We’re proceeding with surgery on Jan. 6

December 28, 2015

Adam here checking in with a quick update.

We have decided to go ahead with the surgery on Jan. 6. More info on the surgery can be read here.

Why did we decide on surgery before chemotherapy?

The surgeon and the team at the U of M are really impressive. The surgeon feels that even though my cancer has spread past the colon wall, it’s still relatively confined in one area, making it easier for him to get at and remove as much of it as he can. In his opinion, performing surgery with HIPEC before beginning I.V. chemotherapy is the way to go. 

We agree with him. (We never did discuss the treatment option that included playing Slayer at loud volumes.)

Of course, if the surgeon sees the cancer has spread beyond what appears on my scans, the surgery is off and it’s straight to chemotherapy. I really want this surgery to happen, so prayers and positive thoughts that my cancer has stayed put for the last month, please. The doctor did his best to reassure us (again) that colon cancer of my type typically does not spread too quickly in 1-2 months time. He shared a study with us to back up his point. (He also had an impressive tan from his vacation last week, during which he called my wife to personally talk and answer her questions. He is well rested and ready to perform the best surgery of his career). 

That’s about all for now. I’ll be in the hospital for the Packers first playoff game. The way the Packers have been playing lately, it’s probably a good thing to have doctors nearby while I watch them.

I know I sound like a broken record, but thanks again for all the cards, online well-wishes, positive thoughts, prayers and good vibes sent my way. All of it means a lot. Keep ‘em coming. And while you’re praying for me, include an extra prayer for everyone else going through shit like this. Unfortunately, the hospital is always busy, which means I’m not the only one battling something. Everyone could use an extra prayer or two sent their way.

Debulking then chemo? Chemo then debulking? Kill it with Slayer?

December 20, 2015

Adam here checking in with a quick Sunday evening update.

We went to the Mayo Clinic on Friday for another opinion. We were hoping Mayo’s opinion would match up with the U of M’s so we could forge ahead at full speed.

Well, that didn’t really happen.

The U of M would like me to proceed with the debulking procedure, followed by chemotherapy once I am recovered. Mayo recommended chemotherapy first, then the debulking procedure. The U of M says the most aggressive approach is debulking first, followed by chemo. Mayo says the most aggressive approach is chemo first, debulking second.

Decisions, decisions….

Several people on my social media feeds have suggested listening to Slayer at loud volumes to attack the cancer. I might just go with their advice over the doctor’s.

But seriously, if you’re praying or sending good thoughts our way this week, pray that the combination of the doctor’s input, our own research and pure gut feeling helps us make the decision that’s best for getting us on the path toward recovery.

Of course, there’s still the possibility that I may not even be able to have the debulking procedure. If you want more info on the debulking procedure, check out this previous CaringBridge post.

This week will be filled with more research and inquiries with other medical experts. I’m set for a pre-op appointment at the U of M on Dec. 28. We’ll also meet with the surgeon again on that day before making a decision on how to proceed.

People ask me every day how I am doing. My standard response is, “hanging in.” That might not sound like much, but it’s a much stronger answer than I would have given two weeks ago.

For example, we had Christmas with Julie’s family this weekend. I made it through everything – gift opening, Ed and his cousins doing adorable thing after adorable thing, a surprise Christmas caroling session led by our niece Olivia – without breaking down into a blubbering mess.

That’s progress! We’ll see how I hold up during Czech family Christmas.

I don’t want to speak for my wife, but “hanging in” probably best describes her status at the moment, too. Without her love and support (and her tireless work researching and quizzing out doctors), I doubt I ever could have upgraded my status to “hanging in.” The support and kind words from family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers has also been a big boost.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Until next time……

🙂

Everything you wanted to know about Debulking but were afraid to ask

December 7, 2015

Hi all. Adam here again. Here’s a quick update:

One of the recommendations from an oncologist at United Hospital was to see if I was a candidate for Debulking surgery. Debulking is, basically, having a surgeon go in and remove as much of the cancer as possible, then dump chemotherapy directly inside of me to try and get as much of the rest as they can. Very few hospitals perform this procedure. It’s aggressive, it’s major, and the recovery period is long.

