By Mary Ellen South
When Bob Heaney of Millsboro, Del. felt something strange in his chest last summer, he consulted a doctor who found nothing. But the pain persisted, so he went back for additional testing. It was after a biopsy that cancer was discovered in his windpipe and lung.
Bob was sent to Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center where he met Dr. Nisarg Desai. Four rounds of strong chemotherapy were to be followed by surgery to be sure everything was gone. Dr. Desai insisted that Bob be checked by a cardiologist to make sure his heart would be strong enough for surgery and chemo. Upon consultation with Dr. R. Alberto Rosa and Dr. Robert Myers, a blockage was located. Doctors placed a stent with quality handling and the collaboration of Beebe’s oncology and cardiology teams.
This integration of needed skills helped Bob decide that there was no need for him to travel back to New York or any other place for his care. He knew it would be easier for his wife, Sally, and the family to be “home” as he went through this rigorous treatment. He also trusted Dr. Desai, noting that he felt he was honest, gentle, and caring.
When Bob’s buddies in Brooklyn heard the news, they immediately tried to get him to go to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. One of his friends was a retired nurse who had worked there. In addition, his daughter is a nurse in New York City. Bob participated in a phone interview and spoke to a doctor at Sloan, but he was already convinced he was in very capable hands at Beebe.
Bob was born in Brooklyn and had grown up there. He had married his wife there and went to school at night while working days to complete college. He served in the Navy, and he and his wife had three children. Bob’s career took the family to Maryland, where he worked as a security examiner for Security Investors Protection Corporation in Washington D.C. From that location, he and his family spent many summers in Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City, Md. When it was time to retire, the choice was clear. Bob and Sally moved to Millsboro in 2010.
Bob describes his four rounds of chemotherapy at Tunnell as a positive experience because the nurses were always smiling and assuring him he was getting better. He expressed how tough it must be to work in that environment and how that made him appreciate his care so much more. After completion of the fourth round, a PET scan showed the cancer had disappeared. Bob was elated and so was Dr. Desai, who exclaimed, “It’s not there, it’s gone!”
Bob’s last scan was this spring, and everything still looked good.
“Everyone at Beebe is top notch,” Bob said. “My buddies in New York City were disappointed that I didn’t go there for treatment, but everything worked out well for me here at Tunnell Cancer Center.”
He has only one complaint.
“I lost all my hair and expected it to grow back blonde and curly, but instead it came back gray again!”
With the influx of people moving into the Lewes-Rehoboth area, Beebe continues to grow and care for the local population. Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center, located on Route 24 near Rehoboth Beach, knows that no two patients and no two cancers are alike. Each deserves a personalized comprehensive approach. Beebe’s cancer services aim to provide both hope and a cure.
Beebe Healthcare’s South Coastal Health Campus, to be located in Millville near Route 17, will include a freestanding emergency department and a second location for Beebe’s renowned cancer program, offering medical oncology, chemotherapy, and radiation oncology. Tunnell is the only cancer program in the state of Delaware accredited by the American College of Surgeons and the Commission on Cancer with commendations at the Gold level. Tunnell’s breast program is the only program in Delaware accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.
Bob Heaney plans to support Beebe Healthcare and Tunnell Cancer Center in the future by volunteering and making a gift. To learn more about volunteering at Beebe, please call (302) 645-3531 or write to [email protected] To make a gift, please go online to www.beebemedicalfoundation.org or contact the Beebe Medical Foundation at (302) 644-2900 or [email protected]
As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of the community. All gifts to Beebe are tax-deductible and are channeled through Beebe Medical Foundation. Gifts can be designated to specific areas such as Tunnell Cancer Center.
Photo caption: Bob Heaney of Millsboro celebrates the excellent care he received from Dr. Nisarg Desai at Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center in Rehoboth