Mark Speckhart: Love and Support During Throat Cancer


I am proud husband and father of three beautiful children.  I am a 47-year-old esophageal cancer survivor.  I discovered my condition in August 2011.

 

Part 14 | Support Is the Best Medicine

Mark talks about how the support of family, friends, nurses, and so many more, carried him through treatment. He reflects on the importance of realizing you're not alone on your journey.

 

About Mark Speckhart

I am proud husband and father of three beautiful children.  I am a 47-year-old esophageal cancer survivor.  I discovered my condition in August 2011.
 
I was diagnosed with a stage III, 3cm adenocarcinoma better known as esophageal cancer. I went through 11 chemotherapy and 28 continuous radiation treatments.   I rested for six weeks and then my doctors performed an 8-hour surgery during which they removed the lower area of my esophagus and 20% of my stomach and pulled the remaining part of my stomach up and attached it to the remaining part of my esophagus. 
 
This all happened 4 years ago and I thank God and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center every day for allowing me to be here.
 
I am now a Patient Advocate speaking with patients pre and post surgery.  My role is to help by giving explanations on what patients with similar medical situations can expect as far physical and mental challenges during treatment and then after treatment.
 
For all of the help, advice and medical attention I received, I see this as the very least I can do. If I can help you in any way please feel free to reach out to me. 
 

Learn more about the 360 interview series.

 

Previous Chapters:

 

Part 1 | Leading to the Condition

Mark recalls his childhood and his life before the diagnosis.

Part 2 | Being Diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer

Mark reflects on the day he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

 

Part 3 | Telling the Family

Mark discusses how he and his wife decided to tell friends and familiy about his diagnosis with esophageal cancer as well as the importance of privacy and protecting their young children from the fear and stress of having a parent with cancer.

 

Part 4 | Treatment

Mark talks about combining homeopathic treatment and more traditional cancer treatment therapies. He also discusses his chemotherapy and his surgery to remove part of his stomach and a section of his esophagus.

 

Part 5 | Support & Radiation

Mark reflects on being surrounded by love and support from his family and friends during his esophageal cancer treatment. He also talks about what it was like to treat his tumor with radiation and the process of "gating" to pinpoint the treatment.

 

Part 6 | Final Day of Radiation

Mark talks about how he started his radiation therapy on his birthday and ended his radiation therapy on his son's birthday. He reflects on how grateful he was to be continually surrounded by love through his treatment.

 

Part 7 | My First Meal

Mark talks about the surprising item he has as his first meal after his esophageal cancer treatment.

 

Part 8 | Trusting the Support

Mark talks about treating neutropenia with a blood booster after having 9 chemotherapy treatments. He also shares how everyone in his treatment plan was filled with support and went the extra mile to make him feel safe and comfortable.

 

Part 9 | Life After Cancer

Mark talks about having to adjust the way he eats and sleeps after his cancer treatments. He is keeping a positive mindset, he feels good and more alive and is grateful for all the people he has met and those who have impacted him, his family, and friends.

 

Part 10 | Becoming a Cancer Advocate

Mark shares about meeting Bart, a fellow esophageal cancer survivor, and patient advocate. Mark also talks about the importance of patient advocacy and having the experience of having lived through the journey as a patient advocate.

 

Part 11 | Making an Impact

Mark talks about the process of becoming an advocate and the bond that he has with the patients he helps. Mark also shares about the importance of feeling that you're not alone through the journey.

 

Part 12 | My Role as a Cancer Advocate

Mark talks about how he tries to be a good advocate for the patients he helps. He asks them about the questions they might have for him, since he has already experienced chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and is maintaining a positive life after surgery.

 

Part 13 | Trusting the Doctors

Mark talks about how after hearing the treatment "game plan" from his doctors, he was able to relinquish control and trust in their care.

 

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