Thursday, August 16, 2007

Next steps

The immediate task is to recover from the surgery. Then on Wednesday, I'll have an appointment with Dr. Fineman, and on Thursday one with Dr. Girard. At these meetings, we'll presumably discuss the long-term treatment options, which will require getting a neuro-oncologist involved too, to manage the long-term radiation and chemotherapy program. At this point, I am willing to do whatever it takes to maximize my odds of long-term survival - radiation, chemo: bring it on. I've got far too much to live for to cut life short for any reason.


This afternoon I was discharged from the hospital and am now at home. Even though the Huntington staff were all great, there is no place like home. And it is great to see Tim and Erica again.

What I have

When Dr Fineman finally got my head opened up and could see the tumor, he found that it was not a slow-growing, benign tumor, but instead just the opposite: a glioblastoma multiforme or GBM,the most aggressive form of the primary brain tumors known collectively as gliomas. He broke the news to Frances and me today at our initial post-operative meeting with him. These results are still preliminary, however, since the pathology report is not finished. We will have a second post-operative meeting with him next Wednesday, hopefully with the final pathology report.

But from my perspective, there is NO REASON to despair. Although the "average" patient with a GBM may not do particularly well, I have never been "average" in anything I've done, and I sure don't plan to start now. There are patients who beat this, and I plan to be one of them. I have a crack medical team, a wonderful wife and family, and great friends and colleagues world-wide. I am involved in scientific work (energy research, specificallly fuel cells) that I find very stimulating, and that I believe is important, not only for my personal survival, but for our survival as a civilization into he next decades and centuries. That must count for something!

I am not one to rely on "God" stepping in to fix things - I tend to trust in science and technology. (Nevertheless, prayers to the God of your choice [Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, ...] will be gratefully accepted!) GBMs do respond to radiation and chemotherapy, and so there are things one can do to fight the residual tumor that couldn't be surgically resected. I am more than happy to do radiation, chemo, or whatever it takes to beat this thing! I feel we're only beginning to fight!