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My Story

Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
92
Location
Springtown TX
I will start by saying feel guilty even considering asking others to pray for us. But I have been having a rough time lately so I figured I'd share my story. I am not looking for pity or anything like that. But if you have room on your prayer list I would be forever grateful.

This might be a long read, sorry. But I feel I need to include it all so folks see the full scope.

In November 2016 I was offered an engineer position with an airline. We were living outside of Pittsburgh PA and the job was at DFW airport. We started the process of house hunting and setting up relocation. In January 2017 I came out alone and lived in a hotel for a month waiting to close on our house. The end of January I flew back to PA and drove out in my truck with my wife and our pets (2 dogs, 1 cat, but we now have 2 cats). Our time in Texas started out awesome. We loved our new home, the area we picked, and my job was great. In March 2017 I injured my back changing a tire. It spiraled into a 3rd back surgery in June 2017; an anterior and posterior fusion. That did not go well. I was on unpaid sick leave and my mobility was and is very low. My wife drives me around and does everything here at the house. In May 2018 I went to my PCP for a random bruise that showed up on my left thigh. The doc was less worried about that than he was a mole lower on my thigh. He removed it immediately and sent it for biopsy. It came back melanoma. I thought "no big deal, just skin cancer". Boy was I wrong. Melanoma is serious business. The day I was scheduled to have an excision in the area around the mole they also did a dye test and some lymph nodes lit up higher up near my groin. So they removed those as well (cancer surgery #1). Those came back positive for melanoma. I had a PETScan later in June and thankfully that area on my thigh was the only area that lit up. I started immunotherapy every 2 weeks. I had surgery #2 in August to remove another lymph node with a 4cm tumor (where the original bruise was). In October I had a second PET and again my thigh lit up (geesh!) but more alarmingly a spot in my left shoulder did as well. 12/18/18 I had surgeries #3 & 4 (if you are keeping count that is 5 since moving to Texas). They drilled the bone in my shoulder and cleaned it out for biopsy and removed yet another lymph node from my left groin area. Unfortunately everything was positive for melanoma. That "promoted" me to stage 4 because it traveled to a distance location from the original spot. Historically survival rates for stage 4 melanoma is not great. I am told I have a rare form of melanoma and a correct genetic markers that opens me for multiple treatments that have proven successful. So I am not sure where my cancer journey will take me from here. I have a LOT of pain, my quality of life is not great from mental and physical stress. They gave me an infusion of Zometa last week for bone strength and I have been having serious side effects; severe muscle pain and bone, and severe chills in the middle of the night. I am talking teeth rattling hands shaking chills.

Cliff notes: I had a what we are considering a failed back surgery in 2017, and now cancer in 2018.

Well, that's my long story. I am blessed with an awesome wife. She has been a rock, but even she is getting overwhelmed I fear. Its just us two out here so she has had to take on a lot. If you feel moved to pray for us, I am grateful. Thanks for reading.

Just to share some pics so you all know I am a real dude lol.

My first immunotherapy, Texas Oncology Weatherford TX:
tXXTDai.jpg


My wife and I taking a break on a motorcycle ride in 2016 at Mt Morris PA . Yes she looks young. She was 41 there lol, I was 44.:
MDrYAdE.jpg


All suited up that day. I have not ridden since March 2017 and I feel like I am missing a limb:
Qvnkynz.jpg

tQXIyuv.jpg
 

Jarrett

Forum Supporter
Joined
Apr 12, 2018
Messages
1,473
Location
Waxahachie
****, that is a tough story to read. Prayers sent your way.

I hope the therapy sends the cancer into remission and you're back on the bike thereafter.
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
381
Location
Burleson, Texas
If you don’t mind me asking, can we have your name? Couldn’t find it in your post or inmate page. I’ll be praying for you, my friend.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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mitchntx

Follower of Rev. Doug
Joined
Jun 11, 2006
Messages
3,200
Location
Granbury
A few of us meet for lunch, from time to time, at Woody's.
Would you be able to meet us there for lunch sometime?
Or maybe we could stop by and say howdy?

