Thursday, September 3, 2020

Case Study #85 - Tommy Showing the Way

"Tommy Showing the Way" Oil on Canvas. 30" x 24"

Thomas A. Dobbin aka the Mandalorian (1980 - 2012)

Tommy was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis (NF) when he was just six months old. The telltale sign that led to this discovery was a cafĂ© au lait spot on Tommy's young body. Even at a young age, and with very little knowledge of NF, Tommy accepted the challenge that his life offered. Tommy’s NF slowed his progress down, but never stopped him, because “that was the way” (The Mandalorian). Tommy's head was slightly larger than most due to a dormant tumor in his head. When Tommy hit puberty, his NF kicked into high gear with visual lumps on some spots of his skin, as well as inside his chest cavity. As Tommy struggled with growth from boy to man, he also battled with his peers noticing 
Prep Sketch
that he was different in speed, education, and motor function skills but smiled it off, because “that was the way.” It was this same smile that won the hearts of so many that encountered Tommy and is the same reason why he had the backing of his High School Basketball team to make a basket but was unable to. During his senior year he found out that some of the tumors inside his chest were on his lungs, but that same year he made a basket during a game and had the whole crowed cheering and standing.

After high school, Tommy struggled with learning how to drive so he walked everywhere. This is right about the same time when his NF stared to provide Tommy with additional problems. Tommy had one of the tumors on his lung cause a bleed that resulted in the removal of part of his lung. In Tommy's prime he suffered the same bleed on the opposite side, but this time the result was it stopped without having to remove part of that lung. Despite his medical struggles, Tommy met the love of his life, Tiffany, and they were married. They were blessed with two children, a boy and a girl, who were fortunately not born with the same genetic disorder. Tommy knew he could collect money from the state for his medical issues but chose to work and provide for his family as a cart pusher all while walking to work each day, because “this was the way.”

In his 30’s Tommy NF progressed to a point where the tumors wrapped around the organ that so many loved, his heart. Tommy started to struggle more with work and daily tasks. In an effort to slow the growth of the tumor wrapping around his aorta, Tommy went to a Manhattan hospital to receive a drug to slow the growth. Unfortunately, the treatment was cut short as he lost his battle to NF two months later at the age of 32. Until the end, Tommy continued to work, be a great father to his kids, a doting husband, and a shining beacon to all that witnessed his drive and smile, because “this was the way.” Tommy loved to cook, the outdoors, his family, all walks of life and just that, LIFE. Tommy’s motivation to live life to the fullest is a reminder to all that met him, because “that is the way.”

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Tommy's smile and kind heart always made a dark day bright! I feel very blessed to have known this great person and his family XO