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About Holy Name Medical Center About Holy Name Medical Center

Key Phone Numbers

  • Medical Center Operator

  • 201-833-3000

  • Physician Referral Service

  • 877-HOLY-NAME (465-9626)

  • Patient Information

  • 201-833-3300

  • Foundation (Donations)

  • 201-833-3187

  • Human Resources

  • 201-833-7040

  • Medical Staff Office

  • 201-833-3352

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Amador Torres - Hope after a Dire Prognosis

Amador Torres was just 19 years old when he was told that with treatment, his doctors hoped they could give him another 10 to 15 years of life. A rare cancer was spreading through his abdomen and chest and they hoped surgery and follow-up treatment would stave off the disease for a while.

He was just starting out in life – a young father with a 7-month-old daughter and a good, albeit, physically strenuous job. He was too stunned to be upset.

"I was making excellent money and doing really well," Amador said. "I had always been so active – swimming and playing football. This just didn't seem real."

Amador had carcinoid tumors, a type of cancer that can start in more than one area of the body simultaneously. It is most often found in the gastrointestinal tract or the lungs. Symptoms can vary, ranging from a pain in the abdomen to a bad cough.

Amador had no symptoms until a piercing pain lodged in his lower back. He collapsed after getting up from the couch where he was sitting with his mom and puppy and went to a local hospital near his home in Elizabeth.

A series of scans showed four tumors and doctors scheduled an 8-hour surgery to remove them. But when they opened him up, they saw he also had at least 17 tumors on his liver and the procedure was stopped. There were just too many growths to remove.

"The surgeon told me the best thing he could do for me was leave me the way I was and start chemotherapy to try and shrink some of the tumors," Amador said. "That's when he told me he was hoping chemotherapy would give me another 10 to 15 years."

So began Amador's odyssey of drug-filled days, including opiates, anti-anxiety medications and blood thinners. They wreaked havoc on his system, physically, emotionally and spiritually. About a year later, he couldn't muster up the effort to play with his daughter.

"I was so numb and lost," he said. "She was sitting on my lap and I couldn't do it. I'm 6'1" and I had lost 77 pounds. The oncology team wasn't helping me. So I just prayed and flushed all my medications down the toilet. I knew I needed something else."

The something else was Holy Name Medical Center. Amador found Dr. Giuseppe Condemi, a hematologist/oncologist who specializes in carcinoid cancer. "He helped me rebuild my life," Amador said.

"I met this amazing oncology team at Holy Name, which helped me have more faith," he said. "Dr. Condemi gave me a different chemotherapy and I have progressed so much. I'm sticking with Holy Name no matter what, even though it's farther from my home than other hospitals."

Amador is back to his normal weight at 225 pounds and his energy has returned. He's able to work part-time, go to the gym and most importantly, play with his daughter, now 6 years old.

"If it wasn't for Dr. Condemi and Holy Name, I don't know what would have happened to me," Amador said. "I am still in treatment and usually need some type of procedure every two years. I still have four tumors – in my kidney, pancreas, and two in my chest. But I've learned to give it my all and no matter how hard things are or how bad they look, never give up."

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