Meet Dr Shafeek
Me, Cancer and the BMI – By Mr G.D , Worcester
It all began on the 5th of January 2009. The shock was to be told that the result of an MRI scan was it “something we weren’t looking for” and that I had an appointment for me to see a surgeon. The “something we weren’t looking for” was apparently a cancerous tumour the size of a melon in or attached to my small bowel which had to be operated on as soon as possible.
Not a success. The tumour was too big to be removed and I had some difficulties in recovery. All in all this was a low point in my treatment. The Way back
The way back started 10 days later. My wife took a phone call from a Haematologist who was a consultant at the BMI Priory. Dr Salim Shafeek will feature prominently in the rest of this story as it was his expertise and persistence and that of his team who pulled me back into the living. His message was simple: he had seen the biopsy results and “the tumour was highly treatable” and could we come to see him at BMI Droitwich hospital the next day? Yes we could and yes we did.
More good news. I was to be admitted to the BMI Priory Hospital the following day to cure an infection in the wound left behind by the operation and then to commence Chemotherapy on a day patient basis. The strategy? “First we are going to shrink it and then we are going to kill it” I signed up for that.
I spent a week as an in patient at the BMI Priory and I have good experience on which to base an opinion.
First the nursing care was consistently good and expert. I was desperately ill at the time and I had almost continuous IV antibiotics and other drugs. I was treated with courtesy and sometimes made to laugh. Dr Shafeek was a daily presence – examining, directing and cheering.
BMI Priory is so well resourced that all the tests and can and are done on site.
The last treatment was the first of my chemotherapy sessions down in the Haemato-oncology suite staffed by expert, cheerful and courteous staff who became almost friends. Chemo really isn’t that bad. It takes almost a whole day and depending I guess on the exact treatment and your reaction to it, you feel wretched for 2 or 3 days afterwards at home. But you are never left to suffer alone. Drinks and biscuits and lunch come on demand, It is clean and comfortable and you never made to feel you are a nuisance.
I came back 7 times in the next 6 months and it was always the same – just as good every time and that doesn’t happen by accident.
The chemo worked. The tumour went into remission. I went back to see my surgeon. He shook my hand with warmth. “It’s good to see you again”, he said. He obviously hadn’t expected to. But thanks to Salim Shafeek and his team and the BMI Priory I am still here and rowing up and down the river Severn.
Dear Dr Shafeek,
you mentioned at my last appointment during our conversation about my impending Golden Wedding celebration that you would appreciate a brief review of my experiences through diagnosis and treatment . also as requested i attach a couple of photos taken at our celebratory Lunch with 65 of our friends and family .
the first is suggested by my wife and daughter as being the best but i have added one of my wife and i being entertained by a very clever and competent 16 year old magician who kept us all amused at table for 3 hours during the Lunch .
well on to the testimonial
” following the shock of the Diagnosis of my Lymphoma I was introduced to Dr Shafeek and was interviewed by him at his Clinic at Spire Hospital in Worcester . he immediately mad me feel at ease and gave me some confidence that the treatment he would suggest would be capable of at least driving my Cancer into remission.
there then followed 3 monthly sessions of 2 days of Chemotherapy and the Dr Shafeek suggested adding a 3rd Chemical to the treatment ( a new approach first developed in germany ) which meant an increase to 3 days to each of my final 3 Monthly sessions of Chemotherapy .
the prosepct was daunting but from the very first day i arrived at Spuire Worcester I was made to feel welcome and very comfortable . The Nursing staff were extremely professional and attentive , explaining the treatment and it’s possible effects very clearly and really made the whole experience of Chemotherapy felt rather like an extended holiday .
Not only did the long days in ‘ the chair ‘ seem almost soporific they seemed like a rest from the daily grind with a lovely Lunch and refreshments on call thrown in .
yes i did get some reaction each time but this was explained very clearly and it slowly dissipated and the feeling of having access to one of the nursing staff by mobile phone at any time ( day or night ) was very comforting even though not needed
i am thankfully now in remission and have started on a new regime of treatment each 3 months to , hopefully keep me that way ”
that seems , on rereading , a bit verbose but i hope it is helpful . it would be good to get your reaction and also to know if any of the quotes are used in the future.
incidentally our Celebration was very enjoyable both for my wife and i but also , i think ,for our friends and relations – i did raise a glass to you in thanks !!
