J.J. Santoro: My name is J. J. Santoro and I am a cancer survivor.
I went in for a routine check up. I haven’t gone in a, I only missed, regularly I was going yearly and I missed one year and it took me two years so my family said it’s about time you go for a physical. I felt great. I thought that they are going to put a star on my forehead, I never felt better in my life. I was told to go out to get a biopsy and they found cancer.
I came back and all the slides – I did have cancer and a pretty aggressive stage of that. I was totally overwhelmed and first reaction was ‘Me, cancer? I mean I work out; I take care of myself; I watch what I eat’, I’d be the last guy. I was in just total disbelief.
I sat with a team of doctors and that’s when they recommended that at my age, my health, that a radical proctectomy would be the choice, and I chose to do so. There was still hope at the time that it was contained to the area and we were hoping that with this operation that everything would be fine and so again a few months later, it took a few months after the fact that I went to very highly respected hospital in Boston and met with a team of doctors that chose this and I had the operation, felt like a million dollars after the operation, and I thought for sure that we got it, only to get my wake up call six weeks later when I went for follow up is that’s when they told me that I still had a PSA reading and that meant that I still had cancer.
They decided what they wanted to do was watchful waiting. I mean it took months and months of testing and I felt there’s always time, lost time, instead of attacking it but it took that long. That many tests were involved. They want to set me on hormones and then go for radiation and stop the testosterone.
They didn’t even know my name when I called, you know, I felt like a number and it didn’t feel good. I mean it wasn’t a good feeling but there was still hope with the… he did sell me on the fact that radiation would work. I recall the day my wife and I drove a few hours to go to, we are going to Boston and only to find out without a call when we got there that they could no longer, they wouldn’t do the radiation.
They said to me that, I sat with a whole team of doctors – highly respected doctors in one of the biggest hospitals, well known hospital, and a team of doctors told me that it was too late. They told me that I have a better quality of life if I didn’t do anything. My wife happened to see a commercial – Cancer Treatment Centers of America – a commercial, and she said to me, “Jay, I think you should – I took down this telephone number and I want you to call”.
The phone rings. My sister calls the same evening and she saw the same commercial. My sister had made the call and she talked with a woman who, Karen was phenomenal. She was so warm and the compassion that came through the phone was just…she transferred the feeling with so much compassion and enthusiasm, it was amazing.
So I made the call, and thank God I made the call. I made the call and it was one easy transaction. It was a resort atmosphere. It was calm; it was quiet and music; there’s a chapel and everybody is friendly. The enthusiasm is throughout. They put me in the arms of a whole entire team and this team – the compassion, and everybody, by the way, knew who I was.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America replaced all my fears with hope, determination and direction, and I will be forever thankful. If there’s someone out there that is thinking about making a call and afraid to leave home, pick up the phone; you will be glad you did.