Farmington Hills man says colonoscopy saved his life

In February 2017 Donald Robinson of Farmington Hills came into the Emergency Room at Henry Ford Hospital with a ruptured appendix. He had no idea this would be the first of many visits to the hospital for him and his wife, Zelda.

Donald and Zelda Robinson
Donald and Zelda Robinson (Henry Ford Health System)

Later that same year, it was recommended that Donald have a colonoscopy. During one five years prior, doctors found pre-cancerous polyps. With this history and the perforated appendix — which was suspected to be from cancer penetration in the right colon — the colonoscopy was scheduled.

Faiza Bhatti, M.D., performed the colonoscopy and the follow-up tests. The tests confirmed the worst; Donald had colon cancer.

“When I saw him in the clinic I was concerned of malignancy from the get-go so seeing a mass in the right colon where perforation of the appendix had happened was not a surprise to me,” she said.

Immediately following the diagnosis, a CT scan indicated that the Stage 4 colon cancer had spread to the liver as well. This news is enough to make just about anyone flinch, but Donald said he felt at ease.

“The team at Henry Ford calmed my fears,” he said. “There was no wait to see a specialist, they immediately had me meet with my surgeons. The surgeons and the team talked me through everything.”

Donald Robinson
Donald Robinson (Henry Ford Health System)

Amalia Stefanou, M.D., a colon and rectal cancer specialist, and Michael Rizzari, M.D., a cancer surgeon and transplant specialist had a plan to remove the cancer in the colon and the liver together in one surgery. In November of 2017, Dr. Rizzari did a burn of the liver and Dr. Stefanou went in and removed the cancerous tumor from the colon. The surgery took just four hours. A post-surgery CT scan showed that there was no remaining cancer in the body.

But there’s more to Donald’s cancer story. Read it here:

©Henry Ford Health System Republished with permission

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