Lee Pinkus is a fighter.
He came to Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center from a small town in Arkansas in 2014. He’d been diagnosed with nodular melanoma after finding a lesion on his chest. His doctors removed it seven times. But by that point, the cancer had spread to his lung, small intestine and brain. His doctors had given him just 10 months to live.
“My cancer continued to spread until we sought other means of care,” said Lee. “I went to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Illinois. They assured me that they could indeed help. After the first day of scans, x-rays and the like, we sat down. The meeting was short. They couldn’t help me, but there was a guy in Milwaukee that could.”
Lee and his fiancée met with neurosurgeon Amin Kassam, MD, at Aurora St. Luke’s two days later.
“Dr. Kassam looked at the scans and told us that he could fix it. He cleared his schedule for Friday, put me into the hospital to introduce drugs to reduce the swelling on my brain, and on Friday, removed the tumor. Never in my life had I seen a doctor who said, ‘I can do that.’ It was always, ‘we can try.’”
Lee also met with neuro-oncologist George Bobustuc, MD.
“He put together several types of medications to attack the cancer from multiple fronts,” explained Lee. “It was a treatment I wasn’t offered anywhere else and it saved my life.”
Radiation oncologist Kenneth Bastin, MD, used CyberKnife® treatment to clean up leftover spots after Lee’s surgery.
“I went from having 32 tumors in February of 2014, to little or no cancer now. These three men, aided by the nurses and staff, worked in unison to remove, radiate and medicate this cancer, saving my life.”
Now Lee is back to doing all the things he couldn’t do when he was sick: working, hunting, riding ATVs – he’s even engaged to be married.
“I can’t express the gratitude that I have for this hospital. They have assembled a team of doctors, nurses, and other caregivers that is unmatched by any other facility that I have been to. I have been to the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences hospital, the Mayo Clinic and Cancer Treatment Centers of America. All failed where Aurora St. Luke’s succeeded.”
Lee is now trying to get the word out about his experience. He recently told his story at the 2017 Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer in Milwaukee.
“I want to thank the Aurora Healthcare system for giving me hope. I also want to thank my doctors and nurses for not only saving my life, but for healing me in such a way that I can live my life and not simply go through it,” shared Lee. “I cannot say enough good things about this hospital. I travel a thousand miles to get here, three or four times per year, sometimes more. Whether someone needs these hospitals or not, the fact that you don’t have to travel half way across the country to get this kind of care should give you peace of mind.”
We want to thank Lee for sharing his story. You can help people like Lee receive world-class cancer care – wherever they’re from – when you support our cancer services. To get started, click here.