Monday, November 24, 2014
Summit Health Grateful Patient Alvin Nelson

A Man and His Miracles

Do you believe in miracles?

Ask Alvin Nelson if he believes a miracle can happen. He’ll quickly tell you, “yes – and more than once.”

Alvin, 79, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania is a survivor. He survived an accident at 17 that put him in the hospital for 13 weeks. He survived the Korean War. And, he has survived prostate cancer.

So, in September of 2011, when Urologist, Christopher Klinko, MD, told Alvin he had Stage II Bladder Cancer, he remained strong in hope and faith.

“I’m no stranger to cancer,” Alvin said with a smile. “It didn’t knock me down because I’ve been through this before.”

Alvin’s miracles

Although many would think his ability to survive his life events were miracles, not Alvin. This humble father and grandfather from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania only mentions two miracles in his life.

“My first miracle happened when I started to spot blood in my urine in September [2011],” Alvin said. “I had visited my family doctor for a regular check up. Everything was fine. No symptoms. No pain. Nothing.”

“I decided to go to the restroom before driving home,” he explained. “I passed blood. I was really concerned.”

Alvin immediately contacted Dr. Klinko’s office and made an appointment. That is when he said his second miracle occurred.

“The day before my appointment with Dr. Klinko,” Alvin said. “I realized that I was not spotting blood in my urine anymore. I told my granddaughter that I was just going to call the office and cancel my appointment. She told me I’d better just go through with it.”

“Miracle number two.” Alvin said with a smile.

“If I wouldn’t have gone through with that appointment,” he said. “They would not have found the cancer until it was much further along.”


After Alvin’s biopsy showed cancer in his bladder, Dr. Klinko told him he had options. He could have surgery or try chemotherapy and radiation without surgery.

After meeting with specialists in bladder surgery and radiation and medical oncology, “I decided chemo and radiation would be the best deal,” Alvin stated.

Following seven weeks of radiation therapy, delivered by Julia Blum, MD, radiation oncologist at Summit Cancer and Hematology Services and two-rounds of chemotherapy treatment from Kevin Lorentsen, MD, medical oncologist at Summit Cancer and Hematology Services, Alvin was told he had no signs of bladder cancer.

“The doctors, nurses and staff at both the radiation therapy center and the Grove cancer center were unbelievable,” Alvin said with a smile. “I can’t express how much I appreciate all of them. They treated me like family.”

Care Close to Home

Family is important to Alvin. “They were really great,” Alvin said. “My whole family, from my daughters to my great grandchildren – they are just wonderful.”

By receiving his care in Chambersburg, close to his family, Alvin’s daughters were able to drive their father to all of his doctor’s appointments and be there with him during his treatment.

“With these doctors and these services available in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, it would be terribly foolish to go anywhere else,” Alvin noted.

His Advice

“Everyone probably gets notions that they might be having a problem,” Alvin stated. “But sometimes we fail to act.”

“If you think something isn’t 100 percent — and top notch people are available to help you and treat you — go get checked out!”
Alvin urged, “Don’t take too much for granted. I didn’t have a pain in the world.”

The Future

Alvin Nelson didn’t let cancer stop him. He experienced at least two small miracles that he credits with saving his life. Two small miracles and the medical care available at Summit Cancer and Hematology Services allow Alvin to continue to be a father, a grandfather, an avid bird watcher, and a Philadelphia sports team fan.

“Time will tell of course,” Alvin said calmly. “But, I think time will be in my favor.”

Alvin Nelson didn’t let cancer stop him. He is a survivor.

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