Thursday, September 25, 2008

Post Race Update

Photo shoot on location at Disney Before Surgery on Sept 24th 2008 at Mayo Clinic

What at whirlwind of a week. I know one thing, I don't want to be a truck driver when I grow up! Yes after an amazing week in Florida for Michael, Winter and Team Winter we are safely back at Mayo. Michael underwent surgery on his liver yesterday to go after two more metastatic lesions. The procedure went well with no complications. He is a little sore as usual but will be released from the hospital later today. He is having more tests done today to see if any of the drains he has in can come out. He has appointments tomorrow to discuss what to do about future chemo. Hopefully we will be home by the end of the weekend.

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's With Mickey

After 5 long days of travel and no internet capabilities, we have finally landed the RV at Fort Wilderness Campground at Disney in Florida. I must say it was not an easy journey getting here. The kids and I left last Thursday morning with the RV and trailer with bikes in-tow and headed to Mayo to try and bail Michael out of the Hospital for a little R&R. Michael's blood infection is doing well and we think we found the source. On CT he was found to have a liver abscess (infection) from an old ablation site measuring about 6 cm. They then placed a tube into the liver to drain the abscess, which now puts him up to 5 tubes and drains. He has to flush his liver 3 times a day, no not with beer, with saline although he has been tempted. While finding the abscess they also found 3 areas of recurrence of cancer off of the previous ablation sites. He will have surgery a week from now back at Mayo on the liver. Hopefully, if all goes well, he will only be in the hospital for a few days and head back to Gaylord. The Doctors all thought it would be good for Michael to get away for a week to forget about hospitals. His antibiotics are being shipped to the campground here at Disney by UPS and I give them to him daily. Our RV is like a little hospital on wheels, fully stocked with all the supplies Michael needs or could possibly need. Internet has been a royal pain in the butt, just like the drain that Michael has in his butt. It took Yukon, my 11 y/o son to finally find us access. I tried updating the blog on my i-phone and that didn't go to well. The tube in Michael's liver has really put a damper on his mobility. Athletes for a Cure has provided a golf cart down here for Michael to get around and to be able to keep track of the kids on race day. Winter is training hard in the early morning heat to aclimate to the high humidity. She will do the kids race on Saturday with her brothers (1 mile run- 6mile bike- 1 mile run) and will be the "featured athlete" on Sundays big race with a 1,000 other competitors. She will swim- .9miles, bike 24 miles and run 6.2 miles. Some pro triathletes will be on hand to lend her support. Winter's only concern about the whole race is "ALLIGATORS". She has already touched base with pest control asking them to get the gators out of the swim course! She was assured that she will be well protected. She also has heard of some large snakes (poisonous water moccasins) seen around the campground which should make her run splint darn fast.
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

New Family Photo

Hospitalized at Mayo

Where do I start.... It seems like several steps forward and a half mile backwards. Michael was taken last Sunday (Aug 31st) back to Mayo by my parents to be admitted to the hospital for treatment or a blood infection. He is growing a species of Clostridium in his blood that they have been unable to identify yet. He has been on antibiotics for a week and had no fever or chills up until this evening. Know we are taking steps backward once again. We thought he would be coming home in the morning but looks like he bought himself a CT in the am and at least a few more days in the hospital. He feels pretty good and has little discomfort. He is just bored with the hospital and its food. His 3rd dose of chemo will be put on hold until this blood infection gets cleared up. We are still uncertain how he got the infection in his blood and are still searching for a source. I am home getting the kids back into a routine with school. My brother, Jay, is getting first hand experience of what raising four kids entails. He has been summoned on numerous occasions to take kids to school, pick them up from the bus and babysit while I catch babies. He's probably thinking he didn't move back to Gaylord for this. That's what he gets for living across the field from his big sister. We continue to take one day and sometimes one hour at a time. The kids are holding up very well.

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 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 Let's try and get Team Winter to $15,000 over the next 2 weeks. To donate, go to the 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