Hi friends and family! The purpose of this site is to give you updates on my health situation and for us to learn and motivate each other.
I am looking forward to writing and sharing my journey and the insights along the way. I believe this will be helpful for me and hopefully it will be helpful to you as I am sure I will sprinkle some Greg Madsenisms along the way and your thoughts and reflections will be most wonderful for me and others to read and listen and reflect on.
AT the end of the day….we are all on this journey called life, and like any good road trip there are unknowns that make the trip memorable and hilarious and frightening. In the end, those are the things that bond us together with the people we were with, we tell stories about, and those moments teach us a lot about ourselves and how we react in an unexpected situation.
I guess this experience I am having is like a flat tire in the middle of Baja or a car flying off a cliff and landing next to you in your parked Vanagon while in New Zealand or a missed train in Yugoslavia or your bags getting stolen and you have an important meeting, or your travel mate getting altitude sickness in Nepal or any number of other things that have happened to me or you on a little trip.
Today those experiences shape who I am, and have shaped and formed who we all are. One of the defining things and what makes the stories amazing is how we respond in the peak of those moments, the clarity or lack thereof in our thinking, and the experience that follows. These are life's learning moments that just happen and added up they become a part of who we are.
So I guess, I am having one of those great moments in my new discovery of being diagnosed with Lung Cancer at the age of 52. I would humbly say that I am in great shape, am a bit of a health food nut, have an amazing family and professional career, a support system of friends and family that is dreamy….and well I got this disease that impacts so many people.
Why I got it….that is a question I don’t have an answer to and probably will never have an answer to….I think it is genetic. My grandmother had lung cancer and was a non smoker and wonderful person so I am guessing maybe it just got passed on somehow. More on this later after I learn more.
9.21.15 is the day they told me and Jan that my tests showed that I had Lung Cancer Stage 3b-4. I first started having difficulty breathing in the late June 2015 timeframe and I developed a cough. I did not cough up any mucous and my desire to go for a run was not the same as it had been my entire life. I continued to work hard professionally, do Crossfit on a daily basis, surf when it was good, and ride my mtn bike. I knew that something was not right…and assumed it would get better.
Sometime in July I decided that I should go visit a doctor. I knew I had a doctor because to get my insurance several years back I had to have a primary care physician….so I got a referral and had to actually go meet him (I remember thinking that seemed a little crazy). Fast forward to July…I could not remember my doctors name so I did not know how to get a hold of him to get an appointment….but I did remember where his office was….so I drove over to his office and walked in to see if I could get an appointment. The receptionist said, it takes 3 months…I politely said, “I would like to see him today.” I told them I would wait or I could come in anytime and would be happy to see the assistant. I think I had to call several times in the next few days…but I eventually got an appointment with the physician’s assistant 2-3 days later. When I showed up for the appointment, the doctor came to see me.
His diagnosis was that I had some type of allergic reaction to something and that it would most likely go away and he told me to get a chest xray. The xray came back and showed there was fluid in my lungs and some cloudy “stuff”. He put me on some prednisone and an antibiotic and said this should clear it up. Several weeks later, there was not change. I went back to visit and he put me on an inhaler and said let’s give this a try and in a few weeks if not better, we will take another chest xray.
I went to Mexico with my family in August (check out the video my son Emmett made… https://vimeo.com/140454725) and upon my return went back to see the doctor. My belief was that I would have been all better after surfing every day and enjoying amazing clean air. Nothing had changed, in fact I had lost my voice in my last 5 days in Mexico and could not talk…a case of laryngitis…I think mainly from all the coughing I had been doing.
When I went back to the doctor he did another chest xray and noticed that nothing had changed….so he referred me to a Pulmonologist. They performed blood tests, had a respitory therapist assess me, and then I had a bronchoscopy. A bronchoscopy is a test where they put a scope down you throat and into your lungs to look at them and with calipers grab a few samples to go test.
Those samples came back on the 21st of September 2015 and my doctor told us that we were diagnosed with cancer. (More on this moment at a later time)
Fast forward….I have been doing tests (CT Scan, PET Scan, Brain MRI, blood tests) over the last few weeks and I am still waiting to get the results from my tests to see the exact stage of my cancer and to further diagnose the exact problem…prior to figuring out a treatment plan.
This week (10.4.15) I hope to get my results back, visit with a doctor at Stanford, visit with a doctor at The Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt lake City and hopefully make a decision about what treatment plan is going to be the best for me.
If you are reading this, you are clearly one of my dearest friends and I would ask for your prayers and faith on my behalf and your positive energy! I am very positive about my ability to beat this disease and to learn along the way. I hope that my insights can be your insights and that just like a road trip…we can create an experience that will teach me/us many wonderful things to make my/our lives even more rich and full.
Lots of love,