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When it comes to his health, Jim Moczydlowski believes in taking responsibility and being his own advocate. This comes to no surprise to those who know Jim, who has spent close to four decades in education, most currently as the principal of an elementary school in Quakertown, PA. In March 2011, at the age of 60, Jim was facing a diagnosis of prostate cancer and wanted a doctor who would respect that position and partner with him as he followed the necessary steps to regain his health. He found that partner in Fox Chase Cancer Center urologic surgeon David Chen, MD, FACS.
Like so many men, Jim had no symptoms indicating that anything was amiss. But when he pulled a muscle running and had some routine blood work in November 2010, his PSA numbers came back high. A second test in March was followed by a biopsy and Jim learned he had prostate cancer.
“There was some kind of connection to Dr. Chen – I felt that he was the right surgeon for me.”
Jim started researching his options, looking into surgery, robotic surgery and various types of radiation. Aware of Fox Chase, he spent time on the website, reading patient testimonials and perusing the physician directory. “I consider myself an intuitive guy,” said Jim. “There was some kind of connection to Dr. Chen – I felt that he was the right surgeon for me.” As a resident of the Lehigh Valley, Jim asked himself why he would bypass perfectly good specialists near his home to travel to Fox Chase? But he followed his instinct and made an appointment with Dr. Chen.
"Dr. Chen listened to me from the start,” he recalled. “He actually gave me confidence in myself by respecting what I had to say. He never talked down to me, explained everything clearly and laid out all the options.” Although they discussed radiation, Dr. Chen said that in Jim’s case, surgery would be the one treatment that could leave him cancer-free, whereas other treatments would involve making assumptions. “That did it for me,” he said.
"Things turned out exactly as I expected they would.”
Jim had a robotic prostatectomy May 2011, a minimally invasive procedure. “I’m optimistic about everything, and things turned out exactly as I expected they would.” He was back at work four weeks to the day after his surgery. “The hardest thing was not doing too much as I recovered,” he said. “From the outside, everything looked fine almost right away. But on the inside, there was still a lot of healing going on.”
Now that prostate cancer is in his rear view mirror, Jim hasn’t looked back. He’s running again and feeling great. At the age of 62, in 2012, Jim ran a 5K race and beat his time from the eight previous years. "The surgery gave me a second chance at life," added Jim, who admitted he could have retired in 2009, but has a great staff and doesn't feel ready to step down.
“From day one, Dr. Chen enhanced my confidence in myself and made it clear that I had an equal role in my treatment and recovery,” he said. “That meant the world to me.”