Release Date: 6/24/2011
Patient compares robotic to open surgery - 'like day and night'
Daniel Donis relaxes on the deck of his Imperial home with his dog. Donis recently underwent two surgeries to remove cancerous tumors from his kidneys - one open surgery and one robotic surgery.
Last December, Daniel Donis, 58, of Imperial, began having a reaction to the medication he took for his diabetes. It was the best thing that could have happened to him.
The tests performed to determine the cause of his symptoms revealed something else – cancerous tumors on both kidneys.
Donis was referred to Sameer Siddiqui, M.D., a urologist with extensive training in robotic surgery. Dr. Siddiqui determined that one of the tumors could be removed robotically; the other one, due to its size and depth, would require open surgery. He scheduled Donis for surgery with the state-of-the-art da Vinci ® Si’s ™ robotic system at St. Anthony’s Medical Center.
Donis, who owned his own body shop in Imperial for 19 years, before retiring in December, has weathered a number of health problems throughout his life. He’s learned to take it all in stride. The idea of having a surgical procedure via a robot didn’t concern him at all.
“Right off the bat, Dr. Siddiqui instilled a lot of confidence in me,” he said. “You can tell he really cares about his patients – you’re not just a number to him. I had heard of robotic surgery, but he explained it to me in detail. He gave me confidence that it was the best way to go. You do what you gotta’ do.”
Donis called the experience “the best you could have, under the circumstances. I just had five little holes instead of one big incision, and I didn’t feel like my body was all cut up. Everybody at the hospital was great, from the nurses to the cleaning lady.”
Two months later, Dr. Siddiqui removed the second tumor through open surgery. The difference, Donis said, was “like day and night.”
“I had a 10-to-12-inch incision, and he had to cut through muscle tissue – the pain afterwards was excruciating,” Donis said. “I had a longer hospital stay and spent a lot of time in bed after the surgery. I took pain pills for relief. The robotic surgery was much less invasive; and, afterwards, I felt more like myself.”
The good news for Donis is the cancer is gone. He lost only 10 percent of each kidney and didn’t have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. He’s back to enjoying life with his wife, Rita, and their three daughters, seven grandkids and five dogs.
“I feel like I got a second chance in life,” Donis said. “I picked the right guy to take care of me.”
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