“…the emperor of all maladies, the king of terrors.”

-Nineteenth-Century surgeon’s comment at the front of an early textbook on Cancer.

He was so young, still in his very early twenties, when he shared the bad news with family, friends and neighbors: He had been diagnosed with Lymphoma, a type of Cancer, and would require therapeutic x-ray and chemotherapy treatments.

No one familiar with Chautauqua County will be surprised to learn those family members, friends and neighbors immediately responded. His church family prayed for a cure. Strangers joined with prayer and sympathy when they learned a young father was battling a malignancy.

Soon  too there were benefits organized to raise both money and morale. One held in October 2012 was organized  to help the patient pay travel expenses for his treatment. It was a Spaghetti Dinner with both a silent auction and chinese auction.Tickets were $5.00.  and it was held at the ILS Veterans Center on Fluvanna Ave.

WHEEL CHAIR AND CANE, THE PROGNOSIS WORSENS

By this time the young man often used a wheel chair and could walk only with a cane when he could walk at all for he was now diagnosed with “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” a degenerative neuromuscular illness that is virtually always fatal.

In late October 2013 there was another benefit: A yard sale at the Falconer Immanuel Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Church at 1994 E. Main St. in Falconer sponsored by Mothers of Pre-Schoolers from Hillcrest Baptist Church.

The young man was an alumnus of Panama Central School and the kids there responded by donating class money to their fellow Panther.

A TOUGH ROAD

“Been a really long day. Tired Sore and my bed is calling my name very loudly.” Posted on his Facebook page April 2012 where just a month before he had announced some glad tidings: he and his wife were expecting their fourth child who was born in good health the following November.

“Long day in buffalo today. Very tired and worn out. off to bed i (sic) go.” Post on Facebook May 2012.

“Like i dont (sic) have enough issues, now pneumonia on top of it. Today is not my day.” Another Facebook post, this from June 2012.

WHERE ARE THOSE STEM CELLS?

Sometime in late 2013 the father of four announced he had been chosen to receive “stem cell treatment.”

This he said was his final hope, by now his muscles had begun to atrophy from lack of use. He was more and more dependent on a wheelchair for day to day mobility, although he could still manage to drive.

And drive he did, pretty much insisting on driving himself to various medical appointments so as “not to be more of a bother than necessary.”

And so it was with the stem cell treatment. He went out of town alone and returned the next day.

A close friend asked to see the injection site, and was shown the neat dressing where the cells had been injected. Curious, he asked to see the actual wound, but Matthew J. Mecusker said the dressing was not to be removed until his follow up appointment.

THE DRAMA ENDS

Some folks close to Mecusker had grown suspicious and were thinking, painfully, the unthinkable. Was all of this, years of it, real or was it phony? A terrible hoax.

Mecusker’s family insisted on an evaluation, according to two reliable sources. They soon learned that he was not suffering with either Cancer or Lou Gehrig’s. Physically, other than muscle wasting caused by lack of exercise he was healthy.

There also was a mental evaluation. TheCAT  does not have the required sourcing to publish what may have been diagnosed.

NEW TROUBLE, BUT IT’S NOT MEDICAL

Matthew Mecusker now 29, presently sits in Chautauqua County Jail without bail. He was arrested last Friday after an investigation revealed he purchased trucks using bogus financing. (See “Multiple Truck Thefts…” published separately.)

Just last November he was charged with writing a bad check for $2,500.