As I was finishing my latest book for publication, Finding the Wisdom You Seek, and after an annual physical, I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid cancer. There are four types of thyroid cancers, and Papillary is the least aggressive and has the highest cure rate. My cancer was contained to a tumor on the left side of my Thyroid, and the prognosis was good. The medical approach is surgery, treatment, medication, and live on. However, my cancer story has not one, but two, miracles.
Let me start from the beginning, during my physical my doctor noticed a comment from a radiologist recommending a chest x-ray follow up from the prior year. She ordered the x-ray, results were inconclusive, furthermore a CAT Scan was ordered. The item was of no concern with the recommendation to continue to follow in the future. However, at the top of the CAT scan was a shadow. I was unaware of this at the time. An ultrasound was ordered, (in the wrong spot I thought), I was then scheduled for a biopsy. Approximately one week later as I was finishing up lunch with a client on the east coast of Florida, I received a call from the nurse of my long time doctor requesting I come in, right now! After informing her I was out of town returning later on the same night, she said, with some urgency, to be in the office at 7 am. This did not sound good. I called my wife, Hope (I always have hope), and said “we are probably about to receive some bad news.” She took the day off of work and started researching Thyroid cancer, as it was my thyroid that was biopsied.
Informed of the ‘C’ word and understanding that the Papillary Thyroid cancer combined with an early diagnosis appeared to be the best of the bad news we could hope for. Later this same day, Friday June 3rd at 3 pm, Hope and I were having a late lunch reflecting on all the events and news of the day. The following had occurred since 7 am: informed I have cancer, an exam by my primary M.D., a CAT scan with contrast, lab work, a consult with an ENT surgeon and ultimately scheduled for surgery. By chance, I ran into a couple of friends at dinner, both in the medical field, after a conversation they concurred with the plan and thought I had a great surgeon. After making a couple of calls to other doctor friends we all agreed we were on the correct course.
Having already made a number of public posts and updates about how well the surgery went, the care in the hospital (LRMC Lakeland, FL) the surgeon, Dr. Pranay Patel, as well as the care from my wife Hope, I will not repeat those updates, only saying all went textbook or better.
As Paul Harvey used to say, “here is the rest of the story.” On Friday June 24th at 7 am, three weeks to the minute since being informed I have cancer. Hope and I met with Dr. Oats at Watson Clinic, an endocrinologist who received his undergrad at Ohio State and his medical degree at the University of Florida, love to be in that house on game day. He informed us the pathologist report shows c cells in a pre-cancer stage in a different part of the Thyroid. Stating he had rarely seen this, having two types of cancer cells in the same Thyroid gland. The report states these newly found cells were of the much more aggressive type of cancer and were virtually undetectable in their current stage. Basically, they would have developed in time to a life threatening cancer. This would not have been detected without surgery to remove my entire Thyroid and the pathologist dissection of the gland. You cannot make this stuff up. It was once said by someone introducing me for a speech, “his life reads like a fiction novel.” Add another chapter to the novel!
I truly feel blessed (protected) by God, surrounded by thousands of guardian angels from all walks of life, until such time as my mission here on earth is complete. Having survived the loss of all things material in 2008, maximum security prison, a potentially horrific car accident I walked away from and now this, cancer. As well as so many others ups and downs in life. A friend describes me as “a modern day bible story to be shared with all that will listen.” I am trying. If you would like to know more about my story. Please read my books, available on Amazon or on my website, I think you will enjoy the twists and turns in life through another's perspective. I speak, coach and consult on the same subjects as well as other topics. A great attitude and positive outlook can go far.
In conclusion or continuation to my miracle story. I will have a single dose of radiation placed in an iodine pill in about three weeks, go into seclusion for 5 days, working on my next book while waiting on the effects of the treatment to pass. Receive a series of scans and blood test confirming all Thyroid cells are gone. I will have a blood test every six months for the rest of my life, looking for Thyroid cell activity. Along with taking a medicine daily to compensate for the removal of the Thyroid gland. I feel great, I am so blessed to have Hope in my life as well as my Faith, Family, and Friends, guardian angles are truly among us.
Please, please, please get your physical, take care of the temple given to you at birth, it is the only one you have. I have no genetic or other known connections to these cancers. God has surrounded me with great doctors and I listen to them. Sometimes a miracle is that little voice inside of you, the instinct or the timing may not be convenient, listen to it. Be open to the wisdom and intuition gave to you at birth. Count the blessings you have, tell those you like and love you are glad to have them in your life. Ask for forgiveness of those who think you might have wronged them even if that is not your perception. What you have is today. Tomorrow is a gift not to be taken lightly. You have more control over your life and the ability to help and influence those around you than you might think. When not doing so well, slow down, take a quiet moment and ask for the insight to make the right decisions and move forward in this journey we call life. May God’s blessing be upon you and those you love and care about. Have fun, enjoy today and look at that horizon filled with the opportunities, success, and joy you are so destined to have. It is a beautiful day!!!
Michael Holley is an Author, Speaker, consultant and soon to be a cancer survivor, reach out to hear more of his story and learn the lessons of his positive message.