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Department of Surgery News Archive

July 2016

Painting a brighter future

Artist survives cancer, rediscovers his passion

Arturo Garcia and family

Arturo Garcia (far right) with his mother, wife, and son. The painting in the background is one of two that Garcia donated to the Cancer Center in May 2016.

In December 2012, Arturo Garcia was working his shift at a restaurant in Lakewood when he was overcome with abdominal pain. After checking himself into the hospital, he learned that a tumor had blocked his pancreatic and bile ducts. To survive, he would need a major surgery known as the Whipple procedure, which involves removal of the gallbladder, the duodenum, and the head of the pancreas.

Dr. Barish Edil, the director of our Pancreas and Biliary Multidisciplinary Clinic, performed the Whipple procedure that saved Garcia’s life. However, this was only the beginning of Garcia’s road to recovery. Ahead lay a battle with infection and a grueling course of chemotherapy.

Along the way, Garcia would face what he describes as “a huge abyss.” Lying in a hospital bed one night, he realized he hadn’t been living a life of purpose and had lost touch with one of his deepest passions: creating art.

By reconnecting with that passion, Garcia found the strength to beat cancer and build a new, more meaningful life. Today, Garcia sells his artwork at a gallery on Santa Fe Drive, and he recently donated two of his paintings to the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

To learn more, read the full story in UCHealth Today.