Dr. Mark Tungesvik, an oncologist with Missouri Cancer Associates, is no stranger to end-of-life care.
According to Tungesvik, oncology is one of the biggest referrers to palliative care where founders, Dorreen Rardin and Jackie Reed worked. He sees the need for Caring Hearts and Hands in our community.
“We will be treating people who are older and living alone. It’s not optimal, and as they get sicker, you’re in a pickle. For some, there’s not a lot of social support, and hospice can’t assist if the patient is alone. There are nursing homes, but that isn’t optimal. It could be a warm, loving place, but many patients don’t see it that way. I do think this is an unmet need.”
“There isn’t much small talk in the office,” Tungesvik says. “Once cancer patients have a diagnosis, their life changes. If it’s terminal, their perspective on life changes. And we form a real relationship. Working with the patients is the best part. That’s what I like, and that’s why I do it.”
But Tungesvik doesn’t stop at medical cancer treatments. He’s also nearing the end of a seven-year project, writing a trilogy of therapeutic fiction. This three-book series is meant to help those struggling more than just physically.
“Some people will have developed a dark worldview, and it’s hard to work out of that. So, I put together this series. It’s not just about providing for a person’s physical needs. They have to turn the corner emotionally and intellectually so they can have some hope. These books are about doing that.”
“I’ve been writing the Song of the Bear trilogy for nearly seven years, but I’m coming to the end of it. I’m going over what may be the final draft. I’ll be sending to a self-publisher soon.”