Dear Dr Shafeek,
I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to you for taking special care of my father who has been under your supervision for a number of years, since being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, several years ago.
It was truly wonderful news to hear he is now in remission for a second time. My parents mean the world to me and I have always had a special relationship with my father—being a daddy’s girl! (even at the age of 39!). My father speaks very fondly of you, often referring to you as “the main man”, something which the rest of our family also believe in.
I would like to personally thank you for all the research you have undertaken within your field, which you clearly pass on through your knowledge and expertise in helping patients who suffer with blood disorders and associated diseases.
I cannot thank you enough for helping my father get better and for the kindness you have shown to both of my parents.
From my family and everyone else’s family that you have helped, please know you are appreciated beyond words.
Best Wishes and warmest regards,
My father was diagnosed with myeloma a few years ago, his most significant symptom being severe back pain.
Whilst his diagnosis was quick and the appropriate treatment assessed and given very quickly, including chemotherapy and stem cell treatment, the back pain remained and as time progressed became more of a problem, particularly once the myeloma returned
Dad has always been a hard, physical worker, driving trucks, maintaining them, as well as building and maintaining his property and garden at home. He rarely complains about pain. In fact, if he “mentions” it, that is as close to a complaint that you will hear, as he dismisses pain and carries on. So, to see Dad struggle and be unable to lift and carry things, be unable to climb in and out of a truck or climb up a set of ladders was very difficult, as we knew how distressed that would be making Dad and that he would try to avoid letting anyone know.
Because I look after his appointments for him and his medication, he needed to be a little more honest with me, as I could see by his dose of zomorph and the regular, increasing use of oramorph and paracetamol that his pain was worsening. Of course, Dr Shafeek could always tell by his stance and walk, and by how he sat down, so he was not entirely successful in hiding it. Once he began to talk about it with me, I could see how very sad and distressed it was making him. To the point where he was ready to stop any further treatment, as he simply wanted to be left to do what he could when he could and couldn’t see any point in pursuing treatment, if physically, he was going to be in such a degree of pain and the treatment was going to deal with the myeloma itself, but not the pain and degeneration of his back.
Following some scans, which identified that one disc in his bad had pretty much disintegrated and another was well on its way, Dr Shafeek recommended that Dad considered having a procedure performed by Mr Molloy, called balloon Kyphoplasty. This would repair/rebuild the vertebrae and could realistically deal with the dreadful pain that Dad was in. Our dilemma was the management of the pain. Of course, to have a procedure that could reduce or potentially eliminate the pain was without question an obvious decision. However, the procedure is not carried out in this area, and would mean several journeys to London. The degree of pain that Dad was by then experiencing meant the prospect of a journey to Harrow for a consultation, followed by a further journey for the procedure and subsequent follow-up was daunting and not a decision to be taken lightly. Truthfully, Dad took some persuasion, as even the shortest journeys had become distressing. The slightest bump in the road caused an expression on his face that would bring tears to my eyes. Yet he would still say “It’s ok”. He made excuses, such as, “it’s too much to ask someone to take me there” or “It’s not fair to any of you to make the journey and stay in a hotel”, when really we knew he couldn’t face it himself. He absolutely trusts Dr Shafeek and this is what swung the balance. So we made the journey for the consultation and tests; our confidence in the procedure was further increased by Mr Molloy and Dad agreed.
My goodness, what a difference to Dad’s life. Mr Molloy saw Dad and within a few days he was back at Harrow having the procedure. We were very lucky that my brother had a high vehicle, which was very comfortable indeed, to make Dad’s journeys as comfortable as we were possibly able to do and we were fortunate that we could afford to stay in a nearby hotel so that we could visit and keep Dad’s spirits up. He may be a big strong man, never scared of anything in the past, but he was frightened now. Not being able to walk or do things for himself, would have been the final straw for him and he needed our support.
