Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Monday was the start of chemotherapy. Michael is starting to clash. He has pink toe nails and red urine. The chemo instantly turned his urine red which a normal side effect of the drugs. He did great, no significant nausea or vomiting. Hair loss will occur within 4 days they say, must be some toxic drugs to occur that fast! They will make sure Michael has no significant side effects from the chemo before he travels home by the weekend. Michael is calling all his bald friends to rally together with him. Some of them already have spoke up on the blog which is great to see. Michael wants to thank the other families that have visited him in Mayo (ie Walther's, Schaedig's) , it brought great joy to him. Thanks to all the new names that continue to surface. We are obviously making a difference in prostate cancer awareness! Michael is accepting "dew rags" to sport his new look. Any bets on the color and texture of his hair when it grows back in? I have heard all kinds of stories about hair after chemo. Guys, atleast he will get his back. They even said his hair on his legs will fall off. I guess he won't be making fun of all the shaved triathletes anymore.

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.

Good Night
Dawn & Kids

Friday, July 25, 2008

Liver Ablation #3

Well here are the pictures from a day at the spa! Yes those are the pink toenails you were hoping for. And the horrified look on Michael's face is one of concern since his mom has not cut his hair since he was a teenager. Well, the hair cut won't last long since Monday will be the start of some very nasty chemo. It will erase any bad hair cut. It is all good as long as it works against ridding his body of cancer.
Today he had another ablation on the liver. This time they used the latest technology using microwave energy. He tolerated the procedure well. Monday will be the start of the first round of chemo. The chemo will be every three weeks as long as he tolerates it. Hopefully by the end of next week Michael will be able to travel home.
Take Care,
Dawn & Kids
PS Mail for Michael can be sent to 514 Camp Ten Road
Gaylord, MI 49735
Ironman Lake Placid Update Coming Soon. All 3 Athletes for a Cure are an "IRONMAN".

Saturday, July 19, 2008

HD #16

Well, all is stable at Mayo.  Michael will be able to get a minute by minute race report tomorrow for his Athletes for a Cure Team (Team Winter).  Thanks to modern day technology, his three athletes will be test marketing a new device to track athletes by satellite.  They will be 3 of the 40 racers at Ironman Lake Placid to be tracked for the entire portion of the bike and run (it's not water proof enough for the swim yet).  Anyone can go to www.myathlete.biz and select track athlete.  The username and password are ma3 for both for Dawn and Chris and ma4 for Ollie.  Then select their name (Dawn #178, Chris #179, Ollie #186) and follow along.

Athletes for a Cure has also put out an inspiring video on "youtube" featuring Michael & Team Winter.  They have not publicly released the video since they need to make a few minor changes but I will give you a glimpse of what they have done!  Go to the website listed in the right column. (If for some reason it doesn't come up, type Athletes for a Cure Team Winter in the search area of youtube and it will pop up.  I haven't quite mastered computers yet!)

We are determined to make a difference and lift Michael from this horrible disease and tomorrow is just one small step in doing that!

Special Thanks to Scott Zagarino and wife Greta at Athletes for a Cure
Dawn & Kids

Friday, July 18, 2008

HD #15

Two Weeks and Counting

Hard to believe another two weeks have gone by since Michael returned to Mayo.  Michael doesn't have to worry about buying reading material, he's got the Blog.  It continues to get more and more entertaining!  I love all the humor that is surfacing, because laughing has tremendous healing power.  Michael continues to improve.  He is now up walking on a regular basis and eating a more regular diet.   The big wait is now for next week when he will undergo a repeat CT of the liver to see how the treated liver lesions are doing.  The fistulas will be reassessed to see if they are getting smaller and hopefully going to heal on their own.
Winter continues to spread the word about prostate cancer.  Today she ran a 1/2 mile race at Lake Placid, NY and sported her new Athletes for a Cure triathlon uniform in honor of the prostate cancer foundation.  She took 1st in her age group and was only beat by one boy overall!  The team  uniform she is wearing (pictures coming soon) will be worn by Michael's brother-in-law, Chris Dandeneau, Michael's friend, Glen "Ollie" Oliver and myself at Sunday's Ironman Lake Placid event.  We have dedicated this race to Michael and prostate cancer awareness.  For more information go to the Herald Times article on the right side.  For those who want to follow the race on Sunday go to the ironman website posted in the right column. 

God's Speed
Dawn & Kids

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

HD #12

Up And At 'Em

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

Hospital Day #9

Michael had company yesterday! Craig Soderberg, a classmate from Gaylord High, stopped in to visit. Michael is two days out from his latest ablation on the liver. As you can see the tube is out of his nose and he is drinking broth. This week Commando is back in town so some decisions will be made as to where we go from here. Michael is down to 125#.
Let Michael know we have not forgotten about him! If you haven't said hi in awhile, type a few lines. He has a computer and reads the blog daily. Cancer is evil in that it creates isolation for its victims.
Dawn & Kids

Thursday, July 10, 2008

HD #7

Michael has asked to post this picture because he wants people to know the reality of Cancer. (not to show you his new talent as a trapezist) Today Michael underwent a 4 hour surgery to ablate the liver lesions. The probes are stuck through the skin so there are no big incisions made, making recovery a lot easier. Surgery went well with no problems and now we can only pray that this will destroy all the cancer cells.
Some of you are asking the best way to get in touch and possibly visit Michael. Please put a phone number on the blog (if you don't mind) and I will contact you. Michael is always up for visitors. Ten minutes of your time can mean the word to those in Michael's situation. Please continue to spread Michael's blog address to those who have crossed Michael's path in life. Over the last several days, a whole new channel of people have opened up across the WORLD. Spread this website to friends and family you might know who have had prostate cancer.
Michael will rest well tonight knowing he is continuing to eradicate his cancer, even if it is just one cell at a time.
Dawn & Kids

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hospital Day #6

Tubes & More Tubes

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.

Good Night,

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

Survivor Week #4

Dr. Commando

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