Larry LeForge spent 35 years of his career in health care, including 15 at Mary Free Bed as its director of facilities, construction and security. He never expected to be a patient here, but that changed after surgery to remove a cancerous brain tumor.
In April 2015, Larry became nauseous, sweaty and persistently dizzy. The symptoms were concerning enough that he and his wife, Pam, went to an emergency room. Tests showed a mass on the left side of his brain.
Days later, Larry had surgery at Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital to remove the tumor, found to be a gliosarcoma, a rare type of cancer. He worked with Mary Free Bed therapists during his stay at St. Mary’s before being transferred to the Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation Program for inpatient therapy to regain physical strength and balance, and improve cognitive skills diminished following surgery.
“The staff was marvelous,” said Larry, 71. “Having had gone through something like this, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”
Larry continued therapy as an outpatient while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“The compassion and concern of the Mary Free Bed therapists, as well as their strong encouragement to work hard was key to my recovery,” he said. “If you work hard, there will be rewards.”
Larry often uses what he learned from the Mary Free Bed therapists at home. Simple things, such as “walking the stroll” first thing in the morning or doing “brain gymnastics” using games on his iPad, are helpful.
Larry and Pam said they felt blessed to vacation in Florida for two months, and Larry is looking forward to getting back to woodworking and fly-fishing. He recently volunteered at Mary Free Bed to help staff prepare for an upcoming accreditation survey.
“Even though there is no assurance of a full recovery, we are going to lead as normal a life as we can, living one day at a time on faith,” Larry said.