December 6, 2016 | by Denise Heady
For the 45th year in a row, City of Hope will participate in the Tournament of Roses Parade. This year, seven patients will welcome 2017 atop City of Hope’s Rose Parade float. The float, themed "The Miracle of Science with Soul," adds a deeper dimension to the parade’s theme of “Echoes of Success.”
In April of 2014, David Pasternak, a successful Los Angeles attorney, was told that his lingering case of bronchitis was actually advanced kidney cancer that had already begun to spread to other organs. Given the extent of his cancer, Pasternak's survival might have been estimated at between six months and one year — maybe even less. That’s when Pasternak traveled to City of Hope, where he enrolled in a clinical trial to help treat his cancer. Pasternak has been responding incredibly well. So well, in fact, that while recovering from treatment, Pasternak successfully became the 91st president of the State Bar of California. “Dr. Pal deserves all the credit,” Pasternak said of his oncologist.
Here, Pasternak shares some of the wisdom he's gained during his treatment journey.
What was your most memorable encounter during treatment?
It was when I met another one of Dr. Pal’s patients during a treatment session. We both have the same type of kidney cancer and he was actually in worse condition than myself when he first arrived at City of Hope. After five years and his fourth type of treatment, he is fully functional.
What family member or loved one did you rely on most – and how did he/she help?
My wife has been tremendously supportive, going with me to most of my medical appointments and treatments.
Which person at City of Hope had the biggest impact – and how did he/she help?
Without a doubt, Dr. Sumanta “Monty” Pal, who is truly incredible. He is a calming influence. Knowing that he is a superb physician with tremendous concern for his patients reduces my stress level and alleviates my concerns.
What was the most pivotal emotional moment during your treatment?
About a week after my initial treatment, my temperature spiked and I went into the hospital for one night. Happily, it was a one-time occurrence.
What would you tell other patients who have been recently diagnosed?
Go to City of Hope. They are the best option for cancer treatment.
What is one piece of practical advice you would give patients?
Enjoy life to its fullest while you can.
What could a family member or loved one do to help a patient that they might not think of?
Try to understand the patient’s needs to help reduce their activity level.
Who do you feel you owe the most "thanks" for your successes?
Unquestionably, my wife and Dr. Pal.
If you are looking for a second opinion about your diagnosis or consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.