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02/27/14 08:22 AM #15    


Sharon Lochaby

It is with great sadness I let you know of Harley Joe Kincaid's death on Saturday, February 22 in Asheville.  His service will be held today in Murphy:


09/12/14 10:07 AM #16    


Carlton Van Horn

In memory of Rex Killian: 

Rex was outspoken and an active business man.  He survived the tough times that Cherokee County brought to so many local residents. 

04/08/15 11:37 AM #17    


Teresa Crain (Allison)

I always read and enjoy postings on FB from Tommy Alexander.  Recently, I have seen postings concerning malignancies.  I have evidently missed some and wonder if you, Tommy, or anyone else that knows what is happening would update us.  I am concerned and want us all to pray and do anything else we can for our wonderful classmate. Just didn't want to discuss this all on FB.


04/09/15 10:39 AM #18    


Tom Alexander

Yep..Teresa,  I probably know a little more than the average person on my condition and I appreciated everyone's concerns, but before I get into the specifics...Let me say the shock is over and I'm very much at peace within myself on my situation.

I have had some nasal problems with excess drainage for over a year. My Doctor had told me that it was common with old age and it wasn't anything to be alarmed about. In late November I had one nasal passage that was completely blocked. I went to an ENT Specialist in Toccoa who assumed the blockage was due to polyps from the CT Scan that was done. Surgery was scheduled Dec. 16th and I was called back in Dec. 19th for a review. I was told it wasn't polyps but that they had removed a mass 3.5 x 2.5 x 0.4 cm and they'd never seen anything like it. The pathologist said it was a rare cancer more related to an Asian culture and sent it to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for a 2nd opinion. The results came back as a form of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma.

This is another rare cancer.  I've done a lot of research on it and there are very few hospitals in the U.S. that have had any experience treating it.  This type of cancer produces masses but it also attaches itself microscopically to nerves and follows the nerves within the head and follows a path of least resistance and eventually chokes and kills the nerve. I had another Engineering friend who had this back in the late '90's. After CT Scans & MRI's on him they said it looked like a frosted spider web within his head. His cancer was caught late in the game and they didn't even know what it was.  Chemo for the head is not an option and even normal radiation techniques do more damage to surrounding tissues and may be used modestly.  MD Anderson in Houston has had some success with a radiation treatment called Proton Therapy with pin point accuracy.  Currently there are only 6 hospitals in this country that have these units, the closest being the University of Florida, Jacksonville and MD Anderson. The University of Tennessee has one but it is experimental at this time.  Emory Hospital, Atlanta is in the process of building their treatment facility but it will not be on line until early 2017.

I had a PET Scan, CT Scan, & MRI back in February and they found another mass behind my right eye in my nasal cavity the size of a tennis ball.  I just have had that removed this past Tuesday, April 7th at Emory.  My Doctor said she got all the mass and other abnormal tissue, however I should know that she couldn't get the microscopic cells that she knew was there.  I'll have a follow up with her next week.

Guess I'm in for a long haul over the next few years. My hope and the hope of my Doctors is that they can manage this mess until their Proton Therapy Unit comes on line.  In the mean time I'm going to try to keep on working with my company and keep myself busy.  Today, I'm hurting, but only from the previous surgery. Everything actually is normal and if I hadn't had the nasal blockage, I'd never even know there was anything wrong. 

My prognosis isn't really good, however we should always be more optimistic.  I appreciate the thoughts and prayers more than you'll ever know...but I know the Good Lord has a plan and being a good Presbyterian with the belief of pre-destination I've been following his plan to the letter. If I kick the bucket tomorrow all I can say is I've had a damn good life and I've enjoyed it and done so many things most people will never accomplish on their "bucket list".  I remember so much about all my school friends, their old phone numbers, their dogs, their parents, their cars, their friendship and my memories of all of you comfort me more than y'all will ever know. Like I said, it was a terrible shock, but I'm over it and my blood pressure is back to normal and actually I feel great. My only problem is...."Waking up in a box, everything being dark, and hearing organ music"....If you get a phone call...Come up to Townson's and get me out!!!

04/09/15 02:10 PM #19    


Teresa Crain (Allison)

I can tell that you are over the initial shock but it is still a lot of information to process.  I, like you, am not afraid of the dying, just the aggravation of getting to that point.  Just want you to know how much your memories and the deep appreciation of our home town that always comes through your posts means to me.  I still live here but it is certainly different.  To the "newcomers" I am just an old lady that they have never heard of and don't care to know anything about.  Time sure did pass by fast.  Please continue to keep us posted and I will certainly be praying for you and for a positive outcome.


