Thomas Shumaker, Sr 1947-2015
We regret to tell you that Tom Shumaker, Sr passed away earlier this week. Services will be held 10:00 a.m. Friday, January 23rd at Sts. Peter & Paul Church, 629 East Jefferson Ave., Detroit, Michigan.
There will be a reception following the service at the Detroit Athletic Club, 241 Madison Ave., Detroit, Michigan.
Medicine as an art form
Tom Shumaker, an attorney from Grosse Pointe, was just 47 when diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1995 by his father Edward, the former chair of urology at Harper Hospital. When the referred surgeon wasn’t immediately available, Shumaker became even more anxious.
“Growing up in a surgeon’s home, my father’s philosophy was if you have cancer and you can operate, cut it out,” he says.
Shumaker’s brother knew their high school buddy, James S. Montie, M.D., had recently been selected to lead urology at U-M. Montie scheduled Shumaker for surgery and within days removed his left kidney along with numerous affected lymph nodes.
For the past 18 years, Shumaker has enjoyed periods when his cancer remained dormant and periods of recurrence that led to additional surgeries and treatments. Bruce G. Redman, D.O., joined his treatment team in 2005 and oversaw an aggressive form of immunotherapy and a drug regimen that interferes with the growth of his cancer cells.
“I knew I wanted to get back into academics and fortunately was able to land at U-M. That is why I am here: the challenge of the most difficult cases, the most perplexing questions, the most complex management issues, new ideas — not just state of the art. But to realize such aspirations, it is clear that one has to be part of a larger group with similar values.” — James Montie, M.D. “I’m fortunate to have developed relationships with people rather than an institution,” Shumaker says. “The pure people in medicine, like Dr. Montie, Dr. Redman, their immediate staff and others, know it’s not just a science. There is still an art in taking care of patients.”
Shumaker has managed metastatic renal cell cancer for close to four years on a drug regimen. He’s watched his two sons grow into adults, he became a grandfather and he enjoys life with his “bride of almost 37 years.” At 65, he works in property management and is an avid player of sports involving the modern-day racquet and old-fashioned racket.
“I love life,” Shumaker says. “That’s why I’ve lived with cancer. Every day is a gift. It’s not to say there aren’t peaks and valleys, but there are all kinds of goodness in the world.”