Ask Again: How a Second Opinion Saved Wolfgang Geckeler's Life
For Wolfgang Geckeler, there was nothing scarier than visiting a doctor for cancer care and feeling like he was just another number. His “gut-instinct” to search for a second opinion ended up saving his life.
Geckeler, 74, of Galloway, started experiencing a persistent cough over the summer of 2018. After his pulmonologist took multiple biopsies and medical imaging tests, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The first thoracic surgeon he visited was quick to advise an operation, which can often be a good thing, but rubbed Geckeler the wrong way.
“I was hesitant, because I felt like they could care less about me, personally,” said Geckeler. “They also never followed up with me to see how I was feeling. I thought it would be better to do some more research and see another doctor.”
Geckeler’s friend from the Veterans Affairs office suggested visiting the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Washington Township, and within a week’s time, he was seen by Dr. Jay Steinberg, Medical Director of Thoracic Surgery.
“Dr. Steinberg was thorough and took his time in explaining that my cancer was actually inoperable, and I would need to undergo radiation and chemotherapy treatment,” said Geckeler. “I can’t even imagine where I’d be if I hadn’t stopped and questioned the care I was once receiving. I could be dead.”
Geckeler was treated by Dr. Dane Cohen, radiation oncologist, and Dr. Ana María López, medical oncologist and Chief of Cancer Services at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Washington Township.
“All of my doctors have been true professionals. They answer all my questions. Everyone is so outgoing, friendly, and straightforward,” explained Geckeler. “You really can’t ask for much more. It’s made this experience much more comfortable than I expected.”
Geckeler also shared advice for others battling cancer to stay as positive as they can.
“Think about the future. Thinking about good times that you’ve had and the good times to come can really help you get through this. It did for me,” said Geckeler.
“I would honestly recommend the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Washington Township to everybody. I’ve never received medical care like this. This kind of treatment is so unheard of. I’m at a loss for words to truly explain how I feel,” said Geckeler. “Right now, I’m feeling great! Who knows where I’ll be in the next few years to come, but I’m glad I have such a supportive team to rely on.”