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Patient Stories

Cheryl Koniuszy

Conquering Colon Cancer

Minimally Invasive Colectomy Helps Grandmother Heal

When Cheryl Koniuszy’s colonoscopy results revealed a tumor earlier this year, she knew she needed surgery. On the recommendation of her doctor, she came to Christian Hospital and surgeon Nishant Raj, MD — and was immediately ready to be admitted.

“I really liked Dr. Raj right from the start. He doesn’t hold any punches, but he doesn’t scare you half to death either. He’s very calm, but he tells it like it is,” Cheryl says. “I knew right away he was the right surgeon.”

Dr. Raj performed a laparoscopic colectomy, which is a procedure to remove part of the colon. It’s a minimally invasive approach that can bring earlier, speedier recovery and less pain. “When you have a patient with stage 3 cancer who needs more therapies than surgery alone, as Cheryl did, laparoscopic surgery, instead of traditional open surgery, allows that patient to be seen earlier by the oncologist and to be given chemotherapy at an earlier date,” Dr. Raj explains.

The surgery was successful, allowing Cheryl, 67, to commence chemotherapy almost immediately. Shortly after the colectomy and just weeks after her last chemo treatment, Cheryl was cancer free and back home gardening, swimming, watching Cardinals baseball games and enjoying her grandchildren — who live just a few houses away in her Troy, Ill., neighborhood.

Looking back on her experience at Christian Hospital, Cheryl says, “Of all the hospitals I’ve been in — and I’ve worked at hospitals and been in others for surgical procedures — this by far is the best. I would recommend Christian Hospital to anyone who needs any sort of surgery or medical care.”

“This is truly a community hospital. We treat each other like family. I love coming into work every day. I love the people I work with and I love the patients that I get to help,” says Dr. Raj.

Cheryl not only appreciated the exceptional clinical care she received, but also the warm and friendly feel of the hospital. As Dr. Raj explains, “One of the benefits of Christian Hospital is that we have everything here. As a BJC HealthCare facility, we have all the capabilities and amenities of big, academic hospitals, but in a community setting.”

Dr. Raj also understands Cheryl’s appreciation of Christian Hospital’s welcoming ambiance. “This is truly a community hospital. We treat each other like family,” he says. “I love coming into work every day. I love the people I work with and I love the patients that I get to help.”

Cheryl placed a lot of trust in Dr. Raj and the expert gastroenterology and oncology teams at Christian Hospital, and says she’s glad she did. “I would so highly recommend — and have recommended — Christian Hospital and its surgical staff to anyone,” she says. “I’m feeling stronger every day, and I know I have that entire team to thank for it.”

Hear other patient stories or read the current issue of Christian Cares magazine.


Christian Hospital and Northwest HealthCare, members of BJC HealthCare, provide world-class medical care to the communities of North County, Greater St. Louis County and Southern Illinois.

For more information, call 314.747.WELL.

Find a doctor or make an appointment: 800.392.0936
General Information: 314.653.5000
Christian Hospital
11133 Dunn Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63136


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