Michael and Mom Talk Cancer
By Michael and Ashlee
Michael and Mom Talk CancerMay 03, 2023
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 23, Talking to the amazing Andy (and son!) from Project Outrun
Join Michael and mom as they talk to Andy Shepperd who singlehandedly started his beautiful foundation, Project Outrun (learn more HERE: https://projectoutrun.org/ ). This brilliant, artistic, generous human shares the "why" and the "how" he started his foundation for pediatric oncology patients to design their own, cool Nikes. It is empowering, creative, fun, healing. All the things we want for our pediatric survivors. Michael and mom laugh and get serious along with Andy and his son Griffin who joins in from time to time, on this extravagant episode! Andy is looking for 4 minutes with Phil Knight, hoping to take his foundation to the next level. Anyone out there with connections to Phil, reach out to Andy or Michael and mom!! Enjoy the spontaneous, heart felt conversation with these 4 as they discuss hard moments, and moments of true love. Leading with heart.... #imnotsickbutmyshoesare #4minuteswithPhil
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 22, the day we spoke with Kristin Connor from CURE!
Join Michael and mom, ashlee, in this enlightening interview with Kristin Connor, CEO of CURE Childhood Cancer. Kristin joined CURE in 2006 as the Chief Executive Officer, leaving her law practice after her own personal experience with her son's cancer diagnosis. Her son was fortunate and is doing beautifully to this day, but it changed the direction of Kristin's life. She could not turn away. Since joining CURE, they have raised over $77 million dollars, more than $38 invested in pediatric cancer research! She also helped to start Quiet Heroes, an annual luncheon to recognize mothers (ashlee can relate) who have given their lives to care for their children with cancer. The interview is full of valuable information and personal passion, as she shares her own story, her perspective, her knowledge with us all.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 21, A Quick Update & Reminder About Love, Peace, and Patience
Join Michael and Mom and they sit together and chat about recent updates to Michael's treatment and how they deal best: LOVE. This episode is a simple conversation, a reflection on continued treatments, continued struggles, but also new lessons... the two discuss not chasing peace, not chasing love, not chasing joy, but BEING the peace, the love, the joy. The mom and son try to embody the lessons they share, even if it is not always easy.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 20, Suzette Smith, Oncology Physical Therapist talks Benefits of PT!
Michael and mom, ashlee, talk to oncology physical therapist Suzette Smith. Suzette completed the first EVER oncology rehab residency at Beaumont Hospital and is currently working for Henry Ford hospital. She wrote a chapter on Prevention and Wellness for the textbook "Oncology Rehabilitation, a Guidebook for Clinicians". In this episode Suzette speaks about the benefits of PT, physical, mental, emotional for the cancer patient. Suzette discusses the benefits of movement, but also mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. Listen in to this interesting, enlightening conversation that can truly inspire us all to MOVE.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 19, talking to the one and only Matt Ode!
Michael and mom talk to cancer survivor and coach, Matt Ode who went from cancer to coma at age 24, when he was diagnosed with stage 3C testicular cancer. After chemo and 5 surgeries Matt almost died multiple times from his severe complications. Before his cancer diagnosis Matt was a healthy personal trainer, weighing in at 185lb. After 8 months of treatment he dwindled down to 110lbs. After so much hard work and deep internal discovery, Matt Ode is cancer free and lives a vibrant, enthusiastic, energetic life, helping individuals transform their mind, body and spirt, as a transformation coach. He is truly a MIRACLE story and this interview is fun and fascinating, full of so many pieces of wisdom. Matt and Michael have so much in common. The 3 find a life-long bond in the space of less than an hour.Find Matt on his website: https://mattodespeaks.com/ and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/takingbackyourlifeaftercancer
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 18, Talking to Survivor and Inspiration, Chuck Keels
Michael and mom talk to cancer survivor Chuck Keels about his miraculous story of healing from his stage 4 prostate cancer diagnosis. After being placed in hospice and sent home to die peacefully, Chuck ended up back to the hospital with a broken back, felt the presence of God, and survived. He and his wife Hannah, also a stage 4 cancer survivor, started a foundation to support other survivors, encouraging them to Get Up and Live! The foundation "Live Hope Cancer Foundation" was born, encouraging those touched by cancer to GET UP AND LIVE! Tragically, Hannah passed away in November of 2022, but her heart lives on through Chuck and the work they did together. More about Chuck and his foundation, advice, coaching, plus the 3 books that he has had published, can be found at https://www.getupandlive.org/
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 17, Grateful, but Frustrated
In this episode, Michael and his mom ashlee talk about new lessons.... living life in that in-between place, between cancer and health. Michael confesses to being both grateful for being alive, yet so frustrated by the complications he must live with, in cancer's wake. They both encourage you to take risks, to shed your armor, not to take life and your health for granted. Appreciate your family. Your friends. Your LIFE. Nothing is guaranteed. Join Michael and ashlee as they sit and talk, sharing the love they have for each other, and the gifts that cancer has given them, with you.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 16, an honest conversation with Francisco (leukemia survivor)
