Knock on Wood

Thankfully, yesterday’s cardiology appointment and weekly chemotherapy session were both uneventful. The mystery fever hasn’t come back and I haven’t had any more rapid heart episodes since my last visit to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s (MSKCCs) urgent care facility.

Before my first appointment, we had a chance to stop by and say “hello” to Dr. Susan Slovin at MSKCC for a few minutes. She specializes in prostate cancer, clinical immunology, and other genitourinary malignancies. If you’ve read my memoir, you are aware that we’ve known each other for quite some time and that she is a trusted resource and friend. As always, she had some words of wisdom to share and put a smile on our faces. Truly a great start to the day – thank you Dr. Slovin!

The cardiologist did change my medication, as the beta blocker I was taking (metoprolol) also resulted in some fairly low blood pressure readings and lightheadedness when going from a sitting to standing position. But again, minor complaints compared to being in the intensive care unit (ICU) a short while ago. My latest EKG looked fine and I simply need to follow-up in one month.

The consensus seems to be that my rapid heartbeat was caused by a perfect storm consisting of a high fever, low electrolytes, and possible bacterial infection. So, my job is to help make sure not to repeat these circumstances by keeping hydrated and getting plenty of electrolytes.

In terms of chemotherapy, my blood counts are doing well – especially after last week’s doublet of carboplatin and paclitaxel. While I only get carboplatin every three weeks, it does seem to hit me much harder than the paclitaxel alone – especially with regard to appetite. In any event, yesterday’s chemo session went as planned with just the paclitaxel and various premedication.

Michael and Lorie Becker dining on a rooftop in NYC

We finished everything by early evening and planned on staying in NYC overnight rather than rushing to get home. Since I was hungry for a change, Lorie and I went to the hotel’s rooftop bar and enjoyed dinner outside under the stars. It’s moments like those that make everything worth it – and I savor every one.

Michael with sister Brandy and her family visiting from Chicago

The rescheduled visit by my sister and her family went well this past weekend. I haven’t made it back to Chicago to see them in a while and I was amazed by how much their two boys had grown since I last saw them. It meant a lot to be able to spend some quality time with all of them and I appreciate their long drive back-and-forth from Illinois to Pennsylvania just to see me (okay, perhaps they really came to see Humphrey…).

The plan for now is continued weekly chemotherapy with a possible break during Labor Day week. Treatment would then resume with an eye towards imaging in early October to see how things are progressing – or perhaps more optimistically “regressing.”

Knock on wood, things will remain calm for a bit as Lorie goes back to work and our girls return to school. It’s always a stressful time for them, so it would be nice for my disease to behave for at least a little while.

Lastly, I recently gave my book website a makeover, so please take a look and let me know what you think at


8 thoughts on “Knock on Wood

  1. As I go through this in my own family, those “good moments in time” become so much more precious. I still feel you are going to win this, because they really don’t know medically what outcome will happen for Michael D Becker; each case is so individually unique. My family has turned from a dismal dark corner to a good place now and we feel like we are going to win too.I know you have a bio background so it’s like treating a doctor. But fighting mentally may be more important than just medically and biologically fighting, I’ve learned. Humphrey believes in your success and so do I.

    • Thank you, Mary. I do believe that fighting mentally is just as important as all of the treatments, so I’ve been embracing the “can do” attitude. And you are completely correct – every case is different and only the creator knows what will ultimately happen. Appreciate your notes and uplifting spirit! Best to you and your family!

      • Looking for your update and hoping all is okay. We are at the 50% mark on chemo/radiation here. It’s so helpful to know what some of the things that need to be considered down the line for us by reading your blog. Hug Humphrey for us.

  2. We continue to hope, believe, and pray for your complete healing. Today my prayer for you was for you to be given a long and healthy life.

    Your post earlier this week was encouraging… was the positive post that we were expecting and waiting for.

    We, too, are believing and praying for your miracle and healing.

    Vern and Jeri

  3. As a new, inexperienced cancer ‘newbie’ (8/22/17), following the many comments of hope, progress, humor, humanity and otherwise, is more than helpful to me

    Some of it beneficial; some of it not so much if not downright other-worldly, the Internet’s offerings are like Home Town Buffet––just pick and choose what appeals to you 🥗🍟🍣🍰

    My orientation has been/is centered on the holistic perspective of mind, body, spirit –– all somewhat interrelated, a mutual relationship between each other.

    Please, I hope all will continue sharing

    All the best to cancer warriors everywhere! 😀

  4. I always appreciate your positive attitude. You always make my day! I hope to read your blogs for many years to come.

  5. Read artucle re: Bill McCone in Philly Inquirer TODAY, according to my Philly relatives. Great postivie results for HN that went to his lungs. He talks about what meds he took. He was told he had a year to live; now 3 years later, he’s cancer free. Wow. Supports HPV vaccine too.

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