Thursday, December 31, 2015

MD Anderson Day 2 and a HUGE announcement

The evening after Day 1 was spent at the Farace mansion in Katy, TX.   The highlight was Audra doing a dramatic reading of the last blog post, and she has been chosen as the official reader for the audio version of the blog, coming in the summer of 2016, immediately following my interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show.

Day 2 started with a mid-morning call from MD Anderson letting us know that Dr. Patel and the team was running ahead of schedule, and that I was free to come in earlier than my scheduled 2:00 appt.   Having anyone at MD "running ahead of schedule" is like seeing Halley's Comet every Tuesday for a just doesn't happen.   After a short wait, we were called back and did the blood pressure thingy, and weight (3 pounds less than yesterday....SCORE!!!!)  and met with Dr. Patel's nurse and she went through a rough history and general medical questions.    Then the very cool Dr. Baez entered and spent about 30 minutes going through a complete history of surgeries and treatments.  Side note:   Dr. B is freaking cool, like the flip side of the pillow and you want to invite him to dinner at Flemings when the Bradleys are paying cool.   Grew up in Puerto Rico, went to Stanford, worked on Wall Street with Goldman for two years before going to med school back in PR, and then doing his residency and fellowship at MD Anderson.   Yeah, about like my path and story, we could be twins.   So Dr. B had an interesting focus on the questions....he wanted to know the dates of each surgery and reoccurrence, but wanted to know the specific treatments, length, how I tolerated, ect...    After beating him down with "no really, we should be best friends" he left to go update Dr. Patel.    About 12 minutes gave me just enough time to watch the best Ted Talks ever.....Amy the it here if you've never seen it, you can thank me later:
So then the great Dr. Patel enters and we are reminded why MD Anderson is so great.   Her bedside manner, like everyone at MD is impeccable.   She is friendly, attentive, knows every date and person's name along my journey off the top of her head and wants to have a discussion, not just tell me what she thinks.  At the end of the day she suggests doing nothing at this point, other than monitoring and checking scans quarterly.  She gave a concrete reason for not doing Yervoy at this point, the 10% uptick in pushing back reoccurrence is not worth the terrible side effects.  They are basically waiting for the 'next time', then LEAVING the cancer in place, so they can have something to monitor to see if the treatment is working.   The tumor or cancer is shrinking, great, stay on whatever drug or in whatever trial, if it's not, then try something else or remove it.   The other interesting thing coming out of this is I'm somewhat of a Melanoma Rock Star!!!   Having an initial diagnosis, then reoccurrence, reoccurrence, and reoccurrence puts me in rare MD will send a private jet to Addison Airport so I can travel in luxury each quarter to make MD my home base.   Ok, so I made up the private jet part, but my agent is working on that, right after making sure Matt Lauer doesn't get 'handsie' during my Today Show interview.

So now for the big announcement.....thanks to the generous offer from Mrs. D (you know who you are you Scandal loving principal.....even thought the acting and story line in Scandal is terrible) I will be teaching 4th grade writing at Isbell Elementary starting this Spring.    So expect a generation of writers that like to use "..." to join run on sentences, put anything and everything in "quotes' to draw attention because you can't see me doing air quotes while I'm typing, and a smarmy attitude and understanding that sometimes comedy makes people uncomfortable.  (see Emily and Mike's rehearsal dinner toast)

Thank you to Mindy and Dave for hosting us for two nights, and buying two of the most expensive meals I've ever eaten.  (Mitch, we still hold first place with Nobu NY)   And to Craig and Audra for a great dinner, company, and keeping the girls for two days.


PS  I'm kidding about teaching at Isbell.......after the 5th person asked either when I was starting, or if I was still working at Splunk, I figured I needed to clarify!  haha

#Blessed  #TrevoneBoykinisanidiot  #TCUquarterbacksliketohavefelonies  #StillwishTexashadaQB #Scandalisterrible  #LittleSweetslidingdownthebannistermakesmelaugheverytime  #Ilovedrpepper  #MancrushonDrBaez  #MancrushonKirkHerbstreit  #Alabamadefenseisprettygood   #Idon'tproofreadIjusthitpublish   #Untilnexttime  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Souvenir MD Anderson T-Shirt

