Sunday, August 8, 2010

What are you thinking?

I thought I'd take this time to answer a couple of questions that are usually on people's minds when talking to me.

The first is, "When is this jerk off going to die?" Okay, you probably frame it quite differently. More like, "How long does he have to live? He looks like death already. And doesn't he have another hat?"I'm just going to focus on the first question, which is sort of funny from my point of view because most people certainly wonder about how long I have to live but don't think it's right to ask and of those that do ask, they never get it out very smoothly. 

The answer that some docs will give is I generally have anywhere between 1-3 years from the time of relapse. However, because I relapsed within six months of my stem cell transplant, that changes things a little. One study showed that of these patients, half die before making it the other six months in the year. I didn't die. My year anniversary was June 21 or June 18th. My wife knows. I don't remember much from that time. So I didn't die but I do have an aggressive form of cancer and that means it could turn on me at any time. To sum up, the answer is one day to three years left of life and no I don't have very many hats that fit my head right. 

By the way, that's incorrect information. While I barely got a C in stats class at Texas, I can say with certainty that statistics are only snapshots and, most importantly, outdated ones. A stat is past due by its nature. Three years ago, almost all of the drugs that are now in clinical trials weren't available. So patients got sicker quicker and died with little to help them other than traditional chemo. Now the new drugs are around.

The second question is one everyone asks and don't stutter about. That is, "How am I doing?" Well, not the best. The cancer is clearly spreading and making things uncomfortable. Worse yet, relief is not in sight. I just heard from my team in New York that the drug company won't let me take the treatment until September. The team is still trying but it doesn't look likely. I'm a little peeved at my team too but I'll get into that in my next post.

After getting mad, I decided to get even. Ya see, while I can barely walk a flight of stairs and look like Hume Cronin's Grandfather, I am in high demand. Per the statistics above, there aren't a lot of me alive. Maybe about fifty people. That means there aren't a lot of people to take part in a drug company's study. I'm a hot commodity. So I decided that if the drug company can't make it sooner, they won't get me at all. I called the Mayo Clinic and am now waiting to see if I can get on one of their trials. They haven't called me back. I'll keep you posted.

Needless to say, this new chain of events has made me a little anxious, worried, more uncomfortable, more sick and flighty. That's a long time for this disease to go unchecked. I need to get something in me to at least slow this down. I had to wait before the last trial and my nodes grew. They, in fact, became the nodes that got me kicked off the trial as they continued to grow while the older ones stablized.

Those are my answers. But you can keep asking them if you want. I don't mind. 


  1. 河水永遠是相同的,可是每一剎那又都是新的。. . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  2. Michael,

    Good afternoon from Greenville. In the past, when the guys would hang out, we'd drink, make fun of each other, mock each other endlessly, talk about Schmidt being gay, break out the cards, turn on Todd's 80's & 90's music mix and have a gay old time (again - Schmidt's gay).

    The many fantasy football drafts ranks high on my list of fun times with the boys. Even better were the good-old days of Music Trivia (and Movie Trivia, which of course you kicked butt in). I remember a few weekend trips to visit you, Todd and Rossi in Madison during school. Do you remember the time we accidentally lit John Lesak's sleeping bag on fire? As the little kid said in 16 Candles: "Classic". Though we very rarely get together and have those kind of get-togethers, we all remember them fondly.

    We know you are hurting and that makes all of us hurt for you. Our pain is nothing like yours but we wish we could take some of yours away. Like dickheads we are, sometimes we say things or ask things that are blatantly honest. Only close friends can get away with that and you are one of them.

    This blog has been such a great method of communication between you and the masses that are always thinking and praying for you. Being so far away, I am very grateful for you to keep me in the loop via these posts.

    We care not what you look like but rather if you are feeling less pain. Your foe will win this battle some day, but we are proud of who you are, who you've been to us all, and how you've stood up to cancer without backing down. I thank you for being a great friend to me for these long years. I enjoyed trading Cowboys players with you each fantasy season, even though frick' Irvin would usually come back and bite my ass post-trade. But mostly, I thank you for being you. For making me and all the guys laugh every time we were around you. Sometimes you wouldn't even say anything, but would just make a face that would make us bust a gut. I'll never forget Todd saying that though you are very funny, you were the smartest guy he's ever known, even despite that infamous Dallas Cowboys Defense draft pick you made.

    I miss you, buddy. We all miss you. Know that we all will be there for you immediately should you need anything done for you or your family. [If it involves lead pipes and knees, I'll defer to Rossi and The Fixer.]

    Take care and thank for everything Michael. Keep fighting, keep posting and sleep well.