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Building a good team…

Doughertys June 2013

Best Team Ever

Throughout my cancer fight, I have had to build a team of people, each with different roles, but sharing the same philosophy: to win. In building this team, I had to select people that were like me and wanted to be aggressive. My team is all like-minded and driven by the same goal: to pull out all of the stops and ultimately win.

Last week, I had to fire my first team-member. She was a new member, a nurse that was assigned to my case by the home health care company that is helping me recover. She was a very nice lady, but I learned quickly that her goals were not the same as mine. My current goal is to get better and get back to life the way I define it. For now that is essentially the level I was at after I built myself back from my first hospital stint and was ready for Santa Barbara. To me, this goal is attainable, and I am working hard toward it. It’s much slower this time, but I continue to see signs of progress (half full). I have been taking the powerful steroid, Prednisone, to help flush the liquid out of my lungs. It has nasty side effects (more on that later), and is one of those drugs “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” My goal is to get off the Prednisone as soon as possible.

Sparing a lot of the details, this new nurse laughed this goal off as being something I could not achieve. Big mistake and the wrong thing to convey to Mike Dougherty. I immediately told her that my goal was to get off of the Prednisone, and that I did not want anyone on my team who didn’t believe that was achievable.  She tried to back pedal, but I knew how she felt, and I was not going to accept it. Channeling my best Donald Trump, I issued a boisterous, “you’re fired.”

We all have that power to fire people who we don’t want on our team. You can apply this to lots of things in life in general. Why allow people into your life who not only don’t share your goals but tell you “you can’t?” As Charlotte builds her team of “friends”, she has the power to pick who gets to be on that team. It’s a timely lesson for her right now as she is building her “team” of little first graders.

Mike June 2013

You should see the other guy.

I’ve been home from the hospital now for 19 days, and my recovery has been going ssssslooooooooowly. The broken nose didn’t help, as it drained valuable immune system assets away from the main culprit, but the nose is healing. About a week ago, as I was sitting in my favorite chair after dinner, Jennie started staring at me with a confused look on her face. Now I know I’m a looker (not), but this was not that kind of look. Within 5 minutes, my face started to puff up and my right eye shut. I had turned into the great hunchback, Quasimodo, in all his hideous glory. We quickly determined that the combination of the Prednisone and the swelling from the broken nose was causing my face to swell. There is not much I can do to remedy the face issue, and it becomes exacerbated in the heat (and, of course, Seattle is in the midst of a heat wave), but it is what it is, and I will deal with it. Slowly but surely, I’m building myself back:

  • I can walk with a walker and oxygen for about 10 minutes
  • My oxygen saturation levels (SpO2) are consistently strong 95-98
  • My weight has stabilized

I am still very beholden to the oxygen, and my goals are to get off of it (or turn down the level of use). One day at a time, and hopefully no more setbacks. My immune system must be saying this as well, “one thing at a time.”

Meanwhile, life goes on. My parents left about two weeks ago, and are already planning their next visit back. Grams has dedicated her life, and all things TLC to us, and we are forever grateful. We have issued her a two-week work furlough in the middle of July. Papi William (one of Charlotte’s godfathers), made a 4-hour detour from Portland to come visit the day after Father’s Day. And then there’s my Jennie.  Words cannot express the love and support that she provides, in a word, unimaginable. Charlotte, the first grader-to-be, has started her summer, and is thriving. Meagan, our new nanny/house manager, has been a godsend.

My team is set, and we’ve got our eyes on the prize. Give me the damn ball, and get out of my way!!  When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.



Mikes Team June 2013

Happy Father’s Day, Papa


Mike Char June 2013

In empathy

Papi June 2013

Best Dads Club

36 Responses to “ “Building a good team…”

  1. Stephen Fung says:

    You’re an incredible inspiration to us all!

