Take Charge

92-Year-Old Celebrates Last Round of Radiation with Sweet Sound of Success

August 10, 2016

FrankJohnsonBellRing640.jpg From left, Dr. Sarah Hoffe, Norma Johnson, Frank Johnson and Gloria Wood, RN.

The musical melodies of sleigh bells, church bells and school bells don’t resonate like the sweet symphony of a bell ringing in Moffitt Cancer Center’s radiation department. Frank Johnson, 92, heard the clanging cacophony just minutes after finishing his last radiation treatment for esophageal cancer.

JohnsonJust months earlier, Johnson was cruising the Panama Canal with his wife of 65 years by his side when he noticed he was having trouble swallowing. Physicians diagnosed him with esophageal cancer and further tests revealed it spread to his lungs and his liver. Chemotherapy was the only option given to him and only offered a 50 percent chance of success.

Fortunately, Johnson fell into the better half of the 50 percent and the tumors in his liver and lungs shrank within five weeks of treatment. He was now a good candidate for radiation treatment and he spent the next 6½ weeks undergoing 28 radiation sessions.

On the last day of his treatment, Johnson stood with his wife and his team of physicians by his side as he rang a bell in the radiology department to signify the end of his radiology journey and offer hope to the dozens of people in the waiting room just beginning their journey.

All patients at Moffitt have an opportunity to hear the joyous ringing of a bell as they celebrate the end of radiation and chemotherapy treatments.