Dad came home a couple of days later……………………..a different person. Mr Molloy was able to “rebuild” the disintegrated vertebra and repair the deteriorating one, using the balloon procedure and it was all done with the smallest of wound and without limitation in mobility. Dad left the hospital, just 2 days later, smiling and walking freely. He had barely any pain, walked upright and without any stiffness for the first time in a few years. He almost had a swagger to him!! He smiled, laughed and started going out again. He finished his “man cave” and beavered away in there to his heart’s content, making gates, furniture, or just “tinkering”. Within a few months we had slowly halved his dose of zomorph and he has not taken any oramorph since. He occasionally takes a few paracetamol when he has a few aches and pains.
Since then, Dad has settled into his routine of treatment for the myeloma, accepting the ups and downs that come with the treatment and the drugs, but otherwise does all the things he wants to do. He took a flight to the South of France, with us, earlier this year, for a tour of the area, taking in sights and experiences that he wanted to do. We even popped down to Andorra for an overnight stay because it took his fancy. Sometime I still pinch myself when I consider how he was before the balloon kyphoplasty; a trip to the local pub for a bite to eat had become a chore then and hmale was maldonmaldbecoming a bit of a hermit.
For anyone suffering from myeloma, who has the same degeneration of their spine that Dad experienced, I would want them to seriously consider balloon kyphoplasty. My worry is that whilst it remains a procedure that is only carried out in London and not here in the Midlands, that there will remain many people that either cannot travel to have it or would make a decision not to have it because of the travel at a time when they are in so much pain and simply could not make the journey. A journey that is needed more than once as they must travel the first time, for the consultation and diagnostics tests. The cost of the journey, with potential hotel costs for anyone offering them support and driving them there is also something that could and most likely does prevent some sufferers from having the opportunity for the kind of transformation that my Dad had and for the quality of life that it has given him.
Dad’s life and as a result also ours, would not be the same had we not trusted in Dr Shafeek and Mr Molloy. I hope that the future brings the opportunity for others to have the treatment when it is needed and without the consideration of a long tortuous journey to have it.
Mr D.L – My experience with Dr S.Shafeek & BMI Priory Birmingham
BMI Priory Treatment
I first recognised I was ill when I had pain in my groin and my leg swelled up from my hip down to my toes and was red all over.
During the Bank holiday weekend, my leg became more swollen and painful, so I attended the Primary Care Unit on the 2nd May 2011. The doctor at the Primary Care Unit suspected Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and immediately injected me with Clexane to prevent blood clotting.
On the National Health I was referred to Kidderminster Hospital for a scan with suspected Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). During the first manual scan, my Lymph Node in the groin area was identified as being enlarged.
A second CT scan was carried out at Kidderminster Hospital and identified more accurately as being enlarged and suspected Lymphoma.
My GP arranged for Clexane injections on a daily basis and also introduced Warfarin and was in the process of arranging a biopsy on the National Health. I explained to my GP that I had private medical insurance and asked to be referred privately.
I was then referred to Dr Shafeek who following examination and blood tests at BMI Droitwich immediately admitted me to the BMI Priory for a Biopsy and further examination.
At the Priory during a two night stay, various blood tests were taken and medication given to reverse the affect of Warfarin and a CT guided Biopsy was carried out.
After a two night stay and the Biopsy completed, I was sent home with medication including a steroid tablet.
Within a week, at my next appointment with Dr Shafeek he explained the result of the Biopsy and I was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B Cell – Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Having been given the diagnosis of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, Dr Shafeek arranged for R-CHOP Chemotherapy to be carried out at the BMI Priory as soon as possible and I was told that I would need six sessions with a three week interval between sessions. The treatment was to last for a period of approximately 5 months.
Before the Chemotherapy started a Bone Marrow sample was taken and PET scan for later reference. I attended the BMI Priory Chemotherapy Unit to receive the first R-CHOP chemotherapy session on the 19th May 2011, and the complete session lasted approximately 8 hours.
