Power in Positive Thinking
If you ask Ramanlal D. Patel how he overcame a 2% chance of surviving cancer and became a 13-year survivor of the disease, he and his family will answer you quickly: Stay positive and seek treatment at City of Hope.
“It really is a little city with lots of hope,” the 68-year-old Patel says of City of Hope, where he was treated for multiple myeloma. “The team of doctors, nurse practitioners and hospital nurses are so dedicated to their jobs that they help the patient stay positive and keep the fight going.”
Armed with this positive attitude toward his battle with cancer from the very start, Patel maintained an optimistic outlook even through the times when his prognosis might have seemed grim.
Allies at City of Hope
In 1999, Patel was diagnosed with multiple myeloma — the blood cancer that attacks the body’s plasma cells. Aggressive therapy was initiated immediately and he endured regular treatments of continuous chemotherapy for 72 hours at a time. Since plasma cells are an integral part of the immune system, the cancer weakened his body’s natural defenses, thus increasing his vulnerability to a number of infections. Patel and what he affectionately calls “my team” at City of Hope ramped up their fight against myeloma with multiple stem cell transplants.
His admiration and respect is evident when he speaks about the care they administered, remarking that from the moment he sought treatment at City of Hope, he and his family always had skilled and compassionate allies by their side. The treatment and bedside manner he experienced has made a lasting impression on them all.
“Two doctors that have really been amazing in my care, that I hold dear to my heart, are Dr. Sanjeet Dadwal and Dr. Amrita Krishnan,” he notes with thankfulness. “Because of both of them, I am here today.”
Patel and his family speak in very positive terms about all of their experiences at City of Hope, but it is the facility’s pioneering research and treatments — of which he was a recipient — that really makes them become effusive. Their firsthand experience has turned them into vocal advocates for City of Hope, as they urge others to support the very work and care that helped save Patel.
“With an institution like City of Hope, I feel that the more people that can support them, the more research there will be on how to cure different cancers,” he asserts.
When Patel first arrived at the campus in Duarte, CA, he recalls that he was only familiar with a limited number of options for treating his disease. He soon learned, from talking with the team at City of Hope, that he had alternatives.
“Coming to City of Hope, we were able to hear about different trials and drugs that were FDA-approved and also in the pipeline for approval. That was what attracted my family to City of Hope.”
And what made the Patel Family decide to stay? “You drive through the entrance and feel a sense of reassurance that everything is going to be okay. From the volunteers to the doctors, everybody works together as a team to make the atmosphere pleasant,” Patel says, adding that the City of Hope campus immediately struck him as “beautiful, uplifting, peaceful and clean” with a staff that was “very caring and compassionate.”
City of Hope Allows Patel to See His Family Grow
Since his treatment began, Patel has seen his daughters marry, his five grandchildren born and watched his son work toward his college graduation. Once again, he credits his positive attitude and the groundbreaking and attentive care he received from City of Hope as the reason for his survival.
“Positivity is the virtue to beating this enemy. I may have cancer, but cancer does not have me,” he says with his trademark optimism. “Remember if you are not positive, how else can you see all that I have seen?”
Patel gratefully acknowledges that it is because of the support of City of Hope’s generous and loyal donors — positive people helping to fund the center’s research and as determined to beat cancer as he is — that he received the lifesaving treatments and the informative, compassionate care. It gave him a sense of security at a very uncertain time.
“Expecting the unexpected is difficult,” Patel admits of cancer. “But with a team like mine at City of Hope, my family and I have been able to feel like there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.”