RIP Lawrence Mekic
On October 12, 2020 we lost Lawrence. We honor his memory every day.
I am 69-years-old, married 48 years, and have two sons, three grandsons, and one great grandson. My oldest son, Larry A. Sr. and his son Larry A. Jr. and I go racing in Lyle New York at Thunder Mountain Speedways. My grandson, Jr., drives the race car. We work on the car in our garage at home in Madisonville PA.
I was working on the racecar one day cleaning parts when I mistakenly sprayed a can of carburetor cleaner with the nozzle pointing towards my chest. I immediately started to rub my chest with a paper towel after taking my shirt off because the cleaner does burn the skin. I felt a lump. This was in April of 2018. I told my family physician about it and he sent me for a mammogram, the mammogram turned into a biopsy. At that point the radiologist called me and informed me I had Stage 3 breast cancer on the left side and a pea-sized tumor on the right side. I was devastated, never in a million years did I think a man could get breast cancer.
I went to Dr. Erin Miller at Geisinger Cancer Clinic to find out how to move forward with this issue. She suggested the best way was a double mastectomy, and surgery was scheduled for May 4, 2018. Surgery lasted six hours, and I did well with it. Lymph nodes were removed and tested positive. I originally thought the surgery would be the worst of it, but it was not. I started Chemo treatments as a precaution to make sure that all of the cancer was gone. The chemo was the hard part. Two or three days after the treatment, I would be very sick for about a week. I took the four treatments and made it through them, although can’t say I was unhappy when they were completed. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do any radiation treatment. I’m on the hormone blocker Tamoxifen.
I have been back to all of my doctors involved for my checkups (surgeon, family doctor, oncologist) and they all say I am doing good. Then in November of 2019, I went to the doctors for what I thought was a flu. A chest x-ray reveled spots on my lung. I was sent for a scan which revealed my cancer was back, this time in my lung and liver. I was placed on Verzenio which seemed to work for the lung tumors but did nothing to the liver so I am not off the Verzenio and will be undergoing intensive chemotherapy for the next couple of weeks.
I have my faith, my wife, family, and friends to thank for getting me through it. I had a very special sister-in-law and niece who traveled over 350 miles to be with myself and my family through my surgery and part of my recovery. They keep a check on me all the time. I am blessed in that I had enormous support from everyone, including the race community.
All of our friends from the track supported us through this ordeal. When I first found out about this, I told the boys to go ahead and start the racing season, but they chose to wait for me, missing the first five races of the season. I don’t have the words to express what this meant to me. I am blessed with the help of my family support and the grace of God by making the mistake and spraying myself. I was told if I had not found it when I did, there was a possibility I would have only lasted a few months. Once again I say thank you to all of my doctors and nurses at Geisinger Cancer Clinic. Without them I could not have done it. They are a special group of people.