Progress Report

“Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive. It’s alive, it’s moving, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!”

— Henry Frankenstein from Frankenstein (1931)

 

It’s been over two months since I first reported to you that I was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of slowly progressing abdominal cancer: Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP). So, I thought it was about time I provided you with a progress report.

The bottom-line is that I’m very much alive and doing better each week.

Here’s what’s been going on:

My wife and I traveled to Pittsburgh, PA so that I could undergo surgery on May 2, 2014 with Dr. David Bartlett at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Bartlett is one of the world’s leading PMP surgeons and researchers. His surgical team and the nursing staff are experienced and fantastic.

Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein (1931)

My surgery was massive. I was on the table for nearly 14 hours. Approximately 30 pounds of mucin and several organs were removed. In addition, cancer growths were scraped off of other organs. Finally, I was treated with HIPEC, a heated chemo infusion. After approximately three weeks in the hospital, I was released and headed back to Philadelphia a few days later.

The fantastic news is that the expert surgical team reports they were able to extract the cancer and that they consider the surgery a “complete” success. In a few weeks, I’ll return to Pittsburgh for an anticipated follow-up surgery that will keep me in the hospital for about four days. After that, I’ll be completely done with treatment.

While my treatment will conclude shortly, I will continue to undergo frequent diagnostic testing. While successful as a treatment, the surgery is not a cure. Although I am now classified as being in “remission,” the cancer is expected to return someday. Fortunately, Dr. Bartlett believes this will not happen for many years. When it does, we’ll catch it early so that it can be beaten back with a far less aggressive treatment and, perhaps, with a breakthrough therapy.

As for my recovery over the past several weeks, it’s been difficult. I’ve lost a great deal of weight and muscle mass. So, a major part of my recovery involves working (yes, it is a real effort) to gain weight and rebuild muscle with the help of a physical therapist. Some days, actually some hours, are better than others.

Through it all, my wife has been by my side. On most days, that’s quite literally been the case. I don’t know what I would have done without her love, strength, and care. Quite simply, Lisa is my hero.

Others have also been a source of strength and support. Family, friends, the fundraising community, and the PMP community have all embraced me in ways and numbers that I never could have expected. I appreciate all of the advice, good wishes, inspirational stories, and prayers I have received from around the world. I thank everyone for the kind support.

At this point, I am planning to take most, if not all, of the summer to focus on my recovery. Then, I’ll evaluate my status and determine when I’ll return to work, my blog, and social media. From time to time, I will post additional progress reports. I’ll also start spending a bit of time on social media, but not quite to the degree I have in the past.

If you want to contact me, please feel free to post a comment here, Tweet me, and/or call me. If you want to send me an email, please alert me here since I’m not regularly checking email.

My life is far from normal. It will be far from normal for quite some time. However, I’m fighting my way back just like Rocky Balboa from the Rocky movies. Your continued support means a great deal to me as I continue to face the challenges.

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?

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43 Responses to “Progress Report”

  1. I’ve been thinking about you. Thank you for this update. Keep well!

  2. Michael this is great news! It’s great news and take it easy.

  3. Great news, Michael! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Amazing news Michael! I agree with you that your wife’s love has played a pivotal role. Your life will never be the same, it will be better and you will enjoy it even more. Yes, listen to your body and rest. Thinking of you, I admire you!

  5. Wishing you continued healing.

  6. From Frankenstein to Rocky – quite a journey! So very glad to hear from you – you have been missed!

  7. So glad to read this, Michael. Keep healing!

  8. Michael: I am so pleased to hear of your successful surgery. My prayers are with you for continued good news and recovery. Margaret May

  9. Thanks for the update. Wishes for continued improvement.

  10. I say I’m SO happy to receive this positive report. I was just thinking about you yesterday, and meant to tweet or email. Sorry I didn’t — but do know I’m sending healing thoughts your way. And to Lisa too. I hope the good hours and days begin to increase. Give yourself a big, gentle hug from me.