In this episode, Michael and his mom Ashlee speak with Francisco, another 21 year old cancer survivor who, like Michael, went through chemo and a Bone Marrow Transplant. However Francisco was diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukemia) at the young age of 12 and received his transplant at 13. Francisco's diagnosis was a long and painful process, physically and emotionally. In this very candid interview he shares how he is now physically healed, with no long term effects or complications, however mentally, it has been a huge challenge to "go back to the real world". He experienced a lot of anger throughout the last years, as many cancer survivors do. This episode is not so much about cancer, but more about dealing with the aftermath, coming back to the world, how to communicate and survive mentally and emotionally.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 15, ECP with humor, lessons, and connection
In this episode, Michael and his mom sit and chit chat around their dining room table. A very impromptu episode, they laugh and joke about some of their hospital adventures, acknowledging that humor has been a key to getting through the rough moments. Not only humor, but connecting to others. These two are blessed to have each other, but they want you to know that you are not alone. Reaching out for help is courageous. These two know they have needed support and love. Through all the struggles, this is how they have learned the most, gained the most depth and strength. Join Michael and his mom and they talk through their cancer story that is relatable to all of us.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 14, Surviving and accepting, even if we cannot understand the why
In this episode, Michael and his mom talk about surviving, while 2 young adult patients, friends, bonded by cancer and treatment, passed away. They talk about how hard it is to understand the reason, the why, but find peace in moving forward. Acceptance is the lesson of the moment. They have discovered there is no winning or losing, just finding purpose and meaning in every day. Even staying positive is no guarantee of surviving.... Join Michael and his mom Ashlee as they talk through new realizations and heart breaking lessons.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 13, a candid conversation about body image and loving yourself!
In this episode, Michael and his mom have a relaxed conversation, uncut and unedited, on the topic of body image. Michael's body has been through so much in the last 2 years, so many changes, from a 165lb athletic surfer to 130lb post transplant recipient, to 170 pounds of bloating and weight gain from prednisone to treat his Graft Versus Host Disease, and now to 120 pounds, trying to recover from near fatal liver failure. Michael has been left with scars over his body, outside and inside, but as his mom points out, he is still the same Michael, no matter how he has looked. The scars only make him better. More Michael. More lovable. He has used working out, not to necessarily improve how he looks, but how he feels. Join Michael and his mom Ashlee as they talk about this relevant topic from perhaps a different perspective. LOVE yourself, is the greatest message yet.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 12, Rewiring Your Brain
In this episode, Michael and his mom talk about how coming home takes a little "rewiring of the brain". After months in the hospital, coming home is not as easy as they thought it would be. A chance meeting with a random stranger on the beach, led to a deep conversation about the patience needed to change from an invalid to a young man recovering at home. Flipping the switch is not immediate, and not simple. Patience, balance, two of the words that seem to come up over and over again. Join Michael and his mom Ashlee as they talk through another challenging, but hopefully relatable situation.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 11: Giving up, but coming back
In this episode, Michael and his mom talk about how Michael hit an all time low emotionally.... he was ready to give up and stop his Post BMT treatment. Yet, somehow at his lowest point he found that human contact, sharing his vulnerability, and turning to his doctors for his mental health, which is as important, if not more so than physical health, helped him find the strength to accept where he was, and then to move forward again. This episode is special, as Michael reveals what he felt was his weakness, but has become his strength, vulnerability. Join Michael and his mom Ashlee as they talk through another challenging, but hopefully relatable situation.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 10, the Emotional One
In this episode, Michael and his mom talk about a specific moment, when Michael's emotions rose and his optimistic soul gave into his frustration and anger.. By now we know that Michael and Ashlee are all about the "beauty in the pain", but sometimes anger, frustration, sadness, are also the real and honest truth. Michael talks about a moment that he simply lost it, he broke down, got mad, broke legos, sobbed in his mom's arms. This episode is raw, unfiltered, uncut, unedited. Sometimes the truth is that the pain, emotional AND physical, are just too much to bear. This was one of those moments..... Join Michael and his mom Ashlee as they talk through another challenging, but relatable moment.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 9, Beauty in Pain
In this episode, Michael and his mom talk about the "Beauty in Pain." After celebrating the one year anniversary of his Bone Marrow Transplant, Michael was hit with a big setback, gallstones. It should have been an easy fix, but with his complicated liver GVHD it led to a month and a half hospital admission, 5 weeks of only IV nutrition (TPN), 2 surgeries, many medications and so much pain, more than even he BMT. However, through this difficult admission the mom and son found so much beauty! From nurses staying after hours to chat, to residents dancing next to his bed, to doctors and specialists all approaching Michael with so much hope and optimism, the balance of good, of human connection, of love, somehow even outweighed the bad...... another huge life lesson...... Michael and his mom share the tale of this last hospital admission with perhaps a quieter tone, not quite as much laughter, but more hope and appreciation than ever.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 8, The ONE year anniversary
