Jim D’Ambrosio’s MALT Gastric Lymphoma Story
Jim D’Ambrosio was diagnosed with stage 1e MALT gastric lymphoma on February 22, 2020.
“I went in for an endoscopy with my gastroenterologist, and he found and diagnosed my cancer,” he says. “Stage 1e means we caught it early and it was only in one place, and I learned that meant I had a very good prognosis.”
D’Ambrosio was encouraged to get a second opinion, which he did, and was referred to a few oncologists to check out, which he also did.
“The Wesley Chapel TBRO location was so convenient to my house,” he says. And meeting Dr. Jack Steel clinched the decision: “He’s got an action hero name,” D’Ambrosio laughs.
But it was actually the care and concern—as well as the convenience—D’Ambrosio felt from this team of healthcare heroes that led to his decision to be treated at TBRO.
“I went to TBRO for CyberKnife treatment every day for four weeks,” he recalls. “I was never there longer than 15 minutes—from checking in to walking out. My treatments were about 3 minutes of that.”
His TBRO care team was “absolutely great,” he says. “Trey, Sara, Dr. Steel and his nurse Cynthia treated me very well. They were on time every time, and very accommodating if I needed to make a change.”
The Wesley Chapel TBRO location was always squeaky clean, D’Ambrosio recalls. But it became even more so once TBRO starting enacted more stringent safety precautions to protect staff and patient health during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The pandemic hit right in the middle of my treatments,” he recalls, “and I was afraid we might have to delay my treatments. I didn’t like that idea.”
TBRO changed processes and procedures to make sure the vast majority of their patients could continue their treatments, including restricting access to the waiting room to patients only, asking companions to wait in their cars; creating 6 feet of separation in the waiting room; staggering appointments to keep the waiting room occupancy to no more than one patient; taking patient’s temperatures and asking a series of evaluative questions to gauge their health at check-in; having patients wear masks and sanitize their hands before and after treatments; and of course the care teams were properly attired in masks and gloves at all times and performing extra sanitization between patients.
“I liked what they did in response to the pandemic,” he says. “No one wants to get sick, and I really appreciated their precautions.” They may have gone from speaking face-to-face to mask-to-mask, but Dr. Steel, Cynthia, Trey and Sara were as positive, caring and professional as ever, he says. “I almost looked forward to going every day,” he says, “because they were so nice.”
D’Ambrosio is now taking advantage of TBRO’s telehealth option for his follow-up appointments; in fact, most of his medical visits these days are virtual, rather than in-person, “and, while I kind of miss seeing everyone–I really like those people—this is even more convenient,” he says happily.
D’Ambrosio encourages other newly diagnosed cancer patients not to delay taking the next step toward treatment, even with the uncertainty and lingering restrictions caused by the pandemic. “Find the right team and get started on treatment right away,” he says. “Take whatever precautions make sense for your diagnosis and overall health if you have to go out.” You can be assured that, in their dedicated cancer treatment centers, TBRO certainly will!