Basin Electric director shares story of survival, times two

Yesterday we posted the Basin Today article from the July/August 2016 issue on a day in the life of Basin Electric Director Mike McQuistion.

While we were talking to McQuistion for that story, he shared a personal story of survival he allowed us to publish here, in his own words.

Mike McQuistion

Mike McQuistion in Ft. Pierre, SD.

“I guess I can tell the story. … I was born with a tumor in my neck. From the time I was about seven years old, they operated about six times trying to take it out. It was starting to get close to my spinal column where it was going to kill me.

There were two places that had a radiation machine, Houston and Boston. In 1976, we went to Boston, and they put me in a body cast. I mean, they casted my upper torso, and radiated me for two months. But it isn’t like today where they go in and pinpoint it. I’m seven, eight years old, and I go in through a door that closes, then I go through another door. They strap me in and then leave. And they basically cooked me.

The doctor didn’t think I’d live to be 16 years old, but it killed that tumor. It’s hard there on my neck. Now there is scar tissue there where it fried my vocal cords, and it hurt my carotid artery, which I’ve had stints put in. In 2011, I had to have stints put in my neck.

In 1993, I had a run-in with a horse. He reared up, he hit me on the top of the head. It broke my neck, dislocated my neck, and that’s where the hole come from. I ended up in Minneapolis, and they said there’s no way, if you had been a normal person and not had this wedge protecting your vertebrae, that horse should have killed you. If you’re not dead, you would have never walked again.

Where that hole is, on the inside, I have an airway that goes this way and that way. Through the procedure that was going to fix it, they basically loaded me up on Valium and cauterized the hole. … They’re sitting there, you’re awake. It took three hours to do that.

They fixed my neck, and that is what that is. …

I don’t know if it’s a phobia of mine, or a chip on my shoulder, but when I don’t have to wear a shirt and tie and cover that hole up, people know why I talk the way I do because you can see it. But when you suit up and come into the boardroom, for example, or you meet somebody for the first time, you know that talking to them, it’s strange to break the ice.”


  1. Carmen Devney says:

    Wow. What a personal experience and story to share.

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