Saturday, November 29, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Founder Athletes for a Cure
To everyone involved with the 2008 Inaugural Athletes for a Cure Triathlon:
Winter and her family would like to personally thank everyone for making this event such a success in so many ways, but most importantly by helping raise awareness for prostate cancer. Winter cannot tackle prostate cancer awareness alone but through Team Winter and Athletes for a Cure, the possibilities are endless. The outpouring of love to her and our family has been beyond belief. Throughout the race individuals were introducing themselves to Winter, Michael and myself and telling their stories of how prostate cancer had affected their lives. This event is not just a race; it is so much more than that. It is about making a difference, not setting limits on oneself, giving unconditionally and having a passion for a great cause.
The staff at Disney, the race volunteers, race directors and organizers, race participants and spectators showed incredible compassion and support throughout the entire weekend. We could not even begin to thank everyone; especially those who could not be there at the race in person, but so graciously gave donations and words of encouragement. Most importantly, none of this would have been possible without the founder of Athletes for a Cure, Scott Zagarino.
I want all of you to know that Michael smiled more during that one weekend then in the entire last four months since being diagnosed and treated for metastatic prostate cancer. That is something only all of you could accomplish and we are thankful for that.
Who do you race for?
Thanks a Million,
Winter, Yukon, Magnum and Ruger
*We send our Love and we will stay strong to help Michael fight the fight.
TeamWinter.org will be up and running soon.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Now about Prostate Cancer Awareness. The rippling effect has been created by Winter's accomplishments both physically and financially! She had an unbelievable weekend of racing. She, along with her brother Ruger (6) took first place in the kids Dualthlon (run-bike-run) on Saturday. Yukon (11) and Magnum (7) took fifth place and team-mate Gabby Rose from Gaylord took sixth place. On Sunday Winter was able to put together an amazing day. Michael was given Race #1 despite not being able to race. Winter received Race #2. (Historically low race numbers are given to professional and top athletes) The symbolic emptiness of Race #1 said it all. Winter raced for her dad and did a .9 mile swim in 48 mins., a 24 mile bike averaging 14mph and at the end ran in a 10K (6.2 mile run) in 1hr 10mins. On the run she was joined by pro-triathletes, Simon Lessing and Karen Smyers. Michael was escorted around on a golf cart through-out the race and had a great view of his daughter, the entire day. Her overall time was under 4 hours and equally impressive is the over $32,000.00 (actually $64,000 since the Safeway Foundation is matching her fundraising efforts) that Team Winter has generated thanks to many of you!! Michael smiled more in the last week than he has smiled in the last 4 months thanks to Athletes for a Cure. He met so many people either fighting the disease, survivors of the disease or families who lost members to the disease. Michael and the family were touched by over a 1,000 new friends at the Inaugral Athletes for a Cure Triathlon and can hardly wait to return in 2009. In the mean time Team Winter has a lot of ground to cover. Amazing avenues are being created to allow a 9 y/o girl from Gaylord to make a difference in the Prostate Cancer World. Winter will be telling her story over and over to many reporters this week. We will provide links to all the different artcles and videos that are being published. Please contine to spread the word about prostate cancer! Tell us your stories if you have family or friends affected by prostate cancer. Michael would love to hear them.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Michael is finding all the shade possible to keep his head from sweating and getting sun burnt. A friend graciously gave him a Greenbay Packers hat which is working well.
Hopefully, we will keep everyone a little more updated over the next week, if internet doesn't fail us. Right now I have to sit outside in one particular spot to get connection.
