AKA Phil Health Update- 5/12

Behind Door #1, we have a lovely stay at the University of Washington Medical Center, where the finest neurosurgeons at the 12th finest hospital in the land will carefully (one might even say “surgically”) remove what has been identified as a fast-growing reoccurrence of your old nemesis, Anaplastic Astrocytoma III.

Behind Door #2, we have a valiant attempt at shrinking, if not killing, said tumor.  This will be followed by an equally valiant, if not exponentially more uncomfortable (not to mention expensive) attempt at finishing the job by way of chemotherapy.  You know, the stuff that “finished the job” the first time around.  This is the door where we start “trying” things…

Behind Door #3…well, this is the door that calls back those 3-5 yr life expectancy numbers the docs told you at your initial tumor diagnosis consult.

So, which one will it be?????

Turns out, Door #1!  Having just returned from my follow-up consult with the docs at UWMC, a consult in which any of the 3 doors was likely to be an option, I find myself in the unpioneered territory of being thrilled at having brain surgery scheduled just 3 weeks from now.  (Actually, they had an opening for the next day, but I was slated to have dinner at some friends’ house…priorities here, people) 

Seriously, though, this was one of those meetings where I had absolutely no idea where things could have gone, and everyone involved sounded quite optimistic about the upcoming game plan.

Game plan, you say?

1) June 2 — Back to UWMC for Pre-Op stuff (oh, yeah, Seattle area friends?  I’ll be talking to one/some of you about this one…)

2) June 3 — Surgery to remove tumor; pretty much exactly the same surgery as Aug 08, just w/ a smaller tumor, and a pre-installed entry port.

(otherwise known as Lump II: Son of Lump; “This time, it’s personal…”)

3) Next week (maybe two) after that — Recovery time: The first surgery had me down for about 2 weeks, as I rewired my movement centers.  We still might have some of that this time around, but won’t know until I’m put back in the same situation, and my brain shows its stuff…

4) After that (timeframe TBD) – Chemo: Same as last time?  Different, but same idea?  Not sure yet; it all depends on how surgery goes.  Either way, it looks like I’d be able to do it all locally again.


A few random, scattered thoughts, before they escape me…

** Many of you have prayed for my health and general mental/spiritual well-being.  I’ve really felt those prayers, as my mind’s been pretty clear and focused this week, my seizure-esque symptoms have died down a bit lately, and I’ve been really encouraged by various people and things.  Thanks for each and every one!

** It sounds sick to say that I’m thrilled over an upcoming brain surgery (I called my sister, and answered, “Good news!  I’m having brain surgery!”).  But, really, given the above set of options, this was best case scenario for having an aggressive (growing pretty fast) cancerous brain tumor reoccurrence: it’s in a good spot, not quite as big as I’d thought (about 33mm by 14mm, something like a small baby carrot sticking out of the top of my brain).

** A sad, funny realization was made over dinner with my parents on the way home: we’ve spent more time getting to know Dr. Silbergeld (my neurosurgeon…how many of you can say that you’ve got a Brain Surgery Guy?) than many members of my not-too-remote family.  Yup, I’m closer w/ my Brain Surgery Guy than most of my cousins…

** …something I’m not too sad about (the Surgery Guy, not the cousins).  It dawned on me today, as I brought my parents into the waiting room with me (2nd set of ears = always a good idea), that Dr. S has always gone out of his way to make sure my parents have felt cared for, listened to, and comfortable with the wacky things he and his outfit were doing to their son.  Very classy gent…


Thanks again for all your prayers, encouragement, & support.  I’ll keep you posted more soon.  Much love to you…