Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is this a relapse? The doc bets yes.

Adrienne was a 21 year old Hodge survivor. Man was she ever. She was legendary with the online Hodge community. If you had a problem, you just hoped Adrienne would help you on it and she almost always did. A person asked about a doctor in some town. Adrienne had a list along with some commentary on each. A person asked about a treatment, Adrienne could tell you what to expect in a language the docs couldn't tell you. Her mom and her wrote this one piece titled, "How you know you relapsed." It should be shown to every oncological intern. It was a work of art. I have just that page bookmarked. 

When I was looking into the pros and cons of my stem cell transplant, I asked for Adrienne's help and she came through. Both her and her mom offered advice, asked me questions and made me think. She left me with her cell phone number and her class schedule so I would know the best time to reach her. I never called. I was too intimidated. It would be like having Michael Jordan's personal cell phone number. 

Adrienne spent most of her life with Hodgkin's. She had it since she was nine. Imagine fighting something off since the age of nine. But she did it and with style, never letting the disease control the way she thought about life.

A couple of weeks ago, Adrienne passed away. She died like she lived giving the disease one hell of a tussle. She's the benchmark. She went twelve years. I don't think anyone can beat that. I'd love to be wrong. I need to be wrong. It seems as though that could be my max as well. 

I had been having a hard time with a couple lymph nodes in my groin and one in my neck. Because I'm no longer in Houston, the team at MD Anderson suggested I get a doctor here to look over any kind of thing like this. Today I went to see him. Although he doesn't have any scientific data and is only making a judgement based on feeling a node, noticing how large it is and going through my history, his best bet at this point is that I have cancer once again. I go in for scans and tests one week from Thursday. I'll know for sure then. 

When a soldier gets killed in battle, many of the other soldiers don't immediately think, "Poor George. I loved that guy." Instead, they usually think, "That was a close one. When is it going to be my turn?" Adrienne went down. But I think I just got shot, too. 


  1. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!

  2. As always, Michael, you and all your family are in my prayers.....!
    Dianne Beaty

  3. http://www.personalgrounding.com/assets/pdfs/FearDisease.pdf


    1-877-HOPE NET (1-877-467-3638)

    Cast your fears to the wind, to disperse into the Universe. For it is the way of the World, now, and time to submit unto the will of Almighty God. For He has a plan as yet undisclosed, that will cast your Soul in the performance of a lifetime. Stand ye back from the harsh light of misconstrued reality and be cooled by the flutter of Angel wings who have gathered around to comfort your body and soothe your weary mind. Be not fearful, for all will be resolved in due time….your Fate will be revealed. Your mind can purge the demon from it’s grasp on you so dwell less on the physical and focus on your mind’s powerful ability to cleanse and restore…..it is within your touch…..reach out and embrace the glorious possibilities that await you.

  4. I know you will be brave so I need not say it. Being brave doesn't mean you can't be scared and we are all scared at the possibility of this coming back. Being brave gives you the ability to go places and do things that scare you. You've been there before and, should the fight come to your door, you'll go there again.

    As the wind here in South Carolina rattles our Halloween decoration against our door, maybe when you open that door despite the fear, maybe - just maybe - there will be nothing there. But shall the cancer come knocking again, I know you'll battle it as ferociously as you have done in the past. You be the fighter and we'll be in your corner for however long it takes until you put him down for the count once more. I'll be that water bucket guy who always gets spit upon by the boxer between rounds.

    The bell has rung; let's see if your opponent is coming back for more.

    Sorry for all that cliche crap. Just know we're all thinking of you and we're here any time you need anything. Hang in there buddy.