On our way home after getting discharged from the hospital on Thursday afternoon, I received a call from a surgeon at United. He was able to get me an appointment the next day with a surgeon at the University of Minnesota who performs Debulking surgeries. We met with this surgeon on Friday and he agreed that I was a candidate for the procedure. 

However, I still have several hurdles to clear before Debulking is possible. For one, I need to get my hemoglobin up. I’ll be getting iron infusions twice per week. Also, on the day of the surgery, the surgeon begins by going in with a camera to get a better look at the tumor and the other cancerous cells that surround it. If it looks like the cancer is too widespread, he will not proceed. Based on the CT scan, the surgeon believes Debulking is a realistic possibility for me, but there can be things that do not appear on a scan. That’s why he goes in with a camera before beginning the operation.

I’m penciled in for the Debulking surgery on Jan. 6. Meantime, we’re waiting to hear back from Mayo so we can get another opinion. Perhaps Mayo will agree that Debulking is the way to go. Perhaps they won’t. We shall see…..Mayo does perform Debulking procedures, but only at their facility in Scottsdale, Ariz.

So that’s the medical update. Hopefully I didn’t screw anything up too badly.

In other news, being back home has been great so far. My son keeps me laughing, my family and friends keep me hopeful, Matilda the Bulldog keeps me entertained and my wife keeps me all of the above (as well as organized). I also returned to work today. I’m incredibly lucky to work for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. It is a first-class organization made up of amazing and caring people.

Signing off for now. Oh, but before I go, some of you know that I write for a Green Bay Packers website called CheeseheadTV.com. I wrote a little something about my cancer diagnosis for the site today. It’s raw, it’s emotional and the language gets salty in spots, but I wanted to post a link here in case any of you wanted to read it. If you’d like, you can check it out by clicking here.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU a million times over for all the thoughts, prayers, well-wishes and messages. I read them all and appreciate them more than I can say.

Thank You

December 5, 2015

Hi all. Adam here. 

Julie will have a more detailed update in the coming days, but I just wanted to post a quick note thanking each and every one of you for your thoughts, prayers and good vibes since this whole mess started. What might seem like a simple note to you truly means a lot to me. I read them all and they help. Please keep them coming, whether it’s on Caring Bridge, Facebook, Twitter, text, phone call, smoke signal, Morse code, or all of the above.

Please include Julie in all thoughts and prayers. She needs as much, if not more, strength than I do. She is amazing. And while you’re at it, include family and friends as well. They have been unbelievably helpful and we’ll be leaning on them even more in the future. We need all of them to remain strong.

Ok, so I’ve pretty much asked you to pray for everybody, but I think you know what I’m saying. 

Again, THANK YOU to everyone for your support so far. Ya’ll are the best.

CheeseheadTV Review of New Brett Favre Book – Gunslinger…

Jeff Pearlman’s new Brett Favre biography,”Gunslinger: The Remarkable,Improbable,Iconic Life of Brett Favre,” (link to Amazon) comes out this week. We got a sneak peek at the book here at CheeseheadTV and are offering up this review:

I remember being 17 years old,laying on my parent’s couch and reading Jeff Pearlman’s now (in)famous profile of John Rocker, the loudmouthed Atlanta Braves closer,in Sports Illustrated in 1999. When I finished the piece,I had two thoughts:

1.That was different.

2.That was awkward.

Fast forward 16 years and Pearlman is a unique and accessible presence in the world of online sports journalism and one of the most underrated sports biographers on the market. Pearlman’s resume includes outstanding books on the Dallas Cowboys’ 1990s dynasty,the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers and Walter Payton. He’s

a personal favorite author and journalist,one of those writers whose work you immediately click when it pops in your Twitter feed regardless of what you’re doing.

So why wasn’t I more excited to learn that Pearlman would be writing a book about Brett Favre,my favorite athlete?  Two reasons:

1.I consumed anything and everything Favre-related since the day he became the Packers quarterback. Print profiles,TV features,radio interviews,John Madden gushing over No. 4 during broadcasts — I read/viewed/listened/loved them all. What else is left to be said about Favre that hasn’t already been said? Does the world of sports media need more Brett Favre?

