Information 6′s Trooper Steve recognized with kidney most cancers amid COVID-19 pandemic
ORLANDO, Fla. – As part of the News 6 Morning Team, traffic safety expert Steven Montiero shares his experiences on the streets as a Florida State soldier and a US Air Force veteran with viewers from Central Florida.
He’s usually a public figure who shares his life with many, but it was only now that he decided to turn to a specific chapter: his encounter with cancer.
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“When that started, I think it was the biggest thing to settle in – and I need to say a lot – but a silent fear,” said Montiero.
Last April, when central Florida saw the first wave of COVID-19 cases, Montiero was struck by a sudden and unexpected illness that took him to the hospital.
“I feel like a healthy, aspiring person at 100 mph, military and law enforcement, here on News 6, and it goes, goes, goes and next I’m on my side face,” he said.
Not only did he have concerns about what might have to do with his health, he also said the hospital environment was particularly intimidating given the climate at the time due to COVID-19.
“I had never seen nurses in almost full hazmat suits. They speak from the tip of their toes to the tip of their heads – completely covered. The gas mask looks like, not just the N95 stuff we’re talking about, but also full-fledged breathing masks designed just to be transported by ambulance and taking you to the hospital, ”he said.
His care team at AdventHealth Altamonte found bacterial pneumonia in his double lungs, but after a CT scan of his chest, something was discovered in his right kidney.
“Just like in my cop world, my military service, I expect the most dangerous situations in the hope that none of them will happen, but in this case it was cancer,” said Montiero.
And it was discovered based on what he thought were symptoms of COVID-19.
“There was something (concerning) when (the doctor) told me. You don’t show me such a scan and say, “You have a golf ball-sized tumor on the bottom of your kidney,” and you expect someone to think it’s just fine, “he said.
Dr. Steve Williams, urologist and robotic surgeon at AdventHealth, explained how he found Montiero’s tumor.
News 6 Morgen Anker and health reporter Kirstin O’Connor asked Williams if it was typical of someone showing signs of COVID-19 to have a CT scan.
“You know, we were very early in the COVID epidemic and he was having a lot of breathlessness. They weren’t sure if this was typical COVID,” Williams said. “In fact, I think his COVID test was negative and they did the CT scan to see if there was some other cause for his shortness of breath and that then led to the discovery of the tumor in the kidney.”
When his diagnosis began, Montiero said he had dealt with isolation both physically and mentally and faced his situation without being able to have loved ones next to him.
“(My mother) was the only person I was worried about. She was there from the start and she knew she had to worry about me now and she never had to worry about me, ”he said.
In the hospital alone, his lungs recovered.
But the next step, the operation of the tumor, would have to wait two months, which Montiero said startled him.
“And I say, ‘So you want me to go back to the world where we don’t know where COVID is, and then you want me to come back here for a procedure where you open me up?’ It’s hard to trust your life to someone you don’t know, ”said Montiero.
He says he had no choice but to be patient and hold on to his belief.
As you may know, Montiero is back at work and fine, but he will be sharing more details about his recovery tomorrow on News 6 and ClickOrlando.com.
Soldier Steve would not have known about his condition had he not gone to the hospital after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. He’s now telling his story to encourage others not to neglect their health needs for fear of visiting a health facility during the coronavirus pandemic.
Health officials have also warned against postponing necessary visits, as doing so could cause a person’s condition to deteriorate over time. Doctors in Florida have been saying for months that hospitals are “very, very safe.” More information on hospital security during the pandemic can be found here.
The Mayo Clinic and CDC also offer tips on how to safely see your doctor during the pandemic.
Telemedicine is also a great option for anyone who believes they may not need emergency medical care and are still trying to limit in-person visits. Click here to find telemedicine options in Central Florida.
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