Tom Mundy, 52, of Titusville, Florida has always had an ear for music and a thirst for knowledge. He currently works as a music director for a church in Vero Beach, while studying for a second master’s degree in healthcare informatics.
Nearly four years ago, he was out with his daughter Makana — whose name in Hawaiian means “blessed gift from the heart” — caring for their horse, when he coughed up blood.
Tom knew even before he was diagnosed that he might have lung cancer, since four people within the immediate family had died of the disease.
As he expected, a diagnosis was rendered in August 2014 with adenosquamous lung carcinoma (ASC), which is a rare hybrid tumor comprised of adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
He underwent 33 radiation therapies, and 7 rounds of chemotherapy and remained free of cancer for two-and-a-half years, but it recently reappeared. He’s now undergoing a combination of immune-therapy and chemotherapy, which is working to shrink his tumors. As Tom says, “we’ll see what happens — in the meantime, there’s no reason to throw in the towel!”
The way Tom sees things, it’s foolish to think you can have something like lung cancer and not come away without learning something about yourself, the world, and the way things work.
“You start to look at how much time you have and think about what you can do with it,” he said. “You have to make it count.”
Tom is certainly letting his actions speak louder than his words – when he finishes his degree program, he will have the necessary certifications to work with electronic medical records and IT departments in hospitals. His goal is to improve the records process for lung cancer patients and others.
“If I can make life and treatment a little less stressful for cancer patients, then maybe that’s what I can give to the world.”
At this time of year, Tom is giving back by sharing his personal knowledge and trying to educate others (while also staying tuned to the melodies of the season).