Note: This post may seem about me and my personal situation. I hope you don’t take it that way. I’m not so egotistical or vain in thought that I would consider or entertain empathy. My reasoning behind this post is that many readers out there are experiencing cancer, brain issues, or have family members that have such. And if my words can share a bit of information leading to a better choice, then the effort will have been worth it.
We made the four hour trip back to Pittsburgh the other day for a scheduled visit to UPMC Shadyside and the Hillman Cancer Center. I was to meet with the Cyber Knife team to discuss my situation and possibility of having that procedure administered to my tumor. It would prove to be a long day. An appointment at 1 p.m. lasted until our final departure at 6:30. After filling out documents and going through the paper mill that one does when a new patient, I finally met a team of three doctors. Upon review of my MRIs and condition they offered their best recommendation. Due to the growth and size, their suggestion is to have it removed surgically. Portraying congenial facial expressions, I nonetheless felt a nauseus jolt to my soul. I was overcome with a depression that I didn’t want exposed. Afterall, I expected to hear otherwise. I expected the Cyber Knife to be my eutopic remedy. I had heard this at the previous hospital. I wasn’t prepared for this letdown. The reasoning behind their decision was due to various things. First, the tumor has grown to the size of a quarter. But the brain swelling around it is considerable. They also don’t exactly know what the tumor is. Other neurosurgeons have expressed similar opinions. If the tumor proved to be chondro-sarcoma, the radiation of the cyber knife is rendered useless on a tumor of this nature. Being that chondro-sarcoma was the tumor in my trachea three years ago, I saw their line of thinking. Nonetheless, they don’t know for sure. And if it proved to be such, then the radiation from the cyber knife will just accelerate the brain swelling. This wasn’t a bitter pill to swallow, this baby was larger than my mouth could accommodate. They did offer the option of Cyber Knife treatments, enforcing to me however, that this would be no better than a 50/50 chance of success. I explained to them I still have no symptoms. I batteried a series of physical tests that stressed my balance, my equilibrium, my rapid eye movement, the whole gamut of brain challenging tasks. Both times, my results were that of a perfectly balanced young man. Their faces showed me they were perplexed. I saw an opening here. Asking that if the tumor was not sarcoma, perhaps composed of other elements, could the Cyber Knife prove successful. They responded positively, given those circumstances. So what if, just what if, the tumor is anything but sarcoma. No one knows this for sure. So hope continues to spring eternal. And just what if the Cyber Knife is successful. And perhaps any swelling as a result still won’t prove debilitating. And if not, then surgery was the only option last month anyway. There is much to think about. And if those of you reading have questions regarding this, please feel free to email. I just hoped sharing this may help your own cause. I always taught my children that as they grow older, the toughest thing in their lives would be making choices. As you grow older, they become tougher. I am now a product of my own philosophic predictions. I stand at my own crossroads. A life changing decision will be made shortly. But I rejoice. My position is good news that at first I didn’t perceive. I Have A Choice. They didn’t give me a decision with no alternative. Surgery could have been their only choice. But I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Again, I may have been given another chance. The choice shall be made after some mental deliberation. But I have the chance to choose, and that choice is mine, all mine.