We Are Holding Up Well,
Dawn, Michael & Kids
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Winter was able to make in out to Colorado Springs, CO for Nationals in triathlon. She got to spend three days at the Olympic Training Center. Winter placed 10th in the United States in triathlon for 9-10 year olds. Not bad for a nine year old from Gaylord, MI. The boys and Winter are getting geared up for a huge race at Disney in two weeks. Many of you know they have teamed up with Athletes for a Cure and are the host family at the Inaugural Triathlon for prostate cancer. The race is held at Fort Wilderness Campground on Disney property. Several families from Gaylord will be attending the event to help support Team Winter, including the Butka's (YEAH!) Besides myself and the kids, Chris Dandeneau, Gabby Rose and Lisa Tobin will be racing under Team Winter in support of Michael. Michael should be well enough to travel we hope!!! He has alot of supporters he needs to meet and thank down in Florida. The event will have about 1000 athletes racing for one cause "Team Winter" and Prostate Cancer awareness. If you have not seen the website, go to http://www.afactri.com/. They have created a guest book for Michael and we would like as many people as possible to sign it. Team Winter has raised over $10,000 to date. The Safeway Foundation is matching our amount so it is actually $20,000. Thanks to all those who have so graciously donated to Winter and the boys (Yukon, Magnum, Ruger) and me. We are continuing to collect donations, especially since Sept. is prostate cancer awareness month. Any amount you donate will be matched by the Safeway Foundation http://www.athletesforacure.org Let's try and get Team Winter to $15,000 over the next 2 weeks. To donate, go to the http://afactri.com/ website and click on Join Team Winter. You can then click on any of the kids names which will bring up their donation page. Michael is so proud of what the kids have done for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. This is one of the only ways the kids feel they can have a direct impact and can help fight their dad's cancer. Team Winter is working, people came up to Winter in Colorado because they recognized her name and what she was doing for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, especially thanks to the you tube video put out by Athletes for a Cure. More people are aware of prostate cancer and that 40 year olds can be afflicted, thanks to just four short months Team Winter has been around. What possible impact will Team Winter have 10 years from now!!! Stay-tuned.
Michael has not given up and neither has Team Winter!
Support Team Winter
Dawn & Kids
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Although the CT findings were good, Michael still has more tubes then he would like. He is tolerating the chemo extremely well despite fatigue and exhaustion. He still has an appetite. He craves chocolate right now so chocolate chip cookies, and hot fudge sundaes are a hit.
With school starting in just over a week, a whole new routine will have to set in at home. I am not sure if it will be harder or easier.
Dawn & Kids
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Lots of Love to All,
Dawn & Kids
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
We will keep the blog updated once or twice a week. That is all the time we can muster up at this point. The kids are learning new skills (lawn, cooking, cleaning) to do their part during this overwhelming time.
Dawn & Kids
Friday, July 25, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Dr. Commando is back in town and in charge (although I know there wasn't a day that went by that he didn't think about Michael or touch base with colleagues about his status) . The phrase of the day is "get up and get moving". Today he will challenge his legs to a walk. Soon they will recheck the status of the fistulas (holes in places they don't belong) to determine if more surgery is needed or not. It looks like Michael will stay parked out at Mayo at least through all of next week with no sign of returning to Gaylord yet.
Michael continues to have a class-reunion of his own going on (minus the beer). Eric Heidel stopped in yesterday for a visit! Hopefully Michael has a picture of the visit to post, this could start to get quite entertaining. Michael is in the Francis Building at St. Mary's Hospital on the 6th floor. Every nurse on that floor can direct you to his room for those wishing to come visit. Rochester is a really neat place to visit. New names continue to surface on the blog. I am going to start checking off names from our class list and see how well we do at making everyone aware of Michael's journey. I bet we can do better than our last class-reunion at finding lost classmates! Many of you are following but haven't figured out the log in process to leave comments, just ask any kindergartner and they can help you out, they know more about computers than we do.
Michael has been gone so long that he is once again an uncle. His brother brought a new little girl into the world last week, yes, just days after he was on a plane transporting Michael out to Mayo. What a brother!
I must say, yesterday while reading the amazing number of blog comments, I was brought to tears by Barb's entry. I hope many of you caught her entry. She is the nurse that is caring for Michael and to Michael she is an angel that has been sent to care for him. Reading her entry made tears stream down my face. There still are compassionate and caring people in this world who love what they do and who want to make a difference in this big world.
