Sunday, August 22, 2010

Check Yo Self... No Really, Actually Check

I hope everybody had a great weekend!  Did anybody else just I love "Nanny McPhee Returns"?  Obviously I'm kidding, but I did get a chance to see The Yacht Rock Revue play Michael Jackson's "Thriller" from cover to cover.  So with that in mind, what is your favorite Michael Jackson song?  Mine without a doubt is "Wanna Be Starting Something". 

Big week coming up, but I will go into details more as each appointment draws near.  Tomorrow morning I am scheduled to have a heart echo.  This is in order to give the chemo team a good baseline understanding into how healthy my heart is so they know exactly what dose of one of the chemo drugs I should receive.  Apparently one of the drugs that is used in such cases can put a bit of strain on the heart, so they need to know what they are dealing with before they concoct my recipe.  I am also having a quick surgical procedure on Wednesday which I will discuss in more detail later this week, sorry to leave you all hanging, I know you can't take the suspense ;).

What I'd like to focus on this evening is detection.  I was reading my sarcoma handbook (a real page turner), and it talked about how it is difficult to detect sarcomas early, because they lack symptoms and people are often prone to ignoring lumps.  With that being said, here is how detection transpired in my case:

I went to Nashville for a visit Friday July 9th.  I showered Sunday morning in Nashville and had no signs of anything on my body.  When I got home that evening, about 5 hours later, I was changing clothes, and I immediately noticed a fist sized lump on my upper right thigh, just below the groin.  No pain or discomfort accompanied this lump, but I knew it wasn't normal.  Honestly, I thought (after an extensive WebMD search) it was a hernia, as I had one on my right side when I was a young child.  Either way, I knew something was up(definitely wasn't thinking cancer), so I went to the local "Doc in a box" that evening.  And this started the chain of events that lead up to my official diagnosis on Tuesday August 9th.

On the other hand you have Lance Armstrong, who was in complete denial and didn't go in to get diagnosed until he was extremely sick and the disease had spread.  Compared to him I was much more proactive, so hopefully that will make a difference in my treatment and recovery chances (had I waited a month, what would the CT have looked like?).

So what I am getting at, is you need to know your body, and if something doesn't look right, even if it doesn't hurt, there is no shame in getting it checked out.  Nobody is going to think you are a hypochondriac if you are unsure about something and want an expert opinion.  This isn't meant to scare anybody, but I think as young healthy people we really don't like going to the doctor, paying the deductible, and getting "redundant" testing, but you just never know when you could be saving your own life by being cautious.  One of the most humbling aspects of this situation is you realize that you aren't "invincible".  Now I am not saying that I(we) go around treating our bodies like Steve-O from "Jackass", but we definitely take our good health and youth for granted.  So in the future, no in the present, please do something to get to know your body just a little bit better, and don't be afraid to go to a doctor, and when you are there, don't be afraid to ask questions.  Remember that GPs are a jack of all trades, master of none, so their word isn't and shouldn't be the end all be all.  This is not meant to be a slander towards GPs, it is just the reality of the situation; they can't know everything so don't expect them to.

Thank you everyone for the tremendous support!



  1. Michael, I am so proud of you and the message you are sending. God has a plan for you and it is working. He is not done with you yet! You and your sister, Lauren, are the shining lights in my life. Your dad and I are so blessed to have both of you. We support you, kids, and love you very much. mommy

  2. Thanks mom! You and dad have been so great and supportive, hopefully we will make you proud for many years to come. Thank you both again for everything!

    One question though, what is your favorite Michael Jackson song?

  3. Micheal:

    "And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground."

    Michael, you will beat this thing because your stones are bigger than the cancer's!


    Norman Dale
    Basketball Coach
    Hickory Huskers

  4. Michael Jackson and I go way back. Of course you know he was a fellow Hoosier. I loved him when he was with his brothers and I had a couple of his very early albums. The song I liked from his early years was "A,B,C,..." Very inspirational since I was a teacher..teehee. But I think I have to go with "Thriller". That is one of his songs? mommy

  5. Michael, my favorite Michael Jackson song is "Beat It". Uh, get the correlation?

    Question, did Max and Karen name you after Michael Jackson? I think I remember that being the case!

