McGinty battles colon cancerIf positive energy alone could heal all the world’s illnesses, Mike McGinty would have a great start on his own recovery.
By: By Amy Chaffins, Pope County Tribune, Alexandria Echo Press
If positive energy alone could heal all the world’s illnesses, Mike McGinty would have a great start on his own recovery.
Two months ago, McGinty went from an energetic 39-year-old going about the business of life – running his business, raising a family, taking part in community events – to a young man battling an aggressive form of colorectal cancer.
“It’s a quick moving tumor and it’s larger than normal,” McGinty explained. “That’s how I roll – go big or go home.”
McGinty doesn’t show a flicker of negativity when he talks about his diagnosis.
In fact, he’s incredibly upbeat, he has a huge, infectious laugh, and he has a glow of determination that he will survive and he’ll be back to the business of life soon.
“I don’t have a choice,” he said. “If you’re gonna live, you’ve gotta do what they tell you to do. I’m not anybody special, I was just hit with this, and it is what it is.”
In late January, McGinty said he started passing blood.
“Being a guy and not wanting to go to the doctor, I thought it would just pass. But it wasn’t going to just ‘go away’ like everybody thinks. It progressed to the point that I couldn’t ignore it. After the second week, I went in,” he said.
A colonoscopy was scheduled and afterwards, due to the severity of the results, McGinty said he was immediately referred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He was told treatment would require chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and then chemo again.
“I was shocked,” McGinty said. “I’m 39 years old and colon cancer was not in my vocabulary. I was totally blind sided.”
McGinty said no one in his family has had colon cancer.
Since his diagnosis, McGinty said he’s only missed a few days of work at Brownie’s Tire Service in Glenwood – there are some days he goes home early because he gets tired easily.
“The hard part for me is my wife. She’s been right there with me through all of this,” McGinty said. Mike and Jodi have been married 10 years.
The McGintys have two children – Madelyn is 9 and Mason is 7.
“I’m not sure they totally understand what’s going on,” McGinty said. “The other day I had Mason come and lay down by me and I asked him if he understood what was going on with dad. Mason said, ‘Well, the kids at school said my dad’s going to lose his hair.’ They know that I’m sick and probably think dad is pretty lazy because I’m not quite as active as usual.”
Screening for colon cancer
“I don’t know what I could have done to be proactive,” McGinty said. “Everybody knows you go in for a colonoscopy when you’re 50, but at 39?”
Since his family learned that McGinty has cancer, he said his mom, sister, uncle and aunt have all been screened – as a result, his aunt found out she had early stage colon cancer.
“Unless it becomes personal, people aren’t going to change anything that they do. Ninety percent of people who read this article know they should be checked, but they won’t do it – and I totally get that. I was one of them,” McGinty said.
With a laugh he said his advice to people is this: “Don’t think with your ass, go get it checked. If something’s not right, wouldn’t you rather spend less time getting it checked, than spend more time wondering?”
Benefit for McGinty
set for April 13
The man with an otherwise lively personality shrinks a bit into a sheepish hunch when asked about the upcoming benefit for him.
“It’s humbling,” he said. “I’m overwhelmed by it all. I really don’t feel deserving of it. I don’t feel people should go out of their way – I’m going to make it through this OK. I just feel like everybody who gets sick should be treated like this with a benefit.
“I’m just a simple guy with perplexed friends,” he said with a laugh. “You can’t believe how generous people are.”
McGinty’s friends will host a benefit dinner and fundraiser for him on Tuesday, April 13 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at The Minnewaska House, just west of Glenwood. The event will feature burgers with all the fixings and a silent auction. Proceeds from the benefit will help offset medical and travel expenses.
Monetary donations may be sent to: Eagle Bank, c/o Mike McGinty Benefit Fund, 2 South Franklin Street, Glenwood, MN 56334.
McGinty is set for surgery in May – his colon and a section of intestine will be removed. That will be followed by four months of chemotherapy.
“I try to have a positive attitude,” McGinty said. “Let’s ‘git-r-done’ and get me fixed up to cross the next hurdle in life.”