Story brought to you in partnership with our friends at Mercy’s MSU Care Clinic
When I was young, my family lived right behind Disneyland where my dad worked, and there was nothing but a strawberry field between our house and the park, so we watched fireworks every night. We moved to Missouri and lived there until my mom and dad got a divorce. I grew up. After my mom passed away I started my own business and did other things to try and better myself.
Then I got cancer, and well, it broke me.
It was a slow moving cancer. I had a bump in between my eyes. I took a razor blade myself and cut it off because I wanted it gone. It started small and then it just got worse and worse. I thought it was just sore. So I treated it myself, but it kept getting bigger. Finally, I went to have it checked at the Jordan Valley Clinic, and I was immediately sent to a specialist. Shortly after that I had surgery.
Cancer changed my frame of mind. A lot of people stuck around, and helped me out because it was a hard time. I had to take off of work and I looked like a raccoon. I was torn up. I’d go home...and I mean I’d just sit there in pain. My whole face was black and blue on both sides all over. I felt like somebody beat me up.
I handled the pain, and I finally got through it. Everybody said I had to do certain things or act a certain way because I’m a cancer survivor. Well, to me it’s not a big deal. I survived. It's something that happened, and they cut me up and made me look like a little monster. But the kids liked it, so I didn't care. You know, occasionally they would call me cyclops. They loved me to death anyway.
But this here, diabetes is a whole different ball game.
They had to take part of my foot off.
This here's rough. I never had something that I had to fight like this. That's what it is… a fight.
Living with diabetes is a learning curve. It's hard. You have to learn a lot about what to eat and what to do. I can’t keep up and afford all the things I need. I’m waiting on a special pair of shoes to help me walk. I don’t mind working; but if you can't stand up, it's hard to work. This is pretty hard. It's the hardest thing I've done.
I learned a lot. This life's been good to me. If I die right right now, I'm not hurting. I feel good.
I've seen things in my lifetime that you can't believe. The biggest thing I've learned is probably how much love is in people. It’s more than you'd ever know. If it wasn't for a few people, I'd be something different than who I am now. That's for sure. Just live life, don't worry about all the little knick-knacks and things. Just do what you want. Do what you want, and stay out of trouble.
Mark’s story brought to you in partnership with
“For many in our community, routine doctor visits and prescription medications are far too expensive to access. Every day, people are forced to choose between food and medication or delay treatment for health issues until they are life threatening due to an inability to pay. MSU and Mercy partnered together to break the cycle of poor health and offer hope for the uninsured in our community. The only clinic of its kind in Missouri, the MSU Care Clinic offers uninsured patients top-quality primary care and prescription medications completely free of charge. We know every story—every person—has tremendous value. That is why at MSU Care, we are proud to give compassionate care and exceptional service at no charge to those in the greatest need.”