    Uncle Dave

  6. Oh, Michael, after reading Dave's favorite MJ song, it was "Beat It" that I was thinking of.
    Dingy mommy

  7. Michael,

    Judy and I have intensely followed your situation since we were notified of your dilemma a couple of weeks ago. We want you to know we are proud of you with your outlook and positive attitude. I have had a couple of extreme emotional experiences in my life and I assure you the positive attitude is the only way to go. We are keeping up with your progress and updates through your blog, finding it very informative, educational and entertaining (with your wit). In all likely hood should you loose your hair and even though bald is beautiful. Have you given any thought to visiting a tattoo parlor? You would have a choice of many colors and hair styles. This would be more convenient should you forget your bandanna or ball cap. Just a thought. To all good warriors, keep your powder dry. Yea! Beat it!!!!

    Uncle Joe

  8. Thanks Joe, it is great to hear from you! I know you have been through so much, especially over in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. Thank you and Judy both for the support!

    A Tattoo is an interesting idea, I am not sure if mom would like that much, but I think I can come up with some good designs, maybe a tattoo with eyes in the back of my head?

  9. PYT. No correlation to the circumstances, it's just a good song. If I was to pick one song to echo the sentiments of today's post, it would be Ice Cube's "Check yo self" (before you wreck yo self).

  10. Dave, they named me after Mike Schmidt, big league slugger.

  11. Michael-
    You are such an inspiration to young and old ( are we saying we in our 60's are old?!? ) Your positive attitude and ability to share it so succinctly to all is certainly a gift and credit to who you are and what you are all about!

    Now for hats... we have some great Ohio State (red - the colors right!) caps. Hey - supporting the Big Ten can't be THAT BAD!!

    Seriously - we continue tp pray for you and know that you will win this battle!


    Bette and Mike

  12. Michael, We met briefly -- I live on Westview at Great Waters. Hope your ticker test results today are a testament to how strong your heart is, and CT later this week shows squeaky clean lymph nodes. Hang in there with upcoming chemo treatments -- they're going to eradicate any roving 'misbehaving cells' and shrink the mass, so when/if there's surgery to remove it, you'll have fabulous, wide, clear margins, and can confidently put this challenge behind you. BTW...nobody picked MJ's Bille Jean. That's my fav! You're on my mind and in my prayers. Stay strong.
    A hug from the heart, Michelle

  13. Has to be Smooth Criminal. Not only because it's a great song, but because it was adapted into the greatest short film ever..."Moonwalker". What's better than a short film starring Joe Pesci and Michael Jackson who has the ability to transform into a sports car? Nothing.

  14. Thank you so much Mr. & Mrs. Grotke! It means so much to me to hear from you. I appreciate your support, though I will say it is going to be tough to get an tOSU hat on this ugly white head!
    I look forward to seeing yall down at the lake very soon, thank yall again!


    Thank you for your kind words, that is an inspiring note! I agree with all your points, and I just know that is the way this is all going to work out, it just has to!! I really appreciate the support

    Adam, I can't argue with anything you wrote.. Go Rangers

  15. Well said Thomas, well said... I like PYT as well.

  16. Michael,
    I guess I need to start following your advice. Maybe if I had gone to the doctor sooner and taken better care of myself, I wouldn't be limping around the golf course right now!

  17. Michael, I'm with you on "Wanna Be Starting Something," and when I want to slow it down, "Human Nature" is one of my faves. I get such a kick out of Little Zach's obsession with Michael Jackson - especially when he dances in front of the mirror to "Beat It" and "Thriller." May I recommend that on a particularly tough day you reach into your arsenal of bad ass dance moves, set up in front of the mirror and have your own little dance party with MJ? That's sure to make anyone feel better. Just make sure to post on YouTube!

  18. Michael- So sorry to hear the terrible news. We will keep you in our prayers. This will turn out to be nothing but a great challenge that will make you stronger in life. Stay positive throughout the struggle and you will overcome this. The Duluth golf crew is behind you!

