DETROIT, MI – This is going to probably be one of the most difficult articles that I will ever have to publish. The reason that it is so difficult is that I as the person who is responsible for MI Headlines must reveal a personal struggle that has been thrust into my life.
Many of you have emailed and called asking why the information has not been updated on the MI Headlines. Until recently the information was updated on a daily basis. All of that came to a fast halt on March 4th, 2015.
On December 21st, 2014 I woke up with what was initially thought to be laryngitis. It was the holidays and like everyone else in the world, I was busy prepping for Christmas. It was thought that maybe I had worn myself out.
Christmas day came. As has been tradition, I cooked dinner for the entire family. Something that has always been my gift to everyone that joins us. This year was a little different however. Dad’s health was changing. He enjoyed a really nice holiday with his wife, family and grandchildren. The last to leave at about 6pm on Christmas evening was my oldest brother and my oldest nephew.
Mom was in the kitchen finishing cleaning of the last of the dishes. Dad had gone into the living room to play around with his new laptop that he had been given. I had sat down at my desk to just relax for a moment. My initial thought was that we had made it through the holiday and every one had a nice day together. Within ten minutes the calm was shaken with the realization that Dad was in trouble physically but Mom nor I knew what it was that was taking place. I called 911.
He was transported to Alpena Regional Medical Center. He was critical. He was having a massive coronary. He laid in the emergency room of the hospital for 7 hours being observed but also due to the fact that a bed could not be found for him. The ER doctor was trying to determine if he was going to be transferred to U of M in Ann Arbor, Petoskey or Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. Frustration set in. Petoskey was ruled out. He was finally moved by cardiac critical care ambulance to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City.
Dad would remain in the cardiac critical care unit for 5 days being cared for. His heart had suffered a great deal of damage.
We brought him home. It would take about two weeks to get him and the house settled down. I was still dealing with a throat and voice that were getting no better. I made an appointment with my doctor to get the problem solved. My honest assumption was that stress was taking a toll on my body.
My MD examined me and told me to go out and buy a humidifier to put in my bedroom for when I would sleep. Off to Home Depot. I would spend $60 on a nice humidifier to get the job accomplished. It seemed to help some but did not fully solve the scratchy feel and sound to my throat and voice.
I already had a standing appointment at Henry Ford Hospital on January 7th, 2015 in Detroit. My doctors there looked over my blood work and everything appeared to be within normal limits. Because there was concern, further blood work was ordered. A call was placed a week later by me to hear what those tests revealed. Nothing was showing of any issue.
After getting back to Alpena, once again a little bit of life took center stage and my attention was diverted away from focusing on my health issue. However, I was not letting the problem slide. I went back to my regular MD. He then referred me to an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist. That appointment took place on March 4th, 2015.
Again my thinking was that it was a medical problem that just needed to be addressed properly and I would be good to go. The ENT put a lighted scope through my nose and down into my throat where he was able to take photos of the various areas that needed to be examined. It would be the sixth photo that would be taken that the real problem would be revealed.
The doctor finished his examination. He became very direct. I was told that he had found an area of concern. As he went through the photos and showed them to me, he explained what we were looking at on the screen as was he was coming to his diagnosis. The sixth photo was showing that a mass was growing on what is called the False Vocal Cord. I was told very matter of fact that I had cancer.
Wait a minute ! I can’t have cancer. I have too many things to be responsible for and I don’t have time to have cancer. I was leaving town in two days to go spend the weekend was friends that I had not been with in a very long time.
I left that appointment in shock. How do I go home and tell my parents much less the rest of my family and then my friends that I have cancer. It was just under 3 years ago that I fought my way back from deaths door. Why would God be throwing cancer at me in such a short period of time? Mind you, I am only 52-years-old.
The mass did not appear to be overly large based on the initial examination. So my concern was not in high alert alarm mode but I did drive the long way home through town to gather my thoughts.
As I walked in the back door of my parents house, Mom was in the kitchen. She turned to me and said ‘Well?’. I told her she would not like at all what I was about to say but she needed to keep calm about it and not become overly emotional. I told her very direct that I had been diagnosed with cancer. That answer would shove her over the cliff. It was more than she could handle at that moment.
She ran into the living room and told my father what I had told her. By the time that I could get into the living room he was near tears. He just looked at me and said ‘You just can’t catch a break’. I shook my head in agreement.
The obvious next question from them was what the next step would be to take care of the problem? I was being scheduled for a CAT Scan at Alpena Regional Medical Center. That test was completed. While I was going through the paces that were ordered for me, the nagging thought kept at me that I should take this issue to Henry Ford Hospital. I went back for an appointment with my MD and had a conversation with him about my reservations that I was having with treatment in Alpena. He set up the referrals to Henry Ford for me.
What originally was thought to be a small mass is actually very large. I start radiation treatments on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 and then am being admitted to Henry Ford Hospital on April 8th, 2015 to start chemotherapy. I will go through several weeks of treatment in hopes of saving my voice. If those treatments do not work, then a more radical approach will have to be taken.
It is uncertain what the future holds for me at this time. As my health and strength allow, I will pickup publishing again for MI Headlines. Please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers.
As a last thought for the moment, Happy Easter to all.