Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

“Breathe in Hope, Breathe out Love”

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post today.  Jeffrey Guyer, son of Dr. Richard Guyer passed away peacefully Monday June 6th, surrounded by family, friends and loved ones, after a year-long battle with cancer.

Below is an article that was written in Orthopedics This Week telling a little about Jeffrey.

“Continue to breathe in hope and breathe out love.”

Those were the last words written by Jeffrey Guyer on his blog, “Living With The Big C,” on Saturday June 4. Jeff passed away peacefully this past Monday, June 6, after a year-long fight with sarcoma.

Jeff was an award-winning orthopedic engineer who led a team at Alphatec Spine that designed the GLIF (guided lumbar interbody fusion) procedure which allowed surgeons to perform a full circumferential fusion of the spine without having to flip the patient over on the operating table. The procedure won an OTW Best Spine Technology Award in 2009 in the Minimally Invasive Care category.

Jeff is also the son of Rick and Shelley Guyer. Rick Guyer, M.D., is a past president of the North American Spine Society and a founder of the Texas Back Institute.

The larger family of orthopedics is made up of countless men and women whose ultimate aim is to heal. There are many in this family that have lost a battle to illness and we can never tell all their stories. But we write about Jeff because he was an articulate young man who through his blog was able to capture the spirit of hope and love that represents the best of professional competence and human compassion in this bigger family of healers.

If you met Jeff Guyer and knew him for only five minutes, you knew Jeff. His infectious smile, unbridled enthusiasm for his craft and obvious joy of the “moment” gave you a full and unfiltered view of his personality.

Below is Jeff’s last blog. We share this because his admonition to continue to breathe in hope and breathe out love is inspiring and fuels everyone in orthopedics who gets up every day to find a better way to heal their fellow human beings.

Happy Trails to you Jeffrey Guyer. You left a trail of smiles.

No More Cords, Procedures or Tests

At this point I’ve had all the chemotherapy, radiation and surgery my body will handle.  We’ve tried every chemotherapy and procedure, leaving no rock unturned. The procedure aimed at reducing the bleeding in my belly was successful but short lived; however, the filter to prevent clots from traveling to my lungs works perfectly but does very little to my overall condition.

I’ve been sustained by blood and platelet infusions; however, each infusion buys me less and less time.  We’ve switched to a purely palliative treatment plan and eliminated all non-essential medicines, transfusions, blood tests and scans.  My oncology team sat my family down and described my prognosis in terms of days.

It’s the worst thing one could expect to hear about themselves, not to mention a wife about their husband, a father and mother about their son, etc.

I have elected to spend my final days at MGH, close to my doctors whom have treated me so well throughout this terrible disease.  I always knew this day would one day come, just never knew when or how fast.  But I’ve been prepared.

For some time I’ve come to terms with my illness and what it would one day bring.  There’s a certain amount of pride and dignity I carry with no regrets:  I grew up in supportive family that never struggled with wants or needs; I was given and took advantage of every educational obstacle I could handle; I successfully launched myself into a great career; and I found my beautiful soulmate and angel to be my wife and start a family and life.

Autumn and I are at the top of our game: beautiful family (especially Benson whom has become somewhat of a local celebrity); supportive parents, siblings, aunts and uncles; promising career paths; and financially stable without wants or needs.  It all makes me so happy.  I couldn’t ask for more.  I couldn’t be more proud.

And so there you have it!  Ever since I started straight catheterizing myself I switched to big boy pull up underwear (really just for cleanup and sanitation reasons); however today I was down-classed to traditional diapers so I didn’t want to sit on this blog posting too long.  People have been pouring in with visits and calls, which are all encouraged, no need to ask, even just for a handshake or a snug hug.

I’m not sure if this is my last posting but if it is I want to thank everyone whom has helped me along the way, everyone whom has become inspired to make a difference, and everyone whom has changed their own lives to better take advantage of life’s little opportunities and tiny miracles.  It’s not a goodbye but more of a see you later.  It’s truly been and honor and privilege.

I just ask in return that everyone keeps on fighting to find a cure.  Continue fundraising and continue to “breathe in hope, breathe out love.”

Posted by Jeff Guyer at 6:48 AM

The final post on Jeff’s blog was left by his family.

It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later

Jeff passed away peacefully tonight at 9:15 pm. He was surrounded by his immediate family and closest friends. We will forever cherish our memories and will miss him very much.

See you later, Jeffrey. We love you very much.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Guyer family at this very difficult time in their lives.  May Jeffrey’s strength help them through.

The TBI family

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