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Steve, when it comes to inspiration, you wrote the book my friend. The old adage, “it takes one to know one” has a picture of you underneath. Thank you my friend for letting me share that stage with you :)

  2. Annelle says:

    Oh Mike – What a journey! The good news? You are going to be able to write one hell of a story when this is all behind you. Actually, you could just pull up all the blogs and responses and there’s your story. So — don’t wait until you are better – start now. I’ll buy the first copy…Keep your eye on the prize which is that beautiful little girl – what a treasurer.

    Sending good vibes.

    Love, Annelle

  3. Mike Dougherty says:

    Thank you Annelle, I’m already one step ahead of you with regards to writing a book. I’ve been working with an awesome team of literary pros whom are helping me craft the chapters and fill in the blanks. I just need a little “peace” so I can crank it out…we are close. Instead of a traditional dedication, want to write a song?

  4. Jim O'Brien says:

    Mike you have a incridible focus and desire to beat this terrible diseaese…you are trully a Iron Man, Tough Mudder all wrapped into one super human friend. all the best my friend, Jim O’Brien

  5. Mike Dougherty says:

    Thanks Jim, I really appreciate the support, and you know what I’m remembering right now. Two words: Fresno State. Ha ha. All the best to you my friend.

  6. Ed Mihm says:

    Great photos of your Outstanding Home-Team, but you need a HUGE camera to capture the rest of us, who are also on your team!! We are always thrilled by your positive attitude and ability to, as the song says, “Get off the floor and start over again” In the brief time our family has known you (since 1968), you have given us so many lessons for life and how to live it.
    Lots of Love and Keep on Swinging,
    The Mihms

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      You guys are the best, thanks for thinking of me, and being a large part of my team for the last 45 years. Not enough time in the day to try and list all of the memorable occasions that we’ve all been together. But they all make me smile :)

  7. Laura Henderson says:

    Good for you Mike to keep your team strong, don’t have anyone who is not like minded, who has time for negativity and anything but support! Way to take care of yourself!

    Did I miss a chapter, how did you break your nose?

    Fun to see your parents after all these years, they look great and so glad they are of a help to you, couldn’t have gotten thru my ordeal without mine.

    Keep the faith my friend!
    Sending you lots of energy and immune system support.
    Take Care,

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Hi Laura, thanks for the reminder, but I forgot to tell everybody that I fell and broke my nose on Father’s Day. Never a dull moment!!

  8. Matt says:

    Two words:
    Role model
    Three words;
    You inspire many
    Seven words:
    Thanks for being so candid and real

  9. Tulin Melton says:

    Mike, Thank you.
    You just reminded me why I get up and go to work every day. Literally! Out of sight is not out of mind and I think about you often.
    Keep fighting!Keep sharing.

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Tulin, so great to hear from you after all of these years. And thank you so much for your kind, moving words. I won’t tell anyone that you were the best babysitter ever…oops just did!!

  10. Shelly Thompson says:

    Great Progress!!! I love those O2 sats!!! It’s the left eye that counts, my friend, don’t forget. 😉 Just watch out for those wicked “flat-looking” stairs and curbs!

  11. Lisa Romao says:

    Mike, I want you to know that although I have probably not seen you since high school I am incredibly proud to say I went to high school with that guy! You are amazing and a true inspiration to all. You have a great team and you keep fighting strong! I will continue to send all positive thoughts your way.

    All the best to you and yours my friend,


    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Lisa, the feeling is mutual. I am really proud to have gone to Mtn View High with you as well. BTW, do we ever have reunions? We had a great class, but we never were very organized were we? Lisa, I officially nominate you as reunion chairman for 2013 (our 30th) eeeegads are we that old? Hope you are having a wonderful life and thanks for all your kind words :)

  12. Bonnie Fredricks says:

    Oh Mike…what those meds can do to you is amazing and appalling. But what Charlotte did with the picture labeled empathy is so amazing too. Our children have such heart and such love to give…she is such a wonderful little girl with so much love for you….you can’t help but keep getting better…hang in Mike…you are so loved! xoxo Bonnie

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Thanks Bonnie, I forgot to mention that Charlotte thought nothing of the fact that her dad looked like the Michelin Man. She just thought why don’t I just dress up like dad, no biggie. Our kids really only see “beauty is only skin deep”, it’s us and the world around them that teaches them otherwise. Great lesson as always. Hi to Glen Ellen for us.

