Boiler Tender Mac Fournier
United States Navy, 1951-55
Mac Fournier is a 66-year-old retired boat builder and former Navy boiler
tender who was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in November.
Living in Toledo, Oregon with his wife Donna Marie, Mac is a man of many
talents. A mechanic, welder and fiber glass craftsman, Mac has rejuvenated
several cars including the complete rebuilding and restoration of his
1937 Plymouth. He occasionally drag races that car at the renowned Woodburn
drag strip. He has built several fiberglass commercial fishing boats and
is teaching the trade to his forty-one-year-old son.
A man of many trades, Mac essentially built the home in which he and Donna now live.
For many years he fished commercially, trolling for salmon off the Oregon
and Washington coasts during the fishing season. He started this type
of fishing with his stepfather when he was fifteen years old in Depoe
Mac enjoys fishing and elk hunting. A student of the American Revolution
and U.S.A. Constitution, he talks the talk and walks the walk of an independent
and free man.
Around September of this year, Mac was working on an outside fiberglass
deck. He was "not up to par" when doing the job. He felt "detached",
as though he could not bring his full powers of concentration to his work.
A few weeks later, Mac began experiencing an odd left-sided chest pain.
There was pain around the left nipple, and a "crampy" pain along
the left rib cage. Mac ignored the discomfort until he developed flu-like
symptoms. His wife Donna pestered Mac to see a doctor. Mac had been so
healthy, he had no family physician, so in early October he went to Donna's
doctor, Dr. Sayer, in Toledo, Oregon.
Restored 1937 Plymouth
One of the yachts built by Mac
Dr. Sayer took several chest films, which showed a large pleural effusion.
Dr. Sayer promptly scheduled a thoracentesis for the next day.
Mac Fournier, hunting elk
Mac had other things to do that day, and he nonchalantly missed the appointment.
The level of his doctor's concern did not really register until Mac
was urged to get the thoracentesis at the local emergency room at Pacific
Community Hospital in Newport, Oregon. Dr. Sean Stewart removed approximately
two liters of tannish fluid from the left side of Mac's chest. Cytology
on the fluid was negative.
Dr. Sayer felt Mac should get a second opinion, and referred him to a pulmonologist,
Dr. John Gotchall. In the meantime, the pleural effusions quickly returned.
Dr. Gotchall scheduled Mac for a thoracentesis, tissue biopsy and talc
pleurodesis at Good Samaritan Hospital. Dr. Hudson, a thoracic surgeon,
performed the procedure on October 29. Another four liters of fluid were
removed from Mac's chest. He was hospitalized for five days.
The tissue samples were tested at two different pathology laboratories.
Three weeks after the surgery, Mac was advised of the diagnosis of malignant
mesothelioma of the pleura.
Mac and Donna Marie
Mac, his family and friends all began gathering information on the dread
disease. Dr. Gotchall referred Mac to Dr. Eric Vallieres at the University
of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, Washington for surgical consultation.
Dr. Vallieres is a renowned mesothelioma expert and member of the Science
Advisory Board of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF),
a 501-c not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to eradicate mesothelioma
as a life-ending disease.
However, from what Mac had read of surgery, nothing good would come of
it. The more Mac read, the more he became convinced that the key was to
build the immune system, the natural way, through diet and herbal medicines.
Mac did not want to "slash and burn" the immune system with
chemotherapy. He takes an "immune enhancing complex" called
MGN 3, a tablet from Compaseo Net. Mac had read that MGN 3 in one instance
had effectively quelled a myeloma.
Mac notices only that his sense of smell has grown more acute, which he
considers a good thing. He realizes his diet has to change, and feels
his body is trying to tell him what he should eat: "Some things are
not as tasty as they used to be." Not a big meat eater, Mac has little
taste for meat now. He is eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and drinking
carrot juice and a green vegetable drink his daughter introduced him to.
He bought a juicer that doesn't heat up the juice and rob it of its
Mac is currently seeking alternative treatments.
A strapping six feet, two inches tall, Mac has been able to maintain his
body weight around 200 pounds. (He remembers that he weighed 208 pounds
before the last thoracentesis, and lost eight pounds in water weight!).
He has had some night sweats, oddly localized to his left side.
Contemplative and philosophical, Mac Fournier focuses on educating himself
about his treatment options and staying busy working on his barn and in
his workshed. He feels very strongly he must continue to exercise if he
is to have a chance to survive. We will keep you updated on the progress
of this strong-willed and independent individual.
*** POSTED JANUARY 31, 2001 ***
Mr. Mac Fournier passed away on February 26, 2001