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June 9, 2014

Chemotherapy, Tonia, Upcoming MRI

by Brendan

Twelve years ago (August 8, 2002), I had a brain tumor surgically removed.  It was an atypical meningioma near my Frontal & Temporal lobes, which control (among other things) judgment, emotions, and physical balance.  I’d been having trouble that summer with balance — slipped and fell coming down Blood Mountain in Georgia, just some abrasions and bruises; mostly surprised.  I made an appointment to see a neurologist, but on the morning of August 6, 2002, I fell while running with my dogs in the woods.  Tried to get up, crawled out of the woods on my face, by which time my dogs had run loose and got the attention of my neighbor, Glen, who called an ambulance.

Davis Cancer Center, Shands Hospital

Davis Cancer Center, Shands Hospital

Took a couple days in the hospital to get me stabilized after the seizure in the woods that caused the falling down, and then they did the surgery. Four or five days later, I was transported to Shands Rehab Hospital to be taught to walk again, to function again mentally, after the brain surgery.  One day my PT, Don, said I was going to learn to walk backward — I tried, had trouble, and said, “Don, this is crazy — no one can walk backward!”  He prevailed, I learned to walk backward, and soon came home to my own house with my mom and brother in attendance.  When they saw that I could check the mail and feed the dog, they returned to New Smyrna Beach.

Then 7 weeks of radiation treatment.  (I’ll write a whole post on this sometime soon.)

I’ve been reminiscing about the tumor, surgery, rehab, and radiation because my friend Tonia in Colorado is starting week 17 today out of 19 weeks of chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.  She’s been blogging about it for months, continues to run, worries about her daughters, and generally is an inspiration.

I have an MRI coming up in August — it will be my lucky 13th head MRI after the brain surgery.  If all goes according to plan, I’ll have the MRI at Shands Medical Plaza in the morning, and then meet with my radiation oncologist, in the afternoon, by which time he’ll have seen the films of the MRI.  And I hope he’ll work into the room and say, “Your films are clear.”

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