The Chemotherapy sessions were administered to me as a day patient and I then returned home when completed. After only one session of Chemotherapy and two weeks of the steroid tablet my leg swelling started to reduce. Approximately two weeks after the first Chemotherapy session I developed Flu like symptoms with raised temperature and was admitted to the BMI Priory for further investigation.
During my stay at the Priory which was 4 nights the treatment I received was various blood tests and a intravenous antibiotics. Because of the infection and the admission to the Priory the 2nd Chemotherapy session was delayed for one week after which I continued through the other 5 session without any repeat of the infection until completion of the Chemotherapy on the 8th September 2011.
Approximately six weeks after completion of the Chemotherapy a further PET scan taken to make an assessment of progress. I then went on to receive 15 sessions of Radiotherapy which was completed on the 13th December 2011.
During the period between the first visit to the Primary Care Unit on the 2nd May and the completion of radiotherapy on the 13th December Clexane injections were administered daily.
I am very grateful to all of the doctors, nurses and staff at the BMI Priory and for the way the treatment was administered. For all the treatment I received at the Priory I would consider it as being 1st class and highly recommended. I have managed to go back to full time work now and till now part time during treatment period.
Mr DM , Kidderminster
Cannot thank enough for Dr Shafeek’s care during the disease duration for leaving no stone unturned in the effort to treating David’s battle with Myeloma.
Mrs OC , Kidderminster
Thanks for Dr Shafeek’s care and dedication in fighting my illness. Keeping me updated with all progress and getting me the most up-to-date treatment in Myeloma.
Mrs LK, Worcester
Thanks for Dr Shafeek’s effort and dedication to treat my rare blood disorder , PNH and Aplastic anaemia. Biggest ever gift in my life to get my little boy William. All the struggle and dedication through the care of my high risk pregnancy at Worcestershire Royal hospital , inspite of the highly thrombotic risk factor and previous miscarriage. My wonderful little boy is growing healthy and normally active.
Mr BC , Stourport -on-Severn
Thanks for understanding my personal needs and wishes during my illness with CLL. Dr Shafeeks commitment in my care was fantastic. Easily approachable and special gift of listening to my problems through my illness. I will never forget your kindness.
Mr AJ, Stourbridge
I would like to thanks Dr Shafeek for all the care he has given to my mother during her terminal illness. My mum had every confidence in you as her Consultant and took all your advice religiously
Mrs CS, Burford, Oxon
Thanks to Dr Shafeek taking the extra care in managing my mother Mrs B.S from Broadway Worcester in managing her High Grade NHL at her age of 83yrs. She is back to normal and her care at BMI priory during her chemotherapy was out of the world. Inspite of the distance she really enjoyed the great attention you have given to her. She is enjoying her life with her friends.
Mr RE, Chepstow
I would like to thank Dr Shafeek for the kindness and generosity you have shown to my mother Mrs PJ during her fight with Lymphoma. She was on the verge of severe mental depression and the stress of travelling to Plymouth for treatment. Your encouragement and attention to the detail of her health and concerns have given her strength and confidence she needed to overcome her illness. It was not just the chemotherapy for Lymphoma but also your warmth and humanity that has been equally important. She is back to her normal life and we are all immensely grateful for that.
Mrs S.D, Solihull
I am grateful for your exceptional care towards my husband Dr R.D during the fight with Myeloma. We were fortunate to have you as our consultant. We knew that you have tried everything possible to prolong and improve the quality of Ray’s life and we had absolute faith in you. Ray always enjoyed seeing you and had total confidence that you were doing everything you could to help him.
Mrs A.H, & Mr R.H, Blakedown
Thanks for the excellent care given to our daughter Miss A.H during 18 months- she had memorable moments with your team at Worcester. Your approach to Alex was truly professional and compassionate way through her care. Thanks for arranging all the Bone marrow transplant work up and transfer to QE hospital in Birmingham.
Mrs S.T, Redditch
Dr Shafeek’s care looking after my husband with Myeloma was absolutely first class. He has made a devastating experience so much easier to andure with his patience and kindness. He has kept us informed of all new developments in the treatment of Myeloma.