    Adam Polak



    I was going to say thriller until I saw this...nightmares for the next week. You couldn't pay me enough to be "that girl."

    Diana Williams

  20. Michael-Along with your family and many friends, I join in with the thoughts and prayers! Sorry it led to something like this to reach out and say hey. Hang in there and we will be sending our prayers constantly...
    By the way, your comment regarding you not being able to putt??? It can't be that bad, I mean you beat me in every tournament we ever played in...I guess I should not have warmed up with those left handed clubs!

    Jack Brewster

  21. Trish, I like that advice.. I will have to ask little Zac for some dancing lessons..

    Adam, great to hear from you man, its been a long time. I hope things are well, and I really appreciate the kind words. It seems so long ago that we were all back in D-Town...I wish you luck with everything man, and thanks for the support!

    Jack, great to hear from you as well...Thanks for the support man, it is great to hear from old friends such as you and Polak. Yes the putting woes are true, its funny though man, I have been putting left handed for about 5 years now.. so it looks like you were ahead of your time! Best of luck with everything, and thank you again brother.

    Those guys are great Diana, tell me you don't want to hang in that prison?

  22. Lamb
    love reading your blog ! are really keepin us on our toes waiting for the next post!! can't wait for more! Love you so much!

  23. Hey brother,
    I hope you feel better soon. Really like the blog. I broke 2 bones this year alone (one was drunk wrestling with Dixson and the other one was playing soccer). I spent countless hours at Vandy hospital, if you ask me, I'd rather be at McCabe golfing than wearing this sling around my arm. Anyways, I always remember the time you helped me out with my finance HW when I first got to Owen. I think they were asking us to do a proforma and I didn't even know what EBITDA meant at the time (can you believe they gave me a job at a bank?, no wonder the economy is tumbling)
    And what about the stupid littlefield simulation, I think you and I were the smartest ones, but Autry had to spend all the money on machinery the first day and make us go bankrupt, what an ass, ha. Hope to see you soon bro. Take care. -G

  24. Michael,
    I am Owen Gaddis' mom. I know a little about what you and your family are going through. I just want you to know that I will be praying and pulling for you. You are a great writer and I have laughed through my tears as you face this time in your young life. I am sorry you have to go through this. I HATE WHAT DISEASE DOES TO LIFE! Be strong, my friend. And if our family can help you in any way, please let Owen know. Your writing is a healing agent. Use it and it will become real medicine - strong and true. Marcia Gaddis

  25. Michael,
    I want you to know how inspired I am by your blog. I think its amazing how you have turned such a scary situation into something so uplifting, informative, and even funny :) Of course, I shouldn't have expected anything less from you. I am sending lots of prayers your way, and know that you have all of us in Nashville behind you.
    Lots of love! Bethany Greene

  26. Gonzalo,

    Great to hear from you brother, thank you so much for the kind words and support. You crack me up man, that Ops class was terrible! That being said, I would give anything to be back up in Nashville screwing around with you fools.. Hope everything is going well for you man, and I really appreciate the support.. See you very soon I hope!

    Mrs. Gaddis,

    Thank you so much for reaching out, I appreciate your support! It is amazing how little messages such as yours can help strengthen my resolve! Thank you so much, I wish nothing but the best for you and your family!


    It is great to hear from you! I am glad you are enjoying the blog, I hope that people can use it as a way to hopefully change their perspective a little on things. It means the world to have your support, I miss you and all the Nashville peeps so much.. Thank you again!!

  27. Oyler,

    Been thinking about you buddy. I'm enjoying the blog and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


  28. Oyler,
    We have been thinking about you lately. Thanks for the updates and good reads. I will be sending you a hat soon, just need your address.

    MJ songs: #1 Dirty Diana, #2 Man in the Mirror

    Good Luck!

  29. Hey-

    Remember that time I started to do the "Thriller" dance, but rather "Beat it" was playing? How embarrassed were you to be seen with me? I'm red as I write this...