Eric, you are the Hero of the Day!
Dawn & Kids
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Sorry about the days without blog updates. As many of you know I am back to work in Gaylord trying to hold the fort together while Michael is back at Mayo with his parents. Unfortunately, for many of us life has to go on despite this nasty cancer. Keeping up on everything including the blog has been almost impossible. I will try and provide updates every couple days and Michael states he is determined to start writing a few little lines on the blog from his bed. What a treat that will be for many of you. (just remember, you asked for Michael on Morphine)
Tomorrow Michael is scheduled to undergo the second round of radio frequency ablation (RFA) on his liver. The second liver lesion needs to be ablated as well as a new area growing off the old ablation site. Michael has 2 areas that have not healed well down by the bladder and rectum creating holes (fistulas) between structures that don't belong, which is what sent him back to Mayo in the first place. They stuck a drain tube thru his butt check into his lower pelvis to drain an abscess (pocket of pus). The infection has created abscesses also on his kidneys. He is now receiving nutrition thru his Pic Line ( IV going into the heart) for the time being and is not allowed to eat anything to rest his bowels.
Michael will most likely be at Mayo for several weeks. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, as one friend is, Michael is welcoming any new faces for company.
I have plenty of new pictures to post in the near future. Michael is stable for now and more comfortable than he has been in the past.
Any comments on how to beat this tumor are welcome by us and Mayo!
Dawn & Kids
Saturday, July 5, 2008
This was, unfortunately, the scene the morning of July 4th. Michael has suffered some significant complications from his surgery and had to be rushed back to Mayo Clinic. The hours leading up to his transfer required labor-intensive efforts from friends and family, many of which stayed up all night to help keep Michael as comfortable as possible and as stable as possible. All of these individuals involved follow the blog and need to be thanked over and over for their incredible compassion. From helping stabilize Michael, to those helping care for our kids, to those helping arrange his flight and to his brother for traveling with him, Thanks, Thanks, Thanks!
Michael's complications are not the fault of anyone or anything. It's just one of the things that can happen when you try and preserve organs at all expense and have a 12 hour surgery. This is just a setback that we will overcome. Michael is comfortable now and in good hands. We anticipate at least a week back out at Mayo Clinic.
Dawn & Kids
PS. check out the links to some of the amazing articles that have been released through out the United States! Team Winter is making a difference in the field of prostate cancer already!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Well, here is the picture you have all been waiting for. Michael and his hero.
Things are starting to settle into a routine here at home. Michael is finishing up his IV antibiotics. Hopefully if the infection in his blood has cleared, he will return to Mayo next week to have the second liver lesion ablated. The blog will always continue but will only be daily when there are significant changes occurring. Michael is ready to make his appearance on the blog, so expect a word or two from him soon.
Have a Great 4th of July!
Dawn & Kids
Sunday, June 29, 2008
But for now, it is lights out. We are all exhausted mentally and physically.
Dawn & Kids (and Michael!)
Friday, June 27, 2008
Plans are underway for finally discharging Michael!! The discharge could come late tonight or in the morning. There will be a lot of follow-up appointments in the near future since the second liver ablation has not been done yet.
Team Winter (the kids and Michael) have been contacted by Athletes for a Cure (AFAC) and have been invited to make a one-hour guest appearance at a fundraising event in Chicago Saturday evening. Spinning Nations is a fundraising event sponsored by Fran Drescher (The Nanny) and her Cancer Foundation (Cancer Schmancer Movement) as well as AFAC and the AIDS Research Alliance. The event is held nation wide on this Saturday. Winter and the boys will be spinning (riding stationary bike) for one hour with hundreds of other people. I am quite certain Michael's presence at this event will inspire many people and validate the reason they are taking part in such an event. Winter has been asked to tell her story in efforts to help promote national exposure about Prostate Cancer. There is talk that every dollar that the kids earn spinning will be matched by another corporation. By giving just $5.00 your gift will be doubled. Go to http://www.active.com/donate/spinningnation/sn08wvineck.
