Memorial Sloan Kettering

47476 K4 Sum20

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INSIDE: Facing Today, and Tomorrow, Together | Support Care for the Next Generation When I was a teenager recovering from my surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) back in 1963, my favorite part of each day was when my doctor would bring his handsome young residents—recent medical school graduates—into my room for daily rounds. I loved those moments—I even asked my mom to bring my mascara and lipstick so I could be ready for them when they came in! The complex operation to remove the tumor in my leg was a success, but I had come a long way to get to that point. Months earlier, I started feeling pain in my right leg. When it got worse, my mother took me to an orthopedist in New Jersey, who diagnosed me with cancer. The only way to save me, he said, was to amputate my leg. I was devastated. But my mom was a formidable woman who would not accept such a painful compromise so easily! She took me to meet with three more orthopedists in New Jersey, and when they all also said that, based on the x-rays, amputation was the only option, my mother insisted on a referral to MSK. At MSK, we met with Dr. Kenneth Coulter Francis. He was the "buck stops here" guy. If he couldn't help you, nobody could. The late Dr. Francis was the first physician who insisted on a biopsy and ultimately diagnosed me with an extremely rare condition: giant-cell tumor of the bone. He told me, "I've only heard of three cases of this—and I'm treating two of them now." The tumor was benign. I did not have cancer. Still, it would require a complicated and daring operation to remove the tumor and spare my leg. Dr. Francis believed he could do it. He gave my mother and me hope. In the end, through an experimental procedure that involved removing the tumor and inserting a metal rod in my leg, Dr. Francis was able to save my leg and my future quality of life. It was a long recovery to get back on my feet, but in time I was walking. And before long, A Gift of Gratitude and Love Reflecting on the Future | Summer 2020 MSK supporters Meryl and Ed Townes Continued on Page 2

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