04/09/15 03:28 PM #20    

Gail Walker (Stansell)

Teresa, thank you for posting this cause I too was worried about Tommy!

Tommy, thank you for sharing this with all of us. Like Teresa, I'm so appreciative of your knowledge of our past. Whenever I want to remember something, I always know to just contact you because you have a memory to beat all memories!  I will certainly keep you in my prayers as you go through this and will pray for a complete recovery. One question, any consideration of going to MD Anderson or Florida rather than waiting on Emorys treatment?........just wondering.

You take care and let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out!


04/09/15 04:27 PM #21    


Tom Alexander

Thanks Teresa and Gail... Yes I have considered a lot of alternatives and my Doctors at Emory are aware of  both MD Anderson and UF's sucesses.  I'm really in a wait and see situation at Emory and what I mean by that is to wait and see how fast or slow this cancer is growing and see if there is a need to seek management elsewhere. I've already been told that they would gladly refer me to any hospital I want to go to that might provide better care.

I've pretty much laid the law down to them upon my intial visit with the head of the department. He is about 40 and he came strutting in pounding his chest with his accolaids and sucesses saying how he's cured hundreds with my condition. How he has advanced cosmetic surgery experience and how he was going to take my face off, get this mess out and reconstruct.  Then I had to correct him and tell him that even MD Anderson. America's largest recognized Cancer Hospital hasn't seen 100 patients with my condition in the past 10 years and I didn't appreciate his dishonesty.  I basically told him I wasn't in to radical surgeries and I had no intention of being a guinea pig to advance their knowledge at my health's expense.  He did me the best favor by handing me off to another young female associate who is so much more of a professional than he would ever be. It's really a good thing to have you life in the hands of someone you can trust and someone who actually does care. My Doctor, Zara Patel is going to do everything she can for me there, and if need be...she'll send me somewhere else rather than let them play God with my body.  That's a good Thing!!! (cause I ain't taking any crap)

04/09/15 05:52 PM #22    

Phyllis Hughes

Tommy, you hang in there. prayers!

04/09/15 07:53 PM #23    


Kathy Gibson (Penland)

I am so glad you are very knowledgeable about your condition. May you be taken care of and guided by the best caring professionals available. My prayers are with you every step of the journey. 

04/10/15 01:03 PM #24    


Candace Graham

As always I find my classmates to be amazing people!! and Tommy your attitude toward conquering your illness is just that, amazing.  My thoughts are with you.

04/12/15 04:26 AM #25    


Willie Bush

Hi Tommy, I think I accidentally posted before I was finished, so I will start over. I agreed with all the compliments regarding your memory and your affection toward us, your classmates, friends and family. I will be praying for "God's will" to spring forth regarding your health. I know almost nothing of your condition, but I do have a question. Recently, I watched a 20/20 segment on using the polio virus to cure glioblastomas in the brain and other cancers which grow rapidly. Have you or your doctor researched this option? I don't remember the names of the researchers or where they were practicing. I think it was in NY. Hang on, let me look. Below is the link to the interview. Researchers are from Duke University. Perhaps you can get in on one of the trials since it is still in the early stages of research.  Take care of you and God's blessings.

04/12/15 03:51 PM #26    


Tom Alexander

I saw the same program on TV last week Willie. They were using the polio virus to shrink brain tumors and they thought it might be used on other types of cancers as in the liver, lungs, and kidneys. I was all ears while the program was airing.  I  don't know whether it is applicable to the type I have or not but it's worth mentioning to my Doctors.  Duke is just 3 hrs up the road from home but I haven't considered going there because they don't specialize in my type of cancer.  ...At least they didn't lie to me about that like Emory's Mark El Diery who had and cured over a 100 patients last year.  Trials are great and they offer some hope when there is no hope.  I'm not there yet, but as I said earlier I'm not going to be a guinea pig for new procedures.  The intense pain I've been having for the last 4 days has assured me one thing...  I'm not a candidate for experimental surgeries.

04/13/15 10:26 AM #27    


Bruce Coward


Your positive outlok on life is amazing! I know your faith will guide you through this experience in life as well as your Family & Friends- We are here for you!

Do not ever forget the great times we had- the (1) extra lap at foorball practice?? who said you had to run that lap??

The cold water at Fires Creek (Boy Scout Camporee)-

You are a winner! We will pray for you! Keep up the great humor!

