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HVAC Service Manager Traces His Treatment

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Gerald “Gerry” McCarthy grew up in Brooklyn, New York with five siblings in the same house his father, a New York policeman, had grown up in. Gerry and his wife Rosanne were married in 1978 and had four boys. The family moved across country from New York to California in 1988. At 59 years old, Gerry was a hard-working man who enjoyed his job as an HVAC service manager and had no plans of slowing down.

Gerry never smoked and enjoyed good health until in 2007 he was diagnosed with interstitial fibrosis after seeing the doctor for labored breathing. He received treatment and his symptoms seemed to subside.

It wasn’t until four years later, while Gerry was vacationing in the mountains of Big Bear California, that his symptoms returned. He dismissed the symptoms as being caused by the elevation until the next week when he was in Las Vegas and the symptoms had worsened. He decided to see his doctor and was informed that his right lung was surrounded by a liter and a half of fluid. The fluid was drained but it returned within two weeks.

Gerry and Rosanne, a registered nurse, did some online research and became terrified when all signs seemed to point to the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. They were both familiar with this ruthless disease which had claimed the lives of two of Gerry’s family members. Gerry’s oldest brother Kevin died of peritoneal mesothelioma in 1998 and his uncle Gerard died of pleural mesothelioma in 2001. A biopsy was performed and their fears were realized when Gerry was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.

Gerry and Rosanne did not give up hope. When their local doctors told them that surgery was not an option and the chances of a favorable response to chemotherapy were slim, they took matters into their own hands and went back to the internet. They soon learned that Dr. Robert Cameron, one of the nation’s leading pleural mesothelioma experts was located nearby at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Gerry met with Dr. Cameron and in May of 2011 and learned that he was a candidate for the lung-sparing pleurectomy/decortication surgery. Gerry underwent the procedure later that month. Following his recovery from the surgery, Gerry underwent five weeks of radiation treatments. Thereafter, Gerry had interferon injections to boost his immune system and fight against tumor recurrence.

Unfortunately, despite Gerry’s gallant and determined fight, and despite receiving the best medical treatment available, the mesothelioma returned in December 2011. Gerry continued fighting, but ultimately lost his battle with mesothelioma on April 15, 2012.

Gerry is survived by his wife Rosanne and their four sons. He was a devoted father and husband. When he found out he had mesothelioma he wasn’t worried about himself; he was scared for his wife and kids.

A Limb has fallen from the family tree.
I keep hearing a voice that says,
"Grieve not for me.
Remember the best times, the laughter, the song.
The good life I lived while I was strong.
Continue my heritage, I'm counting on you.
Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through.
My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest.
Remembering all, how I truly was blessed.
Continue traditions, no matter how small.
Go on with your life, don't worry about falls
I miss you all dearly, so keep up your chin.
Until the day comes we're together again."
Author unknown


*** Posted on August 28, 2012 ***