2.Like Pearlman’s Rocker piece,I was worried about things getting…awkward. Deep down I knew there was probably plenty more to be said about Favre than what had already been said. Because Pearlman is good at what he does,I knew he’d unearth a lot of this stuff and it was likely to be awkward. I know Favre,like all of us,is a flawed human being. But did I really want to know just how much more flawed my favorite athlete was than I originally thought? Part of me just wanted to remember the touchdown passes,the Super Bowl,the hiccup with addiction,the Iron Man streak and leave it at that.

That’s a long-winded personal intro to what is supposed to be book review. Alright,enough of me blabbing. How’s the book?

Good. Really good. A definite must-read for Packers fans,Favre fans,football fans and fans of good books and exhaustive reporting.

Within the first 20 pages it hits you just how much research Pearlman put into this effort. This isn’t a compilation of information on Favre one can easily find from existing sources. Pearlman conducted nearly 600 interviews and dug through all kinds of other sources to paint a fresh picture of Favre that includes new revelations and insightful perspectives on information that already exists.

My first concern – that the book would be a simple rehash of anecdotes and facts any diehard Favre follower was already familiar with – was laid to rest almost immediately.

How about that second concern? Did things get awkward? They sure did.

When Pearlman dives deeper into Favre’s addiction issues,his marriage to Deanna,the car wreck that nearly ended his career,how he treated Aaron Rodgers,and even how Favre’s father,Irv,treated the opposite sex,Favre fanboys might be tempted to cover their ears and scream “LA LA LA LA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA!”

I would encourage you not to do that. And I’m one of the bigger Favre fanboys around.

Pearlman tackles the difficult topics surrounding Favre fairly. He doesn’t gloss them over. He doesn’t rub it in your face that your hero could be an a$$hole at times. Favre’s shortcomings and indiscretions are weaved into the overall narrative to paint a more complete picture of Favre than ever before. That’s not an easy task when you’re writing about a guy who legitimately saved a NFL franchise and also texted a picture of his wiener to a young NFL female reporter (yes,this incident is covered in the book).I

If I had to nitpick the book,I’d say that not much new ground is covered in the Favre divorce from the Packers. But again,there were literally thousands of journalists reporting on the ordeal and nobody has been able to siphon the full story out of any cracks in the walls at 1265 Lombardi Ave. Besides,the details and anecdotes about Favre’s childhood and early career more than make for any lack of new info from the divorce.

People often complained about Favre saturation when he played. All Favre,all the time was just too much Favre. But today,NFL ratings are down and the on-filed product is slipping. Maybe if the league still had a “Gunslinger” as the face of its league,things would be different.
 
Final rating 4.5 out of 5.
 
You can purchase “Gunslinger: The Remarkable,Improbable,Iconic Life of Brett Favre” here. (Please insert Amazon link.)

Packers Stock Report: More Lambeau Field memories edition

I don’t mean to make the Packers Stock Report all about me,but after Sunday’s performance from the hometown squad,I thought maybe we could all use a change of pace. The following is what I posted Monday Night on the Caring Bridge site I use to keep people updated on my battle with cancer.

Yes,the Packers were terrible,but I had another amazing time at Lambeau Field.

An abbreviated Packers Stock Report is at the end of this post. 

This weekend I didn’t feel well at all. I was bloated and struggled to eat and drink. Bouts of acid reflux/heartburn kicked in at random times and made me feel like I was going to yak. My energy level was up and down — one minute I felt refreshed,the next I wanted to sleep for days. Just when I thought my diarrhea was under control,it returned with a vengeance (sorry,that was probably TMI). A weird pain lingers in my stomach,almost like I got punched repeatedly in the abdomen by the 1990 version of Mike Tyson.

To top it off,the wife and I made our annual pilgrimage to Lambeau Field for a Packers game and the Packers played like East Dillon High School on “Friday Night Lights” before Coach Taylor straightened them out. Aaron Rodgers has gone from a perennial MVP candidate to the second-coming of Randy Wright. As Vince Lombardi once said,”What the hell’s going on out here?”