I mean, you ride a Husky, for crying out loud.
It's not like you ride a BMW or Africa Twin or ...
:duck:
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
92
Location
Springtown TX
If you don’t mind me asking, can we have your name? Couldn’t find it in your post or inmate page. I’ll be praying for you, my friend.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Mike Cooper. My wife's name is Sami. Thank you all. I am not ashamed to admit that reading the responses made me tear up a little.
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
92
Location
Springtown TX
A few of us meet for lunch, from time to time, at Woody's.
Would you be able to meet us there for lunch sometime?
Or maybe we could stop by and say howdy?

I mean, you ride a Husky, for crying out loud.
It's not like you ride a BMW or Africa Twin or ...
:duck:
I could try. Unfortunately I sold that Husky. The relocation company refused to move any recreational vehicles and I wrongly thought we could just buy new bikes here. Hopefully this year I can get strong enough to ride again and get us both bikes. My wife has her eye on a new XT. She likes the tan color and FI, hers was carbed.
 

Windmill

Forum Supporter
Joined
Mar 5, 2015
Messages
2,261
Location
Thorndale
Father we thank you for Mike and Sami and know that you love them and there is nothing that can separate Mike and Sami from your love for them. You say in all things give thanks, that is your will for us. We thank you that you are the sure foundation of Mikes life that will withstand this storm. We thank you for your peace for Mikes soul and stand together with him in faith knowing we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Thank you for giving us power through unity in prayer of faith, which you say is pleasing to you. We thank you sir and ask and believe for healing for Mikes body and peace for his soul. We give you all the glory now and forever concerning our petition. Thank you for your amazing Grace. .
In Christ we pray, so be it.
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,765
Location
Huntsville
For the last 3-4 months, I think I've been on my bike maybe once or twice for quick rides. It seemed like every time I thought I might get to go for a quick sanity check ride, something would come up: work, family, something with the forum, rain, whatever... I can always tell when my stress level is going up because I start getting reflux issues and my back gets tied in knots with muscle spasms. I have been NEEDING a ride for a while now.

Our garage was recently renovated because of storm damage from a tornado back in March. We are just now finally getting everything moved back in, but nothing is in its proper place. This annoys me... a LOT. I could not find the trickle charger that I know was just out there not long ago. Someone moved it and NO ONE remembers doing it :roll: So I was unable to put the bike on the charger last night even though I looked for it EVERYWHERE!! I went to bed a bit miffed.

I woke up today and it was beautiful outside, in the high 60s, and I actually had the day off... My oldest daughter had all of her school work caught up and the day free, so we wanted to go riding while the sun was shining. I went out the garage to see about the bike...

Stone dead.

I eventually found a different charger, plugged the bike in and came inside, sat down the check the site, and found this thread... :huh2:

Perspective.

It's so easy to lose perspective. :zen:

The bike charged quicker than I thought it would and I was able to still go ride, albeit a few hours later than I had planned. It was a gorgeous day and we had a blast exploring dirt roads together, mud pits and all. We stopped at a local watering hole to grab some tea. While visiting with another rider, we noticed a lady backing her Harley out to leave. Her left leg had been amputated from the knee down. It didn't slow her down at all. She had a prosthetic with a nice tennis shoe on it. Off she went.

Perspective.

Given our late start, we were going to be getting back after dark. We were blessed with an incredible sunset while out in the middle of nowhere. :sun: We would have surely missed sharing that experience had we gotten away when I originally planned.

I get frustrated when I am pushing and pushing but things just don't go according to plan. The whole last 3-4 months of dealing with moving the forum to a new server and upgrading the software has had a LOT of that. At times, I wondered why I bother. But, then I'd remember all the incredible people I have met over the years because of the forum. So I stuck with it and now I think I've finally pushed through to the other side, ending up in a place I never planned for or expected. It's better than what I had planned.

It's hard to keep pushing when nothing seems to be going the way we want. It's hard to keep the faith and believe that better things are possible. When it is our heath... well, that hits us to our core. In times like that it is easy to lose perspective. It's easy to stare at our feet and miss the world around us. This where God steps in. He calls us to an eternal perspective. If we can truly lift our eyes and embrace that perspective, it changes everything, even when it seems like everything around us is falling to pieces. It's a privilege to pray for you and others. In some way, it matters, even though we might not be able to understand how. But, it benefits me as well. It brings me closer to that eternal perspective and embracing the things that truly matter. The rest is just details.
 

mitchntx

Follower of Rev. Doug
Joined
Jun 11, 2006
Messages
3,200
Location
Granbury
Mike Cooper. My wife's name is Sami. Thank you all. I am not ashamed to admit that reading the responses made me tear up a little.
Mike,

Nothing wrong with springing a leak. it's good for the soul.
I'd like to meet sometime. I'm retired so I gots the time ...
 

cdc

Registered Lurker
Forum Supporter
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
2,968
Location
Katy, TX
Mike, I’m joining in praying for a full recovery and strength for both of you during the treatment.
 