There are so many ways that all of you can help to give exposure to prostate cancer. More men die of prostate cancer than women do of breast cancer. Yet, there is more exposure and awareness to breast cancer. Many of you are helping in such small ways that speak so loudly such as the blue ribbons so visible around Gaylord now. Thanks, Thanks, Thanks!
What is Spinning Nation? Go to http://www.spinningnation.org/
See You All Soon,
Dawn & Kids
Thursday, June 26, 2008
No new changes to report on today. Michael underwent a liver biopsy on the new lesion and results are pending. The procedure was quick and easy with no complications. He is still on IV antibiotics. Life in Marriott Room #107 continues to provide all the comforts at home other than space.
Our thoughts turn to Grandma Estelle as she has a cardiac stent placed tomorrow down in Lakeland, FL. Word has it strawberries will be ready next week at the Estelle patch. The kids will be back just in time for shortcake!
Dawn & Kids
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Michael has been dealing with fevers the last couple mornings. Hopefully they will go away or else the liver ablation may have to be postponed. We will know more tomorrow. Michael's case has now been presented at Mayo Urology Tumor Board on two occasions. Part of the tumor stains positive for testosterone so he will be on hormone therapy in addition to chemo (yes, Depo Lupron). So don't mind his "PMS"! (ha ha)
We are all getting a little exhausted so it is to bed early tonight.
Dawn & Kids
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Today brought a consult from the pain management team (anesthesia team). Pain comes in many forms, some stronger and more painful in so many different ways both emotionally and physically. Musculoskeletal back pain was the emotional and physical breaking point today for Michael. The day was extremely long and painful for Michael but things have calmed down this evening. We have a pain management plan in place for now and the future. Bowels are less swollen and discharge home is in the near future however it won't be long and we will be back out here to have a second go at the new liver metastasis that was found.
No one can say it better than Patrick, "Keep fighting...... never let your guard down.... cancer likes to sneak up on you.......until you whip it". Spoken like a true survivor.
As also said today "time to dig deep!"
Dawn & Kids
Friday, June 20, 2008
Last night was the first night Michael actually got 5 hours of sleep in a row. Hurray! His pain is under much better control. Everything was set from urology's standpoint for discharge on Saturday morning, then in walked the colo-rectal fellows. They proceeded to explain the CT findings of inflamed and swollen bowel causing problems with the ostomy and said it could take 3 plus days to resolve. That really deflated our thoughts of being home by Monday. I guess that spaghetti bezor (look it up ie. fur ball) needs to come out before he is discharged home. Probably a pretty good idea. I saw intra-operative pictures of the tumor today (that were taken during his surgery 9 days ago) which gave alot of clarity and closure for me. I always like to see what I am facing. The kids will actually get to see what their dad's cancer looks like (they have been asking that question alot). Ruger's daily question is "how do you get cancer?" Know matter how many times and ways I explain it, he always keeps asking. When Michael came out of surgery the first evening he still had green dye on his skin and Rugers first response was " he still has cancer on him!" We had to explain that it was just dye to clean his skin. Michael and the night nurses have been enjoying jello shots of gatorade in the evenings. Tonight was rootbeer float night.
As for me and the kids, we are exhausted. My parents went up with us to Mall of America today. So much for any shopping. I sat and watched my kids go up, down, round and round and upside down all day until late in the evening. I think we maybe hit 10 stores total. I couldn't get Yukon out of the Apple store. It was great to see the kids so lost in fun in their own little world. Oh, to be a kid again~My kids met a great shoe salesman today at one of the stores, hopefully he is reading the blog. He was an incredible young man with a great knack to entertain kids. Who else could entertain my kids in a shoe store for 20 minutes. If you are out there "K" thanks for making my kids laugh!
