Hope and a Room in Manhattan
Ed Gruson Calls American Cancer Society Hope Lodge NYC a Therapeutic "Community" for Cancer Patients
New York, NY - Cancer may have temporarily taken the richness of Ed Gruson's speaking voice, but it certainly hasn't taken away the richness of his character.
The 82 year old Connecticut resident joined the Hope Lodge family on July 4 after being diagnosed with cancer. In just a few short weeks, the two-time cancer survivor has achieved celebrity-status among the staff, volunteers and fellow guests. Everyone knows him by name and everyone talks about him with a smile.
Ed first sought medical attention when he noticed his voice was becoming hoarse. His doctor referred him to an ENT specialist who came to a quick diagnosis — acid reflux. A steady regimen of antacids and everything should be fine. Weeks went by and the antacids did nothing, so Ed went back for a second visit. This time, after a closer look, his ENT recommended a biopsy of his vocal chords. The results showed the presence of cancer cells.
A 15-year prostate cancer survivor, Ed wasn't shocked by the diagnosis, but 'you have cancer' are never good words to hear.
Ed soon went in for an operation to remove the cancer from his vocal chords, and after his symptoms persisted his doctors suggested yet another operation. "But I have a saying,” said Ed, “if at first you don't succeed, you don't try again with me!”
Instead, Ed made the 2.5 hour drive to New York City to consult with a radio-oncologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital. His new doctor found that Ed’s cancer was particularly unique. Instead of having a tumor that could be removed through surgery, Ed's cancer cells were spread out across the surface of his vocal chords. For that reason, surgery would never be completely successful and he was instead scheduled for 33 radiation treatments.
Ed was not pleased with the recommendation. He'd received radiation while battling prostate cancer and had experience harsh side effects. Plus, the two-month treatment required daily weekday visits to the hospital. Ed wondered where he was supposed to stay during this time. He and his wife couldn't travel five hours a day to and from their home nor could they afford $250 a night for a room in a Manhattan hotel. Despite having personal connections in the medical world — his prestigious career included positions at Harvard Medical School and the National Organization for Rare Disorders — Ed was left without any options.
It was then that a hospital social worker recommended that the couple seek out a room at the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge Jerome L. Greene Family Center.
Since entering Hope Lodge, Ed has quickly earned the adoration of staff and volunteers. His trademark sarcastic wit quickly melts away when he talks about the American Cancer Society and Hope Lodge. "Hope Lodge is remarkable. Words fail to describe its benefits," he said. "The sense of community and support generated by shared experience with other cancer patients, the support of a compassionate and giving staff and volunteers, creates a therapeutic community, the likes of which are rare indeed.”
American Cancer Society Guide to Prostate Cancer
Information on cancer of the vocal cords
More information on Hope Lodge NYC or other Hope Lodges
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.