My urology surgeon delivered the grim news
The cancer had spread. I looked at Bonnie and whispered "I'm sorry…" as I watched her eyes fill with tears of fear and sadness."
I'm the Chairman of the Chambersburg Hospital Board of Directors, a retired school district administrator, a devoted father and grandfather, a loving husband, and… I'm a cancer survivor.
It was July when my family physician noticed an elevated PSA level in my blood work during my annual physical exam. He referred me to a urologist for a closer look at its cause. After antibiotics failed to lower my PSA level, my urologist ordered more tests.
I held my wife's hand as the doctor gave us the results.
It was prostate cancer
A nurse for over 22 years and the hospital's Patient Relations Coordinator, my wife, Bonnie, has a special gift in her ability to comfort patients who were facing difficult circumstances. As her tears fell I felt helpless to do the same for her.
Two days after Christmas I had a radical prostatectomy. In a follow up visit with my urology surgeon, we were told that my cancer had spread beyond the prostate to several lymph nodes. I faced a battle with a regimen of both hormone therapy and radiation therapy. Together, along with our faith and love, these two powerful treatments fought the disease that threatened my life.
As Bonnie and I relaxed at a lake that following summer for some needed rest before I began radiation treatment, she gave me one of my most cherished gifts - a plaque that reads "Forever and Always No Matter What". At a time when I was most vulnerable, I was comforted by the message it conveyed.
No matter what
Although the outcome was uncertain, I knew I would receive excellent care. Summit Health had just acquired a Tomotherapy unit - one of only two in PA. A mode of radiation therapy that targets and treats cancer using a CAT scan. It was the newest and most effective treatment for cancers like mine. The timing was perfect and so crucial to my outcome. Without it, I couldn't have received the life-saving treatment - here at home.
I'm thankful for my family's love, our community's support, and our faith in God that carried us through my illness. But I'm also deeply grateful for the talented, gifted and compassionate physicians and specialists who cared for me.
They, along with the latest technology, helped save my life and preserve my health. State-of-the-art health care was right here - at home in Franklin County - when I needed it.
I'm doing great and I exercise every day. Bonnie and I ride our bikes. We kayak. I'm up to almost 100 push ups per day. While I'm enjoying retirement, I'm as busy as I want to be. I have more blessings than I can count - even having cancer.
I'm so proud to be part of the Summit Health family, both as the Chambersburg Hospital Board Chairman and as a Grateful Patient. When you are asked to support your local nonprofit community hospital - please give. It's vitally important that we sustain the local gold-standard health care we depend upon when we or our loved ones need it.
Ted F. Rabold, Ed.D.
Chairman of the Board, Chambersburg Hospital