Lakeland Health Care

Patient Stories

Celebrating Survivors

Esophagus and Stomach Cancer
Feature Story

In the fall of 2012, Ron Horton’s primary care physician, Daniel Hayward, MD, of Southwestern Medical Clinic in Bridgman, discovered a lump in Ron’s throat during an exam. Dr. Hayward referred the Benton Harbor man to Craig Kline, MD, General Surgeon at Southwestern Medical Clinic Surgical Specialties in St. Joseph.

Dr. Kline performed an endoscopy and biopsy on Ron. The tests revealed that Ron had cancer in both his esophagus and stomach. He would need a complex surgery to have a portion of his esophagus and half of his stomach removed.

Due to the scope of Ron’s surgery, Dr. Kline would need to operate at the same time as Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon Samuel Durham, MD, of Lakeshore Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery.

“Dr. Durham told me exactly what to expect,” said Ron. “When he asked if I had any questions, I immediately said ‘no,’ and my wife and I left his office. We went out to dinner and that is when tons of questions came to us. I returned to Dr. Durham’s office after dinner and he spent a long time answering all of our questions.”

Prior to and after Ron’s surgery, a team of local doctors worked to treat his cancer.

In late February, Ron began chemotherapy and radiation treatments under the care of Sapna Patel, MD, of Lakeland Cancer Specialists, and Peter Lai, PhD, MD, Radiation Oncologist at Lakeland HealthCare.

Today, Ron is making strides to recuperate from his surgery, which could take up to a year for a full recovery.

“I am so grateful that I had the best surgeons,” explained Ron. “All of the Lakeland HealthCare staff – from the RNs, LPNs, aides, x-ray technicians, homecare nurses – were so considerate and professional. They all gave me comfort while I was in pain.”

“May God continue to bless Lakeland HealthCare system and all who work there,” said Ron. “I hope everyone who goes there will feel as blessed as I do.”

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