Mick Pipenhagen

First post: Jul 2, 2017 Latest post: Dec 20, 2017
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.  

This is his daughter, Deb writing the story - but it is really Dad's Story - with all of our family involved in this journey.

Because of the huge amount of people who care about Dad and ask how he is doing, we decided that we should start a Caring Bridge Site.

To start the Journey – In February while we were on a beautiful cruise, Dad started not feeling great – a little tired, headaches, etc. – we didn’t worry too much – because we were on vacation – and well you know how vacation goes!

However, after coming home from vacation, the headaches, tiredness, shortness of breath continued – to a point that we all were worried.

After MRI’s, Cat and PET Scans – unfortunately the results were not what anyone wanted to hear.  The diagnosis is Stage 4 Small Cell Lung Cancer, which, while treatable, is not curable.  Dad has been under the care of a wonderful Oncologist, Dr. K, at the Piper Cancer Center at Mercy – and has been getting excellent care.

Dad began with two weeks of Radiation on his brain. We were waiting for problems but were amazed, as he got through with no issues at all.  To prove this, he continued, while he was going through radiation, delivering for the Food Shelf, working at Global Health, in fact, on his last day of radiation – he came right from his radiation session to the church, and then worked the rest of the Day at Zion’s Annual Sale. 

After he finished the two weeks of Radiation – he then started Chemo.  He has tolerated Chemo unbelievably well – no nausea, little weight loss and just continuing to live his life!

His Doctor ordered 4 rounds of Chemo (which were to be three days/week to be given every 21 days).  Dad went through 2 rounds of the Chemo – then last Friday (June 16th) had both a follow-up MRI and CT Scan.

On Wednesday – Dad and Mom met with Dr. K to look at the imaging results of his chemo / radiation thus far.  There was good news in that the cancer in the brain and lungs had been reduced more then half, especially in the brain.  However, there was some bad news in that the cancer in the liver had increased significantly, which really blows.  He was to start back on his third set of Chemo that day, but instead his Dr. wants to try a different Chemotherapy.  This Chemo regimen will now be 5 days a week, and he will start this on Monday, June 26th.  We all hope and pray – that this new chemo will continue to work on the brain and Lungs – but also work to kick butt against the cancer in the liver.

You are now up to date as to how he is doing now – we will update when there are new things or changes, or if someone just wants to share something.

I want to share some personnel observations – First, I know he is my Dad, but I am in awe of how much strength he has shown through this.  I know this strength comes from his very deep Faith, his just get it done attitude, his sense of humor and great love of family.  He is at church every week usually more then once – where on a quiet Sunday, he may actually just be at worship – but usually, he is also helping to serve communion, doing Name Tag Sunday, or being the Coffee host for the morning with Mom.  He is golfing with his buddies (18 holes) twice a week – maybe the only gesture toward the cancer – is he is mostly using a golf cart now, every Wednesday he golfs with family and friends – but we just do a mere 9 holes – so he mostly walks then.  He just finished scraping and painting their deck, the gardens are doing great – and their flowers and yard – lets just say they still by far, have the most beautiful yard in the neighborhood!  His wacky sense of humor – why just on Wednesday when his Cancer Doc gave him the “pamphlet” on the new chemo he would be starting – Dad said well good – it will take care of my ovarian cancer – the Doc, who is starting to get used to his humor, and his calmness in fighting this battle, jumped just a little to look at the paperwork – then realized – he was just teasing her.  He makes her smile!  Since this has started, we have had, of course, many family functions – and he is still out there working with the boys on their sports – he was just showing Gabe how to throw a spiral, and within a few minutes – Gabe was throwing like a pro!

He has many, many people praying and hoping for him – which is so appreciated, because no one deserves that more!  The funny thing – is if I was going through this, I would be hating going through the chemo, the not feeling good, and uncertainty of it all, which I am sure is there too – but for him, the worst thing so far – has been losing his hair; that has bothered him more then anything!  If you see him, he may have on his very cool Willy Nelson hat that has his famous ponytail, or a golf hat, or one of the two very special hats that his childhood friend, Bob Youngquist had specially made for him. On the back of both of those hats have, his name Mickey, and his forever alter ego Mickey Mouse.  These are very special to Dad.

We ask that everyone keep the faith, as we are doing, putting it in God’s hands (along with his excellent Doctor, even God wants us to get help :-))  Prayers are welcome too, along with asking everyone to take care of themselves and being kind to one another.

Never worry about talking to Dad about what is going on with him – he doesn’t mind this at all – and he will let you know how he is doing!

Thanks so much for visiting!

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