David Blythe endured eight months of grueling tests and endless trips to doctors throughout his home state of Virginia before receiving a devastating diagnosis. Already down to 90 pounds, weak and bed-ridden, David learned that he was suffering from amyloidosis, a rare blood disease for which there is no cure.
But his doctors knew that there was hope and that it would only be found in the care of Dr. Raymond Comenzo, a national expert in amyloidosis, here at Tufts Medical Center.
After David and his wife first met with Dr. Comenzo, they were relieved and – for the first time after months of uncertainty – optimistic about his treatment options. Wasting no time, Dr. Comenzo recommended that David start chemotherapy immediately. As they had only packed for what they thought would be a short stay in Boston, Dr. Comenzo even offered to collect more clothes for them during a previously scheduled trip near the couple’s Virginia home. When Dr. Comenzo walked into David’s hospital room with a suitcase full of his clothes,
“I realized how fortunate I was to be in the care of not only a remarkable physician, but a remarkable human being.”
Over the next few years, David traveled to Boston regularly for treatment, with Dr. Comenzo directing his care long-distance while he was at home. When David was strong enough for the next stage of his treatment, a stem cell transplant, he had become so confident in the care he received from Dr. Comenzo that he elected to return to Tufts Medical Center rather than remain at a clinic closer to his home.
After 18 days inpatient and six weeks at the Neely House, a 16-apartment "Home Away from Home" for cancer patients and their families located within the walls of Tufts Medical Center, David went home. His transplant a success!
Today, David is 80 percent back to his normal weight and strength, takes a few maintenance medications each day, and looks back at his experience at Tufts Medical Center with immense gratitude. “Dr. Comenzo and the Cancer Center staff saved my life,” says David.
“Thanks to them, I saw my son receive his Eagle Scout award and graduate from high school. I attended my daughter's college graduation and walked her down the aisle at her wedding. I've also returned to work for the first time in nearly three years. I thank God every day for Dr. Comenzo. He and the Tufts Cancer Center gave me the gift of health so I wouldn't miss these moments.”
As amazing as it was, David’s success story is not unique.
Many other patients benefit from the advanced treatments and leading-edge care provided at Tufts Medical Center. Dr. Comenzo is one of many world-class medical and radiation oncologists and surgeons working together in our Cancer Center to tailor the most appropriate therapies to each individual patient.
Philanthropic support to Tufts Medical Center and fundraising events like Country Heals are vital to the work of our physicians and other caregivers throughout the Medical Center who put our patients’ needs first, each and every day.