In this episode, Michael and his mom celebrate Michael's one year anniversary (new birthday!) of his Bone Marrow Transplant. The fact that Michael is alive and sharing his perspectives, along with his mom, Ashlee, is pretty miraculous. The mom and son laugh and share a few humorous moments, but also reflect on how impactful this year has been in their lives and the lives of those around them. From Benedryl, to dancing, to praying Michael would make it through the night, this episode shares a little of everything.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 7, the Interview with Nick
In this episode, Michael and his mom Ashlee speak with Nick, another cancer survivor who, like Michael, went through a Bone Marrow Transplant in 2020. The two survivors share similarities, and in this interview discover how much they have common. The biggest difference between the two perhaps, Michael has been through multiple post transplant complications, including recurring GVHD (graft versus host disease) while Nick has had little interruptions on his road to recovery. Both young men share the common strength of their continued family support and love, both have been changed forever, from career goals to the appreciation of every moment of life. This episode is not so much about the lessons learned, but more about humanity and love and conversation with a fellow human who has faced his mortality at the tender age of 19.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 6, How Our Perspectives Have Changed
In this episode, Michael and his mom speak openly, and from their hearts, about some of the most powerful lessons they have learned since Michael was diagnosed with cancer. From both points of view, they share how their perspectives have been changed forever. From being inspired by Uncle Iro's wisdom in the animated series "Avatar" to really appreciating the smallest moments, cancer seems to have given them a crash course in life lessons. Join them in the next episode of this journey!
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 5, the Mental Struggles and Coping
In this episode, Michael and his mom talk about the mental struggles that have gone along with his cancer diagnosis, bone marrow transplant and the complications he still faces today. They discuss how these health challenges have affected them emotionally, and how life has taken on a different meaning, and each struggle seems to come hand in hand with a new life-lesson. Not always easy, but as Michael says, "he would not have traded this for anything". Michael and his mom Ashlee find ways to cope, from working out, to speaking with a therapist, to sharing their story, to building legos and playing with their kitty cat!
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 4, the first 100 days
Going home from the hospital after Michael's life saving Bone Marrow Transplant was not as simple as they had anticipated. Just getting in the car after spending over a month at the hospital was challenging and eye-opening. From being reunited with their kitty cat, to facing the million and one rules they had to follow to keep Michael safe from bacteria in his completely immunosuppressed state, from celebrating Christmas Eve at home with his siblings, to being readmitted to the hospital with graft versus host disease again.... and again..... and again..... somehow this mother and son still manage to laugh as they share their inspirational story of how cancer and a bone marrow transplant changed their lives forever and for the better. Those first hundred days include shout outs from the Miami Heat players, tiktoks with nurses and doctors, and honest moments of love and struggle. Listen to the next episode of this painful but beautiful story, and hopefully you will be inspired, just as Michael and his mom have been inspired to share with you.....
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 3, the Transplant
After chemo, the next step in saving Michael's life was the BMT, the Bone Marrow Transplant. Michael and his mom share the beautiful moments, like Michael's first breath of fresh air after transplant, and the funny moments, like how many more wrinkles appeared on her face during that 5 1/2 week stay in the hospital! But they also talk about the serious moments, like the night when they were not sure Michael would make it to the next morning. More lessons are revealed, including the importance of really and truly appreciating each moment. Every shower. Every breath. Every smile and moment of laughter. Their relationship with the doctors, nurses and each other pulled them through this emotional and of course, physically painful time. Join them as they hope to inspire others with this gripping story.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 2, Chemotherapy
Michael and his mom, Ashlee, talk about chemotherapy, not only the physical changes and difficulties, but also the mental and emotional challenges. Michael, a 19 year old athlete and college kid, was officially diagnosed with Hepatosplenic T-cell Lymphoma on August 3rd, 2020. He started chemo immediately, and the lessons began rolling in. From realizing the truth in how little looks matter, to appreciating really and truly family, friends, LIFE, to being so incredibly grateful for the new relationships that were being forged at the hospital........ This episode dives into so many emotions, both humorous and also painful, from both the perspective of Michael and his caregiver, his mom. Join Michael and Ashlee on the next part of this journey: chemotherapy.
Michael and Mom Talk Cancer: Episode 1, the diagnosis
Michael was diagnosed with Leukemia on July 14th, 2020, in the middle of Covid quarantine. The exact diagnosis of Hepatosplenic Lymphoma came almost 3 weeks later on August 3rd, 2020. This was shocking and definitely life-changing for a 19 year old kid who had grown up in a healthy family as a windsurfer, surfer, gym-goer. Michael describes how he felt, some of the thoughts that went through his mind, and how this changed his life in a moment. Michael's mom, Ashlee, shares her perspective as well, as she hears that her son needs surgery, chemo, and a bone marrow transplant.