SpiritAtBay

Forum Supporter
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Messages
3,984
Location
Kerrville
Thanks for sharing your story.

Your family may be far, but you've found a new family- your TWT relatives. Look forward to meeting y'all both.

Praying.
 

Tracker

Forum Supporter
Joined
Dec 25, 2005
Messages
11,105
Location
down in a holler, Catawba County, NC
Mike and Sami - May God's love comfort you in those dark night's of the soul. May His peace be yours. Jesus, we ask for healing for Mike. Amen.
I'm a Stage 3 Melanoma survivor from 2001. 30 something lymph nodes removed from my right cheek and neck. Wide excision of my right cheek. Mine was atypical (started under the skin). Year of interferon injections.
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
92
Location
Springtown TX
Wow these responses are humbling. Thank you all so much for taking time to pray and to post. It is encouraging. Sometimes we feel like we are alone out here because all of our family and friends are 1250 miles NE in PA. My aunt and cousin are coming this week for 3 days because they are worried about me and I think that is going to help my mood some too, but this thread brightened my morning. Y'all are awesome! :thumb:
 

misterk

Forum Supporter
Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Messages
912
Location
Colleyville
Mike, that is tough two years back to back. I will be praying for you as well.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Tracker

Forum Supporter
Joined
Dec 25, 2005
Messages
11,105
Location
down in a holler, Catawba County, NC
Wow these responses are humbling. Thank you all so much for taking time to pray and to post. It is encouraging. Sometimes we feel like we are alone out here because all of our family and friends are 1250 miles NE in PA. My aunt and cousin are coming this week for 3 days because they are worried about me and I think that is going to help my mood some too, but this thread brightened my morning. Y'all are awesome! :thumb:
I love where we live now (foothills of Blue Ridge in NC), but I didn't anticipate how tough it would be to move away from an area filled with livelong friends and family. I've met some good people here and made some friends, but I still fill isolated and along at times. Even with the good friends, we don't have the history with them. It's even tougher for my wife, who's a little more introverted than me.
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
92
Location
Springtown TX
It's even tougher for my wife, who's a little more introverted than me.
Same situation, my wife is very introverted. She works from home for the same company she worked for in PA (she is a software developer). She hasn't even had the chance to meet new coworkers like I did. So she has't made any local friends. I am on a couple TX forums (this one and Texas Bowhunter mostly) so I have at least met a few people, mostly just when selling something haha. She doesn't do forums. Our neighbors are all nice and have offered to help. But we are both independent and try to do as much as we can for ourselves. However that is catching up to her, I see she is getting tired. I am hoping getting out and doing some things with my aunt and cousin will help. I can't really go places, so at least for a couple of days this week she will get away from me and the house a little. Cancer can be consuming for everybody involved. It takes a lot of time for surgeries, treatments, and helping care for the person that is sick. Getting away from that will be good for her I think.
 

Tracker

Forum Supporter
Joined
Dec 25, 2005
Messages
11,105
Location
down in a holler, Catawba County, NC
Same situation, my wife is very introverted. She works from home for the same company she worked for in PA (she is a software developer). She hasn't even had the chance to meet new coworkers like I did. So she has't made any local friends. I am on a couple TX forums (this one and Texas Bowhunter mostly) so I have at least met a few people, mostly just when selling something haha. She doesn't do forums. Our neighbors are all nice and have offered to help. But we are both independent and try to do as much as we can for ourselves. However that is catching up to her, I see she is getting tired. I am hoping getting out and doing some things with my aunt and cousin will help. I can't really go places, so at least for a couple of days this week she will get away from me and the house a little. Cancer can be consuming for everybody involved. It takes a lot of time for surgeries, treatments, and helping care for the person that is sick. Getting away from that will be good for her I think.
Sometimes, letting people help is more about encouraging them in their helping, rather than the help we get. It's a way to connect, too. Maybe you could join a small offer of help with a modest dinner. I have to remind my wife that having people over is about connecting, not being judged how clean the house is. If they're going to judge us for that, we don't need them as friends. Yeah, they might notice a little dust, but good friends focus on the connection, not the dust. Or, maybe meet for dinner at a local restaurant. Hey neighbors, we're looking for a good place to go eat. What's your favorite place? Want to join us?
Knowing your wife's "strong" times of day/week to handle social interactions helps, too. Saturday breakfast/brunch might be an option. Hope that helps. Praying for it all; I'm with you there, brother.
 

