Sean Flaherty

TONSIL AND THROAT CANCER SURVIVOR

“There’s life before cancer, with cancer, and after cancer.”

Sean's story

When Sean visited an ear, nose and throat specialist for a persistent sore throat in 2011, he wasn’t expecting a diagnosis of stage IV tonsil and throat cancer. The 42-year-old financial advisor reeled at the diagnosis, but his doctor was optimistic. “You know Sean, there’s life before cancer, with cancer, and after cancer. Yours is treatable.”

The next few months were an odyssey of aggressive radiation and chemotherapy. Sean is a lifelong surfer, so he pounced on his cancer like a competitive athlete. Borrowing a theme from the pop cult antics of Actor Charlie Sheen, Sean said, “I was going to be winning and drinking tiger blood from there on out.” He prevailed with the help of his wife and the experience was the source of profound growth.


Next Steps

Call us to find out more about our multidisciplinary post-cancer rehabilitation program.



Goals

Sean survived radiation and chemotherapy, but it left him weak, down 50 pounds and with nerve damage and painful neck spasms. He needed to:

  • Regain strength and muscle mass
  • Relieve the effects of nerve damage and muscle spasms
  • Replenish lost nutrients and return to solid foods

Challenges

Surfing was a distant thought during Sean’s recovery. The nerve damage prevented him from raising his arm. Additionally, the burning from radiation left him with scar tissue along his clavicle and a painfully tight sternocleidomastoid muscle which ties into the clavicle and sternum. He couldn’t turn his head to the left. He had:

  • Arm and shoulder pain
  • Tight. damaged neck muscles
  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor coordination

 

"I decided to take on cancer as a fight. My goal was to beat it. It's all I thought about."

 

How ReVital Helped Me

With cancer treatments behind him, Sean started recovery. His doctors and therapists provided treatment that included nutritional guidance, physical therapy, ultrasound and Botox.

Sean has come a long way since then, he’s back to surfing and physical therapy is a part of everyday life. “I’m trying to relearn muscle movement by doing very isolated types of exercises that are waking up those muscles which is helping me with my posture, and I’m able now to raise my arm over my head, so paddling is becoming easier. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s just becoming easier.”

 

Sean has made physical therapy part of his daily routine.
Muscle isolations have helped him regain his posture and
range of motion.

 

The outcome

A combination of therapies helped Sean realize his goal of returning to sports like surfing and golf. Best of all, he was proud to tell his sons that he beat cancer. Sean is slowly returning to normal life with the help of cancer rehabilitation therapy which has bolstered him in every way:

  • Stronger and flexible
  • More coordinated
  • Fewer spasms
  • Greater well being

Sean is back to being Sean That's winning.


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Margo Bryan Morgan

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Stage 4 tongue cancer sent Margo directly to surgery followed by rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. As a result, issues surfaced, including: lymphedema, breathing difficulty, pain and spasms and limited head and neck movement. But Margo was lucky, her doctor directed her to cancer rehab therapy to address those debilitating challenges. Determined, she took full advantage of therapy in order to be present for a momentous occasion: her wedding.

Next Steps

Call us to find out more about our multidisciplinary
post-cancer rehabilitation program.