Mike Telesco chose Dr. Bhardwaj as the man to trust with his life

Mike Telesco is a strong, self-sufficient, caring man – an all-around good guy. He and Joan, his wife of nearly half a century, have lived in Stony Point for 40 years.  

Now retired, Mike was a New York City police officer for more than 20 years. He worked in the Drug Squad, Street Crimes and Ballistics. "I saw it all during my time in the department, both the kindness and the viciousness people are capable of," he says. "I had to learn how to stay neutral throughout all kinds of situations."

In February 2013, Mike found a lump under his jaw. Several months of testing produced inconclusive results before Dr. Levine, his ear, nose and throat doctor, discovered that Mike had B-cell lymphoma and referred him to Dr. Bhardwaj and The Bobbi Lewis Cancer Program. 

Joan and Mike had talked about going to New York City for care, but a friend whose wife had been treated by Dr. Bhardwaj gave him rave reviews. Another friend's wife went to nursing school with Liz Glover, who works with Dr. Bhardwaj, and this friend, too, had great things to say about the practice. Those endorsements along with Dr. Levine's referral led Mike to meet with Dr. Bhardwaj. 

After that first appointment, Mike never felt the need to seek care in the City. "I knew that Dr. Bhardwaj was the man I could trust with my life," Mike says. "Dr. Bhardwaj conveys knowledge and sincerity that cannot be described. After I met him, I didn't even think about going anywhere else. He answered all my questions – there were probably 100,000 of them – patiently and thoroughly."

Mike takes an optimistic approach when discussing his cancer. "When Dr. Bhardwaj told me I have Stage 2, I thought that's better than Stage 3 or 4. Obviously, I was upset, but it was almost a relief to get the diagnosis, to finally know what was going on and to learn what I had to do next," he says. With Dr. Bhardwaj in my corner, I knew this was going be a home run."

Dr. Bhardwaj put Mike on a course of chemotherapy. And, after two treatments, the tumors were gone. Four more treatments are scheduled.

Subsequent kidney complications have required inpatient surgical and ICU care at Good Samaritan. Mike has only positive things to say about those experiences. "The nurses are top-shelf. In the OR and recovery room, they were spectacular. They gave me constant attention and were very sensitive to everything I was going through," he says. 

Mike also praises Dr. Bhardwaj's office staff. He appreciates their competence, kindness and friendliness. "They couldn't be better," he remarks. 

More about Mike

Mike plays the guitar and sings Big Band, 50s and 60s music. He is a one-man band, and he uses technology to reproduce the sounds of other instruments so it seems like he has a full group on stage. When he played gigs at the Holiday Inn in Suffern a few years ago, the audience often wondered why the rest of the band wasn't on stage, too.

Mike also plays golf. "I like to try to hit the ball straight," he chuckles. For about five years, he worked at Patriot Hills in Stony Point. Now, he helps out at the NY Country Club in Ramapo. 

Shifting priorities

Since he received his diagnosis, Mike's priorities have changed. "I see things differently. I've always been calm, but now, I feel a different calmness. It takes a lot to get me going. I look forward to simple things, like a nice meal that my wife cooks."

Mike has his eye on the calendar for the PET Scan he'll get after his fourth round of chemo.  "That's when I'll learn if this is completely gone." 

He's also looking ahead to the Giants' next season, hoping it will be better for them. 

"I'm happy with where my life is now," says Mike. "I've lived a good life, but if you give me a guarantee that I'll make it to 85, I'll take it right now!"