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.youcaring.com/michael-bischoff-jenny-larson-522807).   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've biked several thousands of miles in my life, and never been hit by a car--until yesterday. 


The rest of my family went this week to Washington DC so my son could compete in the National History Day competition (with the gorgeous documentary he made about the history of the Boundary Waters in Minnesota). 


When I'm left alone, I tend to spend all day biking and sitting next to the Mississippi River, which is what I did this week. Yesterday I spent about 8 hours sitting on a bluff above the river 35 miles south of Minneapolis. When I was missing my family and feeling lonely, I felt comforted by the river. The dozens of eagles I saw carried my prayers for two family members of friends who are close to death. 


After a long day of sitting my the river, I got a Dairy Queen Blizzard. I carried the blizzard in one hand as I pushed my bike towards a waterfall, where I was planning to eat it. I pushed the walk button at a stop light and waited for the walk light to turn on. All the cars were stopped for the red light, so when the walk light came on,  I started walking across the street. As I got in front of the first car, that driver quickly accelerated towards me, on her way to turn right on the red light. She wasn't looking at me, just to her left to see if cars were coming. As the car started to hit me, I threw the cup of ice cream in my hand at the driver's windshield. When the ice cream hit the window, she stopped. My bike and I were knocked down, and both of us had minor scrapes. Nothing was broken, and my head didn't hit anything. I caught myself with my hands as I fell. The driver apologized repeatedly and asked if I was OK. I was too flustered in the moment to say much coherent. But a day later, I'm happy to report that nothing hurts. 


My life could've been, literally, saved by ice cream. The Blizzard flavor was Jurassic Chomp, in case you need a powerful ice cream too. After the accident, I got another cup of ice cream, from a dairy farmers' coop and slowly ate that as I watched the waterfall. 


I didn't sleep too well last night, as I kept replaying the car hitting me in my mind, imagining what I did and should've done. Today I cautiously and gratefully got back on my bike and biked the 40 miles home from where I was staying. I got yelled at once for biking on a bike path that wasn't finished being built yet,and I pushed my bike another couple miles along railroad tracks. I was committed to avoiding dangerous car interactions, even if I broke some rules to do it. 


Cars have always freaked me out. I don't really understand why the damage cars do to our safety and environment is worth the freedom they give us, even though I've driven thousands of miles too. I haven't driven in the past two years, because of the reduction in my peripheral vision from surgeries, and because of the increased risk I have for seizures. 


I know that continuing to bike is risk too, If I drive, there is an increased risk that I could kill someone. If I bike a lot, there is a risk someone in a car could kill me. I choose that risk. Almost three years of aggressive brain cancer hasn't killed me, and a car hitting me didn't kill me, so I'm going to keep seeking risks that bring me more deeply into life, My insistence that I keep biking has irritated some of my doctors at times, but I think taking risks to do what we love has almost as much power to keep us alive as a cup of ice cream on a hot afternoon. 

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Thoughts & Well Wishes

Sheryl Wilson | Mar 20, 2018
Hi Michael,

I recently moved to Kansas and found out how you are doing through a mutual friend, Libby Schrag. Just wanted you to know that I have such fond memories of you and your lovely family. You are in my prayers and I hope that you are always comforted by love. 
heart 1 Heart
Maggie Murphy (From the CaringBridge team) | Jun 15, 2017
Hi Michael,

I re-read your last journal entry again today, and I truly appreciate how you have used your experiences as a platform to share wisdom. Your words have so many times in the past few months been just what I have needed to refocus and find peace. When I think of your story, and the honest, sincere encouragement that you so often send out, I am moved to tranquility. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!
heart 1 Heart
gail speckmann | Jun 15, 2017
Dear Michael,  

I am glad that you are feeling well and appreciating life!  There is more that I will send in an email...too long for this format.

This is a painting of the Black River in Wisconsin.  Though its waters can be dark and deep, it creates a beautiful "canvas" for reflecting color and dancing light.

heart 2 Hearts
Sonia Brummer | Jun 7, 2017
A poem written while having a Satin Solitude Stout and reflecting on life. See the label of that beer and you'll see...

You will find the Great Blue Heron at the coast
He won't brag, he won't boast

You will find the Great Blue Heron at the lake
Poised, he knows what is at stake

You will find the Great Blue Heron at the pond
Lucky there to find a bond

Stately being with wing beats so deep
His wisdom I want to keep
Soaring with love after a take off

Great Blue Heron and Michael Bischoff

I started working at CaringBridge a couple weeks before Michael visited our office. Wow, what an experience! I will never forget!! I was at home a couple days ago having this stout, thinking about CaringBridge's 20th anniversary - which is today. Our founder, Sona, is also retiring. We had some fun things planned for the office today. So between the excitement of celebrating, reflecting on this new place for me at CaringBridge, reflecting on that amazing time with Michael's visit and hearing his story, and looking at this beer label, I wrote this. Inspiration came pretty quick, I feel so lucky. So lucky.
heart 2 Hearts