Harvey Mandel needs our help
He was a member of Canned Heat. He played with John Mayall. He played with The Rolling Stones. In fact, he almost became a Rolling Stone. He is Harvey “The Snake” Mandel. His career has spanned over 50 years, bridging the gap between the blues, jazz and rock with his two-handed fretboard tapping and his creative use of sustain and controlled feedback.
Harvey Mandel was diagnosed with nasal cancer back in 2013 and has undergone 33 surgeries since then. Declared cancer-free in 2014, he resumed recording under his own name in earnest, issuing the hybrid jazz-rock, acclaimed “Snake Pit” in 2016. About 6 months ago the cancer returned, throwing Harvey into the hospital, for another terrible surgery. The type of cancer he has requires very specialized surgery by a top doctor in Chicago who does not accept health insurance. All the reconstruction work Harvey endured had to be removed. Now, without a nose, Harry is very susceptible to infection, which is the new battle he faces. Harvey has had to pawn his guitars and sell his publishing to stay afloat. He lost his only son, his sister, and his mother in recent years. And Harvey faces several more surgeries.
About 4 months ago Harvey was yet again in the hospital, fighting for his life due to a terrible infection. Harvey overcame the infection and now awaits a very specialized surgery by very expensive doctors that Harvey just cannot afford.
July 28 UPDATE: Harvey’s MRI on Tuesday showed improvements, that the cancer is under control, and the infection that nearly killed him, is gone. He can now start new nasal reconstruction. Nasal reconstruction is a very complex surgery performed by an otolaryngologist in conjunction with a plastic surgeon. Recovery from nasal reconstruction, involving complex procedures and multiple surgeries, may take several months.
Unfortunately, there is more that Harvey must endure. The chemo and radiation he needed to kick the cancer ruined his teeth, so he also needs dental implants and several dental surgeries. And Harvey also needs new glasses and has an appointment with his optometrist Friday.
August 11, 2022 UPDATE: Harvey’s latest MRI shows no new cancer seen, which is totally great news. And he’s no longer taking antibiotics, ending a seven-and-a-half-week ordeal with as he calls it “weird infection.” Harvey has a new dental surgery scheduled (ouch!) and is meeting with his doctors next week to plan more work on his nose to make it more functional.
August 30, 2022 UPDATE: While walking downstairs, Harvey fell off the last step and broke bones in his foot and left-hand pinky finger. Harvey blames his continually blurry eyes on the loss of his tear ducts in his last cancer surgery. He says “it’s like crying 24/7” and he needs a very specialized eye doctor to create a solution for the tearing. That and one eye needs cataract surgery. He has an appointment next month with his ophthalmologist and will figure out next steps after that.
But wait, there’s more – Harvey got his finger splint tangled up in his bed sheets Friday morning, pulling the bones out of alignment, and sending him back to the hospital. He has an appointment with an orthopedic hand specialist next week, who may need to freeze Harvey’s hand to realign the bones – the ER doctor was not sure if a re-alignment is needed. This is critical for Harvey as it is keeping him from playing guitar, the only thing he really cares about…
September 19, 2022 UPDATE: Harvey is happy about his Monday appointment with the hand specialist doctor. After new x-rays and an exam, the doctor said that the bones in his pinky finger were healing, and was optimistic after Harvey was able to slightly move his finger. He said that Harvey might be able to start playing guitar in about 2 weeks – which was music to Harvey’s ears! An upbeat Harvey said he probably will be able to play at the “Born in Chicago” movie screening and concert with his Chicago Blues Reunion bandmates.
Overall, Harvey is getting better. He reports that his foot is feeling better, and he’s able to hobble around with the boot on his foot and a cane. With a bit of a chuckle, Harvey said: “I’ve been playing guitar for 65 years and this won’t stop me!”
October 6, 2022 UPDATE: Harvey’s visit to the “finger” doctor was troubling. He can slightly move his finger up and down, but can’t bend it at all. He’s now in a new splint that lets him move his other fingers, but not the pinky. Harvey says his doctor is the top hand orthopedist specialist at UCSF and he’s back in to see him again in another week. Harvey wants the bones to mend so he can play at the November 21st gig in L.A. with Barry Goldberg. On leaving, Harvey told the doc to just let him “play some music, get patted on the back and make some dough.”
Harvey and Barry are in “Born In Chicago – The Film” directed by Bob Sarles, and John Anderson. There is a screening of the film November 21st in LA’s Film Fest. Harvey, Barry, Timm Martin and John Anderson will answer questions about the film and how it chronicles the birth of electric Blues in Chicago.
More news. Harvey’s 3 bones he broke in his foot have been healing just fine. He is out of the huge foot boot, and getting around better. Now that Harvey’s foot has healed, he needs to loosen up stiff muscles and ligaments. He will start seeing a physical therapist improve his flexibility and strength. Tuesday, he got his Covid Shot. And his eye surgery is scheduled for week after next.
With all this medical mess, Harvey has an upbeat attitude. And he has a new album coming out in about a month, something Harvey is looking forward to! He is totally blown away from all the support he’s received and hopes it will continue until he reaches his goal.
Harvey Mandel’s family and friends are uniting to raise money to help Harvey with his battle. And he really needs your help. We’ve raised about half of what Harvey needs. Please visit Harvey’s go fund me page and contribute whatever you can. It will mean the future for Harvey:
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