Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday, June 18th: Post #6 - THE TEAMS AND THE TIMELINES

Once again, thank you everyone for your support and kind words. While this is a sh*tty disease to be inconvenienced with, it has been a blessing to hear from all of you - I've heard from people I haven't spoken to in twenty years - so keep it coming. As I amass my internal body forces and sheer will to defeat this sonofabitch, I've also heard a lot of folks sending me their prayers - so far, I've the got the following religious(or not) groups supporting Team Baker:
  • The Methodists (my team)
  • The Presbyterians (the in-laws' team)
  • The Catholics (the original team)
  • The Jews (the ORIGINAL original team)
  • The Northern Baptists ( *&##!** yankees)
  • The Southern Baptists (shhh- they think they're the only team)
  • The Lutherans (Youbetcha, they're a team!)
  • The Evangelicals (the holy rolling team)
  • The Athiests (the thoughtful team)
  • The Agnostics (maybe on a team, maybe not)
  • The Mormons (the American western team)
  • The Episcopalians (the golf clap team)
  • The Disciples of Christ (Killer Horned Frogs team - Go TCU)
And that's all I know of - sorry if I left your persuation out, I'm on a low blood cell count this weekend, so I get to use the 'slow mind' excuse. Also, if you know me, you realize I'm not slandering your team - pick one and go for it - it's a great idea.
Enough of Team Talk, many of you have been saying 'WTF happened, and how did this thing go down?".
May 2008 - Team 'Ride Against the Machine' (check our facebook link on my profile) consisting of myself and two really great friends (Josh Vogel, Craig Clark) ride in the "24 hours of Erock" mountain bike race down in Larkspur, Colorado. Great time, great race, three mid-30's guys who were out of shape managed NOT to finish last against all these crazy mid-life Lance Armstrong types in Colorado (of which I soon will be one)
June 2008 - During my two (or three) time a week run through the neighborhood, I start to notice some hip pain, ever so slightly.
July 2008 - Pain continues, running slows, no big deal, right?
August 2008 - Project back in Ohio starts, so I begin to travel back/forth every 2-3 weeks from Denver to Columbus. On second trip, I get in a car accident at Port Columbus (my fault), lower back & hip pain increases steadily.
October 2008 - By now I can't run anymore, hip hurts a lot. Go to my doctor, get a cortizone shot in the hip, diagnosed as "bursitis"
November 2008 - Old back injury (mountain biking, college) starts acting up, constant travel to/from Ohio gets me some painkillers and a lot of ibuprofen. Vicodin is my friend. Start seeing Chiropractor. Some relief.
December 2008 - Second bursitis cortizone shot. By this time, I'm spending 2 hours a night on the floor because of 'back pain' - hip hurts, but main focus is back. Christmas is especially tough, I get to spend a lot of time on my in-laws family room floor. But, the carpet is really comfortable, so not so bad. Day by day - some good, some bad.
January 2009 - MRI lower lumbar spine, bottom of images stop an inch or two above my hip joint - SH*T. See Neurosurgeon in Denver, diagnosis as compressed disc, she wants to do spinal fusion - what a clown. Serious gimp action, right hip painful, I start to notice that when sitting 'Indian style' my right leg doesn't flatten as much as left.
February 2009 - At urging of my boss, Amy Burkett, I go to Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail to see their back specialist - Dr. David Karli. Looks at MRI: no big deal, compressed disc - you're 36 and active, to be expected, let's give you a cortizone shot in the spine. 5 minutes into exam, notices my right hip has limited range of motion. Says to schedule appointment with Dr. Marc Philippon, the hip guy. Takes X-rays for Dr. P to review.
Early March 2009 - Cortizone shots in the back. Good sleepy drugs. BOOM, back pain gone, but now hip hurts ALL the time.
Late March 2009 - Get a call from Dr. P's assistant, I'm a candidate for surgery, think I have some calcium buildup in the hip ball joint and a torn labrum. Essentially, I'm gonna go under the knife for the same reason and by the same doctor who did Kurt Warner and A-Rod, only my value is WAY LOWER.
May 20, 2009 (they're busy, couldn't get in earlier).
  • Morning PT prep & testing
  • Final pre-op MRI
  • Appointment with Dr. P late morning to review and get ready for surgery the next morning. 10:30 appointment, but we wait until 2:30 - "he has an urgent last minute meeting causing a delay."
  • 2:30 - "We found something on the MRI, a tumor, and I think it's cancer"
  • 2:31 - I pass out
  • 2:32 - "It's bad news, but good bad news. I believe it is lymphoma, and curable"
  • 2:32-3:30 - exam, meetings, and good talk with Dr. P. He even offers me a beer - he's French Canadian, so we've got a lot in common. He schedules an appointment for me with a colleague of his who is head of Orthopedic Oncology at Harvard & Massachusetts General Hospital.

