Our not-so-happy New Years news… Mike has cancer

Posted by on Dec 31, 2013 in Mike's cancer journey | 40 comments

Happy New Years!!

So. Two days ago we learned Mike has testicular cancer.

Amazing, isn’t it, how your life can change on a dime as the result of two words?

Here is what we know.

The tumor needs to come out as soon as possible. After surgery the tumor will be analyzed to tell us what stage the cancer’s at and what combination of chemo and radiation will be best. Assuming chemo is needed, the sooner it starts, the better.

It seems a better strategy, for several reasons, to have Mike’s surgery and treatment course run out of the same hospital and overseen by the same team. It’s also not possible for Mike to be a “commuter chemo” patient in and out of Bangkok during his treatment because of the risks of being in Laos while severely immune-suppressed.

So hello Australia, and hi Mum and Dad (thanks for being willing to open the McKay cancer rehab resort so soon after closing down the McKay toddler-care and pregnancy resort. We’re bringing the toddler back with us, by the way. He, at least, will be thrilled by this unexpected relocation.)

We leave tonight for Australia and surgery will likely happen within the next three or four days.

We have no idea about the stage of Mike’s cancer or how long the course of prescribed chemo will be. We’ll know more after the surgery and we’ll keep you posted.

Outcomes are very good for testicular cancer. We’re managing to focus on that and stay fairly positive. Mike even reminded me (albeit a shade grimly) yesterday that my Mum had once said that if I married him, he’d give me plenty of stories. 


This is not a story I would ever have chosen for us, but what can you do? Sometimes you get to choose the story you want to live. Sometimes you just have to live the story you’re given. Often it’s a bit of both.

My fervent wish for this New Year is that this will just be one short dark chapter in our much longer and much happier story.  

PS. I’m aware as I post this how many people around the world will be shocked and saddened for us. Please know we’ll be reading and so appreciating any notes and blog/facebook comments that come our way. We won’t however, be in a position to respond to emails and comments for quite a while. Maybe weeks. Apologies in advance, and thank you for understanding.

Related posts:

Theory to practice
All's well that ends well
Farewell, Luang Prabang


  1. All of our love & prayers flying your way.
    On a very selfish note – was feeling particularly sad last night that we weren’t able to add that trip to Lao onto our Thailand trip – it would have had us in Lao in Two weeks time! And… Coops is overjoyed that he can play with D again!
    cal & Joe & Xanthe & Cooper

  2. Praying for both of you during this time. We pray that you will feel His presence every step of this journey – that He will wrap His arms around you. Love you kiddo!!!!

  3. Thanks for sharing Lisa. Although the news is hard, we look forward to being able to be with you in this time. Lots of love and prayers. James and Erin.

  4. Saying so many prayers for you guys. I am so sad for you all and yet I know out God is good, testicular cancer treatments and good and I pray all will be well on the otherwise of this horrendous time for you all. Please let me know if there is anything we can do for you while you are in Australia (we are already praying for you all!). God bless on your journey

  5. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you through this chapter of your lives. Praying it will be a short one. Praise God for the “rooms at the Inn” in Ballina, plus baby sitters/support crew.

  6. Mike and Lisa, we are indeed saddened by this news. We are so very sorry that you’re being required to walk this path. Our prayers will be for peace as you wait for more news, peace in the knowing, faith that there is joy in the now and ahead, endurance and love as you simultaneously walk through a dark time and continue to care for yourselves and your boys, and for the healing of Mike’s body. We do believe that our God is loving and good and we are, at the same time, filled with confusion and grief at the difficult roads we must travel. Love to you all from Bangkok.

  7. Lisa & Mike — So sorry to hear this news, but glad to hear you’re already on your way to the resort. We’ll be thinking of you over the coming days and months — please keep us posted! Sending positive energy, Lexi

  8. Praying for you both that God’s peace will go with you through this valley into great heights to come.

  9. Our hearts and thoughts are with you during this time. Praying for you and the extended family.

  10. You will all be in my prayers. My heart goes to you.

  11. Awful news, Lisa. I hate this disease with a passion and am so sorry for for all of you. Adding my virtual hugs and prayers to the mountains of them rushing your way, and trusting thatthis annus horribilis will soon be a blip, a distant thankgodthatsoverletsgetonwithlife memory.

  12. We don’t know each other, but prayers for you and your family. I figure the more prayers the better 🙂

  13. OK so totally not fair…but I do trust that all will be well. Sending our prayers, love, light and strength to each of you in the days, weeks ahead. So glad to know you have the support and love of your families and friends in Australia and around the world, to brighten your spirits. Safe journey. Take excellent care …much healing love is coming your way. Hugs..

  14. My friend…you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Sending healing and love.

  15. Hi there guys so sad to hear your news Mike. I David feel for you as I was diagnosed with cancer back in 2006 and have been free for the last 5 years. So you are in our thoughts and prayers. What route are you taking back to Aus? Are you flying into Brisbane and traveling down or Sydney and up? Any time you feel up to chatting we are here for you. Hows about sharing a bottle of Afghan red wine or should we stick to Aussie wines????