  11. May your recovery continue unabated!

  12. Thanks for the update. My husband just went through Deep Brain Stimulation yesterday and unfortunately had bleeding in the brain after the surgery so is in ICU at St Rose Hospital in Las Vegas, so we sure can understand your issues. He is unresponsive for the most part and still on a ventilator, but we are praying for the best and will continue to pray for you as well.

  13. I say, mazel tov and refuah shleimah! (Congratulations and a complete healing of body and soul.)

  14. I’ve been waiting anxiously for this update. Thank you for keeping us posted! I’m so glad the surgery went well. Take care and know that we’re all thinking about you! My love and prayers to you and Lisa.

  15. Michael: Such good news! Congrats to you both. Gaining back the weight will be a challenge, but it will happen. After losing 30 pounds during chemo my husband is back to his regular weight after just 6 months. Hang in there and enjoy vanilla milkshakes, mashed potatoes, and all the avocado you can manage.

  16. Michael, This is great news! Take good care of yourself because we are looking forward to hearing more from you as soon as your ready!

  17. Thank you for sending an update,Michael. I’m glad to hear your treatment and recovery are going as well as can be expected. Take care!

  18. Michael – glad to have the progress report – sounds good! I have been thinking about you and wishing for a speedy recovery. Have a good, relaxing summer.
    Best,
    Amy

  19. It’s good to hear that things have gone so well. You are a brave gentleman and we will continue to think of you and your family in our prayers. Looking forward to your return. Miss your words of wisdom.

  20. Thanks for the update!

    Definitely focus on your recovery. We’ll still be here when you return to blogging.

  21. Thank you for the update, Michael. My thoughts will continue to be with you and your family during this difficult time. You have been a great wealth of information through this blog!

  22. Hi Michael, Very happy to hear this good news. Best wishes for the coming months as you continue to heal and get well! Jim

  23. Thank God! I had no idea you were going through this ordeal. It is wonderful to learn that your medical process and early prognosis is so positive. Having the love and support of your wife and family is invaluable. Please know that you have many more colleagues and friends out here in the ether rooting for you–some are just late to the cheering crowd. Godspeed!

  24. Wishing you a continued speedy recovery, great comfort and lots of positive energy in the coming months. Best, Erica

  25. Glad to hear it, Michael. Been thinking of you over these many weeks and sending you all the best. I’ll keep it up. Hugs!

  26. Michael, this is great news. Congrats on beating this thing back (for the foreseeable future). It also sounds like you and your docs have a solid plan for keeping on top of things. I’m sending positive vibes your way!

  27. So glad to hear the excellent news. Hang in there and continue to get stronger. Praying for you.

  28. Thanks for the update, Michael. I think of you often, and you continue to be in my prayers.

  29. Glad to hear your good progress. Keep up the good fight, Michael!

  30. Wishing you the very best Michael and thank you for the reminder that heros are always around us 🙂

  31. Thanks for sharing the good news. I have been keeping track and I am overjoyed to know that the recovery is coming along. (I didn’t realize you had so many dietary issues that made eating so difficult, but I am glad you have found something to build your strength up.) We will have to talk soon, my friend.

  32. Michael, you’ve done well. Glad to hear the news.

  33. Very glad to hear your good news. And, it is an inspiration for those of us that give to medical research that it has an impact and saves lives. Keep up the good work of getting better!

  34. Glad to hear that you’re feeling better and that your treatment has been a success. Best wishes as you continue your journey.

  35. Glad to hear you are on the mend, Michael!

  36. Glad to hear your surgery was a success and that we have more to hear from you. Best wishes.

  37. Best wishes for your continued healing . . .

  38. Glad to hear Micheal. thank you for the progress report. May God Bless you and your family.

  39. Delighted to hear good news. Thank you for updating us and with good news. My prayers and best wishes remain with you and your wife and family. Go gently, your body and soul have fought a massive battle. So thrilled for you all. God Bless — Andrea Whatman Kidzcan Zimbabwe.

  40. Michael, thinking about you and praying for you. (Steve Batson)

  41. Thanks for your update. So good to learn such good news; your fight inspiring us all; Rocky would be inspired, too. Looking forward to your next book and all that is to come!

  42. Michael, I’m so glad things are looking up. I’ll look forward to hearing more good news.

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