Thursday, March 26, 2009
My friend Tolik Shevchenko departed yesterday (March 23) for home. He needs to be at work on Monday. There are some complications but he feels better now that his cancer is removed.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support. Many people helped during a time when we felt so down...
ps. Irina (Tolik's daughter who lives in Seattle) has a big debt and is looking for a job. She has Masters in Public Policy. If someone could user her hard work, please contact her at:
With a huge relief and happiness I want to update you on my dad’s condition. He had a Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (LRP) with Dr. Krongrad a few days ago and according to his pathology report – he should be cancer free! At this time he is in recovery and he has some pain in his abdominal. Also, catheter was put in his urethra during the surgery, and it should be removed at the beginning of next week. The full recovery process takes about 3-4 months, and then, if there are no complications, he can go back to his regular life and activities. Every three months he will have to take a PSA test in order to see if his cancer is not coming back. Hopefully, it will never ever come back.
When I first found out about my dad’s cancer, my world was turned upside down. I had no idea what to do and where to go. It has been a long uphill battle for my family, with many twists and turns, but we did it. And, of course, none of it would be possible without your help and support. There are not enough words in the world’s dictionary for me to express my gratitude to all of our friends and the friends of our friends. Your unbelievable support, kindness and pure faith helped us to get to the surgery room, and to kick the cancer out.
Throughout this long process I was able to learn many things and I would like to share some of them with you. First, prostate cancer is a second leading type of cancer in men. Second, it is a highly curable type of cancer if caught on time! That is why I want to urge all of my friends to spread the word about doing PSA tests at least once a year. All men over 30-35 years old, please, do it regularly; it will save your life. Third, there is a common notion that cancer is hereditary, and in my father’s case, this notion is not true. My father is the first person in his family who has cancer. None of his relatives, close or distant, were ever diagnosed with cancer. So, if you guys do not have history of cancer in your family, nowadays it does not matter, everyone needs to get checked regularly, everyone.
If everything goes well, my dad should be going back to Ukraine very soon. He is practicing medicine for almost thirty years, and, on average, he helps to save about 30-40 children and about 100-110 adults per year. With all of your help, hopefully, we have saved him.
Attached is a picture of my dad and Dr. Krongrad on the day after his surgery.
Thank you and God Bless!
Irina Shevchenko (Snare)
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Anatoliy Shevchenko: “I’m not a hero; I’m just doing my job”.
Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 BUKOVINIAN EYE, Originally published in Ukrainian
It has been over three years since the doctor of higher category, Anatoliy Ivanovich Shevchenko, became the head of the Department of Endoscopy at the Chernivtsi regional hospital. The Department of Endoscopy is complete with three gastric fiberscopy offices, where the stomach and intestine diagnostics take place, and one office of bronchoscopy, where lungs and bronchi are being checked. Anatoliy Ivanovich came into his office as a doctor-bronchologist in December of 1980, right after his internship in Vizhnitsa, and before that, he was studying at Chernivtsi Medical Institute (today Bukovina National Medical University).
Then, young and inexperienced, he was trusted with a very important position, and, as they say: “The ship will sail according to the name it has been given” – that is what happened to bronchologist Shevchenko. Knowledge acquired in the institute was insufficient at the time, so it was necessary to self-educate, spending long nights at libraries while also looking for rare professional literature in bookstores. He had a big need to broaden his knowledge and to find out as much as possible about bronchology.
“If only Internet was available then, as it is now, - the doctor confessed, - there you can find anything, even in the narrow field like I have chosen for myself.” Trips to Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Crimea, Kyiv, Lvov aimed at increasing the level of proficiency were a huge part of this doctor’s life. There are too few bronchologists in Bukovina region, and too much work. And so, Anatoliy Ivanovich to this day almost has no days off. At any time of day or night the doctor is on-call and must arrive to any part of Bukovina in case of emergency. A lot has to be done at the hospital too; there are more patients in winter time, less – in summer, although even during the summer time people can easily get pneumonia or bronchitis. There are a lot of patients that doctor is diagnosing with tuberculosis; many arrive with alien objects inside lungs or bronchi.
-Anatoliy Ivanovich, which illnesses do you diagnose the most?
-In the summer there is a lot of pneumonia, because of the water activities: people drink cold water and swim in it. A lot of times illnesses are being neglected to a tougher stage, so a simple bronchitis may turn into a big trouble.
I feel guilty for pulling the doctor away from his work by asking my questions, but during the interview I got to see various equipment used for scoping lungs and bronchi, special tubes, that help get things out from the breathing paths. There are instances when a doctor can see things that even x-ray cannot show. For example, in front of my eyes, doctor diagnosed a tough case of pneumonia, when x-ray showed a possible tumor.
-Did you have really extreme cases during your practice?
-My work most of the time is quite extreme. Every day I have to fight for a human life, and when you look at a little baby in front of you, responsibility and risk increase. I love children very much and enjoy treating them. Unfortunately, they arrive at my office a lot: instances of alien objects inside the breathing paths in the form of fish bones, beans, peas, or even foam rubber or black pepper seeds.
Once, there was a four year old toddler that had an acaridae crawl inside his lung – it had to be pulled out surgically. One time, a tenth-grader lost a tooth during a dentist visit and breathed it in without knowing it. Next morning she had her body temperature rise, she was coughing, wheezing. On the x-ray – her whole lung got dark. Pretty soon the tooth was located on the x-ray too, but nobody could pull it out, since by that time it was inside the lung. The only way to save the girl was to do the operation. When she was already on the operation table, because of the seriousness of the operation, they summoned me. At first I was afraid, there was a lot to lose – if I failed, the girl would lose half of her lung. It was a tough job, but finally I pulled the tooth out. I was a little surprised, when I did.