MD Anderson is amazing.    Literally, amazing.   For starters, it's huge.  Just like going to a sporting event or trying to park in downtown San Francisco for dinner, parking is the first thing you think of when approaching the complex.   After circling and seeing multiple "Full" signs on 15 story parking garages, we found a spot and made it into the "primary" MD Anderson building.    Asked the front desk that was next to the "Aquarium", "Bookstore", big "Souvenir" shop and "Art Display" (because who doesn't want a "My mom and dad went to MD Anderson and all I got was this crummy t-shirt") where to go, and she pointed at Elevator T, 9th floor.    When you walk off the elevator there is a huge waiting room with "MD Anderson Melanoma Clinic" above the entrance.........ahhhhh, my people!!!   "Paperwork" on an iPod, and I was called back......super nice nurse, and a somewhat pushy and over the top "nice" research nurse and then the GREAT Adam entered the room.    Adam is Dr. Ross' PA, or wing man, right hand man, just all around great dude.   We chat for 15 min, and he gets all the pertinent info down to present to Dr. Ross in some super top secret room where I envision Dr. Ross sitting on a big throne with scantily clad nurses fanning him and feeding him grapes.   Then the smell of freshly cut grapes filled the air, as a heavenly glow shown under the door, and after an angelic knock, Dr. Ross entered the room to a huge ovation.   Dr. Ross is the man, super great guy, and all round great doctor.   He has known Dr. B from med school, and asked Adam to try and get him on the phone after questioning me about why the melanoma was removed, instead of keeping the mass intact, and monitoring it versus various treatments or trials.   Adam sticks his head in the door two minutes later with Dr. B on hold.......Dr. Ross steps in the hall to discuss.    They have a good discussion, have a plan if it comes back, and Dr. Ross comes back in.    He wants to do a sonogram on both sides of my neck, and a needle biopsy on anything that doesn't look normal.    He sends me off to the Ross Clinic, which is a 1.3 mile walk through the Sky Bridge system connecting all the buildings.    Literally there is a "golf cart" side of the Sky Bridge, and a "walking" side of the bridge.   Side note/question:   Why do people in white doctors coats look smart.   I could go the Drag in Austin, grab a homeless dude, shower and quick shave before putting him in navy slacks and a white doctors coat that says "Dr. Wilkins, Emergency Trauma Medicine" and he would INSTANTLY look like he knows what he's doing.     So back to the walk......I get to the Ross Clinic and check in for the sonogram.     A really nice tech lady does the very thorough sonogram, and walks down the hall with the results.   A really smart guy (no clue if he was smart or not, but he had a white dr. coat on) appears and says he would like to do a needle biopsy on the left side, he thinks he can tell which lymph node was 'of concern' on the report from last month.   So they set up for the needle biopsy, make me sign consent forms, and another VERY smart guy enters the room......he must have been smart because he had a white coat on AND scrubs.........ooooooooooooohhhhh, impressive.    He jabs me and pokes me with multiple needles, and drops it on some slides.    The nurse hands me an ice pack and a big wad of gauze and they disappear to the floor below us, to have the slide read, right then and there....again, MD Anderson is the real deal.   20 minutes later the doctor sticks his head back in the room and says "Not malignant, you are free to go."     AMEN........finally a sliver of good news!!!!!!!!!     A 1.3 mile walk back to the car and we are on our way back to Mindy and Dave's house to get the girls.  

Tomorrow I have a 2:00 appt with the oncology team.    Dr. Ross had some interesting opinions on the treatment options, but we will wait to hear what the team has to say tomorrow.    And I'll update the blog again tomorrow night.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers!

Mike "I'm wearing a white coat to the office next week" Peters

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Confucius Say:

"True wisdom is knowing what you don't know" 

So we are 90% sure, after meeting with UTSW, that we are making all the right decisions.   But after my last meeting with Dr. B, he suggested we go back to MD Anderson for a second opinion if it would alleviate any doubt, or give any peace of mind.    So a quick call to Dr. Ross, who I saw after my initial surgery, and after a lengthy conversation with his nurse, she presented everything to Dr. Ross and his team the next day.    He said he does want to see me, and wants me to meet with the melanoma oncology team also.     Appointment is Dec 29th with the surgical team, and Dec 30th with the oncology team.    Mindy and Dave will be buying dinner BOTH night we are there...........thanks twin!


#Melanomasucks  #Cubswintermeetings  #Iwouldplayforthecubsforfree  #Mouthstillnotworking  #Whyarepuppiessocute  #Whatisthemostexpensivesushiinhouston?  #TopChefreviewstocome  #YesIkilledthatgatorwithabow  #Itwasaverysickgator  #Nowitisapairofboots 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Giddy Up....Take 4

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears, I come to bury Melanoma, not to praise it.

Ok, so it's a poor attempt at borrowing the great Shakespeare's words, but you get the idea.

So, the blog is back up and running, and you know what that means.......Melanoma in the House!!!!  What what!!!   Word!!!!!!

I'll give a general, LONG update, then will update with shorter reports as needed.

I had a PET/CT scan Aug 25th that came back all clear.   About a month after that I noticed a small bump in my neck, just under my jaw.  No biggie, scar tissue and stuff everywhere, it was not that unusual.    Observing it I noticed it getting bigger, so I called Terry at Dr. Beitsch's office, and she got me in the Monday before Thanksgiving.    A sonogram and a needle biopsy later, I was standing back by the front desk with Team Beitsch surrounding me.   Dr. B says:  "It's coming out either way, so schedule surgery ASAP."   Terry:  "You have a 2:00 tomorrow."   Dr. B:   "Great".    Me:  "What the what?   Tomorrow, Tuesday tomorrow???"    So, a PET/CT scan that afternoon at 2:00 and slides sent off for biopsy results.    Tuesday morning I received an email from Tiffany that said "Melanoma positive on slides from needle biopsy, and it did show in PET/CT scan, but nothing spreading, so that is good, see you at 12:30 for surgery."

I'll skip a lot of the details of the day, but surgery finally around 4:15 went well.   Dr. B said it was more invasive than originally thought, as he took tissue around it also because he didn't like how it looked.

So now just healing up and preparing for next steps, IF there are next steps at this point.   We met with Dr. Frankel at UTSW and I talked to MD Anderson today........more on that after I hear back from MD Anderson late tomorrow or Wednesday morning.

Thank you for friends and family, and especially for Dasha.   She is a rock through this.    And to Splunk and my co-workers.   I don't think they really know what to make of it so far, but the upper management has been GREAT and very understanding. 
So many people ask about prayer requests and what they can instead of saying "I'm good" like I always do, I'll be more transparent this go around......

1)   The right side of my mouth is still not working.   There is a nerve that is close by, and with past surgeries is stops controlling the bottom right side of my mouth for a few weeks.    So just that it returns to normal at some point.
and 2) for my girls......CC is at the age where she is very worried and concerned, it's the first time either of them have been upset, as they were always too young to ask questions, ect....

Thank you to everyone for your prayers!!!!!