Rep. Fernandes taking break to have surgery

State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, left, presents Frank, Peter, and Heidi Dunkl with proclamation from the House of Representatives at a recent event. — Stacey Rupolo

State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, who represents Martha’s Vineyard at the Statehouse, is taking a brief medical leave to have surgery. The leave won’t affect any legislative votes, the freshman legislator told The Times in an email Monday.

Rep. Fernandes is scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday to have a benign tumor removed from his leg. The surgery and his plans were outlined in an email sent to his supporters and shared with The Times.

“I have a foot-long benign tumor in my left thigh which has caused chronic pain for the last 15 years. The tumor is called fibro-adipose vascular anomaly (FAVA) — a rare disease that was only discovered in people about 10 years ago.”

Rep. Fernandes, who was elected 13 months ago to replace state Rep. Timothy Madden, D-Nantucket, to represent the district that includes part of Falmouth as well as both islands, wrote that his condition causes him so much discomfort that he often has to lean on something at gatherings.

“This is a condition I rarely talk about and strain to overcome,” he wrote. “At events people often remark that I never take a seat, but if you look closely I am often leaning against a wall or clenching a ledge or table to try to take weight off of my left leg, which is often in aching pain.”

Rep. Fernandes wrote that he will be immobile for most of the rest of the month. “However, my doctor is confident that I will not miss a vote once session begins in January, and that by early spring I will be ready to knock on doors as I campaign for a second term,” he wrote. “As many of you know, patience is not a strong characteristic of mine, and I plan to attack the recovery process that same way I fight for issues impacting our district. Relentlessly.”

Rep. Fernandes has been a frequent visitor to the Island during his first year in office. “I chose to hold off on the operation until December because the legislature is not in session and people are largely focused on family and the holidays,” he wrote. “I apologize in advance for not being able to attend events over the next couple weeks, but I will still be available over email at, and my terrific legislative team can answer questions at 617-727-2430, ext. 6.”