Mike Sanville's Story
Persistence pays off for lung cancer patient
Mike Sanville is alive today in part because of his wife’s persistence. The 62 year-old maintenance supervisor had lung cancer. He was diagnosed and treated at Orange Park Medical Center with cutting-edge, minimally invasive technology. Two days after robotic-assisted surgery to remove part of his lung, Mike was home again, looking forward to taking the couple’s mobile home out for relaxing weekends.
About six months before he was diagnosed, Mike didn’t feel like doing much of anything. He started complaining about feeling bad. “He was always tired and worn out. He’d come home from work exhausted,” his wife, Jackie says. Mike went to his doctor three or four times but was always told he was fine. Jackie kept telling Mike to see her doctor, and Mike is now glad he did. Jackie’s doctor saw a suspicious area on Mike’s left lung and referred him to Dr. Stuart Millstone, a pulmonologist who pioneered the use of new technology at Orange Park Medical Center, called the SuperDimension inReach system.
This minimally invasive technology goes beyond the capabilities of traditional bronchoscopes to diagnose lung diseases. “The SuperDimension inReach system allows us to biopsy lung nodules that previously were too small to be biopsied by conventional bronchoscopy using fluoroscopic guidance,” Dr. Millstone explains. “With the SuperDimension inReach system we are able use electromagnetic guidance and CT scanning in 3D views to facilitate biopsies of extremely small pulmonary nodules.” SuperDimension helps doctors diagnose lung cancer at an earlier stage, when the likelihood of a cure is greater. And since the SuperDimension technology is minimally invasive, patients may not need to undergo a surgical biopsy to check for lung cancer.
As it turned out, Dr. Millstone did diagnose Mike with lung cancer. What went through Mike’s mind when Dr. Millstone gave him the news? “I wasn’t concerned about it. I felt I was in competent hands. To be honest with you, Dr. Millstone put me at ease, so I thought, let’s deal with it.”
Dr. Millstone referred Mike to Dr. Nathan Bates, a cardiothoracic surgeon on staff at Orange Park Medical Center who was the first in northeast Florida to perform a lung lobectomy with the daVinci Robotic Surgical System. A lobectomy is a surgical procedure done to remove part of a patient’s lung because of lung cancer.
The traditional surgery to open the chest and remove all or part of a lung is called a thoracotomy. To perform this procedure, the surgeon makes a large incision in the patient’s chest to access the lungs. Since muscles of the chest wall are cut, patients usually experience significant post-operative pain and a long recovery.
Mike thought this is the procedure he would face, since he had a friend who had this surgery for lung cancer. “He was out from work 7-8 months. He was cut wide open,” Mike says. “So I knew I was going to be out for a long haul until Dr. Bates told me he could do the surgery two ways. He said we could do the surgical procedure, or we could do the robotic procedure, which is less intrusive and I would heal quicker. I said, ‘Okay, let’s do the robotic surgery.’ I was all for it.”
About a month after the successful surgery, Mike could show off four small scars and says, “If it hadn’t been Jackie, for Orange Park Medical Center, my doctors and the equipment they use, I don’t know what the outcome would have been. I really don’t.”