.

Three months after the surgery, I am feeling very well. Although I am not yet completely healed, I am able to coach several little league sports, which I love to do, and also run and lift weights regularly. I have had some slight pain in my chest and itching as the nerves regenerate but as Dr. Baik explained, this mild side effect will end as my body finishes healing.

My speedy recovery owes a lot to my wife. She understood that I needed to be out of the hospital bed as soon as possible. She knew I needed to start doing things for myself right away, and that pampering was not what was needed. She talked with the nurses about this, and the nurses followed her lead. Thanks to her, I was out of bed and walking around sooner than anyone expected.

When I first heard the diagnosis, I was scared. There is no way to avoid the worst thoughts and fears when you hear this news. But with the help of my wife and the support of CTCA, I was able to think things through, steady myself for the road ahead, and keep going.