When Chris H. attended the open house at the Good Samaritan Hospital Cancer
Pavilion in 2008, he was impressed with the facilities but didn’t
give them much thought afterward. After all, he was in his early 40s and
But four years later, the co-owner of Chris’ Medical Supply in Vincennes
was very glad they were there.
In early 2012, Chris began feeling a scratch in his throat. “It felt
like I had a piece of plastic stuck in my throat,” recalled Chris.
His wife, Vicki, thought she knew the reason. “He has a habit of
using those dental floss sticks and then chewing on the stick,”
she said. “He was having to clear his throat constantly, so I told
him that he probably had a piece of plastic stuck in his throat and he
needed to go see a doctor.”
However, Chris did nothing until a few months later when he began to spit
up blood after clearing his throat. He made an appointment with Dr. Mark
Logan, an ear, nose and throat specialist in Evansville, who found a growth
on his larynx. “The doctor said he couldn’t just get down
there and pull it out,” Chris said. “They would have to put
me under and stretch the throat to get it out. He said it would be a little
abrasive but not too bad.”
The procedure was scheduled in Evansville for the next month but was delayed
three weeks because of insurance conflicts. When Chris finally went in
for his procedure, the doctor removed a growth the size of his thumb off
of the larynx. The growth was sent off for biopsy and Chris was told to
return in one month for follow-up.
“Two days later I got a call saying the doctor wants to see you.
Being in the medical field, I knew that wasn’t good news,”
Chris was shocked to learn that he had throat cancer. “I don’t
smoke, I don’t chew,” he said. “But the doctor said
throat cancer is a very treatable form of cancer.”
Chris was given two options: have surgery to remove the cancer, which would
be very risky given its location, or see an oncologist to begin treatment.
After consulting with a good friend in Illinois, who was also a nurse
practitioner, he decided to see her oncologist in Terre Haute. “She
had been through cancer herself, so I valued her opinion,” he explained.
“But when I saw the doctor, he asked why I was coming up here when
it is a very treatable cancer that can be treated in Vincennes.”
The Terre Haute oncologist spoke to Chris about chemotherapy and radiation
treatments, and he scheduled him to have a PET scan at Good Samaritan
Hospital. Then Chris met with a radiation oncologist in Terre Haute, who
also recommended that he receive treatment at Good Samaritan Hospital.
“That doctor called Good Samaritan Hospital and talked to Dr. Furman.
He was impressed with her and highly recommended I go to her and do radiation
down there,” Chris said.
They went to Good Samaritan for Chris’s PET scan and then met with
Dr. Subashini Furman, who answered all of their questions. “She
was so thorough. She explained to us about the cancer, how it developed,
and why it happened,” Vicki said. “Then she took us down and
showed us the PET scan layer by layer by layer and explained every layer
One week later, Chris began his treatment at Good Samaritan. His cancer
was stage 2, and Dr. Haitham Al-Okk prescribed four rounds of chemotherapy.
Chris recalled how tired and sick he felt after his treatments and was
thankful he wasn’t traveling to a hospital an hour away. “Treatment
was exhausting. I would come into work in the morning and check emails
and then go back home to bed,” he said. He also appreciated that
the radiation center, infusion center and physician offices were all located
in the Cancer Pavilion, easing the process.
Best of all, the treatment worked: Chris’s cancer was gone. “Good
Samaritan Hospital gave me the best shot to beat it,” he stated.“I
feel like I got the best treatment. I can’t say enough for it. It
was an easy location and easily accessible. It made the treatment so much
Chris and Vicki said the people at Good Samaritan Hospital also made the
experience more bearable. “The doctors there are excellent and the
nurses and staff were exemplary,” Vicki said. “They went above
and beyond making us comfortable. You couldn’t ask for a better
group. They were all very nice and they really do care about the people
who come in.”