Three Years Later and a Clean Bill of Health - Jeff Hannan
Physicians: Michael Eggebrecht, DO; Dennis Rasbach, MD
Stevensville resident, Jeff Hannan lived an active lifestyle. He loved spending time outdoors and you could regularly find him teeing off for a round of 18 at his favorite golf course. So, when it came time for his annual physical, he didn’t think anything of it. However, that all changed when his primary care provider, Michael Eggebrecht, DO, found a strange lump on his neck.
“I wasn’t in any pain – I didn’t even realize the lump was there,” said Jeff. “Dr. Eggebrecht suggested that I have a biopsy done just to be safe.”
Jeff was referred to general surgeon, Dennis Rasbach, MD, who performed the biopsy. A week later, Jeff received the news he never expected. The lump on his neck was thyroid cancer. While the cause of thyroid cancer is not well known, it is thought to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
“I met with Dr. Rasbach again and he explained my treatment options. He told me I would need to have surgery to remove the cancerous cells,” said Jeff. “When your life is at stake with a diagnosis like this, you want to ensure you can trust your doctor. I had the utmost trust and respect for his expertise.”
A week after the initial diagnosis, Jeff underwent a successful surgery to remove the entire thyroid gland. Radioactive iodine treatment was used after the thyroidectomy to destroy any remaining cancerous cells and thyroid tissues that weren't removed during surgery. Since the thyroid gland helps regulate other hormones in the body, Jeff would also need to take the thyroid hormone medication for the rest of his life.
“Everything went as planned. My care team continued to monitor my blood levels over the next year to ensure the cancer was completely gone,” said Jeff.
However, a year later, when Jeff’s blood work still showed elevated levels of cancerous cells, Dr. Rasbach suggested another dose of radioactive iodine.
“Dr. Rasbach was in charge of my care for over two years and I knew I was in good hands the entire time,” said Jeff. “When my levels still weren’t where he would have liked them to be, he said another surgery would be needed.”
Due to the intricacy of the second thyroid surgery, Dr. Rasbach referred Jeff to another health system who specialized in cases like his. Almost a year after the second surgery, and three years since the initial diagnosis, Jeff’s blood work came back normal. While he will continue to be monitored for the rest of his life to ensure the cancer doesn’t return, he is happy to have received a clean bill of health at his last check-up.
“My health has been in Dr. Rasbach’s hand for the last three years and I wouldn’t have it any other way – I would recommend him to anyone,” said Jeff. “When I first got my diagnosis a few years back, I did a lot of research on my own and considered going to a bigger city like Chicago to receive care. I’m so happy I stayed close to home – Dr. Rasbach and his staff are excellent.”
Watch more of Jeff's story in the video below: