Like chefs dining at someone else’s restaurant, when healthcare professionals need care, the perspective is different. After experiencing unusual abdominal pain in 2017, clinical nurse specialist Eddie Maraboto quickly found himself in a profound role reversal situation – and with stage 2 testicular cancer. “I had first noticed a mass/lump in 2016 and went to go see a urologist. But I put off the ultrasound because my condition didn’t worsen. Fast forward to June 2017, I woke up with abdominal pain. Thought it was something I ate, so I just continued to work a full day,” said Maraboto.
“Being a nurse, I felt around my abdomen that night, and noticed a mass. I went to the urgent care clinic that night.” It all happened so quickly. After being referred to Dr. Punit Chadha at Texas Oncology—South Austin, he was diagnosed on a Monday, had surgery on Wednesday, started chemotherapy about two weeks later, and finished in October. As an advanced practice nurse, Eddie thoroughly understands how to deliver excellent healthcare. Now on the patient side, he could see clearly that he was receiving it.
“From day one, I was definitely very confident in Dr. Chadha’s expertise and ability. I’d heard good things from colleagues—about him and the whole team at Texas Oncology,” said Eddie. “He was so personable, friendly and warm during each of our meetings. He was very thorough, answered questions, and addressed concerns that me and my loved ones who were with me had. And that just really made a great experience for us.”
In addition, Eddie said he was thoroughly impressed with the Texas Oncology team. From his first meetings to the tests and procedures that would follow, Eddie said communication with Dr. Chadha and his team was thorough, clear, and reassuring. Under Dr. Chadha’s care, Eddie underwent surgery, followed by 4 rounds of systemic chemotherapy. He is currently in remission.
“Eddie tolerated his treatment exceptionally well,” said Dr. Punit Chadha of Texas Oncology. “He did have some side effects with his treatment, but they were manageable with pharmacologic and supportive interventions.”
Dr. Chadha added that Eddie’s attitude and approach played a significant role in his fight with cancer, and that he feels it will help him moving forward. “Eddie’s positive outlook and willingness to advocate for himself throughout treatment aided in his recovery and will play a major role in his continued success,” said Dr. Chadha.
“We will continue to observe his progress, however, his prognosis is excellent and our hope is that he has been cured.” With his insider’s view of healthcare, nothing went unnoticed by Eddie. Little things—from the nurses in the infusion center being highly-organized and meticulous, to the doctors’ expertise and bedside manner—stand out in Eddie’s memory and impressed him as both a patient and a healthcare professional.
“Being a nurse and having worked in a hospice and helping my mom and grandfather through their cancer, I’ve been involved in oncology care. Right away, I saw the team environment at Texas Oncology and found it reassuring,” said Eddie. “Dr. Chadha, the nurses, pharmacists, clinical assistants, they gave me a lot of confidence in their skill and expertise, yet they were just so warm and so friendly. It can be rare to find those qualities all together in the same provider, let alone a whole team.”
Fortunately, thanks to breakthroughs in cancer care, testicular cancer is highly treatable, survivable and curable today. Even so, Eddie encourages all men to take preventative measures, both at home and with their physicians. “I can’t stress enough the importance of self-exams,” said Eddie. “Testicular self-exams, monthly, weekly, even every time you’re in the shower. It’s just an easy thing that can really save your life.”
Going beyond testicular cancer, Eddie said it’s also important to be aware of how your whole body is feeling, and to respond to any unusual changes. “Be vigilant of any changes you notice in your body,” said Eddie. “It’s important to kind of know your body, keep an eye on it, and monitor it regularly. Any changes you notice, don’t hesitate to go to your healthcare provider.” While this can often be difficult for men, Eddie added that it’s important to be vigilant and proactive about your health — for yourself and for fulfilling your responsibility to others. “I think we can be hesitant to reach out, maybe out of a sense of denial, to our doctors or to others for advice,” said Eddie.
“It’s important to keep in mind that we have a lot of folks who love and support us. We want to continue to provide for our families and be there for folks who care about us.” Testicular cancer is most commonly diagnosed in men between the ages of 20-39. Men should conduct monthly self-exams and contact their physician about any pain, discomfort or abnormal lumps.
For more information on Texas Oncology, please visit, www.texasoncology.com.