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Holding Strong And Unwavering Over Mesothelioma

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Enthusiasm, as defined by Webster’s dictionary: ‘Intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.’ Synonyms of ‘enthusiasm’ include: eagerness, warmth, fervor, zeal, ardor, passion, devotion. Added to this list should be ‘ Harvey McIntyre’.

Harvey McIntyre is a soon to be 70 year-old real estate agent who was born, raised and still lives in Washington state with his wife Laverne. He loves the northwest and “hates the sun.” ‘ Passion

Harvey met his wife Laverne at a party in high school but they weren’t married until ten years later. “It was love at first sight for me, she was tough though,” Harvey says of his wife. They have raised four children and are the proud grandparents of three.

“We’re family oriented,” says Harvey. He and Laverne owned and ran a resort on Hood Canal for a number of years, and loved to go waterskiing and crabbing with the kids. They raced jet boats for 14 years and it was always a family deal. “We would pull them out of school for two weeks every year to take them on skiing trips to Tahoe. We're a family people.” ‘ Devotion

In high school, Harvey was an accomplished gymnast. He won an athletic scholarship to Washington State University. Unfortunately, before Harvey could flip, tumble or spin for WSU, they pulled their scholarship. Instead, he attended a local Junior College that did not offer gymnastics but did offer karate. Karate was a perfect alternative to gymnastics. Harvey was able to still keep fit in addition to throwing punches and kicks – without getting into trouble! You see, Harvey had (and still has) a lot of energy. When Harvey bested his teacher, he left the program and began teaching gymnastics to high school students. He still loved the high-flying thrill of the high bar and the rings. ‘ Eagerness

In 1964, Harvey served in the U.S. Air National Guard as an Airman for six months. For nine years he worked as an auto mechanic. In the late 1960s, Harvey was sitting in a pub and began talking to an old high school buddy. His buddy told him about “this great job where you hang from bridges and paint them!” Harvey, once a gymnast always a gymnast was never afraid of heights. For the next twenty years, Harvey worked as commercial painter. He retired from painting in the 1990s and entered the home developer and real estate business.

Throughout the years, Harvey engulfed life. With an elfish grin and a twinkle in his eye, he will sit with you and tell impish stories of daring challenges, youthful risks and fun loving adventures. From never having lost an arm-wrestling match, to doing back flips off of bar stools up to the age of 50 – with a shot of tequila held tightly in his mouth and never spilling a drop. Just for entertainment. ’ Zeal

Back flipping for fun

He always kept a wad of cash in his dresser, for Laverne to use to bail him out of jail...always for minor offenses, like - chasing his foreman around the job site for unsafe work practices, twisting a clients arm for not paying him the full amount, a dirty license plate (long story)....things like that.

Ya see, Harvey has never been one to back down from anyone/thing. A proud, five foot eight inch Irishman, top to bottom. To this day, he tells is youthful 'fight' stories with the same excitement as if it happened yesterday. He likes to cock his fist and say "WHAM" at the point in the story when he takes a poke. Always with a smile and a laugh at the end. ‘ Fervor

In early 2012, Harvey was helping one of his sons move a couch into his home when he lost his breath, which was very unusual. He shrugged it off. It wasn’t until shortly after he caught a cold he that couldn’t shake that he decided to visit his general practitioner in Burien, Washington who referred him to a pulmonologist at the Valley Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Chest x-rays revealed fluid surrounding his left lung and he subsequently had 2.3 liters of fluid drained from his chest. Or as Harvely likes to quip “roughly three fifths of whiskey!”

A CT scan of Harvey’s chest was taken the following day and showed multiple bilateral calcified lung nodules highly suggestive of mesothelioma. He was referred to thoracic surgeon Dr. Alexander Farivar at Swedish Medical in Seattle and in April, 2012, underwent a left VATS pleural biopsy and talc pleurodesis. The pathology report came back positive with a diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma, epithelioid type.

Due to the stage of the disease, Harvey was not a candidate for surgery or radiation and was referred to an oncologist at Valley Medical Center in Renton. In May, 2012 he began chemotherapy utilizing cisplatin and alimta and has now undergone three cycles of chemotherapy, each consisting of four rounds, he just completed his third treatment with one left to go this cycle. He also has to go in every two weeks to have the fluid drained from his pleura.

Harvey and Laverne, 2012

Upon learning of his disease Harvey decided he was going to go through it positive and there was nothing anybody could say or do about it. “I took my grandson fishing out at Westport last summer because he had never caught a salmon and that was on my bucket list, well now he has.”

He has accomplished everything on his bucket list and says he has done everything he has wanted to do in his life. Recently, he and Laverne took a train trip down the west coast and all over the country visiting New Orleans, Tennessee, and Chicago. In the coming weeks they are travelling to Phoenix, Arizona to get some much needed (to Harvey’s dismay) sun and visit with family and friends. “I love my friends in Arizona, but I hate the sun.” ‘ Warmth ?’

This month (March) Harvey and Laverne will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, and this coming May, Harvey will see 70. Their youngest grandson just turned 15 and got his learner’s permit, and their youngest child is making them grandparents again. That will make the fourth grandchild among his four children. Congratulations to you Harvey and Laverne, and best wishes for continued health. ‘ Harvey McIntyre

*** Posted on March 11, 2013 ***

* * * Mr. McIntyre passed away on July 19, 2013 * * *