  16. So sorry to hear this news. Sending you my thoughts, best wishes (strength, wisdom, wise and skillful doctors). Hope things turn out for the better. Greetings from Holland. Janneke

  17. Thinking of you both. Much love. R

  18. Lisa and Mike, So sorry to hear the news that none of us want to hear about our loved ones. Our prayers and thoughts are with you as you undertake this journey togther. Thanks for sharing this and please keep us upadted as you are able.
    Mike and Rach

  19. Lisa + Mike, so sorry to hear this news. I’ll be thinking of you all as you head to the Australian resort and go through treatment. I hope it’s swift and smooth. Best wishes for the new year.

  20. Dear Mike and Lisa, Paul and I were so sad to read your news last night. We are thankful for parents who can help and a God who listens to our prayers. Though we can do very little for you but pray, we hope that you take comfort knowing we are praying for you fervently and with great hope.

  21. Lisa and Mike, My heart is heavy to read your post about Mike’s cancer. I’m amazed at how you write, stating the hard reality facts and yet having a big picture hope and thankful for the blessing of family. I join others to circle round with prayer. As I light a candle (and I do it often), I will send healing thoughts your way. Thanks for sharing and happy new year.

  22. Hi Lisa. Becky and I will be praying for Mike–and you and the kiddos, of course. I have a close friend who had testicular cancer fifteen years ago, and he’s doing well now. We’ll also be praying for a peaceful move.

    Andy and Becky

  23. Some people just have to always have the spotlight shining in them! This, I would offer, is going to the extreme but the Mike and Lisa I know, have never shied away from going to the extreme. 🙂
    Love you guys, no matter where you are and what the story is. With you, we will rest in the Great Physician’s care through all methods, human and beyond. As you wrote Lisa, this is a chapter and you understand story construction better than most. As the other chapters unfold, may you all experience both expected and unexpected graces for the journey beginning with a quick settling into Aus.
    Love and prayers – Nancy too.

  24. Lisa and Mike – So sorry to hear this scary news, with all the disruption and uncertainty it brings. Sending warm thoughts and prayers from snowy Notre Dame to surround you in Australia and fill your hearts. Thank you for your wise words – here’s hoping for good news soon.

  25. So sorry to hear this news. Not the way anyone would wish to start a year! I trust and pray that the new year brings health and a speedy recovery, and that the journey towards that is not too arduous. Warmest wishes to you all!

  26. Dear girl! Love and heartfelt prayers coming your way for you, Mike, and the boys xo

  27. Hugs, prayers and Livestrong!You have LOTS of people who love you and want to do any favor or small thing that will help, do not hesitate to ask…mostly none of us will know what to offer. Avail yourself of us, we got your backs!!!

    • My thoughts are with you all at this difficult time. I wish you all the very best for the treatment of Mike’s cancer and for the strength to get through the hard time that is undoubtedly is. Please take the time you all need to heal and don’t worry about posting messages. You need this time together as a family and for Mike to recover. And he WILL, with all the love you and your families and friends will provide.
      All the best to you all. Melisa xoxoxo

  28. Mike, Lisa, Dominic and Alex, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Mike, anyone who survives PNG and the pacific as you have is tough enough!

  29. We will be praying for Mike, you, and your family. May God be with you all and with the doctors and the medical team that will be working with Mike as he battles the cancer.

  30. I’ve already sent Mike a note of our love and affection for him and a pledge of our prayers. We are saddened that you are having to walk this road as such a young family. I am thankful you have such supportive parents and a place to undergo treatment where you will have help with the children, who I know will be blissfully ignorant and not at all understanding of the challenges you are facing! I am praying the days ahead might somehow be a sweet time of togetherness, even as you traverse this dark valley. We will pray fervently for full healing. May God assure you of His love and present care for your family.

    The lyrics of a song we used to sing at Intown church come to mind (derived from Isaiah 43):

    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you
    And the waves will not overcome you
    Do not fear, for I have redeemed you
    I have called you by name, you are Mine

    For I am the Lord your God
    I am the Lord your God
    (I am) the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

    When you pass through the fire, you’ll not be burned
    And the flames will not consume you
    Do not fear, for I have redeemed you
    I have called you by name, you are Mine

    For I am the Lord your God
    I am the Lord your God
    (I am) the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

    I am the Lord

  31. Dearest Mikey-boy & Lisa,
    Hugs, prayers, good vibes flying your way from Melbourne.
    Much love from Andrea & Iskandar.

  32. I’ll be praying for you… ! For anything you need… x

  33. Mike and Lisa,

    We’re sorry to hear the news. We are praying for you guys.

  34. Oh Lisa, what horrid news for you all! It’s hard to know what to say at a time like this, but the one thing I can say is that I’ve been very impressed with the cancer treatment my father had / is having in Australia, so I think Mike will be in good hands there! I hope that the results post surgery will be promising. Just know that you are in my thoughts – no reply needed. N x

  35. My heart goes out to you. My family is praying for you and believing for a positive outcome.

  36. Believing for total healing and restoration.

  37. We will pray for you and your family to be strong and be at peace. May God heal you and produce a miracle of the heart for you to stay strong in the midst of this storm.

  38. Lisa and Mike,
    I’m so sorry to hear this! I am praying for you now and will into the future. May our God supply all of your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus.

  39. Oh wow. How shocking and disorienting and disruptive! I’m so sorry


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