There is also so-called professional swallowing, like seamstress may swallow a needle, school students swallow pen caps. Leaders in this sad statistics are walnuts. It looks like Bukovinians like this nut. So, using this opportunity, - the doctor said, - I would like to talk to the parents. Keep your children safe, they will try to swallow anything they can. Sometimes an older child will feed the younger one, but they both are unfit to take care of themselves, so the accident will often happen when there is no proper supervision. Children under 4 should never be in contact with peanuts, sunflower seeds, watermelon seeds, any kind of nuts and other small objects. Make sure that children are not in contact with the seeds of larger fruits, like apples, oranges, plums, etc. My youngest patient was only three months old. He was given an apple by an older brother.
-Does it get scary with such young infants?
-It’s my job. I use anesthesia during the procedures. It is important not to make mistakes, because with children it can cost a life. Although, sadly I have to say that only those who don’t do anything don’t make mistakes. Just recently I had to operate on a pregnant lady during her giving birth. That day we saved both, the child and his mother.
-Anatoliy Ivanovich, you are our Bukovinians hero.
-Oh, no, I am not asking for songs of praise, I am just doing my job like any other worker. My job is only different in a way that I dream - less sick people coming to my office. Unfortunately, our dreams are different from the reality. My dream is that one day, only the healthy people will come into my office for routine diagnostics.
Interview was conducted by Gregory Zaslavets
A boy, saved from death, wants to become a doctor.
April 17 - 23, 2003 MOLODYI BUKOVINEC’, Originally published in Ukrainian
A pen cap got stuck inside the lungs of an eight-year-old Bogdan.. Resuscitation doctors of Sokiryany hospital identified the crisis situation right away – due to the lack of oxygen the boy’s heart could stop at any moment. Immediately a special brigade from the regional centre was called upon.
Boy was allowed to talk slowly and quietly:
“I was holding the pen cap in my mouth, when the boys from the back row unexpectedly pushed me in the neck” – a second-grader explained – “I don’t know how it got so far inside me…”
Doctor-endoscopist from the regional hospital, Anatoliy Shevchenko, along with his brigade came from Chernivtsi all the way to Sokiryany in less than two hours.
“The poor boy was waiting for so long, that he lost his fear. Bravely, he got into the wheelchair, which took him to the operating room. Right before he lost his conscience he told us that he wants to become a doctor”.
X-ray didn’t show much of the plastic pen cap, boy’s chest was wheezing and his breathing was getting heavier and heavier.
Thankfully, the specialist from Chernivtsi came with the most up-to-date bronchoscope. With its help an object was quickly identified and pulled out from the trachea, where it blocked the whole left bronchus and partially blocked the right one. The situation was really threatening, but finally there was a happy end.
Bogdan Pykhtin was transferred to the ward. He was still sleeping. Doctor left on his bed-side table a red pen cap from a ball point pen as a memory and as a warning about the future safety precautions.
As we learned that day, strange objects are being pulled out from children’s lungs quite often. Just in the last year alone, Anatoliy Shevchenko saved 21 children:
“One twelve-year-old boy came to the hospital on his own”, Anatoliy Shevchenko told us. “And, by the way, he also swallowed a pen cap, but he was afraid to go home. After a successful operation he asked us not to tell his parents about what had happened”.
According to Anatoliy, most of the time when children up to three years old arrive at his office, they suffer from alien objects in their lungs. They are usually swallowing small seeds or pieces of nuts. To avoid this, parents should try to feed their children only at the family’s table and watch carefully to make sure that children are sitting still and don’t engage in playing games at the table.
Once, there was a four-month-old baby with a pneumonia that wouldn’t respond to treatments. Eventually doctor found a fraction of a peanut inside the baby’s lung, which evidently caused the lung fever.
Anatoliy Shevchenko also told us about the worst case during his practice. A two year old baby got a fish spine inside his breathing paths, where it was crushed into little pieces:
“I was ‘hunting’ for every tiny piece of fish bone until all of them were out. I am still getting the chills just thinking about that. But we saved him…”
Interview was conducted by Lyudmila Cheredarik “MB”
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Yesterday we learned from the Jackson Memorial Hospital Foundation in Miami that we collected already 2/3 rd of the necessary amount to be scheduled for the surgery there. Last $10-12 is a very challenging goal. I contacted already all my friends, co-workers and neighbors. Today I'm trying to reach Russian, Ukrainian and catholic churches. Do you know of anybody who would like to contribute? It's very easy to do on-line. Just go to JMHosptal/Donate/note: for Dr Shevchenko. Please help Anatoliy to have this life saving surgery!
Thank you so much for saving my dear friend's life!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Luda.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I'm a cancer survivor, but I'm lucky to have an employment and a health insurance that paid for my surgery, chemo and radiation in Seattle. Many procedures are not available in Ukraine and medications are very expensive. A doctor there earns on average only $100-$300/mo , which is spent mostly on food.
Irina wrote around the country and found a doctor in Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami ,Fl who is willing to do it for $32K. So far it's the lowest price we found. In Seattle it costs $60K. I'm trying to help Irina to raise the funds to save her father's life. She is struggling to pay her student loans and can not help her father financially.
Besides being a wonderful father and a friend, Dr Shevchenko saved thousands of lives during his 30 year carrier at Chernovtsy Regional Hospital. He could return to his work in one month and save many more lives... Please help to save his! Here it's a curable disease. Anatoliy is only in his fiftieth and can lead a productive life. If he goes back when his Visa expires without the surgery, the cancer will spread and eventually kill him. Any ideas and help are greatly appreciated! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!