Mt. Morris Man Rings Cancer Bell at McLaren – The Good News
Gary Howard was diagnosed with base-of-the-tongue cancer earlier this year. Unfortunately, by the time he was diagnosed, cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in his neck. Because of the proximity of cancer to his spinal cord, he had to decide on several different treatment options. He chose to start his chemotherapy and proton therapy in April at McLaren Flint's Proton Therapy Center.
He chose the Proton Therapy Center because Dr. Gayar would be able to target the tumors specifically while leaving alone the healthy tissue around it, thus not damaging his spinal cord. Apparently, protons have a "no exit" release, which means that they stop at the edge of the tumor and won't damage anything around it.
Gary did experience some side effects such as the loss of his facial hair and had some trouble swallowing; he received a feeding tube for the duration of his treatment, and doctors are hopeful that they'll be able to remove it soon.
At the end of June, after ten weeks of treatment, Gary became the 100th patient to ring the victory bell at McLaren Proton Therapy Center.
He's still in speech therapy and said, “I guess you get over the hump and you get better. I’m starting to talk better with speech therapy. It’s all on a good road.”
Congratulations, Gary! Your hard work and persistence to beat this thing have obviously paid off. Continued well wishes to you and your whole family!