Michael was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor on 9/23/05, he was 24 years old. Doctors told us there is no known cure. His insurance company gave him chemo for 3 months and then told us there was nothing more they could do. They would give him morphine and he should go enjoy what time he had left.
He was like a deer in the headlights, Mom (me) had to take over. I called doctors across the country and most agreed with his doctors. We found doctors at the University of Indiana who said surgery was the way to go. We went back to his doctors with the info from Indiana but they refused to do it.
After dealing with the politics of his insurance company, who would not do the surgery or pay for outside network doctors, we went to Indiana anyway. What's a big debt if I could have my boy alive right?
They removed all the cancer and sent him home with follow up treatments, which of course his doctors/insurance company would not do. Their logic was they wouldn't do anything that would harm him, and since there was no proven cure, they would not take any risks.
Long story short, the cancer came back with a vengeance. We crisscrossed the country trying one thing after another. He lost his battle 9/8/08, almost 3 years to the day after diagnosis. Had we done what his doctors wanted he would have survived only 6 months.
Before you ask, he had Kaiser, an HMO, and you can't sue an HMO unless you can prove they let him die and since there is no proven cure we can't sue.
I am grateful for the extra time I had with him, but I still wonder if I missed something, some treatment we should have tried. I also know he was a grown man and I had to allow him to make his own decisions on treatment, which he did til the end.
As a child Michael played Little league, was a Boy Scout; as he went into high school he joined the swim team, played golf, softball, bowled and from birth, I taught him to be a Cubs fan.
He was diehard til the end. We were so close til he turned 13, then we had a hard time till he turned 18, then something changed and we were closer than ever. He was the youngest flight attendant UAL ever had, he became one at 19. He loved it, then 9/11 and he had to find a new career path.
He went to college to be a high school English teacher. He wanted to coach Little League. He had a sister with whom they had their ups and downs, but when push came to shove they were there for each other. She got married this New Year's Day and he was the Best Man.
He fell in love with a young woman who is my hero. She came into the relationship when he was in remission and was at his bedside when he died. His dad and I are divorced but he had a good relationship with him as well.
Most people will tell you that Michael was hard to get to know, made a nasty first impression, but once you got to know him he was the most loyal, honest, fun person you could ever want to know. He could be a butthead on a good day, but in the end he was there for you no matter what.
The Cubs were the thing that Michael and I did together, I took him to his first game when he was a baby. The Cubs were to play in Houston the day before and the day of his memorial service. Hurricane Ike hit and the games were canceled. To me it seemed appropriate. The first day they played the pitcher threw a no hitter. The day they clinched the division I watched alone, it was the hardest great game I have ever watched. I cried for hours after, he should have been there with me. I don't know how I'm gonna watch the playoffs and get through it. It sounds silly, but that's how much the Cubs meant to us.
He was my baby, my light, my heartache, my friend, my joy and my sorrow. Now he is gone and I have no idea how to get through this.