Your Friend,


04/16/15 10:04 AM #28    


Tom Alexander

I know some of you have already seen my post on FB, but I was at Emory yesterday for a follow-up post-op report from last Tuesday. Last week as Hazel would say was a "doozey".  Lots of intense pain in my sinus cavities from scabbing.  Pain is almost gone today due to removal of some nearly the size of sweet gum balls...  The tears were streaming down my face, but I didn't move an inch. There was some good news and some bad news.  During those 4 hours they were continuously sending out cultures for biopsies and receiving reports.  They investigated 7 major areas, but only 3 were positive.  Now, as a group of surgeons and oncologists deemed as Emory's  "tumor board", they are going to sit down this week and discuss options for treatment.  I don't think they've ever seen this type of Cancer in the nasal area.  Upon my first visit they didn't even look in the nasal cavity, they were more concern about the throat, larynx, mouth , roof of the mouth, and exterior areas of the neck and throat. I think they had treated this type of Cancer in those areas and probably had a protocol on treatment but this is a new area. They've basically avoided my questions when I've asked about their Cancer experience in the nasal area.  My Doctor is suppose to call me early next week to discuss some options.  Radiation is probably the only option available and since it is in an area that would require some pin point targeting, it is questionable on just how much they can do without affecting the brain and the eyes.  I think as I said on FB that these professionals are in uncharted territory. I might be better off finding a better guide through these new lands, after all I am the leader of this Expedition.

Right now, I'm fine.  You'd never know to look at me that anything was wrong. It's so very hard for me to go through a week like last week with the intense pain knowing that I'd have never had that pain without them messing with me. The question is....Do you let this mess progress without pain and go on with your life happy and carefree or do you go on with treatments the next few years with on and off pain, just for a few more extended years?  Through all my 3 back surgeries and 2 femoral arterial bypasses I have never had as much pain as I've had with my head.  Heck, I've never ever had a toothache and they say that's as bad as it can get....So if you've had one you can relate probably to my head pain.  I suppose as they say "Time will tell" and I'll make that decision.

06/12/15 08:21 AM #29    


Tom Alexander

I'm Approved !!
For many of you who don't know,...I've been fighting an incurable very rare cancer (adenoid cystic carcinoma) in my sinus and nasal area since Dec. 2014. The surgeries at Stephens Co. Hospital & Emory have been successful in removing several large tumors in the sinus cavity. The treatment after surgery is generally conventional radiation, without chemo therapy. The radiation oncologists at Emory said that it was imperative that radiation treatment begin as soon as possible after surgery, so that the cancer could not metastasize to other areas. My problem is that conventional radiation has too broad a spectrum for use in this area. I was told that the side effects could be the loss of vision in one, if not both eyes and there were no guarantees that it would not effect the optic nerve. Emory would not refer or recommend me to go anywhere else but to remain at their hospital for treatment.

There is another type of radiation available with a small beam that can reach my much needed treatment area called Proton Radiation Therapy. It is much like a laser or pen light beam that can penetrate the skull at a precise location and depth and has minimal side effects. There are only 12 hospitals within the United States that have this type of radiation therapy. It is very costly, but it is a lot more accurate in treating a specific area especially those in close confines. This type of treatment was my only chance to sustain a normal "quality of life" without being blind.

I contacted two centers the Provisional Proton Therapy Center in Knoxville and the Univ. of Florida Proton Therapy Center in Jacksonville. The center in Knoxville has been doing this procedure for the past 18 months, and the center in Jacksonville has over 9 years experience. Both Facilities contacted my Health Insurance carrier United Healthcare as possible treatments centers for my cancer. United Healthcare did respond and they deemed the center in Knoxville as "out of network" and turn them down flat. United Healthcare also turned down Jacksonville as "out of state", "procedure unnecessary", "no proven radiation treatment" and just plain "No". They said I was approved for conventional radiation at Emory and that is where I should go. The Univ. of Florida Proton Center went to bat for me and sent an "urgent appeal" 54 page report to United Healthcare and after a week it also was denied. I was told by the Univ. of Florida, that they had exhausted all means within their powers for my treatment.

My former employer, Sonny Dinsmore is a personal friend of State of Georgia Insurance Commissioner, Ralph Hudgens who lives 15 miles down the road from me. I contacted Sonny and told him my problem and he called Ralph. He called me back and told me that he would have the State Deputy Insurance Commissioner in contact with me the next day. I received the call and sent them the 54 page appeal and other pertinent information regarding my case. I was told that they would handle it and to be patient. They were quite upset with the situation and knew it had been 6 months since my first surgery and knew I needed the radiation.

