Throat cancer survivor thanks Tampa General staff with singing performance

Throat cancer survivor Steve Jurcik recently returned to Tampa General Hospital to do something he wasn't sure he'd ever be able to do again: Sing. For him, singing in front of a crowd is something he enjoys.

"I started singing my freshman year in college," said Jurcik. "I picked up the guitar and started the little band with some of the guys on the baseball team. We just did a lot of rock and roll and Beatles and stuff." 

After his battle with cancer, Jurcik returned to TGH to perform for the staff. 

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"I had a little adrenaline going, but I was enjoying it for sure. And they were smiling. So I was like, 'okay, I think they're like it,'" Jurcik explained. 

It was his way of thanking the doctors and nurses for taking such good care of him while he was in the hospital with Stage 4 cancer. 

"He had a cancer of his voice box or his larynx," said Dr. Matthew Mifsud, a cancer surgeon with TGH/USF. "Right where the vocal cords are sitting, right between that and the area where you swallow." 

Jurcik wasn't sure if he would live or ever speak again. 

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"If it wasn't for Doctor Mifsud, I wouldn't be here. I had, like, five months to live," said Jurcik. "He removed all the cancer and saved my voice box. And he took the trek out, like on the third day." 

"There's a lot of risk. He had to do it just the right way," said Dr. Mifsud. "He did have some very special, types of reconstructive surgery that we do. So it's a pretty rare thing to be able to be so successful as he has." 

In July, Jurcik will have another surgery to help him swallow. 

"I hope it's going to be successful," said Jurcik. "I think it will be. Then I'll be able to have a milkshake and drink, nutrition drinks and, at church, I could participate in communion." 

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In the meantime, Jurcik will keep doing what he loves: Singing. 

"I'm doing better than anybody expected. And I'm going to keep it that way. So, I just can't get a better job. Very fortunate. Blessed. I'm happy in the position I'm in," Jurcik said. 


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