I feel for my patients who are awaiting my delayed return and most importantly my partner who has picked up my slack and held the fort down for me with endless call. It is so hard for me not to be working. I am soaking in this whole mayo system of health care though. What a novel concept of health care out here amongst the corn fields. "Build it and they will come" is so true.
Michael has had his first access at the blog last night and stayed up til 1 am reading it. Need I say more.
Don't let the bed bugs bite!
Dawn & Kids
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Michael is back on track! Not sure what the big set back was last night (liver or bowels), but it is gone for the time being. He ate for the first time tonight in over 24 hours. Just some chicken noodle soup and mashed potatoes (gotta support those potato farmers).
As for the CT, the GOOD = no cause for the pain; the Bad= expected bowel swelling and inflammation; the UGLY= a new liver lesion in the opposite lobe was identified (will have to wait a month to reassess it and possible ablate that lesion like the previous lesion).
New names and faces continue to crop up on the blog. I have no idea how I can possibly thank each and every person who is contributing to our journey. I know one thing, each and every one of you will never be forgotten. The outpouring of hearts from the faculty and families of the kids' school (Boyne Falls) has brought so many smiles to Yukon, Winter, Mag and Ruger's faces. Athletes for a Cure and the Prostate Cancer Foundation have contacted us to help pool our resources to help Michael and the kids fight this tough battle together as a team. We will keep you informed on all their efforts.
The OB nurses can make sure Della L. has read the blog because we will be needing here help when we return. If all goes well I will be back to work first thing next week to take off where I left off. That includes my Friday lunch with the OB girls.
The Mall of America is a promised trip to the kids that will happen tomorrow. They have patiently been waiting to check it out. Now that all is stable with Michael , we can venture out a little.
Hugs & Kisses,
Dawn & Kids
You can assume that when the blog is not posted between 9pm and midnight something is up. I spent the whole night at Michael's bedside dealing with pain issues. I felt like I was back in residency again. They were unsuccessful in putting his NG tube back in to control pain and nausea. He is on his way back into the CT Scanner as we speak. They want to check the biliary tree (gallbladder and liver) as well as look for small bowel obstruction (which can be common after such major surgery). Most likely the treatment is all the same "a tincture of time".
I will update you all later today on the CT findings. For now nothing is going in Michael's mouth. And yes, the spaghetti did stay down but I'm not sure when it is going to come out.
Sending our Love,
Dawn & Kids
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We are testing the bowels tonight with good ole hospital spaghetti. I hope it stays down because it won't be pretty coming back up! This is the first real test of solid foods. Forget the toast, bananas, applesauce etc, here at Mayo they jump right to spaghetti. Nine out of 10 doctors here recommend spaghetti after bowel surgery.
Michael is walking 4 walks a day. Burping--yes Farting--no (for those keeping track like Renee'). Today may be the turn in the road that we were looking for. Still alot of unexplained pain so the gallbladder is still under close scrutiny.
It has been a long week-plus some so I am going to keep it short tonight. We are so blessed to have such a strong support system in place and I am sure that is why we were chosen to go thru this.
Dawn & Kids
Monday, June 16, 2008
No new news from Rochester this evening. Bowels are still on strike. Kidney function is improving after a little hiatus (Creatinine 2.5 for those interested, down from 2.8). The gallbladder looks like it may have some sludge, unsure if that might be the problem. (I knew all those useless organs should have been removed ie, gallbladder, appendix, tonsils). His spirits are still pretty low right now, I'm certain he hasn't realized how fortunate he is yet, especially when he looks around and all he sees is lines (down to 6 now) and bags. More reinforcements from Michigan will be headed in tomorrow on my side to help with morale and child-rearing. Today was "tour Toys r us" day. If someone could keep the driveway plowed of snow that would be nice! No snow here. Just 70's and flooding to the south. Anyone coming the southern route needs to think twice. Many major roads closed down around Chicago. Last group that left here ended up in Kentucky before they could get back to southern Michigan!
