Testimonials

University of Maryland Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates

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Our Latest Patient Testimonial

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- Jessica G

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Success Stories

In June of 2001, I was diagnosed with oral cancer. The cancer had spread to the lymphnodes in my neck. My future looked bleak.

Then I met Dr. Robert Ord, whom—with God’s help—I credit for saving my life. Dr. Ord orchestrated a plan of attack. In July 2001 Dr. Ord removed my cancerous left jaw and numerous lymph nodes. Six weeks later I began radiation treatments then limited chemotherapy. Prior to my first reconstructive surgery in November of 2001, I had 30 hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments and then 15 more post surgery. During my treatments Dr. Ord met weekly with my oncologists and other medical care providers to discuss my case. Since my diagnosis I have had four surgeries, three having to do with reconstruction.

While my journey has been challenging, it has helped tremendously to know that Dr. Ord and his wonderful staff and colleagues are always available to help me… to know that I have not gone on this journey alone. The support, encouragement and compassion I have received have helped to give me my strength, courage and a positive attitude. I am living proof of the power of prayer. My odds for the cancer to not return were not in my favor, yet here I am today cancer-free; and, thanking God for each day he gives me. Each day is a blessing and I sincerely thank Dr. Ord and everyone involved in my treatment for helping me to beat the odds.– C. Linwood Evans

Many of us are celebrating renewal at this time of year. For family members who have cancer survivors, the celebration means an additional fresh start.

I, too, have a family member who just completed the ordeal of radiation and chemotherapy for oral cancer. He is just now able to taste one flavor a little bit — chocolate. We’re hoping that he’ll be able to savor a chocolate egg to celebrate the season. There’s nothing like chocolate to restore body and soul.

It’s uplifting to read about the head and neck cancer success stories on the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s (UMSOM) Web site. My family joins others in offering praises for the incredible care received from Dr. Robert Ord, chief and professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery, UMSOM, Greenebaum Cancer Center. It’s not only Dr. Ord’s Scottish lilt that perks you up; it’s the complete package of professional skills and care received from the oral cancer specialists and staff. Dr. Ord, who is known internationally as one of the best physicians for oral cancer treatment, is helping many patients and their families cope, hope and thrive.

The healing environment offered through the Stoler Pavilion in the Greenebaum Cancer Center is also helpful. Family members waiting for loved ones in surgery are able to bask in the multi-storied solarium in peace. Staff understand the importance of considering  the family’s needs, as well as including family as members of the team for the patient’s care and recovery.

Beyond being part of the medical treatment, all family members can add to the positive efforts toward recovery. It’s a vital part of holding onto hope for a cure. There are the delivery of get well wishes and prayers for healing, gifts of bright flowers and carefully selected foods, assistance with transportation for treatments, simple calls and emails relating others’ news as usual, and the hugs and caresses. Even the littlest family members can add a bright touch of optimism through a brief telephone call, pod cast viewing or delivery of artwork.

Not too long ago, I heard about the day that my relative arrived home to find a door-sized paper sign taped in the entryway with gigantic lettering proclaiming, “We love you, Pop Pop.” The sign is now a bit tattered and weather-worn but is still present in the celebration of life.

– Nancy Eason, Baltimore Family Health Examiner

Dear Sir/Madam,

After I was widowed in 1995, I met my present wife working on a job site in Washington, DC. I was an Electrical Systems Field Engineer working with Zenith Controls, Russelectric, GE, and other systems. I moved from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois to the Baltimore area in 1998. As a retiree, I spend my time on home improvements and video/audio system repairs, and music and Italian cooking bring me great joy.

In March of 2012 I experienced a loose tooth in my lower set of teeth. I thought it was due to biting on something hard while eating ribs at a restaurant. After visiting a dentist and having the tooth removed, another tooth next to it came loose a couple of weeks later. I returned to the dentist for several visits and I was finally recommended to see an oral surgeon. I was originally diagnosed with severe gum disease and was going to have treatment to replace the bone tissue. When the oral surgeon began the treatment, he saw that my bone tissue was severely compromised. He then recommended that I see the maxillofacial specialists at UMOMSA.

When I met the specialists in Dr. Ord’s group in September 2012, I was examined by Dr. Donita Dyalram. Her diagnosis was oral cancer (squamous carcinoma). I was soon scheduled for surgery on October 22, 2012 – my present wife’s birthday.

After the surgery, I spent time in the ICU and regular patient wards. I was released 15 days later due to some complications not related to the surgery. After returning home, I was scheduled for 30 radiation treatments during December and January. The radiation treatment affected me the most and gave me the most pain due to skin burns on my neck. I also felt fatigued after this treatment. According to the doctors, the good news was that the surgery and radiology treatments gave me greater than 70 percent chance of recovery.

My life was greatly affected by the cancer and treatment in that I would never smoke cigarettes or cigars again, after 47 years of tobacco use. I was also told to avoid strong alcoholic drinks, which I had drunk a lot of. I learned that drinking alcohol and smoking together produced a synergy of toxic effects that could lead to a higher risk of contracting cancer.

My experience with the UMOMSA doctors and staff was great. I felt like I had made new friends in and out of the hospital. I owe them the highest gratitude since they actually saved my life. I always look forward to the office visits to see and talk with them again.

My advice to anyone wondering if they should proceed with any recommended treatment by the UMOMSA group would be to trust them and proceed knowing that they will receive the best care available. (No, this is not a paid endorsement, I speak from experience.) Your best interests are always at the forefront of their work. -Bob Cangialosi

When oral surgeon Dr. Jane Daly called Gary Stasulli in the evening, he knew it wasn’t good. A small area on his lower gum had been swollen for about three weeks before Dr. Daly performed a routine biopsy. After waiting another two weeks to hear the results, he was shocked to learn it was cancer. Dr. Daly recommended him to see Dr. Robert Ord and Dr. Donita Dyalram at UMOMSA.

Oral cancer is normally associated with heavy smoking, alcohol drinking, and the HPV virus, none of which applied to Stasulli. “You hear about people getting cancer all the time, but I never thought I would ever have cancer. I have lived a pretty healthy life and I’m in good shape,” he said. Stasulli is father of three daughters and has led a career in the construction industry working as a union glazier.

Within 2 months, he was scheduled for surgery to remove the mass. The procedure consisted of cutting out the cancerous jaw bone and replacing it with bone from his leg. “You can’t even tell where they cut me,” Stasulli said with pride. All that is left of Dr. Dyalram’s incision is a natural-looking crease that runs under his ear and jaw.

He spent eight days recovering in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). “The jaw never bothered me that much. The hardest part was getting back to walking normally.” During his second or third day in the ICU, all the nurses were clapping for him as he took his first steps after surgery. He was even climbing stairs. “Not many people are walking on this floor,” the nurses had told him. Once home, a cane helped him move around for about three months and prescription medications managed his pain.

Stasulli and his family were elated when the doctors at UMOMSA called to inform them that the cancer was a stage I gingiva cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) and the Cancer Board voted that he would not need chemotherapy or radiation. Three weeks after his surgery, he was on a plane to South Florida to see his granddaughter make her First Communion.

In less than a year his life in Bowie, MD, with his wife Roxanne is back to normal. Now he is in the process of receiving implants to replace the teeth that were lost. He and his wife smile wide when they greet the doctors and staff at UMOMSA. They have faith that the team is ready to take care of whatever he needs next.