…And I Like Wednesdays Even Less

This morning I was standing in my favorite coffee shop in Madison, the Washington Hotel Coffee Room, my greenish mug dangling from my pinkie finger, waiting on line to pay for my morning coffee when my cell phone started to vibrate. I have a general policy with that phone — one that has changed a bit with my need to be more phone-friendly for the sake of my job with CTM — that states simply, “if you don’t know who it is, don’t pick up.” Well, I didn’t recognize the number, and I was about to approach the counter and order my cup of joe. So, I didn’t pick it up.

As I got back in my truck, I called my voicemail and listened to the voice of my oncologist, Dr. Arbaje, telling me that he met with the “tumor board” this morning and wanted to speak with me. It was his cell phone number that I did not recognize. So, I pulled over, and called him (full disclosure: I pulled over long enough to get the phone ringing, since I didn’t want to be late to my appointment with the surgeon, Dr. Caropreso).

Dr. Arbaje told me that the consensus was clear at the tumor board after all of the oncologists, radiologists, and others weighed in on my case: the tumor in my abdomen had grown noticeably in the short period of time between my CT scan (Sept. 19) and my PET scan (Sept. 25) , indicating that the there is a good chance the tumor is not simply teratoma — the kind of cell that will not respond to chemotherapy — but that instead it more than likely contains other types of cancer cells, namely germ cell. Because of this, the recommendation has changed from having a Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection (RPLND) as soon as possible to beginning four cycles of chemotherapy right away (on Monday).

Since I was on my way across town to meet with Dr. Caropreso (the surgeon who would perform the RPLND) as I spoke to Dr. Arbaje, I decided to go to the appointment anyway, and let him explain both the reasons for the changed game plan, as well as the RPLND — since there is still a possibility that I may need one post-post-chemo.

This development has, in all honesty, got me down. I was so confident that chemo would never happen in my life again. It was a miserable experience — and this time they want me to do four cycles rather than the three I did last year. The regimen is slightly different, but I won’t know the details until I meet with Dr. Arbaje tomorrow morning.

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5 Responses to “…And I Like Wednesdays Even Less”

  1. Ellen DuPuy Says:

    Dear Mike,
    All we want is for you to be well as soon as possible. Hope it all starts happening soon. Love and squeezes (but not too hard) to you and Dawnie.
    ellen

  2. Ellen —

    Thanks for note! It’s going to be another rough Autumn, but I’ll be coming out of it for Christmas again…

    m

  3. Hi Mike,
    Let us know if there is anything that we can do for you and Dawn! We will be sending healthy vibes your way…..

    Molly and Dave

  4. Love you.

  5. Jamie Van Eyck Says:

    Mike – heard this news from Dawn, yesterday. I’m so sorry that you’ll have to go through chemo again. I’m sending prayers, vibes, good thoughts, and general cheerleading your way. I’m about a 4 minute drive away, and I’m happy to help with anything at all that you two may need.
    xo-Jamie

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