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Published on July 02, 2014

Mark CanadayMark Canaday - Patient at KishHealth System Cancer Patient

When Mark Canaday was having chest pains earlier this year, he passed it off as an acid reflux symptom. He sometimes experienced burning when he ate acidic foods like fruit and ketchup, so it seemed probable that it was acid reflux. It wasn’t until two of his sons saw him grabbing his chest while he was sleeping that forced him to finally see his doctor. Mark explained that he put off seeing his doctor because of the continued medical care his youngest son was receiving for a chronic illness. And while this was going on, his wife Amy was at a Chicago hospital with their son when their two older sons called her about their dad.

Mark got in to see Dr. Dhaval Thakkar, internal medicine physician at DeKalb Clinic, that same day and was admitted to the hospital. Though a heart attack was ruled out, Dr. Maillefer, surgeon, wanted to perform an endoscope to investigate the source of his symptoms. When Mark and Amy returned to Dr. Thakkar’s office, the news shocked them both—esophageal cancer. But Dr. Thakkar said that day and in the months to follow, “I will be there every step of the way.”

Mark described the next few months as a “whirlwind” of doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, physical therapy, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy. He saw all of the best doctors and received his treatments at the KishHealth System Cancer Center in DeKalb. When Amy could not accompany Mark on his treatments because she was with their son, she knew he was being well cared for at the Cancer Center. Mark said, “It’s hard to explain how caring they are. They care for the patients and their families. They know your name when you walk in.” He also received physical therapy at the KishHealth System Physical Therapy Center in Sycamore. Mark said, “The love and care they show to their patients is unbelievable.”

Despite a scary diagnosis, Mark and his family remain resilient. Their son is in and out hospitals and then with Mark’s cancer battle, it seems that so much is against them. But with the support of family, friends, and faith, they are doing great. Mark is now cancer-free and has dropped 100 lbs. When he thinks back to the last four months of seeing Dr. Thakkar and his all his doctors, and his visits to the Cancer Center, Kishwaukee Hospital, and the Physical Therapy Center, he said, “The care I received was absolutely phenomenal. I wouldn’t change anything.”

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