HealthONE - November 23, 2022

Tyrone “Ty” Browning, 73, has always been a fighter. A veteran “Navy Hospital Corpsman” attached to the 1st Marine Division of the US Marine Corps in his youth and a man of strong faith, Ty finds inspiration in poet William Earnest Henley’s “Invictus”, which he modified, “Out of the night that covers me/ Black as the pit from pole to pole/ I thank the only God that be/ For my unconquerable soul.”

Ty explains that the last year brought on a fight that challenged this ‘unconquerable’ soul through seeming endless medical challenges. “There has been so much this year, it’s just unbelievable,” he shares. “It started December 24 with my wife, Lana, and I getting COVID; then in February I had a heart ablation and then in April, cancer removal.”

Ty has been battling heart concerns for nearly a decade. In 2013, his primary care team referred him to John Ord, MD and treated Ty for congestive heart failure and had great success. In 2019 Ty had a severe setback and his congestive heart failure became worse and Ty was hospitalized. Dr. Ord then transferred Ty to the care of Richard Jantz, MD and his team at The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA). Through the years, the team managed his condition, placing a pacemaker and monitoring his heart efficiency. This kept Ty’s condition under control and he improved greatly until December 2021 when, as Ty describes, “Something happened, and my heart went into a fit.” It was then that Dr. Jantz referred to Ty to electrophysiologist Christopher Porterfield, MD, who recommended a heart ablation procedure. But, to prepare, he first ordered a CT scan of Ty’s lungs. That CT scan ended up being lifesaving.

“The CT scan found cancer in the upper right lobe of my right lung,” Ty details. “That’s when the team at Dr. Jantz’s office introduced me to Dr. Chakradhar Kotaru who led me to Dr. Jenifer Marks. Dr. Kotaru guided me through treatment procedures and Dr. Marks was the surgeon.”

In February, Dr. Porterfield performed the heart ablation and in April, Ty had the cancer surgically removed from his lung. “We were able to perform his surgery robotically which allowed him a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery,” says Dr. Marks.

While Ty continues to have scans to ensure the cancer is eradicated, and visits to monitor his heart health, he maintains an optimistic outlook and expresses unending gratitude for the providers he knows Jesus divinely placed to save his life and the lives of many others that will come in need of their skills, expertise and compassion. “These are the best people,” Ty muses. “I have never met more caring or skilled individuals. They took care of me like I was their own; truly a cut above.”

“It also has to be mentioned that my inpatient and outpatient experience during and after surgery, from the valet parking to the admissions group, to the nurses and other caregivers I met at The Medical Center of Aurora was excellent, the best! God bless them all, and thank you for helping to save my life!”

To learn more about The Medical Center of Aurora, visit Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at The Medical Center of Aurora and Center for Lung and Heart Health.