Terry Thomas

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Cystic Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Terry Thomas

Terry Thomas isn’t the type of guy who goes to the doctor over every little ache or pain. However, this maintenance welder is smart about the big things, like getting a colonoscopy after age 50 and staying up to date on his physicals, but that was about the extent of his medical attention.

Terry's doctor suspected cancer and sent him to Fox Chase.

In April 2009, at age 57, Terry developed a persistent and painful case of stomach cramps. A local specialist discovered a potential issue with Terry’s stomach lining, which was raw from an over-production of acid. He also suspected cancer and referred Terry to Terry to Fox Chase Cancer Center for more testing. Unfortunately, a conclusive biopsy could not be obtained.

"I wanted to go to the best surgeon I could find."

“My doctor still said it was likely that I had cancer and that I needed intestinal surgery. I wanted to go to the best surgeon I could find.  I did some Internet research, and found Dr. Watson.”

Terry met with James C. Watson, MD, FACS, a surgical oncologist who specializes in treating patients with gastrointestinal cancer, and had a current round of tests done. “It turned out there was a tumor in my intestines,” he said.  “We talked about my options. He said he could do laparoscopic surgery, but I didn’t feel comfortable with that. I was never a swimsuit model and never would be. I wanted him to just go in and see what’s going on.”

Terry had surgery six weeks later, in December 2009.  “I was laying on the table, waiting for the anesthesiologist, when Dr. Watson came in to talk to me. I said, 'I’m ready Doc, just do me a favor and do it all when you’re in there.' He said 'that’s what we’ll do'.”

When Terry woke up, he learned that Dr. Watson had removed not one, but two different kinds of tumors; one as big as a grapefruit, and the other a rare type that was growing by his liver and spleen. And while neither was malignant, the second undetected tumor was a clear threat to Terry’s future health.  “It was only a matter of time.”  

After five days in the hospital, Terry returned home to recover. 

“Everybody was just great, really the nicest nurses you could ever want to have.  I recommend Fox Chase to everybody.”

Terry’s surgery solved his problem. Other than regular follow-up visits, his life is back to normal and he feels great. “I had a lot of confidence in the guy,” said Terry. “He did a great job.  I didn’t know what they were going to find.  Dr. Watson just took care of it.   For anybody that needs intestinal surgery, there’s no doubt in my mind, Dr. Watson is the man.”