To put a cherry on top of everything,I managed to come down with a cold. 

Heartburn! Diarrhea! Cancer! A Packers loss! Sounds like an absolutely miserable weekend,right?

Wrong. It was beautiful.

There is nothing better in this world than being in Lambeau Field with my wife. This was our 12th Packers game together. We’ve seen the Packers beat Peyton Manning,Drew Brees and Tom Brady. We stood covered in snow as Brett Favre led a come-from-behind playoff win in a game that will forever be known as “The Snowglobe.” We’ve sat in the corner of the end zone as the Packers beat the Vikings in the playoffs,and we were in the bleachers around the 40 yard line when Matt Flynn jogged off the bench to lead to the Pack to a rallying…tie against the Vikes (oh well).

We traveled to Chicago to witness the Packers punch their ticket to Super Bowl XLV with a win over the Bears. Three days before I was diagnosed,we braved a sleet storm to see Favre’s number retired and officially welcomed back to Green Bay.  

Ok,I’m getting nostalgic now. The bottom line is this: All of those moments we enjoyed together. Hell,even if the Packers lost every game we attended 104-2,they’d still be magical memories because those moments happened with the prettiest Packers fan around. I wasn’t going to let stupid cancer get in the way of another day of Lambeau memories.

Walking to the stadium Sunday was a little bittersweet. If you’ve never been to Lambeau Field on game day,it’s a combination of Mardi Gras and family cookout. The beer flows. The scent of grilled meat hangs over the entire city. People get way too crazy for a Sunday.

That used to be Julianna and I getting way too crazy for a Sunday at Lambeau,but not yesterday. My body isn’t able to handle beer or grilled meats these days,so whenever I saw someone chugging a Spotted Cow or munching on a bratwurst,I was jealous. But before I felt too sorry for myself,I’d grab my wife’s hand as we cut through the crowd. 

Forget beer or meat. She was all I needed.

Entering Lambeau Field is like an out-of-body experience. The greatest franchise in all of sports plays here. It’s where Bart Starr sneaked into the end zone to win the Ice Bowl. It’s where Reggie White racked up sacks while a 12-year-old me cheered him watching on a snowy television back in Minnesota. It’s where Julianna was once,ahem,”overserved” at our first game together (vs. Carolina). It’s where I’d spend every Sunday if I could.

Unfortunately,the Packers didn’t create any new memories with their play on Sunday. But we still had a blast,even if we spent more time cracking wise about our favorite team’s struggles instead of standing and yelling after a touchdown. And,hey,Brett Favre made another appearance,so that was cool. Some fans would boo after yet another Packers miscue. I was in Lambeau Field on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with my love watching the Packers. The last thing on my mind was booing.

I think Julianna was a little worried I didn’t have a good time Sunday because she knows I wasn’t feeling the best. I reassured her I had an amazing time for all the reasons cited above. Here’s hoping we can do it again in the future,and this time see another Packers win.

Packers Stock Report

Rising

  • Offensive line
  • Ty Montgomery

Steady

  • Mike Daniels
  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Falling

  • Everyone else

 

5 reasons the Packers will beat the Cowboys (and 1 reason why they might not)

It wasn’t a catch,Dez.

Now that that’s out of the way,let’s examine five reasons why the Packers will once again beat the Cowboys this afternoon.

Plenty of time
The Cowboys can’t rush the passer. The Packers have done a great job protecting Aaron Rodgers in recent weeks. Green Bay’s offense may not be what it once was,but if you keep Rodgers upright most of the game,he’ll score points.

Goliath vs. Goliath
Will the Cowboys top-ranked rushing offense overcome the Packers top-ranked rushing defense? I think it’ll be a draw,but here’s the thing: Without a huge game on the ground,I don’t think the Cowboys are good enough to win. A draw won’t be good enough.

Third downs
Cowboys rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott might be an elite runner,but his pass-blocking skills need some work. If Elliott is back there on third-down passing situations against this Packers pass rush,Dak Prescott could get walloped.

