As relayed by his wife of 40 years, Carol Minutello
Frank and I, married since 1971, had had our share of experience with cancer, having lost dear family members, been caretakers and witnessed the toll it takes on patients and families over the past decade. However, it never hit as close to us as it did on February 18, 2010. That is the date Frank went in to see a doctor about stomach problems he had been experiencing. One week later, he was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer that had spread to both his liver and the lining of his stomach.
“Not your conventional oncologist”We were just one day away from starting chemotherapy for Frank at a local hospital when we took the advice of our daughter, who works at St. Vincent’s Hospital, who asked one simple question to a colleague: “if it were your father where would you go?”
By March 2, 2010, literally 5 days after having our lives turned upside down, we were speaking with Dr. Bruckner. When Frank went to see Dr. Bruckner he was having trouble breathing, yet, as soon as we passed through the doorway, our lives changed for the better. I will never forget that feeling.
Dr. Bruckner is not your conventional oncologist. Not only is he your personal physician, but also your advocate – the ultimate persistent optimist.
“We are going to try and turn this into a chronic disease”Dr. Bruckner and his staff have a real-time approach to managing cancer, understanding that even the most tailored treatments are at the mercy at how the body may accept them at any given time.
The entire Bruckner Oncology group have been working with Frank and me, and all their patients, to do whatever they can to try and turn cancer into a chronic disease, as Dr. Bruckner says. Cancer treatment, like so many things, has its ups and downs but Dr. Bruckner will often say, ”don’t worry I have something up my sleeve!”
A safe havenIt may sound odd to admit, but Frank and I actually look forward to going to Bruckner Oncology every week. We feel comfortable and safe there. Our association with this amazing place has opened doors in all other aspects of Frank’s treatment among other physicians because of the tremendous respect Dr. Bruckner commands.
A guide and key partner in our journey
Dr. Hirschfeld is our mentor in many ways. He is a man of experience and patience who works with us to first tell us what we need to know, as difficult as it may be, but then also ask and answer the intricate questions that exist to ensure we get ahead and have a plan of action. The entire Bruckner Oncology group is part of our family now. It’s a relationship built on trust, compassion and experience. Their experience helps to transition hope into reality. As of this writing, Frank is at his one year anniversary mark with the Bruckner Oncology group and we look forward to many more to come.