Monday, January 24, 2011

Halfway Done

Good morning all!  I hope everyone had a great weekend, I know I did.

After this morning's radiation session I am halfway to 25, so only a few more weeks of early morning detours on the way to work.  It was only this weekend that I started to notice some slight side effects from the treatment.  The area that surrounds the tumor has become a little tender and itchy, so I am fighting this with a combination of aloe vera and baby powder.  All in all it is no big deal, but should the irritation get worse than I guess it could really make walking around uncomfortable.

This past weekend I traveled up to Nashville, my home for two years before graduating and moving to Atlanta to work for The Home Depot.  It was my first trip up since the weekend right before my initial diagnosis, so I have been very anxious to get up there and see all of my old friends.  Despite only spending two years there, I developed a lot of lifelong friendships with some great people.  My entire Nashville network has been so amazingly supportive of my battle with Sarcoma, and they rose to the occasion yet again this weekend.  Basically they threw a surprise party for me on Saturday, where everyone was dressed as their favorite Oyler character.  There were people dressed as golfers, UGA football fans, and of course a few attendees donning my famous Christmas onesie.  I was so flattered to see all the time and effort everyone put into the event, and I'd like to thank Paul and Andrew for hosting, and everyone else for being such great friends for coming out and enjoying the evening with me.  When you have such a special group it is hard to be away in another city, that much is certain.

This past Wednesday I had my monthly Sarcoma support group meeting.  I really enjoy going to these meetings because the people are so nice and it is a great way to gain some perspective on other people's battles.  Just like when I spent time with the young patient back during my last round of chemo, often times when I hear other survivor's stories at our meetings I get a sobering dose of reality.  Cancer hits people in so many different ways, and on so many different levels (emotional, mental, physical).  I am the first to admit that compared to the average cancer patient my experience has been much easier, which has a lot to do with how lucky I have been with detection and response to treatment.  Where I think a lot of people struggle on the mental side though is with dwelling on matters beyond their control.  With many cancers, and Sarcoma in particular, you have no control around contracting the illness, so it is futile to spend a lot of time depressed over diagnosis.  From here there are a number of other things beyond your control, such as how responsive you are to treatment, etc.  Of course the main thing you have control over is your attitude and your approach to life in general during and after treatment.  This is also applicable to people without cancer, as we all tend to spend too much time dwelling on things that we have no control over.  This is probably one of the most important lesson I've learned during all of this, and I hope everyone else has taken this lesson to heart as well.

Thank you again to everyone who has read the blog or sent me supportive comments on here.  I appreciate everything and I really enjoy reading the notes.  Everyone have a good week, and I will post again very soon!



  1. What an encouraging post, and what amazing friends! I only wish that your relatives and other people who have known you for 20+ years could have also been in attendance at the party. Even more Oyler characters would have emerged - people dressed as pirates, others wearing their favorite NKOTB shirts, and still others rocking one leg shaved and the other one not (oh wait, that was Lauren). I continue to be so impressed by and proud of your very positive attitude, Michael! I'm excited for all the good stuff that your future has in store for you.

  2. Michael, it was great to see you at the party! Hope it was a fun one for you. Paulie and Andrew outdid themselves. Glad to hear your treatment is going well. My mom's in treatment for metastatic breast cancer right now, so your blog is encouraging to read. Hope to see you back in Nashville often. Sending good thoughts your way. Kathryn

  3. Michael, you are doing great! glad the tumor has shrunk and the surgery is scheduled that is good news. Proud of you! Debbie T.

  4. Glad to hear everything is going well! Can't wait for our lunch on February 12th!!!