Frank Thomas from Brooklyn, New York, has a new lease on life — and a powerful message for everyone.
That’s after he beat a rare tissue cancer and a devastating diagnosis of heart failure.
Thomas, a New York City Police Department detective of 23 years and a father of three, told Fox News Digital exclusively that he thought he was “pretty much over” when he was diagnosed with angiosarcoma — a cancer that forms in the inner lining of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, according to the National Institutes of Health. for cancer.
Experts say patients with angiosarcoma have little chance of survival.
“I thought I wouldn’t see my kids grow up and my biggest fear was that they wouldn’t remember me,” Thomas, 56, told Fox News Digital.
A decade before he was diagnosed with cancer, Thomas helped with recovery efforts at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center on US soil.
“It was a terrible day and I saw things on that day that I never wanted anyone to see,” Thomas said.
He added, “I saw for myself the greatness and kindness of people. I also saw how evil can destroy, but then as a country, how wonderful we are. September 11 is a very sad day for my family.”
“We don’t just relive the events of that day as New Yorkers, but we think about our friends who have died or fallen ill since then and the health challenges I’ve had since 9/11,” he said.
Thomas’ cancer resulted in a massive tumor, and his lung collapsed while that tumor was removed. After four rounds of chemotherapy followed by radiation, he was in remission.
Then, last year, Thomas was retaining water in his body and was having trouble walking – symptoms that he thought indicated COVID-19.
He was reluctant to see a doctor, so his wife of 28 years, Joan, did research and found a heart failure specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
“With cancer, it was scary because the kids were young and it was a very rare type of cancer,” Joan Thomas told Fox News Digital. “After ten years we deal with the heart and [we’re] Back to Mount Sinai. We listen to the amazing team of doctors and [Frank] Do what he needs to do.”
Angel on my shoulder
Cardiologist Dr. Anu Lala diagnosed Thomas with acute heart failure in 2021. Thomas underwent several stent procedures to relieve blocked arteries. Eventually, he and his cardiologist made his lifestyle changes to improve his heart health.
“Myocardial function, which was normal in the 55 to 65 percent range, was written at a level of less than 15 percent,” Dr. Lala told Fox News Digital about Thomas’s once deteriorating health.
“The heart was affecting his entire body,” she added. Your mental, emotional and spiritual state is also greatly affected. For me, this is also a reminder of how intertwined the aspects of luxury are.”
The cardiologist said she tried to enable Thomas to improve his heart function, rather than focusing on the negativity associated with the words “heart failure.”
Thomas said that before working with Lala, he only slept four to five hours. Meals consist of pizza and other fast food options.
“I wasn’t living really well where I was taking care of myself,” Thomas said. “I was eating the wrong foods. I’ve taken a more practical approach to what I eat now, the way I exercise… I didn’t train that much before.”
“Now, I watch everything that enters my body,” he added. “I’m eating more organic food now, low fat, low calorie, lots of veggies, fruit…getting enough sleep.”
Thomas leads an active lifestyle – plays sports, travels, walks. Before that, he was unable to climb the stairs.
Thomas, who used to weigh nearly 300 pounds, said he’s dropped about 100 pounds today.
Thomas’ heart failure is now in remission.
“Dr. Lala has an angel on my shoulder,” said Dr. Thomas. “Not only did I feel like I wish I could have a good life, but she inspired me to want to do it.”
Family means everything to me
With his health in good standing, Thomas is now focused on living for his wife Joan and their children, Emily, 24, Frances Thomas, 20, and Joseph, 11.
Thomas thought about the last memories he would have missed otherwise. He took part in the 9/11 relay at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, with his son, Francis—who Thomas said “carries that torch for the next generation.”
“It was moving for me because my baby really perceives and [cognizant] Thomas said of Francis, who attends the Naval Academy. “He is a very caring person. He wants to help in any way he can – other people too, not just me.”
During the commemorative relay, the American flag is turned on for 24 hours.
“My son ran the last leg with some commanding officers at the Naval Academy,” Thomas said. “It was a very proud moment for me. In front of Bancroft Hall, the World Trade Center first responders stood there on the stairs. I was there when my son raised the flag, a moment I will never forget.”
With Thomas’ cancer and heart failure in remission, his wife, Joan, said she’s ready to retire in order to spend more time as a family. I worked for 35 years in education.
“Frank had the opportunity to watch his older children graduate from high school and he would watch his daughter graduate from law school,” Joan said. She later added, “He was able to see a lot of their lives.”
“Do not wait – go to the doctor”
Frank Thomas gave advice to anyone with health difficulties.
“When you feel something is wrong early on, go to the doctor early,” he said. “do not wait. If you don’t feel 100 percent, you don’t feel well, go to the doctor.”
Thomas said he is grateful for the support Joanne and their children have provided.
He later added, “My expectations weren’t good, but my wife will not accept any outcome other than fighting her with everything we have.”
I haven’t been living a healthier life because I’ve worked nights throughout my career, and haven’t always been eating the best food. I learned that the obstructions were a combination of this lifestyle and the radiation that was used to save my life.”
“In terms of my mental health, I’m doing pretty well,” Thomas said.
“I have a wonderful wife and a very strong family. I wake up every morning happy to be here. My saying is, ‘This is what it is.’ I get nervous when I get medical exams or a cancer screening.”
“But I know I’m living the full life I can for as long as possible,” he said.