Michael’s Story

Site created on May 22, 2018

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Hey family and friends,
It's Michael here.  Wanted to catch everyone up with my health situation.
Sorry I'm not writing a song here so it's a bit long.

Most of you know I had a run in with a rare thyroid cancer back in 2014.
Kristy and I thought I was done with it.  We caught it early and they removed my thyroid.
Over the past few years I have continued with my charmed life as a musician and overall
happy guy just being monitored for medication and screened for cancer.

In June of 2017 as a part of my routine blood tests one of my possible cancer markers started

rising and I started feeling funny again.
Some of you know about my light headed feeling that took me to the doctor and discovered

the first cancer.

It has been going on for months and I talk about it too much with many of you probably.

That lead to a number of ultrasounds, CT scans, and PET scan tests and in November of 2017 doctors

found a small glowing spot in the upper part of my left lung. Obviously bad news.

I went in for a procedure to biopsy the spot and eradicate it with radio ablation  days before

Christmas in December 2017.

The doctor was unable to get a biopsy to tell what type of cancer it was at that time because

of bleeding so they just set it on fire with the ablation.

When I went in for a follow up visit in February 2018 the follow up tests showed my numbers
had risen by 20x. 

More blood tests. More rising cancer marker numbers. Then another PET scan in March found that I have cancer activity
in a lymph node or two surrounded by my left lung. The test markers also now appear to point to a possible medullary cancer.
Due to or related to my previous rare cancer.

The doctors wanted me to do 15 rounds of targeted radiation but given the nature of my previous
cancer and the fact that I had to deal with another spot only 4 months ago Kristy and I wanted a second

We were referred to a specialist in Thyroid cancer at Rush University Chicago.
Great doctor!

Unfortunately the second opinion has turned out to be an even scarier prospect.

We have been informed that if this cancer activity in my lung turns out to be the medullary
cancer I had before there is really no satisfactory treatment.

It was explained that the medullary tends to just keep coming like mice or roaches.
If you have one you'll have more.

You have to weigh the value of treatments against what you are getting out of killing
healthy parts of you. Meaning how much do I get out of 15 rounds of radiation stopping a tumor
that pops up only three months after we dealt with another.

The doctor has told us there might be some small hope.
It would still only be bad news but if they could get a biopsy sample
of my lymph nodes they might find it's another type of cancer and I may have

options to treat it.

They presented my case to the Tumor board at Rush a couple weeks ago and a

fantastic thoracic surgeon thought he could get a biopsy using a special

ultrasound/camera/needle device that they send down my throat and into my
lung. Then the poke through to the lymph node with the needle.

If the biopsy comes back as the "good" bad news we are hoping for that will mean it
is a primary cancer based in my lung. The solution will be that doctors will remove
the top lobe of my left lung.
It's the news that strangely enough Kristy and I are hoping for.

I had the biopsy procedure this week and happily the surgeon was able to get the samples.
Now we wait until next Thursday May 31 for the pathology to see where I go from here.

Thank you so much for the love and wishes.
Hopefully all of you know that it is great appreciated.


Newest Update

Journal entry by Michael Heaton

Hello Friends and Family,

It's been a couple months since my last update.
I have been feeling great for the most part and trying to get back to my regular routines.

Back in May my monthly scans and blood tests started to show a little elevation in my
Cancer marker numbers.
Very small but always a terrifying number for me to see rising since that is how this current round of cancer made itself known.

My team has been keeping an eye on these numbers and has
continued to reassure Kristy and me that it's not enough of  rise to show any major problems yet with cancer growth.

This week I had the bi-monthly full set of blood tests, body CT scans and brain MRI's.
Unfortunately they revealed that I have some new tumor growth in my brain.
Not the great news I was hoping to hear.
My team has decided to bump up my dosage of this chemo drug I'm in trials with.
They believe that since I'm showing great response to the drug in my body that the low response in my brain may be due to the fact that I've been taking such a low dose of the medicine compared with normal dosage in other patients.
I have started taking the larger dose and will be visiting doctor's offices twice a week for testing starting Monday.

I'm trying to wrap my head around what this means but
In the meantime I honestly still feel great.
Besides the obvious anxiety of
Being given news like that 
I still feel pretty energetic!

I just announced that the band will be playing a big show on
September 14th at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora, Il.
It will be a fundraising event for a little girl named Victoria "Turtle" Williams.
She's been fighting cancer since she was two and winning!
The cost of having an illness is enormous and her friends and family are trying to ease the burden on her family a bit.

The event is coincidentally happening one year after my friends ans family did the same thing for me and Kristy.
I think it will be a nice way to pay it forward and also take my mind off this stuff.

I'll keep healing and we'll talk soon. 

Thank you everyone!
Michael Heaton
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