Not Just Any ‘Place,’ Hope Lodge Is Like Home for Brain Tumor Patients

Man speaks on stage with microphone

Wayne Frisbie recalls his experience as a patient at the UC Brain Tumor Center and as a guest at the Musekamp Family Hope Lodge. Photos by Cindy Starr / Mayfield Clinic

The American Cancer Society and its supporters kicked up their spurs last Saturday night, as they raised funds to “create more birthdays” for people with cancer and to support the Musekamp Family Hope Lodge during the annual Cattle Baron’s Ball at Teal Lake Farm, in Batavia, Ohio.

Dr. John Tew with UC Brain Tumor Center supporter Rich Seal at the Cattle Baron’s Ball.

The Hope Lodge, located less than a mile from UC Health’s University Hospital, offers free, comfortable housing for patients who travel to Cincinnati for cancer treatment. It is one of 32 Hope Lodges owned and operated by the American Cancer Society.
John M. Tew, Jr., MD, was the evening’s honoree, celebrated for his decades-long commitment to caring for people with brain tumors. And he shared the spotlight with one of his patients, Wayne Frisbie, who traveled to Cincinnati for surgical treatment of an acoustic neuroma last March and who made Hope Lodge his home during that time.

A transcript of Mr. Frisbie’s poignant, heart-felt testimonial follows:

First, I would like to thank the American Cancer Society and Dr. John Tew for inviting me to be here to share my story.

Being able to have a place to stay without charge while going through something this serious is wonderful. The Hope Lodge isn’t just any “place.” It is like home, offering patients and caregivers a chance to help one another during a difficult time. The staff is terrific, and it truly feels like home.

The Musekamp Family Hope Lodge has provided more than 23,000 nights of no-cost lodging, saving patients and their caregivers $3.3 million. Guests travel from all over the country to stay here. I came from Chicago, and the Hope Lodge has accommodated guests from three other countries, 33 different states, and 66 counties in Ohio. Dr. Tew really gave me hope when I thought I had no other options, and the Hope Lodge lessened my fears.

My journey began in August of 2004, when minor hearing loss and ringing in my ears presented. Several tests raised suspicion with my doctor, who ordered an MRI, revealing a 1-centimeter acoustic neuroma stemming from the left acoustic nerve. I was advised to have surgery immediately, since sooner was better than later.

I was referred to a Chicago surgeon, who informed me that his approach would definitely result in single-sided deafness, with some balance issues. Because my profession mandates hearing on both sides, I decided to wait and monitor the tumor. I had regular MRI scans until about 2007, when I stopped monitoring the growth. Still, I continued to research hearing-sparing procedures as well as assistive devices in the event my hearing would be lost.

Philip Theodosopoulos, MD, a neurosurgeon and brain tumor specialist, and his wife, Josefa Rangel, MD, showed their support for the American Cancer Society and Hope Lodge.

Then, in the summer of 2011, I began to notice more hearing loss and ringing, along with noticeable loss of balance. A return visit with the doctor and subsequent MRI revealed the tumor had grown to almost 3 centimeters. The only option now was removal.

Again, not satisfied with the surgical approach offered in Chicago, I began further research, which led me to the Mayfield Clinic Web site. There, I found the most information I had ever seen, including diagrams outlining the various methods to surgically remove the tumor, as well as video interviews from patients who had undergone the same surgery.

I immediately contacted the office of Dr. Tew and mailed a CD of the MRI and audiogram. I was contacted by a representative from Dr. Tew’s office shortly thereafter. I met with Dr. Tew in January of 2012 and immediately knew I had found the best care. I signed the consent form and scheduled surgery for March 6. From that point, members from Dr. Tew’s staff managed everything, including lodging arrangements at the Hope Lodge.

Upon arrival at the Lodge on March 5, we were welcomed by a wonderful lady named Nancy, who provided us with a complete tour of the facility and all amenities, offering emotional support as well.

After we settled in, I began to relax, ready to accept the next day with less anxiety. It was comforting to know that my family members would be comfortable during my surgery and post-op recovery. The Lodge also provides home-cooked meals regularly from various volunteer organizations, offering us a chance to network and share experiences.

Wayne Frisbie, right, with his sister-in-law, Deborah Frisbie (left), and niece, Ellen Frisbie (center).

After discharge from the University Hospital, I returned to the Lodge to begin my recovery. I found an inviting, peaceful environment, and I never felt away from home or my healthcare network. The Hope Lodge is about half a mile from the hospital. I had no worries should any post-op complications arise.

As of today, I feel good. I am currently unable to return to my profession, because I cannot meet the hearing standard. However, I am grateful to Dr. Tew and to the American Cancer Society for this wonderful resource.

Thank you.

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