Michael | CaringBridge

Michael’s Story
I found out on Sept. 24, 2015 that I have a brain tumor. I had surgery the next week, and started radiation and chemo shortly after that. It is an aggressive kind of cancer called Glioblastoma, that requires ongoing treatment. We've created this site to keep friends and family updated. We set up another web page for people who would to give money to help pay the medical bills and also support our work and healing: https://www.gofundme.com/healing-for-michael-and-family (https://www.gofundme.com/healing-for-michael-and-family.   We) . We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most. Thank you!!

Newest Update

Journal entry by Michael Bischoff

I had a regularly scheduled MRI today. When the scan results are completely stable, my oncologist often comes into the room whistling. Today he wasn't whistling, but he had a small smile. He said, "the scan mostly looks good, but there's a quarter inch of worry." 
My comfort from 2 years of good scans quickly turned into some shaking, sweating, and squeezing of Jenny's hand. 
Dr. Trusheim pointed on the image to a small area on the edge of the "tumor bed" (the hole in my head where the tumor was removed) that had changed a little since since the last scan three months ago. He said it was probably scar tissue, but that he had a small amount of concern that it could be cancerous. Instead of waiting 3 months for another MRI, he scheduled another one in 4 weeks. He didn't recommend any treatment at this point, just closer monitoring. 
I've been feeling great, and there's a decent chance this is just a small blip, but my body and emotions feel reminded of the wobbly edge that I'm on. 
Yesterday was the 3-year anniversary of my diagnosis. The average survival is half that long. 
Today I asked Dr. Trusheim, "if the concern from today's MRI goes away, how would you describe my prognosis?" He drew several graphs in the air with his hands, while saying numbers. If I wasn't feeling scared, I think it would've been funny. He said something like, "I'm just making up numbers, but lets say for people that have survived 3 years, maybe 70% of those make it to 5 years, and, after that, 80% of those survive for years after that."
Those rough estimates, from a very knowledgeable source, are much better than the medical probabilities 3 years ago. They still are in tension with the strength of my desire to promise my daughter I'll be at her high school graduation in 5 years, and in conflict with my longing to be in Cannes when my son wins the best director award in 15 years. 
When I go in for my next scan in a few weeks, the road map of imagined futures will be redrawn. 
Last year I listened to a talk by one of my favorite authors, Wendell Berry. Someone in the audience talked about their fears of climate change and overwhelming politics. When I was awake for 3 hours in the middle of the night last night, my fears of the our collective death through climate change and hatred merged in my belly with fears about my own life ending soon and leaving my family, friends, and unfinished work. 
In response to the question, "how do you deal with apocalyptic fear?" in the talk I listened to, Wendell Berry said: 
"What I say to myself is, if the world ends all of a sudden, that's just fine. We haven't got a thing to worry about. 
It is more likely to end a little at a time over quite a long time. Then I say to myself: 
"It is never going to get so bad that a well intentioned person can't do something to make it a little better for somebody else.
A lot of people want to give up when they hear how bad it is, but I'm not for that. That's just too comfortable. I don't like to hear it, and I like to have something to do. I would like to continue to do my work the best I can, enjoy it, which I do. The world is still full of beauty, and there are still many acts of real goodness taking place. There's a lot to live for."
Amen, Wendell. 
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