Dr. Goetz Klocker’s Story: Patient Sees Dr. Kloecker as “Superhero”
When Deborah Oliver arrived at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in December 2005, she was on oxygen and in a wheelchair. The hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she had been living, had initially diagnosed her with blood clots and then six months later, lung cancer. They told her there was virtually no treatment plan.
“They told me to get my affairs in order,” said Deborah. “They didn’t expect me to live. So there I was – a 46-year old woman who had just taken herself out of the hospital and was literally just waiting to die.”
Fortunately, Deborah’s sister convinced her to come to Louisville and try the Brown Cancer Center, where she met lung cancer specialist Dr. Goetz Kloecker, who did give her a treatment plan – and equally importantly – gave Deborah hope again.
“From the beginning, Dr. Kloecker was making plans for my future. When he described my treatment plan, he was saying you will be doing this in three months; and in six months you will be doing this, and I was shocked. It made me feel good; like he was just confident I would be around that long. It was life again. And now look at me,” said Deborah, smiling and pointing to herself and her much-improved health.
Deborah responded very well to her initial treatment, and at the same time found a new extended family in the warm reception she received at the Brown Cancer Center.
“Dr. Kloecker’s nurse, Beth; she held my hand. She was right there, caring for me. But she wasn’t the only one – everyone is great – from the parking attendant to the housekeeper – they have all been so wonderful. No one ever gave up on me,” Deborah beamed.
“In fact,” she added, “Dr. Kloecker didn’t even tell me until much later that my cancer was diagnosed as stage four when I came to him. He just said I didn’t need to know then– it would have kept me from believing I could recover,” she said.
Deborah’s recovery hasn’t been an easy road. She was re-diagnosed with cancer in July 2011, for which she received radiation treatments. But today in February 2012, she is still standing strong.
Deborah’s big broad smile and infectious laugh speak to her vibrancy and courage. “I have been given a second chance at life, and every day is a blessing,” she said. “All I can say to other lung cancer patients is – there is always hope – don’t give up. I am proof that you can not only survive – you can thrive.”
When I think about Dr. Kloecker, I just see him with a cape like a superhero,” Deborah said. “He is standing there in his cape with his hands on his hips and he is looking around, saying, ‘Where is that cancer, where is it? We’re going to beat it!’“