Crew Chief

Forum Supporter
Joined
Nov 11, 2007
Messages
3,327
Location
Rendon TX
I've prayed for you all ready and will more. I hate to read what you've had to go through. I've been told that I I didn't seem to be afraid of anything, but I have learned lately just how easily how some of these situations can become much bigger than we are. We all need help and support and this is a good group of people. May God bless you and your pretty and faithful wife.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2014
Messages
697
Location
Denton
Praying for you. I have been through cancer with my wife and I understand the road you are on. What I also can see clearly from my view is How God was with us through out and had a perfect plan. We felt so alone but God was walking with us and touch the hearts of doctors through out. We will be praying for sure.
 

StromXTc

Forum Supporter
Joined
Dec 29, 2017
Messages
1,398
Location
George West
I hope by you sharing your story it will give you strength to endure. We will keep you in our thoughts. I hope this forum is giving you some comfort.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
11,197
Location
Arlington
I had 2 surgeries for 2 types of cancer last year. Neither was any lightweight stuff, but it's all in the rear view mirror now. Cancer is serious business, and it's scary. No need to feel embarrassed about asking for prayer. When my wife had her kidney transplant in 2005, we had a worldwide network of prayer warriors. And it worked!
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
92
Location
Springtown TX
Thanks everyone. I start radiation today on my shoulder. I saw my ortho oncology surgeon yesterday and she feels I should have radiation on my thigh/groin also since they have been in there 3 times and it's always positive, and she is going to call my radiology oncologist so I will find out today if I will have that also.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,303
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
We're all healed - immediately, eventually or ultimately. Regardless, know that as people of faith, we win. Ensure the people you care about understand your strength.

And, the next time one of the doctors throws that BS phrase "quality of life" at you - just ask them to describe specifically what that means.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2014
Messages
697
Location
Denton
After a 16 hour liver resection and one successful chemotherapy. Then a failed chemotherapy, the doctors told my wife she needed much more treatment but they had done all they could do. We had to look at the doctor who had no hope in his eyes and tell him our hope was in something more that can and will ultimately heal her. Medical was just an avenue that he uses.
Almost 8 years later she is healthy as can be and God is the great physician that made that possible.
 
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Windmill

Forum Supporter
Joined
Mar 5, 2015
Messages
2,261
Location
Thorndale
After a 16 hour liver resection and one successful chemotherapy. Then a failed chemotherapy, the doctors told my wife she needed much more treatment but they had done all they could do. We had to look at the doctor who had no hope in his eyes and tell him our hope was in something more that can and will ultimately heal her. Medical was just an avenue that he uses.
Almost 8 years later she is healthy as can be and God is the great physician that made that possible.
Hallelujah and we praise the almighty that he is the same yesterday today and forever and still in the miricle business . I like his billing rates better. Paid in full at the cross and emty tomb.
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
92
Location
Springtown TX
And, the next time one of the doctors throws that BS phrase "quality of life" at you - just ask them to describe specifically what that means.
I have heard that phrase several times as my oncology docs argue with pain management docs about what I should be taking for pain. I will remember to ask them.
 
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mitchntx

Follower of Rev. Doug
Joined
Jun 11, 2006
Messages
3,200
Location
Granbury
I have heard that phrase several times as my oncology docs argue with pain management docs about what I should be taking for pain. I will remember to ask them.
How are doing these days?

Any way you might make it to Graford for lunch on Thursday?
You and the wife cage it over and get to know the TWT cool kids ...
It's about a 45 minute drive.
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
92
Location
Springtown TX
How are doing these days?

