Out of the Box

Today my wife and I met with Dr. Blair Marshall. She is the thoracic surgeon at Georgetown University Hospital who will be performing my esophagectomy. Yeah say that one three times fast, and no you don’t want to Google that up. Suffice to say it’s the ultimate in tummy tucks. In meeting with her this morning she was a bit apprehensive about performing the surgery on me. Not over the surgery itself (though it is a 6-8 hour procedure) but because of the uncertainty which is – me. What the immunotherapy treatment did for me, in removing the tumors in my liver, makes me a huge unknown. As Dr. Marshall said, “You’re completely outside the box.” Doctors don’t like unknowns. It tends to make them frown.

Her quandary, the one we all have, is performing a life altering surgery only to have the cancer return. In order to appease her concerns she’s having me get a PET scan next Thursday. I’ve never had a PET scan, but I know for a lot of cancer patients that is a normal type of scan to get as the contrast agent shows cells with a high metabolic rate like cancer cells. As long as everything comes back normal I’ll be having surgery on July 27th.

Upon returning home I wrote my oncologist telling him of our meeting with Dr. Marshall and her concerns. I wrote, “Of course I know that’s always the possibility no matter how ‘inside the box’ one is when dealing with cancer.” I guess I could sound very stoic and say, there are no certainties in life but death and the truth is, well that is the truth.

I had feared the surgery was going to happen ASAP and that because of the lengthy recovery a lot of our summer plans were not going to occur. Thankfully this means:

  • I’ll still to get to help lead the Men’s Sunday School class I’ve been preparing.
  • Robin and I still get to help out with Vacation Bible School.
  • I get to cover for my incredible boss while he’s on vacation.
  • Robin and I still get to go to the OBX!

Taking it one day at a time.


2016-10-31T07:39:00-04:00 June 11th, 2015|Categories: Cancer Update|3 Comments


  1. Bobbie June 11, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    You and Robin are in our prayers every day. I just know that PET scan will be clear. Love you guys.

  2. Rose Blondell June 12, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Mike, we are all standing with you in this — prayers lifted up as you know.

  3. Josh Bascom June 12, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Way to push ahead with a good spirit, Mike. Love ya. I was scared bc the “About Me” box in the top-right of your blog says on June 25 you found out you had cancer that had spread to your liver, and I was thinking it might be after 6/25 this year, and it had spread AGAIN.

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