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Brothers team up to fight cancer pain

WILLOWBROOK – John Lasota was on holiday in Hawaii when the pain started to kick in.

"I was so sick I couldn't move," said Lasota, 65, of Lemont.

Lasota went to a local doctor's office and was advised to seek additional medical attention when he reached the mainland. After a series of tests and a biopsy in 2009, it was revealed Lasota had prostate cancer and would later need it removed in November 2010 after radiation treatment failed to work.

Six months later, he ran into complications and started to suffer pain to the point where he couldn't walk. He later was transferred to a nursing home for a short period of time.

"When I got released from the nursing home I had severe pain," he said. "I couldn't sit. I had to lay flat or stand up and walk and I hardly had any energy to do that. I was semi bedridden."

That's when Lasota was taken to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, where he would meet the Rahman brothers. They specialize in cancer pain management.

"A lot of times whether it's myself or my brother, we're almost interchangeable at this point, whenever we see patients we try to make them feel extremely comfortable and let them know they can call us at anytime," said Abed Rahman, 37, of Willowbrook.

Abed and his brother, Raed, may not be identical twins, but they've had similar upbringings as they are only a year apart. In fact, both are married and have three children identical in age. And after the brothers spent time in the armed forces, they both pursued a career in medicine.

Two years ago, Raed joined Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Abed followed a year later.

When they met Lasota, he was suffering from tremendous physical pain, so they decided to use a nerve block treatment. Abed said there are six pathways of different nerves that go to the pelvis. It's their job to pick the one that's going to decrease pain by injecting a local anesthetic and steroid around the nerve using a precision-guided x-ray.

Lasota said he received the treatment over a six-month period.

"I'd say 60 to 65 percent of my pain went away," Lasota said.

Treating the physical aspect of pain is one thing, but Raed said him and his brother also need to talk about underlying emotional pain with patients because that greatly affects treatment.

"The mind can start to adapt in a certain way by patients being sad for no reason, afraid or anxious for no reason," Raed said.

Today, Lasota is cancer free and has his pain under control. He couldn't speak more highly of the brothers as he disused their bedside manner, intelligence and just overall comfort they provided him.

"You get treated as a brother, or a sister, a mother or a father," Lasota said. "I get the chills when I talk about them because I really mean it from my heart."

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