For the 46th year in a row, City of Hope will participate in the Tournament of Roses Parade. This year, 10 patients will welcome 2018 atop City of Hope’s Rose Parade float. The float, themed "Transforming Lives with Hope" adds a deeper dimension to the parade’s theme of “Making a Difference.”
Here, we meet float rider Gary Lorenzini.
A little over seven years ago, Gary Lorenzini’s annual prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test came back elevated.
The Arcadia, California-based real estate agent, 69, remembers “being very nervous about it,” so he called a close friend who had been receiving treatment for his prostate and bladder from Clayton S. Lau, M.D.,
chief of the Division of Urology and Urologic Oncology
and director of the Prostate Cancer Program
at City of Hope. “I knew he was very pleased with him, and thanks to Pete’s introduction, I met with Dr. Lau, who I felt very confident in and comfortable with,” he recalled. (The PSA cancer-screening test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate.)
Lau advised a prostate biopsy, which he performed shortly thereafter. “I will never forget receiving that call from Dr. Lau: ‘I am sorry, Gary, but you have prostate cancer,’” Lorezini said. “It was very shocking news, to say the least. My immediate thought was to have my prostate removed. I never considered any other type of treatments — I just wanted the peace of mind of knowing that my cancer-infected prostate had been removed from my body.”
When the morning of his surgery finally arrived, Lorenzini said he was actually “excited” to have the procedure done: “I couldn’t wait to get that thing out of my body before the cancer spread. The admitting nurse was really surprised by my positive attitude about the surgery; I explained to her that I was very anxious to have it over with.”
Lau removed Lorenzini’s prostate using minimally invasive robotically assisted surgical techniques, which minimize side effects and speed recovery. Fortunately, the cancer was contained within the prostate and had not spread. No follow-up treatment was required, other than periodic PSA exams with Lau.
Lorenzini says his side effects from surgery were minimal and completely resolved within four months. “I recovered very quickly from the procedure; in fact, I went to an automotive swap meet a week later and walked several miles,” he said.
“Thankfully I am in great health; I eat well, exercise regularly and visit Dr. Lau and City of Hope annually,” Lorenzini said. Now more than seven years cancer-free, Lorenzini says his long-term prognosis is very positive.
Lorenzini can’t say enough good things about Lau.
“Dr. Lau had a way of putting me at ease before and after the surgery,” he said. “He was always very accessible — he gave me his cell phone number and always responded immediately if I had any questions or concerns. I am proud to say that he and his family have become close friends to me and my family since I became his patient.”
“Since my surgery, I have had quite a few of my friends come to me for advice as they became diagnosed with not only prostate but other forms of cancer. My immediate response is always to contact Dr. Lau,” he added. “If it is not a urologic issue, he always graciously refers my friends to the appropriate specialists at City of Hope. When it is a prostate or bladder issue, Dr. Lau always is so willing to take on the case, no matter how busy he is. He has performed surgery on both my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law, to name a few.”
“He is so amazing; there is nothing I wouldn’t do for him,” Lorenzini said. “I tell my friends that there is no other person or institution that I would trust my life with.”
Lorenzini calls being selected to ride on the City of Hope Rose Parade float “an unbelievable honor. Knowing that I was asked to be a part of such a prestigious event representing the finest health care facility in the world has been beyond belief for me!”
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to City of Hope, its staff and especially Dr. Lau for the incredible treatment that I and my many friends have received over the years,” he said.
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