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Patient Stories

Douglas Shaw: Liver Cancer Survivor

Douglass Shaw
A cancer diagnosis can be the most devastating experience in one’s life. But, as liver cancer survivor Douglas Shaw learned, it can also change your perspective. 

“I am grateful and blessed to be here,” said Shaw, 72, a retired Amtrak employee. “I know every situation is different and no two cancers are the same. I’ve had dear friends I grew up with who had the same thing I had and passed away. So, I realize I am blessed to be here and for the treatments I receive at Smilow Cancer Hospital.” 

Shaw, who is married and lives in Southington was retired a few years from his job as an equipment operator in Amtrak’s construction engineering department when he received his diagnosis in 2019. 

“I was going to the gym regularly with a former coworker and I had lost some weight, so I thought it was from working out,” Shaw said. “I did my regular checkup with (gastroenterologist) Dr. (Cary) Caldwell and he did not like my numbers, so he ordered a biopsy.” 

The biopsy confirmed that it was liver cancer but, much to Shaw’s surprise, before Dr. Caldwell delivered the news, he had already set up Shaw’s treatment with a team of oncologists and other experts at Smilow Cancer Hospital. 

“All I had to do was keep my appointments,” Shaw said. “From that day forward, I learned not to take anything for granted.” 

He received treatments twice a month until COVID arrived, then it was once a month. He now goes monthly to Smilow Cancer Hospital in North Haven for treatment and praises the work of his doctors, including Dr. Caldwell and Stacey Stein, MD.  

“Everyone who has treated me – the nurses, doctors, everyone – was very caring,” Shaw said. “I have not had a bad experience. All the different faces I’ve seen and treatment I have received, everyone is very caring and professional and polite.” 

While Shaw still faces challenges, he feels confident thanks to the treatment he receives and his attitude of gratitude. 

“Although I don’t exercise like I used to, I still keep active and go out and walk on the trails near my house,” he said. “I’m still on treatment – last month, everything was stable – but I feel alright. By the grace of God, and with help from some good people, I’m still here.”