Thanks for selecting me as a Team Draft’s recipient as it was a special day for my wife and I and the owner of my company Anthony Cafaro Jr and his wonderful Gayle . I have been through quite a lot since my diagnosis in early June 2009. I’m a former smoker that quit in 1998 and became a fitness freak in 2001. I became passionate with running and took up competitive racing in both 5k’s and 10k’s at a local park in 2004 and was running about 30 races a year while running and training all year round . While on a six mile run after work with an attorney at my office, I thought that I felt good but on the way home I began to cough up fresh blood. I immediately went to my internist and following a week of testing team of doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, I was informed that I had lung cancer. My thoracic surgeon told me the next sixth months would be hell but I was in the best psychical condition of my life and I’m a type A personality with a great attitude so he told me I could beat this disease if I remained positive and upbeat . I did a split course treatment which was two “zaps” of radiation at 6:00 AM and 2:30, and then had chemotherapy on Mondays after radiation. Mondays were long as I left my house at 4:30 am and would return home at about 9:00PM. Luckily it was for only 12 treatments, but it was very exhausting . PS during those 12 days of treatment I ran about 4 miles at noon outside the Cleveland Clinic in between chemo and radiation treatments.
I then had surgery to remove my upper chamber of my left lung along with a portion of my lower lung. My thoracic surgeon prepared me by telling me it was the one of the most painful surgery’s known and he was not kidding. I got of the hospital in 5 days (normal stay was 6 to 8 days ) as I was determined to be normal . I was told most people take 2 months off on short term disability. I laughed when told that as I was working remote from my house about 10 days after my surgery. Although not moving very quickly I even walked a two mile fund raiser with my lovely wife about 16 days after my surgery. I was in the office about 16 days after my surgery.
After the surgery I had to finish up another round of radiation ( 2 weeks of double “zaps”) and chemotherapy for another three months . I’m proud to say, all while missing just a few days of work . I exercised 4 to 5 cardio sessions from the day I came home from my surgery also started weight lifting two times a week . And the reason I did all this was normalcy – most cancer patients just want to be normal and I was more determined than ever to make that happen !
I have been blessed by the following :1) a great support system in including my entire family but a special thanks to the following , my mother , my sisters, my sons and the true inspiration of my life my wife of 30 years as we have now been together 36 years. We met when I was I was a senior in high school and she was a freshman – she has been a rock thru this whole process and also our entire marriage 2) A great company that I work for called the Cafaro Company a private family owned by the same family since 1950 who gave me the greatest support and incredible medical coverage. The company owns and operates about 30,000, 000 square feet of mall and strip centers coast to coast 3 ) I was lucky and blessed to have one the top hospitals in the world a mere 60 miles from my home the world renowned Cleveland Clinic . My medical team consists of Dr Pennell oncologist, Dr Videdic radiologist, Dr Murthy thoracic surgeon, Dr Barnett neuro surgeon, and Dr Stevens neurologist. I termed them “the dream team of Doctors”. They were all so honest and compassionate with me which helped me thru the whole process.
Unfortunately the story doesn’t end there. I had three straight years of clean CT scans and my first of 2012 was clean back in March. I was losing some short memory and not finishing my thoughts so my Doctors wanted a MRI of my brain in late March. After a few tests, a malignant tumor was discovered on the left frontal lobe of my brain. I underwent brain surgery to remove the tumor and followed up with three weeks of radiation just to be safe. Again I missed about four days of work and was working remotely. I was back to work a couple of days later and traveling to a convention in Las Vegas only three weeks after my last radiation treatment (not really the brightest thing I ever did) .
The objective of this email is show you my plight and how with a great medical team, a great support system , and a great company I probably would not be here today writing this email . Again true special thanks to my wife , my “dream team” at the Clinic and not only the great Doctors but a staff from janitors , nurses, to physician assistants that are the best , most compassionate, well trained and positive employees in this country. Lastly to one the best organizations to work for in country the Cafaro Company in particular our Co President Anthony Cafaro Jr whose support, compassion, and caring nature are so heart felt and appreciated .
Now you can see how truly blessed that I am regardless what I have been through . My prognosis is very good and I have resumed full cardio activities, weight training at my gym about two months after my brain surgery. Yes I’m very lucky as I know that my faith and my God will always look over me and be there every step of the way .
I wake up every day which I consider a true blessing, Please feel free to pass this email along at either Chris Draft Foundation or the Cleveland Clinic. To all have great Holiday Season and Happy Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Hopefully I can meet Mr Draft thru my travels as it would be an honor to do so .
Mark P. Marini