Michael Hall has been diagnosed with cancer. This is our cancer stories for the past year. This is Dottie, his wife, who is writing the story of this journey and our son's journey.In July, 2012, our youngest son, Travis, was diagnosed with Lymphoma. His cancer was caught very early and in only one place in his body, his back. He self-referred to MD Anderson and Dr. Fowler directed his treatment in cooperation with Dr. Kocs in Round Rock. He was able to receive his chemo at Texas Oncology in Round Rock. He went right into remission after 2 rounds of chemo. They treated him with 2 additional rounds of chemo then 17 proton radiation treatments that ended December 31st. The radiation was done at MD Anderson. Our family was ready to put 2012 to bed and have a new year of health.
In November, 2012, Mike and I along with our oldest son, Mike Jr., traveled to Ohio to attend my brother’s funeral. We stayed with Mike’s mom and while Mike was doing some work on a TV we purchased for her, his chest hurt. Then the day before Thanksgiving, Mike was lifting something and his chest really started to hurt. We took him to the ER because I was afraid that he was having a heart attack, but they diagnosed him with a broken rib. This was really odd because we could not figure out how it happened. Mike was to follow up with his regular doctor, but because of the holidays, the earliest appt was in January. In January, when Mike went to the doctor his blood work indicated that something was wrong. He was sent for a bone scan and as soon as the doctor got the results, Mike was referred to the same doctor that my son had had in Round Rock, Dr. Kocs. Dr. Kocs is a Hematologist and Oncologist. We met with Dr. Kocs on January 10th. We followed up with an appt on January 14th when Mike learned that he had Multiple Myeloma. The reason his rib broke was due to his cancer. Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer that settles in the bone marrow of your body and is not curable, but a managed cancer. He has compression fractures in his back, broken ribs and thinning places on other bones.
He was determined to get started on his cancer journey and scheduled his first chemo treatment the following day. In order to not have to receive all his chemo in his arm, Mike wanted to get a port installed in his chest which would allow the chemo to go directly to his heart. Mike went to get a port inserted for the chemo treatments at Round Rock Hospital. The surgeon poked a hole in his lung and then gave him fluids for dehydration which flooded his lung. He went into respiratory arrest. He stayed in the hospital for 27 days from January 23- February 20th. He was so weak when he got out, but once again, started battling his cancer the following day with a chemo treatment.
Mike’s treatments continued and his cancer was dying. Dr. Kocs set up an appt with a Stem Cell Transplant doctor, Dr. Bashier, at MD Anderson. In April, Mike Sr., Mike Jr and I met with the transplant team and learned how a stem cell transplant could put Mike in remission. The plan is to get Mike’s cancer to a level of 10% or less in his bone marrow, then they will harvest his stem cells, enough for 2 transplants. After his stem cells are harvested and frozen, he will be admitted to the hospital. They will give him a powerful chemo that will basically wipe out his immune system and the remaining cancer out of his bone marrow. He will be given his stem cells back and they will begin to rebuild his immune system. This is a time when Mike has to be in isolation because his body does not have any defenses. In fact, he will have to have all of the shots that he received as a small child because the chemo wipes that out also.
In May, Mike reached the 10% “window”. On Sunday, June 9th, Mike Jr. and Mike Sr. went to Houston and set up our RV for the next 2 months. Mike Jr. stayed with Mike taking him to the doctor’s appointments and came home the following weekend. I am here with Mike for 3 weeks. We learned that Mike’s cancer grew to a level too high to transplant so on Thursday, June 26th, Mike was admitted to MD Anderson to start 4 days of 24-7 chemo to kick the cancer back to an acceptable level. This brings us up to date. Today is June 29, 2013 and is day 3 of this chemo treatment. So far, so good, Mike is doing well and is not too sick.