Dak’s luck runs out
Prescott,a rookie,has yet to throw an interception. It’s about time the rabbit’s foot is removed from Prescott’s you-know-where. Sure,the Packers may be without their top two cornerbacks,but Prescott is long overdue to throw his first NFL pick.

Fan in the stands
I’ll be in the stands at Lambeau this afternoon. That means the Packers can’t lose,right?


Somehow,some way,the Cowboys have beaten the Packers in the past. If they are to do it again today,this is how it might happen:

Slopping it up
The Packers offense hasn’t put together a full game in a calendar year. If they bumble their way through this one – dropping passes,wasting timeouts,ignoring open receivers – things could get ugly.

 

 

Packers Stock Report: Yawn…sleepy edition

If you struggle to fall asleep at night,or if you have small children who refuse to settle down long enough to take a nap,the 2016 Green Bay Packers might be able to help. Just watch some film of this year’s Packers team — especially its offense — and you and/or your kids should be sawing logs in no time. 

The Packers are boring now. I’ve spent almost as much time yawning as I have cheering during games.

For years,Packers fans have enjoyed the gunslinging exploits of Brett Favre and the big-play precision of Aaron Rodgers. On defense,stars like Reggie White,LeRoy Butler,Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson incited roars from the home crowd with big plays.

Those days seem to have disappeared. Today,Packers fans are forced to watch an offense that sputters along instead of gliding down the field. Timeouts are wasted,passes are dropped,balls are fumbled and the quarterback no longer bothers setting his feet before making a throw. At least when similar issues arose in the past,we had John Kuhn around so we could yell “Kuuuuuuuhhhhhhhn!” a couple times per game to entertain ourselves.

The defense has been solid for the most part,but it’s hard to get overly excited about containing the Jaguars,Vikings,Lions and Giants less-than-stellar offenses. And seeing Nick Perry make a play doesn’t have nearly the same magic as a Reggie White sack or Leroy Butler Lambeau Leap.

But the Packers are also 3-1. If boring gets the Packers back in the playoffs with a decent shot at another Super Bowl,I’m fine with boring. Just make sure someone wakes me up if I happen to fall asleep.

On to this week’s Packers Stock Report,which hopefully isn’t boring.

Rising

T.J. Lang
The strength of the Packers offense is the line,and Lang is probably the front five’s best player. The NBC cameras captured Lang wiping out his defender on several occasions Sunday night.

Nick Perry
A sack and six pressures…..just another day at the office for the 2016 version of Nick Perry.

Kyler Fackrell
In only 12 snaps,the rookie outside linebacker tallied a sack,a forced fumble,a QB hit and a hurry. On the season,Fackrell has nine tackles and two sacks in a very limited role. Am I being premature in listing Fackrell as a riser? Perhaps,but I didn’t expect much from him this season so what he’s accomplished so far is very impressive.

Steady

Micah Hyde
To me,Hyde is the definition of a steady player. Need him to play nickel corner,he can do that. Need him to step up and play outside,he can do that. Need a fill-in at safely,Hyde is your guy. How about a quick blitz from the slot? Hyde will deliver. Hyde might not be a game-changing player,but he makes sure the field doesn’t tilt in the wrong direction whenever he’s out there. 

David Bakktiari
Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon are paid big bucks to rush quarterbacks from the edge. Neither could get to Rodgers on Sunday night,thanks in large part to the efforts of Bakhtiari.

LaDarius Gunter
He hasn’t made any flashy plays,but Gunter has been solid in a secondary that dealing with injuries. If Sam Shields is able to return to and Damarious Randall can return to form,the depth of this secondary will be a major strength heading into winter. 

Falling

Jacob Schum
Will Ted Thompson admit that he effed this one up and bring back Tim Masthay (or anybody)?

James Starks
A dropped screen pass that would have likely resulted in an easy touchdown,a near-disastrous fumble late in the fourth quarter,always bouncing runs outside…Starks was really bad against the Giants and so far looks nothing like the reliable backup he was last season.

National announcers who always praise Jared Abbrederis
It seems like every game the announcing crew takes 30 seconds to talk about how much the Packers,along with Aaron Rodgers,love Jared Abbrederis. Then Abbrederis never plays. Look,I like Abbrederis,too,but maybe it’s time to stop dedicating airtime to a player who hasn’t been a part of the Packers offense all season.
 

