Healthy You - Every Day

Same-Day Discharge Colon Cancer Surgery Was a Success for David Nauman

The furniture-maker and musician was able to return home the same day as his robotic procedure

Furniture-maker and bluegrass musician David Nauman, 68, is a busy man with no intention of ever retiring.

However, his plans were suddenly up in the air in August 2023 when he was diagnosed with stage 1 colon cancer.

“I didn’t know what my future looked like or how long I could continue doing what I loved,” he says. “I just hoped that whatever treatment I needed wouldn’t keep me down for long.”

Luckily Nauman, who lives in Marshalls Creek, had access to advanced surgical care at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono, and after undergoing robotic surgery and following a specialized protocol (that allowed him to return home the same day as his surgery), he got back to his normal routine in a matter of days.

Beginning his journey

It all started with a screening colonoscopy – Nauman’s first – in spring 2023.

“My brother passed away from colon cancer a few years ago, and that inspired me to get screened,” he says. “I put it off for a while, but this spring, it was like my brother was tapping me on the shoulder.”

Nauman wasn’t experiencing any symptoms, so he expected everything to come back fine. However, when he woke up afterward, gastroenterologist Glenn Short, MD, with LVPG Gastroenterology-Pocono, told him he had found a mass that was likely cancerous.

Nauman was immediately referred to colorectal surgeon Bogdan Protyniak, MD, with LVPG Colon Rectal Surgery-Pocono.

“Dr. Protyniak called me a few days after my colonoscopy and really reassured me,” Nauman says. “I was terrified and had started getting my affairs in order, but he was confident that my cancer could be removed and I would get back to my normal life.”

An advanced surgical approach and innovative recovery protocol

Nauman met with Dr. Protyniak within a week of their first phone call. It was recommended he undergo a robotic sigmoid colectomy (colon resection), which involves removal of the part of the colon closest to the rectum and anus.

“With robotic surgery, there is less manipulation of the bowel because all the work is done inside the body with very small incisions,” Dr. Protyniak says. “This approach leads to less blood loss, less pain overall, shorter recovery times and a lower risk for complications like ileus [where the intestines aren’t able to contract normally].”

Based on his overall health and other factors, Nauman was a candidate to go home the same day as his surgery.

“We know that people like to leave the hospital as soon as possible, and we’ve proven that a select group of patients can do so safely on the day of their procedure,” Dr. Protyniak says. “David was healthy overall, not taking blood thinning medications, didn’t need a temporary ostomy after his procedure and lived within 30 minutes of the hospital with family. He was the perfect candidate.”

Successful treatment and impressive recovery

Nauman’s surgery was a success, and he was in and out of the hospital in under 10 hours.

“I was so glad I could return home the same day,” he says. “Even better, I wasn’t in any pain and had no stomach problems.”

He took it easy for a few days and followed a mild diet, but within a week was back in his workshop.

“I couldn’t believe how well I felt and how soon I was able to get back to work. I couldn’t lift heavy things for a few weeks, but otherwise, it was like nothing happened,” Nauman says. “And for five days after my surgery, Dr. Protyniak called every morning to check in. He’s a terrific doctor, and it made me feel better knowing that he was keeping such a close eye on me.”

An advocate for screenings

Nauman is now considered cancer-free and back to his normal routine. Going forward, he will need more frequent colonoscopies, but that doesn’t bother him in the slightest.

“I tell everyone that they should go get screened. If I hadn’t, things may not have worked out so positively,” he says. “I am so grateful for all the people who took care of me, from the doctors who treated me to the other staff members who sent me sympathy cards in the mail. Everyone went above and beyond to get me back on my feet, and I couldn’t be happier.”


Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute safeguards your well-being with cancer screening tests, including colonoscopies. These tests help us catch the earliest signs of colorectal cancer. Colonoscopies are available at locations throughout the region, making it easier to fit testing into your busy schedule.

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