  13. Siobhan says:

    Keep up the progress Michael! The “steroid face” ( + broken nose?) makes you look quite jolly. (: Ok, Ok, I’m not sure that comment will make you FEEL jolly but you look great. In spite of it all! Much love to you and your family.

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      As I said, you should see the other guy :) Hopefully this doesn’t give me an excuse for my Halloween costume, October is too far away.

  14. Michelle Feldman says:

    A broken nose, on Father’s day??!!! Yikes. Not the best present you could have gotten! Hope you are off the Prednisone, and back on your feet VERY soon. I loved being part of the team…wish I could have been a bit longer. :) Team cheering from Arizona! Hugs and kisses to our little girl and to Jennie. Hang in there, Superman. xo

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Michelle, you’ve got a permanent position on my team anytime anyplace. Got some great news too, I had a good appointment with Dr. Kaplan yesterday, and he thinks it’s safe to taper the Prednisone. Translation: I’m doing better, and eventually I will get off of it. I’ll take it. Looks like I fired well :)

  15. Tracey says:

    Oooooo, Oooooo, pick us too!! We are pushing and shoving our way to the front of the pack…. you’ve got quite a crowd behind you. Mad love to you my dear friend. Our children really do teach us so much about the way God truly wants us to love… such special gifts God gave to you my friend! Pure love to you and your girls, always!

  16. Jan Irons says:

    No one should have negativity in their lives…. especially Mr Positive Michael! I’m glad you took the bull by the horns and showed her the door! You are such an inspiration to everyone! It’s nice to see pictures of your Mom and Dad. Healing thoughts and love to you and your girls!

  17. Joy Frost says:

    Ernie and I definitely are “on the team” … Maybe second string down here in Los Altos, but just as dedicated to the ultimate goal!! We’re keeping our eye on Nana and Papa .. and sending love to you, Jennie and Charlotte!

  18. Mike Dougherty says:

    Hi Frost’s, so great to hear from you guys, and please get your jerseys on because you are “key” members on any team. I am just blessed to have you on mine. Ernie is my role model for fighting. Nobody gets knocked down more than he and then gets up to fight another day. Also, thanks for being such great support for my parents, I know how much they value your friendship. One of these days we will all be well :)

  19. Ed Delfs says:


    Your strength, your character and your tireless, amazing ability to inspire us all in the midst of fighting this fight makes you much more than a superhero in my eyes and in all of our eyes. We are all in your corner and I want you to know that I am in complete awe of you. You are touching the lives of everyone who has the honor to know you and through your writing you are making us all better people. Keep making that lemonade and get well soon my friend. Oh, and since my mom called dibs on the first copy of the book I’ll take the second. :)


    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Hi Ed, thanks for the kind words and support, I really appreciate them. It’s been so great to be in touch with your mom, she’s such a great lady and has reminded me of some of our growing up stages!! I also get periodic updates via the “mother’s in law” bridge group, so you can’t get too crazy on me. All of our family best to Leyla and your kiddos, and please give them an extra squeeze for me.

      • Ed Delfs says:

        Hey Mike,

        I also thought you might like to know that my company just launched a new partnership with the American Cancer Society (Tulin is their VP of Community Engagement on the West Coast and we worked on this program together) where we will use our technology to promote awareness of and participation in their new CP3 research study. We are hopeful that this program will have a meaningful impact on the study.

        Press release here if you want to check it out:

        You were of course on our minds as we worked on this and we hope you are feeling better by the day.

        • Mike Dougherty says:

          Great stuff Ed, and what a great way to extend the ACS reach. Let’s talk further offline about more application of some of your company’s technology if that’s of interest? Shoot me an email at All my best to your sister in law too.

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