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"Game-set-match" is part of Florence Dudley's daily life. She is a fierce competitor on the tennis court . . . and off. When Florence learned she had cervical cancer, her goal was to beat this disease and win her life back.
Since 1999, Florence spent many years being treated for cervical cancer center at several of her local community hospitals. During a visit in 2002, doctors detected what they believed to be cancer of the bile duct, which frightened Florence.
"I decided to get a second opinion, so I went to Fox Chase Cancer Center."
"I decided to get a second opinion, so I went to Fox Chase Cancer Center. It was further away, but I knew they specialized in cancer - and this one was rare," recalled Florence.
Dr. Michael Bookman, a medical oncologist who specializes in cervical cancer determined that the new mass at the bile duct was a metastasis from the cervical cancer, not common bile duct cancer as diagnosed earlier. He recommended further tests, including a PET scan.
Florence explained, "The PET scan revealed metastases to the liver and neck. Having that knowledge was priceless when it came to deciding my course of treatment."
"I am grateful for Dr. Bookman's expertise. He steered me in the right direction when I desperately needed hope."
"Although I wasn't happy to hear the cancer had returned, I was so thankful that I was diagnosed properly. I knew how to fight cervical cancer - but bile duct cancer would have been a whole other story!" said Florence. "I am grateful for Dr. Bookman's expertise. He steered me in the right direction when I desperately needed hope."
Six years later, in the spring of 2008, Florence was diagnosed with a benign tumor on her colon. After her positive experience with Dr. Bookman, Florence decided to return to Fox Chase. This time she saw Dr. James Watson, a surgical oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal cancers.
"Dr. Watson was terrific. He used plain talk, was to the point and gave me no time to panic."
"Dr. Watson was terrific. He used plain talk, was to the point and gave me no time to panic. He moved up the surgery because he was leaving for vacation. I really appreciated his thoughtfulness," said Florence.
"The nurses were vigilant."
"The nurses were vigilant. Their attitude toward me was caring and friendly. They made me feel comfortable in post-op, which can be dicey," she continued.
One night during her hospital stay, Florence was walking the halls, holding onto her IV cord.
"I started chatting with one of the maintenance men, who was so nice. He confessed to me that he had once been a patient here. He was so pleased with the care he got, that after retirement, he decided to work here. I was so impressed with his story," she said.
Laparoscopic surgery helped Florence resume her life rather quickly.
Dr. Watson performed the surgery laparoscopically, which resulted in a speedier recovery, less scarring and a shorter hospital stay.
Florence shared, "I was amazed to learn that I could resume my life in just 2 weeks. As a tennis teacher, I did not want to be away from my students for too long. Dr. Watson assured me that I could once again enjoy tennis and would be hitting balls again in April." He was right. Cancer has not slowed Florence down a bit!