Hopefully I will get some new photos on the blog soon. This whole computer stuff is new to me as my friends and co=workers will attest.
We hope to blow this "Popsicle stand" by the weekend, but time will only tell.
I am still amazed the new people that this blog is finding its way to. Michael will have a chapter book to read soon.
Dawn & Kids
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The best part about Father's Day was, "seeing daddy" said Ruger.
The best part about Father's Day was, "seeing dad sit up, open his eyes and talk to us" said Winter.
The best part about Father'Day was, "seeing him and giving him a present" said Magnum.
The best part about Father's Day was, "seeing him smile" said Yukon.
Today was "no-jello" Sunday. He is still unable to keep any clear liquids down. The dry heaves are no fun. Jaundice (yellow color to skin) is setting in due to the ablation on the liver which is normal to see. (I wonder if they make adult size bili-blankets--a little humor aimed at my medical friends). This set-back is to be expected after someone handling his bowels for 12 hours.
I'm not sure Michael actually wished his Father a "Happy Father's Day" today. I'm sure he wanted to say it but might not have had the energy. So just in case, "Happy Father's Day". Virgil is the definition of D-A-D.
As for my Father, he was too busy working on the farm as usually, and the day slipped by without us connecting. So here it is, "I have the best dad in the whole wide world!"
Happy Father's Day Dad!
I Love You,
Dawn & Kids
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Today was that one step back. Still unable to take anything more than just sips of water, some nausea and intestinal cramps are creeping in. He is able to walk the halls with assistance. He is getting a lot of brotherly love from his brother Rick. His sister, Brenda took the initial first few days but now returned to her family. The kids have some cousins in town to hang with, which gives them some companionship. Virgil (Michael's dad) turns out to be a great soccer goalie. We grilled salmon wrapped in banana leaves tonight for dinner. What a treat that was. The hotel has a grill for us to use out on the patio, which makes dinners easy to cook. They have a hot continental breakfast every morning including fresh made waffles, eggs, sausage etc. At 4 o'clock everyday there are fresh hot cookies out of the oven in the lobby. This Marriott Springhill Suites ROCKS.
Hopefully tomorrow will be a step forward. After all, tomorrow is Father's Day.
Good Night from Rochester,
Dawn & Kids
Friday, June 13, 2008
The kids continue to scout out and find new parks around the area. Today was a little soccer, football and basketball. The kids are getting very skilled at putting puzzles together. Every waiting room in the hospital has huge puzzles to put together. I still am reaching for my waist every time I hear a pager or cell phone go off. I'm not sure how long it takes for that instinctive reflex to go away.
Path report: All lymph nodes negative for malignancy (cancer):
Tumor margins negative:
The liver will be re-imaged in a few days and again in a month to see if any further treatment will be needed. Most likely, chemo in a month.
Everyday when I read the comments I am blown away at the people that I am hearing from. It is like a blast from the past. Some people I have not seen or heard from in 15-20 years (same for Michael). Hopefully a few more days and Michael will be able to read the Blog. He has a lot of catching up to do.
We miss all of our dear friends. We appreciate all the "reinforcements" that keep filtering out to Minne"soooda" (as my kids have learned to say). They come not only for Michael, but the kids, myself and for Michael's parents.
Keep the home fires burning for us!
Dawn & Kids
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Love Dawn & kids
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
We are so Blessed
Dawn Estelle (Yukon, Winter, Mag and Ruger)
Your comments have been overwhelming!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
The purpose of this blog is to help keep all of our family, friends and co-workers as ACCURATELY informed as possible. We will try and provide daily updates for the next several weeks. We know many of you have Michael and our family in your prayers and appreciate all the support, in so many different ways, that all of you are providing our family. Please pass this blog site along to others to help keep everyone informed and follow Michael in his Journey.