Any way you might make it to Graford for lunch on Thursday?
You and the wife cage it over and get to know the TWT cool kids ...
It's about a 45 minute drive.
I started radiation Monday. It was supposed to be last week but the machine broke. I was worried because if anything has been a "potential" side effect I have gotten it. But so far so good. Thursday is bad. I have an infusion at 9:30 then radiation at 1:30. Thanks for the offer though!
 

mitchntx

Follower of Rev. Doug
Joined
Jun 11, 2006
Messages
3,200
Location
Granbury
I started radiation Monday. It was supposed to be last week but the machine broke. I was worried because if anything has been a "potential" side effect I have gotten it. But so far so good. Thursday is bad. I have an infusion at 9:30 then radiation at 1:30. Thanks for the offer though!
We'll catch up soon.
 
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
744
Location
Clear Lake
Coop, prayers for you and your family and a special one for your wife.
My sister in law is in the same boat on the other side of the world so I empathize with you and yours.
May you have peace and strength to overcome what you face.

Kiwi
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
92
Location
Springtown TX
I apologize if I posted this already, my memory sucks right now. This week I got an email from my contact in HR stating I "was separated from the company" and will receive a formal letter next week. Before anyone freaks out about the email, he knows that is my preferred form of contact. I like having things in writing for reference, especially right now. I was kind of expecting this from all the time I have spent on unpaid sick leave and I don't blame them. They have been way more patient than many employers would have been. I think I might try to find something I can do from home because I never know when I can drive because of how jacked up my back is on top of the cancer. I am open to branching out from engineering, so if anyone knows of something that isn't telemarketing or pyramid scheme selling (candles, energy, vitamins, etc) please keep me in mind. I'd like to avoid SS disability even though a couple of doctors mentioned I should consider it. I am not up for the fight I hear everybody goes through to get approved.
 

Crew Chief

Forum Supporter
Joined
Nov 11, 2007
Messages
3,327
Location
Rendon TX
I'm sorry to hear that, but on the other hand sometimes a door has to close before another one can open. I'm no longer in a position to hire anyone for anything, but there are a few engineers here. A brief synopsis of your experience might bring something to light.

I know it doesn't really solve the problems, but you do have people that are interested and walking along with you. May God Bless you and yours.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2014
Messages
697
Location
Denton
What is your qualifications and background?
I dont know of anything offhand but I'm a contract engineer and will definitely ask around. Praying for y'all and just know that God will not let you go hungry. It may be beans and rice but God provides.

The professional says it best.

Matthew 6:25-34 New International Version (NIV)
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
92
Location
Springtown TX
.. I'm assuming you've looked at FMLA vs not?
AA (American Airlines) denied that FMLA when I first hurt my back in 2017 and that is when I went on sick leave the first time. I had to keep getting sick verification forms from my doctor. I went back in January 2018 for a bit but then I went back on sick leave. My back surgeon filled out a "reasonable accommodation" form for me to work at home under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but AA denied that also.

As to my qualifications it is varied. I have worked/temp contract a lot so I have had a lot of jobs over the years, which is a bad thing to most employers.

-I have an associates degree in CAD/CAM.​
-I used to be a motorcycle mechanic but I have not worked in a shop in 18 years.​
- I ran a CNC lathe for about 6 months. I did not program them, I just made parts.​
- I worked as a designer in a box factory, for a bit - mostly cad stuff.​
- I went back to school at 39 and graduated with my B.S.E.E.T in 2013 with a 3.62 gpa Magna Cum Laude at 42 years old.​
- Most of my engineer experience since has been contract work.​
-I worked at USAirways as a contract configuration engineer in Pittsburgh, which is doing what I do now, well did.​
-I worked as an electrical engineer for a company in Pittsburgh doing power stations. I mostly did planning, made drawings and went on site for measurements, start ups, etc.​
-I worked as an engineering technologist for Bettis Marine Propulsion in facilities. Mostly planning, drawings, BOM's, etc.​
- I worked as an entry level electrical engineer for a company in Pittsburgh that made vacuum film machines for R&D, mostly colleges. Drawings, BOM's, procedures, etc.​
- I took the job as a configuration engineer for American. I started in 01/2017...​
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2014
Messages
697
Location
Denton
Well what I will say is don't loose heart. Your qualifications can really lend it to design work from home. I have done it off and on for years. I will ask around.
 
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