May 21st, 2009

  • Bone scans in Vail - shipped off to Mass Gen. Radiologist thinks possibility that it may be benign, but can't rule out cancer. Optimistic drive back down to Denver.

May 27th, 2009 - Fly to Boston, our dear friend Kristine Delano comes down from Portland, Maine to be with us should the news be the worst. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU KRISTINE - the Delanos are family, despite the fact we aren't blood related.

May 28th & 29th - Appointments at Mass Gen with Dr. Fran Hornicek, Dr. Evelyn Chen, and Dr. Edwin Choy, various cancer doctors, bone biopsy, Xrays, etc. etc. etc. Based on initial results, they confirm it is a Lymphoma of the bone - BUT NOT BONE CANCER. Continue hearing things like "well Bill, if you're gonna have cancer, this is the one you want to have."

May 30th & 31st - We go up to Portland with the Delanos - Chris, Kristine, Genevieve (our God daughter), Miranda, and Zach. Wonderful time just hanging on the lake and going to kids soccer games. The girls made really cool 'go away cancer' cards for me. I almost cried. Seriously, ME, almost cried.

June 1st - Back to Boston, more appointments, MRI, CT scan.

June 2nd - Fly back to Denver, at the layover at JFK, I get the call from Doctor Choy - the CT scan confirmed the cancer has spread to some lymph nodes in chest and abdomen. I almost pass out again, but he says "don't worry Bill, this is typical lymphoma behavior -let's get it cured."

June 4th - Back in Denver, meet with Dr. Ross Wilkins, Orthopedic Oncologist at Presbyterian/St Lukes Hospital. More poking and prodding, turns out tumor is both ON and IN my pelvis. Puts me on crutches, sets me up with my Oncologist(chemo doctor)

June 5th -Appointment with Dr. Ioana Hinshaw, at Rocky Mountain Cancer Center. It's lymphoma, and let's start chemo next week after a bone marrow biopsy.

June 8th - Bone marrow biopsy. Dr. H gets to shove a large needle in my ass and take a piece of bone and suck out some marrow. As I mentioned before, it hurt, but my bones are so hard that I bent the needle. SCORE ONE FOR TEAM BAKER.

June 11th - Chemo round one, Team Baker on the attack.

There it is. If you are able, call your Dad tomorrow and tell him you love him. That's what's important, not work, not money, not stuff.

Carpe Diem.



  1. Bill, you also have team Society of Friends holding you in the light and sending you love. You're awesome. We've loved you ever since you were in fourth grade. Remember you singing "To love another person is to see the face of God." Guess you have. Love, Jill and Tom

  2. What a journey you are on...what a ride! Thanks for letting us peak into your travels on this earth...helps the prayer focus for you...and so many going out on your behalf! I can almost see a New York Times best seller----"Cancer Can Suck It--Carpe Diem" by William Baker!! You will ride this rodeo bull to the end--I'm sure of it!

    Christy Christopher