I received a phone call from the Univ. of Florida Proton Center yesterday (6-10-15) that they didn't know what I had done.. but the folks at United Healthcare were ringing the phones off the hook talking with Doctors there. I got another phone call today (6-11-15) that my Proton Therapy had been approved.

Thank You...Ralph Hudgens, Insurance Commissioner of Georgia., Sonny Dinsmore, Fara at the Univ. of Florida, and all my family and friends for your support and prayers. It's not a cure, but it's a start and at least I won't be blind and dependent and ruin other's lives from their daily routines.

United Healthcare, shame on you for not supporting your clients with the best healthcare available. Shame on you for your "rather you be blind than spend the money" attitude. You accept my money every month, but when the chips are down and it's an urgent situation instead of a classic cold.. you deny care. Shame On You!

06/12/15 03:26 PM #30    


Sharon Lochaby

Tommy, thanks for keeping us posted. Our prayers and thoughts go with you as you fight this terrible disease and the insurance company.  You and too many have to waste energy on such senseless battles when your only priority needs to be on your health and well being.  

06/13/15 09:42 AM #31    


Brian Coward

Tommy, That is great news. I enjoyed talking with you the other night. Do hope that Bruce and I can get over to see you the next time I'm up that way. Keep us posted and hang in there. I'll continue to keep you in my prayers. 

06/13/15 09:42 AM #32    


Gail Postell (Waldroup)

Hey Tommy, I hate your going through this and having to fight the insurance companies also. So happy you kept on and going to the hospital of your choice. Amazing what results you get when you know the right people! It is a shame people have to fight for good healthcare. I pray this works and you keep your eyesight! My thoughts and prayers are with you!!!!!!

10/10/16 12:23 PM #33    


Tom Alexander

 Just thought I'd send a note prior to the 45th Reunion "Gathering at Gail's" reminiscing memories, 45 + 12 years ago in the 1st Grade with Miss Clara McCombs.  I didn't attend the whole school year as I had been hospitalized with rheumatic fever for 9 months prior to attending. We were such a rowdy little group, sitting at long tables with little wooden chairs. Endless days of coloring mimeographed drawings, learning A,B,C's and reading.."See Sally run,, run, run.   I sat at one of the front tables with Brian, Bruce, Alan Godfrey with me on the right end.
I was one of those who couldn't tie my shoes in the 1st Grade. Alan who sat next to me would always help me with my "Buster Browns" and tie them. He had other things to do besides cater to me all the time and he sat me down and taught me how to tie them myself. He also showed me the correct bathroom to go into as I had been going in the girl's bathroom.  Heck, the plumbing looked right as we didn't have those things hanging on the wall at home.
I remember Bruce and Brian too.  I knew Bill, Chris, Tommy Gill and some of the other classmates from the Kiddie  Park but I didn't know Bruce and Brian. I remember introducing myself on my first day in class, "You must be the Coward Twins" and I'll always remember Bruce's answer...."No we're not"!!!!
Miss McCombs was always fussing at Susan Bates, and Mary Montieth for not sitting still. Susan was a big gal for her age and had a  white eye patch over her eye. Susan and Mary would continuously twist in their seats swaying their legs back and forth constantly annoying Miss Clara.
There was the day that Markie Carringer decided to bring her neighbor, 3 year old Clark Bourne to school with her. Lord only knows how Miss McCombs treasured with pride her aquarium. We all would take turns feeding her fish, but under her supervision and we knew not to stick our hands in the water. There was one heck of a calamity when Clark was found unsupervised splashing and floating a boat in the back of the room in her aquarium. Markie was dismissed to take Clark home.
There were the normal "pocket checks", where pockets were emptied to disclose toys brought from home. Isn't that right,...Victor?
I remember my first episode of  "civil disobedience". Miss McCombs when out of the room and I took over trying to incite a riot. "She's the devil,  she's an old cow".. then she walks in on my peformance.  The race was on, around the room with Miss McCombs in tow just a few steps behind.  I was lucky that day as she tired and never caught me. I painfully learned later that week, that teachers have a way of cornering parents at the A&P and disclosings all activities.  Years later in High School I would grind feed for Miss McCombs' brothers, Dillard and Willard and see her working in the yard with her big straw hat. She didn't remember those antics, but she'd always give me a hug and would recall that I was a more than a "hand full".
I also remember her car.... a  light gray 1953 Pontiac Chieftan... and the day I first saw her cry, the morning after the Elementary School burned in 1961.
Just a few of my memories..... (We won't talk about finding a private place and using the bathroom outside)
Sorry that I can't make the reunion.  I really just don't feel well and have too many numerous health problems to elaborate on....But, I do want all of y'all that do attend to "Have a wonderful time"!!!!