5 reasons the Packers will beat the Giants (and 1 reason why they might not)

My apologies for the short five reasons post today. Real life and my oldest son’s third birthday party got in the way of me writing a lengthy,snarky and only partially factual post containing five reasons why the Packers will beat the Giants tonight.

I’ll still give you the five reasons,minus the snarkiness and context. I’ll let you judge their factualness.

  1. Because Eli Manning pooped his pants whenever a pass rusher came within three yards of him during Monday’s loss to the Vikings.
  2. Because the Packers offense hopefully hit its rhythm against Detroit and will only be stronger versus New York.
  3. Because Odell Beckham will be arrested in the second quarter for committing a felony on the field out of frustration.
  4. Because Clay Matthews + a rejuvenated Nick Perry = scary.
  5. Because I’m sick of the Giants and Eli always playing the Packers tough and spoiling their plans for success.

Enjoy the game,folks. Go Pack Go! 

Memo: Ted Thompson issues orders for a successful season

CheeseheadTV has obtained a memo issued by Packers general manager Ted Thompson to the entire organization during the bye week. Because we love you,our dear readers,we’re not going to sell this valuable piece of information to one of the fancy pants mainstream media outlets that covers the Packers. No,we’re going to publish it right here. Here we go:

Dear Packers players,coaches,and everyone else:

It’s been kind of a whacky season so far. What was up with scoring all those points in the first half against Detroit,then napping through the second half? And my ears still hurt from having to listen to that gosh darn horn in that dumpy new dome when we lost to Minnesota. Please,don’t let that horn bellow ever again. Ever.

I thought we played decent at times in our final preseason games against Jacksonville. Wait…..that wasn’t a preseason game? The NFL actually lets teams as sorry as Jacksonville play actual regular season games? Huh. Learn something new every day.

Anyway,it’s time to forget about those first three games and focus on the remaining 13 and our march through the playoffs. Here’s what I want to see happen the rest of this season. If ya’ll follow these five simple steps,I believe we’ll celebrate a Super Bowl victory before I head out on my annual February scouting trip to Idaho,Wyoming and the North Pole to find the next great third-string fullback.

  • If a receiver is open,throw it to him. I have fond memories of that magical 2011 regular season when we could just launch balls 50 yards downfield and score a touchdown whenever we felt like it. That was a helluva lotta fun. But 2011 was five years ago. Teams have adjusted to what we like to do on offense,including our tendency to always look for the deep home run. Airing it out can remain a part of our offense — a big part of our offense — but I don’t want to see us ignore open receivers seven yards downfield in favor or a lower-percentage pass 50 yards downfield. I especially don’t want to see this continuing to happen on third down. Let’s move the chains,and see if we can get a better opportunity for the long ball later in the drive.
  • Stop letting receivers rack up 200-yard games. Nobody knew who Stefon Diggs and Marvin Jones were until we allowed them to each have career games. The next defensive back to allow a 200-yard game (I’m looking at you,Damarious Randall) will be punished. The punishment: You’ll have to help Dom Capers make sure every single hair on his trademark combover is perfectly in place before he heads up to the booth to call the game.
  • Nick Perry! Whatever you’ve done to make Nick Perry into a great player,keep doing it.
  • Double-helmet Shields. Remember the old 49ers center Steve Wallace? To better protect his head,he wore two helmets. It’s time Sam Shields did the same. Not only will it help protect Shields from suffering yet another concussion,it’ll also spur a new fashion trend in the NFL. Forget fancy cleats with thematic designs. The double helmet is where it’s at.

  • Quit punting. Look,I think I screwed up by letting Tim Masthay go. He wasn’t the greatest punter of all time but he was probably better that the guy I brought in to replace him (I already forgot his name…Schack? Schummer? Shank?). The only solution to this minor mishap is to make sure the new punter remains on the bench. So,score on every obsession,ok? 

Best of luck the rest of the season. 

Sincerely,

Ted Thompson
aka The Silver Fox

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