Michael | CaringBridge

Michael’s Story

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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

Dear friends and family,


Michael here.

First I would sincerely like to thank each and everyone of you

for your love and support as I'm forced to go through this fight with cancer.

It's taken me a little too long to post this week.


I want  to tell you how overwhelmed and touched  
Kristy and I were attending

the Night For Mike: Concert and fundraiser last weekend at the Two Brother's Roundhouse

in Aurora.

Words cannot express the love we could feel. It was a very special night.

I was so happy to be able to attend and it was a beautiful thing to look in any direction

and see so many friendly faces that I have known in my life coming together

to lift me up. Loving people from everywhere!

I was able to hang out for about two and a half hours and although it was a little tiring

 I can assure you it did my soul a ton of good.

It's getting me a little teared up to think about it.


I cannot believe how many talented and giving musician pals I have as well.

The whole night of music was something special and I'm not just saying that 

because of my songs. It was a house full of super talented music makers

and I'm proud to be friends with all of you!


I also wanted to share a link to a blog post about the evening written

by Eric Schelkopf that summed it up nicely and included some highlight

videos of the evening.



It was really something special and again I thank you.

Michael Heaton

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Thoughts & Well Wishes

Mary Lamphere | Jul 11, 2018
Hey, Mike, it really sucks that you're going through this. You have touched so many lives through your music and friendship and post-show meals at El Centro--hold on to those feel good moments when the times get bad. Sending positive vibes. Always.
John Riley | Jun 12, 2018
Michael Heaton! I am finally catching up on e-mails & found yours. Please know that you will be in my prayers everyday until you finally beat this, then you will be in my prayers of thanks for your complete recovery! You have been blessed with a talent that I have been very happy & able to witness, and I hope to again soon. Stay strong! Hope to see you soon!
heart 1 Heart
Danielle Colby | Jun 10, 2018
My family and I are sending you tons of positive vibes:)

I was so stunned to hear about all of this. On a funny note, your uncle Bob can keep a secret lol! He knew from your mom and thought he wasn’t supposed to share, and then I called flipping out. His response: well crap, I guess the cats outta the bag if it’s on Facebook! I guess if he’s supposed to keep something in the vault, we’ll, it’s In the Vault! 

I don’t know what it is, but some of the best laughs I’ve had with you or stories about you still crack me up to this day. One of my all time favorites is the Happy Birthday Jesus (and Michael) banner. Not everybody will get it, but to hear my dad tell the story of the banner cracks me up!

You made me laugh so hard all throughout my childhood... yes, Too hard. Stupid Stratego game lol

It’s strange, with me living so far away I never really got to hear you play as much as I’d like. When you care to Austin I was so excited! I remember sitting up front all big and pregnant... and just thinking of how proud of you I am. You’re living your dream!!!  Not everybody gets to do that, they have a boring old job, a thing they feel they have to do. Not you- you went out there and grabbed life by the horns and just kept riding! I love seeing you grinning from ear singing:)

Don’t stress about Tuesday and these upcoming visits. Attack this thing! You’ve got us all along with you giving you positive energy. 

I miss seeing your face and hearing your voice. I love you Michael- we’re all pulling for you.


heart 3 Hearts