10/11/16 08:09 PM #34    


Kathy Gibson (Penland)

So good to hear your memories.  I can still see her now.  She was kind of mean and I wasn't used to mean people.  I am sure she must have taught me a lot  I just remember her pulling my hand down tight and hitting me with the wooden ruler for talking to Grover Smith.  Today they would fire her for abuse.  Sorry you aren't feeling well enough to attend the reunion.  You will be missed.


10/12/16 10:29 AM #35    


Tom Alexander

Yes, Kathy she was a disciplinarian..  As the receiver of the most discipline in "our class" for 8 plus years, I must say, I sincerely appreciate what those teachers did for me. They molded me into the person I am today and made me appreciate what I have.  I believe in corporal punishment in the schools. I do think some of it was harsh, especially with the rulers, but even Mrs. Forsyth could over do it.  I think I would have rather had the ruler than the extent than Miss Hayes in the 3rd used her paddle on me.  Miss Hayes didn't like me and her sister Kate as much told me so.  Miss Kate told me in later years that Miss Leila and her had had conversations about me. LOL.... It all comes out in the wash, but still it made me a "Better" person. 

Maybe if there was more discipline in the schools, our nation wouldn't be experiencing the problems with the youth and grown ups as we have today...   

10/12/16 10:53 PM #36    


Kathy Gibson (Penland)

I do agree that we don't have enough discipline in the homes and in the schools, but we also have the problem of abuse in the homes .  What is the correct answer to these problems?

10/18/21 10:25 AM #37    


Tom Alexander


Just thought I’d take a minute or two and say..”Wished I had been There”! Sister, Anne and I had planned on being there.   We missing seeing all our friends and classmates of 50 years ago!  This was just not the time for me to be there.  I had many reasons to be in Murphy. One, was to go to Stormy’s Memorial in Peachtree, two, my daughter Wendy, (New drama teacher at MHS) was putting on her first performance with her students at the Warehouse which was behind the Reunion Venue for a fund raiser for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization……and then third… there was the Reunion.

I just couldn’t take a chance on getting Covid with the acceleration of the disease and deaths in Cherokee Co. with my compromised immune system. My Doctor had advised not taking the vaccine.  Here I am, with a  1 in 200 million rare cancer and I’m supposed to buy a Covid Lottery Ticket?  Not Going To Happen!


Just to let everyone know that I’m doing fair for an old fart.  I’ve got numerous health problems.  I’ve had 3 heart attacks, (1 recently),  a blood clot (recently) in the lung and something called temporal arteritis which has impaired my vision and a pacemaker (recently).  I haven’t driven or been able to drive or work since February. My sister, Anne has moved in with me helping me out since the passing of her husband 2 years ago. She has been a blessing doing my daily chores while stilled working in her 39th year as office manager at Greene Ford Company in Gainesville, Ga.  I’ve got her, my neighbor Tommy Gill and most recently Ronnie Westmoreland and Johnny Foster who have moved to the area to call on in emergencies. Such a Blessing!!


Maybe this spring we might all get together for a covered dish picnic at one of the pavilions on an area lake!  I would enjoy that immensely especially in an outdoor setting. I would love to see everyone and being the “story teller” I am,  I know we could reminiscence those school days of over 60 years.   And… Peden stood up and said ten years ago at our reunion “What is this The Tommy Alexander Show?”  …………….. Just maybe we’ll have one!!


I hope you know as spontaneous, argumentative, and mouthy as I am with a Type A personality, I care about each and every one of you. Thank each and everyone of you for your continued prayers and best wishes for a long and healthy life!     - Tommy


10/19/21 11:43 AM #38    


Bruce Coward



We did miss you and gave Tommy Gill my best wishes for the both of you.

Never, Never, give up !



10/20/21 09:54 AM #39    


Brian Coward

Tommy, It was a good turnout, and we saw friends we hadn't seen in 50 Years. Time flys and no one's getting younger! We sure missed seeing You, Dyer and Willie. Hang in there and Prayers for all of You and the Class of '71 ?


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