I’m a Mess

Nothing like a blatantly honest title for a new blog post. Besides which it was the comment I made to my wife this morning as I left the hospital. As you may know by now, every Tuesday I go down to Georgetown to have my blood work checked and for them to count the pills I take daily to make sure I haven’t missed a day or over-medicated myself. On every third Tuesday I have chemotherapy. Today was supposed to be just a quick in and out – get my blood work done, have my pills counted, meet with my oncologist and by on my merry way.

And that would have been the case if I was feeling up to snuff but the truth is I haven’t been feeling that great lately. I’m not in any pain, but I’m dragging my rear end all day long. Wanting to sleep 10 – 12 hours a day should not be the norm and yet it’s become so since my last treatment. I’ve read this is one of the side effects of the chemotherapy drug I’m on, and while it’s helpful to know the cause of my lethargy it doesn’t alter my desire to have my old energy levels back.

This past Saturday I went to a glass fusing class in Frederick. It was a fantastic class. Incredibly knowledgeable instructor and a great group of students. The class went from 10 – 4 and it was everything I could do to make it through the class and drive back home. I was exhausted but I hadn’t really done anything physical. Simply participating in a class wiped me out.

So, when Dr. Pishvaian asked me how I was doing today, I just wasn’t up to sugar coating my reply. “I feel like crap. I’m constantly dragging my butt and I still feel short of breath, or at least I did yesterday when I went for a walk around the block.” And then I had him look at where the scar was from the small intestine surgery. “Why is my belly distended and sore in that one spot?”

Hey kids, can you say “hernia”? I thought you could.

I had been ill Sunday evening and between being nauseas and hacking a lung I apparently created/caused/popped a hernia. Nice. Not.

OK, not the end of the world by any means but did we really need to add one more thing to the bag of fun for 2017?  But wait, there’s more.

I then went upstairs to see Dr. Vinayak my pulmonologist. He wanted to do a quick follow up of the lung he drained two weeks ago using ultrasound. Guess what he found as soon as he put the probe to my back. That’s right – the lung had filled back up again. Not quite to the point it was two weeks ago but close to it. Given how quickly the fluid built up again we had a bit of a discussion on what to do next. There are basically three options. Go in every other week and have him drain the lung. Have a pleural catheter inserted and I drain the lung myself on a daily basis. There is a 50% chance after 30 days that pleurodesis (the linings sticking to one another) will occur and resolve the problem. The other option is surgery where they drain the fluid and then introduce an irritant (talc) between the linings to cause scarring and hopefully adhesion. This Thursday morning I’ll be going back to have the lung drained again. And I’ll be talking to favorite thoracic surgeon, Dr. Blair Marshall, about doing another VAT surgery and see if she can’t get this lung to behave itself.

I know I’ve been very sarcastic in this post. I’d say I apologize for that but nah. I’m as tired of writing up what I consider “bad news” as you probably are of reading it. I’d love to write how well the chemotherapy treatments are going and that my recent CT scan was clean but that’s not the cards I’ve been currently dealt. So yeah I’m a bit pissy right now about today. BUT…

I will leave you with an upside to today. I know I’m incredibly blessed to have wonderful friends and family who are praying for me constantly. I also know I’m blessed with doctors and nurses who actually care about how I’m doing both physically and emotionally. Today Dr. Vinayak wanted to see me in his office – which apparently is not his clinic – where I’ve seen him before. I went to the front desk in the main lobby of the hospital to ask where his office was located and the young lady there had no idea. As she started to place phone calls to find out another young lady walked up to me and said she was Dr. Vinayak’s secretary and that she’d take me to his office. WHAT is the likely hood of that happening?! My reply to her and too you is, God is good – all the time. With the way things went this morning I needed that little God sighting to keep from falling apart.

I know you all also have your daily struggles. For some of you simply getting through the holiday season can be a trial. I pray during your struggles God gives you the same little glimpses of His mercy that He has for me.

Merry Christmas and may God’s joy be with you and yours throughout the New Year.

2017-12-19T17:35:06-04:00 December 19th, 2017|Categories: Cancer, Cancer Update, Timeline|3 Comments


  1. Norman December 19, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Michael, it certainly sounds like you have been dealt a hard hand top play. I hope and pray the ling clears, and all that happens with Chemo leads to a better outcome than you’ve been experiencing.
    Praying for you, my friend. God is indeed good, and his mercy is boundless. May he shine that light on you.

  2. Sabre Workman December 20, 2017 at 3:31 am

    Mike – we are continually praying for you and Robin. Thank you for your insight — that in the midst of trials there are always glimpses of God in our lives daily. Thank you for your honest posts. I am so sorry that you are suffering with side effects from the drug regimen and that your current course will give you some relief. Praying you have a Merry Christmas surrounded by your family and friends.

  3. Steve O'Grady December 20, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Mike, thank you for your message of Gods own messengers (angels in my experience). They seem to appear during challenging times and also tmes of bliss. This of course means His Grace is not mine to question but to embrace. Your strength and attitude through the catagory 5 storm of life is incredible. May the Lord hold you in His hand.

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