It has been just about four years since I checked into the Simon Cancer Center at Indiana University. I still remember sitting in my hotel room the night before checking in to the hospital with my old friend Tara watching the poll returns for the 2008 Presidential election (we didn’t have to stay up late for the results). The day before Dawn and my brother Jeff watched a machine harvest stem after my apheresis catheter was put in place, and then headed north (Jeff to a flight home to L.A. from Chicago, and Dawn home to Madison). Earlier that day I sat in my hotel room alone (probably writing on this blog about something), and looked down to see a giant blood stain on my chest. I tried to stay calm, disappointed that my Obama tshirt was probably forever ruined, but thinking that it was at least a meaningful stain. I called the hospital, and then called Tara (who was in route to Indianapolis from her then home in Cincinnati). Back to the hospital I went, where the nurse said something like, “Gosh, I thought your catheter was fine when you left.”

This is all to say that it’s been a while. And things have changed for the better. Except one: my hearing. The high dose chemotherapy I endured in November and December of 2008 permanently damaged my hearing, and I’ve spent the last four years coping. I guess the thing that has made it the hardest is Jack, the awesome two year old kid Dawn and I are lucky enough to call our son. I mis-hear him all the time, and I don’t want to miss any more of what he has to say. So, tomorrow I get hearing aids. I’m excited. It’s exciting, right?


3 Responses to “Hear”

  1. It’s ALWAYS better to be able to hear – of course!! No one cares if you have a hearing aid, and watching my dad get deafer and deafer over the years and absolutely refuse to get a hearing aid was no fun. Finally some guy from “Miracle Ear” convinced him to buy one and he did it with no other advice – it was terrible! He hated it and wouldn’t wear it.
    So much has changed and improved since then, especially the tiny computers that are helping people to distinguish distance in hearing and where sounds are coming from. It’s incredibly complicated but those things have gotten a LOT better. It’s still probably going to sound really loud and a bit confusing, but they say to just keep wearing them and your brain will adjust.
    Wow, it makes me realize I haven’t seen you guys in a long, long time. Life has a way of doing that, but I’m so glad you’re doing great, Mike, and I love seeing all the pictures of Jack on Facebook.

  2. Hi, I’m not sure if you still check this, but if you do, I want to thank you for posting your story. I have been doing a ton of research on high dose chemo bc my fiancé has been diagnosed with seminoma. After initial chemo, it is still there & our oncologist has mentioned us going to Indiana. I’m scared for him & for myself, and it’s so easy to give up or fear the worst. But hearing your story gives me hope. Because no matter what we face, as long as he survives & we have many more years of happiness ahead, then I will be ok. I totally get what you meant when you discussed simplifying your life from expectations. My whole life has been filled with that. Now, I don’t want any of what I thought I did in my career, climbing the ladder of success, etc. I know now all I need & want is him. A simple beautiful life with him. Thank you for your story.

    • Robyn–I’m always so pleased when people going through their own journey with cancer find my blogging helpful. Please let me know if I can do anything to assist you and your fiance. I’m always willing to share more of my experience if others find it helpful.

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