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8/11 Updates!

It's been 4 years to the day since I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Metastatic Testicular Cancer.

In those four years I've had 4 surgeries, many CT scans, many xrays, many blood draws, many pokes with needles for 2.5 months of chemotherapy. I've gotten married, got a second (new to me, old to Laura) cat, I'm in my third job, and we've moved to a house. My oncologist has given me a clean bill of health and would like to continue periodic checkups to monitor my current state.

I went and did my Oregon Department of Transportation physical exam to prove that I'm able-bodied enough to perform the duties of a commercial vehicle driver. I've been given the standard two years of certification instead of the one year of certification that I received last year due to not having sufficient evidence of my great condition. I've sent off the paperwork to renew my certificate that states I'm able-bodied enough to perform the duties of a school bus driver.

Preparation for the school year starts on 8/31 and school starts on 9/8. Here's to my 3rd full school year as a school bus driver and to my 32nd year of life!

7/29 Updates!

Went in for the CT scan and everything checked out fine. I have a letter from my doctor stating that my current condition has no impact on my ability to operate commercial vehicles. Tomorrow I'll set up my physical exam for my Department of Transportation qualifications and everything should be sorted by the time I return to work for the 2015-16 school year!

7/2 Updates!

Went to the doctor. Talked about our further plan to keep checking that I'm fine and got some blood work done today.

Plan is to get another round of blood work done and a chest xray sometime in early January. Then I'll have a follow-up shortly after with my oncologist to discuss the results.

He said that they monitor progress for generally up to 5 years after the initial surgeries. So, I had my first surgery in 08/2011 and that would mean that by 08/2016 if everything's checking out that I'll be as out of the woods as current medicine can determine.


A Silver Lining

Well, we have updates that are good and updates that are not so good.

I went to my primary care physician, my oncologist, and then back to the doctor who performed my physical exam for the Oregon Departments of Education and Transportation. The blood work and the CT scan that were performed were "unremarkable" and "showed no further evidence of disease." This is awesome news. My oncologist developed a plan where I will return in 6 months for more blood tests and 6 months after that for the same blood tests and a chest x-ray to further make sure that everything is in order.

I was able to get a letter stating as such and submitted it to the doctor who performed my physical exam. She has approved me for 1 year (9 months after the previous expiration that only provided 3 months). The maximum is 2 years but because of my recent medical history we're sitting at 1 year, which is better than what I had (which expired at the end of this week).

All I'm waiting on here now is taking a copy of my new physical card to the DMV so that they have a copy and update their records, and then my recertification with the Department of Education to extend my ability to transport students.

The story about the not so good updates may or may not occur later.

Holy crap, we're still here!

Mike found work at First Student as a school bus driver in Portland, transferred to Lake Oswego, quit and is now driving for the Hillsboro School District.

We were able to sign up for benefits and became eligible at the beginning of October 2014. We continued medical coverage through Kaiser Permanente to keep records consistent and readily available to care providers. Mike went to the doctor today (10/9) to see what he could see. His new primary care physician approved of a referral back to Kaiser's Oncology department as we started this whole shindig. A blood test was performed, a chest x-ray has been ordered, and we're waiting to hear back from Oncology regarding setting up an appointment.

We're also going to look into Mike's tinnitus to see if that can be improved.

Yay for progress!

4/26 Updates!

I think I'm out of bunny rabbits for hat tricks... Do you have any?

Mike is doing pretty well considering he's been through 3 major surgeries in the last 2 1/2 months. This last abdominal surgery was quite the doosy. He's got an incision going from the tip of his sternum going all the way down to the bottom of his tummy. It "v"s around his belly button, with dozens of perfect little stitches holding both sides together. Talk about battle scars. Also, while they were rooting around behind his tummy, they decided to fix that pesky hernia! Thank You Virginia Mason!

He goes in for follow up appointments early to mid May. Mostly to remove stitches, and take lots of pictures. But so far as it stands...

2nd Surgery, Jello tongue
MIKE IS NOW IN REMISSION! (insert lots of happy dancing here)

But now its time for that final hat trick. From the very start there was absolutely astonishing generosity, and that got us pretty darned far, Thank You.

I plan on going back to work as soon as humanly possible, but its hard to do that from a different state. Its going to be a couple more months before that's possible for Mike. My unemployment has run out (it hasn't expired or anything, they're simply out of money to give us) and its going to be a good month or two before I make enough money from whatever job I get to pay any of the bills. So far we've got a pretty mixed bag. Mike is healthy, but our bank accounts have little cobwebs in them, and its a very odd place to be. (Healthy or financially stable, we can seem to bridge both yet.)

We are always re-checking any resources. Calling all those foundations and associations we have contacted, and some more (there's always someone we haven't called.) But we keep running into those same walls. We still have the same reasons for not qualifying, and their policies haven't changed. So please, I hate to ask again, I simply can't squeeze any more frugality into our budget. We still need your help. We still need to spread the word. We are so close to getting beyond this. I would dearly love to make sure Mike has a home to come back to.

As always, all our love, thanks and hope,
Mike and Laura Trethewey

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Art for Mike!
Origami for Mike!

4/12 Updates!

So for a few days Mike and I have been chilling back at home in our apartment mostly enjoying time with our kitty of whom has been spending time with the parents. We've also had a chance to take stock of bills, check the mail and really enjoy sleeping in our own bed. But a couple of things have come up.

Firstly, since I am not all-knowing and cannot predict the future, we've been dealing with this medical craziness for about 2 months longer than I had originally hoped. It looks like Mike and I won't be able to go back to work until closer to late May. Granted, the awesomely generous donations got us very far. All of the love, support and continued following of our story is just amazing and I feel like it's not enough for a simple Thank You but it looks like we need a little more help. Bills still need to be paid along with the rent and living up in Seattle for spotty weeks at a time isn't nearly as cheap as I was hoping we could make it. We still have two or so more surgeries coming up with lots of healing time in between and the Oregon government is still not providing any assistance.

If you've been wanting to help, then this would be an awesome time especially to share this story. It's imperative that we get as many people as possible in the know about this situation. Virginia Mason Medical Center is doing a wonderful job with Mike and helping in any way they can. However, they can't pay the rent and we do have to come home to somewhere.

Mike's abdominal surgery happens on the 19th and it's going to be one of the more difficult ones. It's the last surgery for the tumors and the doctors are estimating closer to a couple of weeks for recovery in addition to the monitored recovery for about a week in the hospital. After that we're hoping that they will also help with the hernia which will also take more time.

Otherwise so far Mike is doing pretty well. He's healing quickly from the surgeries and he's excited to be healthy again. We've been keeping a close eye on the job market so we can jump back in as soon as we can.

Again and always Mike and I cannot simply Thank You enough for your compassion and help. It is a blessing beyond measure.

--With love from the Trethewey Family

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