Beebe’s medical care providers excel over big-city options
John Bezak and his wife Sharon lived in New Jersey most of their lives. They have two children and seven grandchildren, and have always had a full life. John worked in a unique field of crystal polishing – not your grandmother’s crystal, but crystals used in industry and space. In 2012, his doctor told him his blood work showed an elevated PSA (prostate-specific antigen), and suggested he follow up with a urologist. A subsequent biopsy showed he had a malignancy. After discussing the pros and cons of radiation and surgery with his wife, surgery was selected. John had robotic surgery at Temple University Hospital and his recovery went well. During this process, they had plans underway to retire and move to Delaware. John and Sharon moved to Lewes in 2013, and they love living here. Retirement was going well.
In 2015, John had to have his gallbladder removed, and they thought about returning to New Jersey where “the big hospitals” were. However after talking with neighbors, and meeting with doctors and nurses from Beebe Healthcare, they elected to have the surgery here. They were very happy with the results, citing the excellent care and how the Beebe team made them feel like family.
During a routine checkup in 2016, John was told his PSA numbers were again elevated. Once again they thought of going to New Jersey for care; John discussed options with his doctor in New Jersey, who expressed complete confidence in Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center. Having had such a positive experience with his prior surgery, John decided to have treatment at Tunnell Cancer Center. He was seen by Radiation Oncologist Dr. Jennifer Hung and had a CT scan that showed nine spots on his bones. Dr. Hung referred him to a medical oncologist for treatment, and Dr. Srujitha Murukutla became his treating physician. John describes her as “great and very caring.”
The usual treatment is five or six sessions of chemotherapy, but after four sessions, John’s PSA had gone up. Realizing the severity of the situation, he wanted a second opinion. When he went to Johns Hopkins, the doctor there told him Tunnell Cancer Center was excellent and would provide outstanding care for John. When two types of oral medications were prescribed for John, he learned one had an astronomical co-pay of $2,000 per month. He had served in the military during the Vietnam War, so he decided to see if Veterans Affairs could help with medication costs. Sharon joked that if it was $2,000 per month she just would have gotten rid of him, but he was told it might be just $50 per month, and it turned out there is no co-pay.
Currently, John’s treatment includes a shot once a month along with another shot once every three months. Chemotherapy can be very disabling for some patients, so John has been fortunate; he does not suffer from nausea, but he does feel tired and a little weak at times.
All in all, John could not be more pleased with the treatment he has received at Tunnell Cancer Center and Beebe Healthcare. He wanted to give a shout-out to his nurse Debbie Crowell at Tunnell; he is very happy she was his nurse during most sessions. His plan is to continue follow-up care and enjoy life.
Author Deb Mahon said, “This story was of great interest to me. I was born and raised in New York City. I am an RN specializing in neuro trauma and I have always worked at major hospital centers including Flight for Life at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver. Like John and Sharon, I have always thought if some major health issue came up, I would head up to New York for treatment. I am a volunteer at Beebe and know firsthand the quality of care patients receive. I am now a Beebe Believer and would choose Beebe for my care. Being treated as a member of the Beebe family is just a great plus.”
As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe depends on generous donations made by individuals, businesses, and private foundations. All size gifts to Beebe are welcome and tax-deductible. Please consider making a gift today and sharing your story with our community. To make a donation or learn more about Celebrate Excellent Care, go to www.beebemedicalfoundation.org or contact Beebe Medical Foundation at 302-644-2900 or [email protected].
Caption: John Bezak celebrates the excellent oncological care he continues to receive from Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center Medical Oncologist Dr. Srujitha Murukutla, left, and Nurse Debbie Crowell.
Looking to improve your health? Sign up for tips on our Health Hub.