Saturday, March 28, 2009

Diagnosis - The Short Version

I've told this story many times now so I'll be brief:

Begin: 1/22/09

Super healthy >> go to work>> Driving home>> seizure>> close call>> we're okay!>> paramedics>> what the???>> hospital>> CT scan>> "you have a brain tumor">> No, just kidding its an arteriovenous malformation>> Becky and Parents arrive>> go home>> wait>>wait>> wait>> wait>> wait>> appointment with neurosurgeon>> "this is pretty darn serious">> uh oh>> am I going to die?>> we all die>> but not at 28>> well, some of us>> fuck that>> hospital>> brain biopsy>> intensive care>> listen to Beatles, talk with nurse, visited by wonderful people>> get catheter out>> go home>> wait>> wait>> wait>> emails, cards, and food from amazing people>> wait>> go back to work>> wait>> wait>> get results>> Grade II>> yea!>> but extensive>> oh.>> oligodendroglioma>> huh?>> of the options available that's good>> oh okay good>> meet with neurosurgeon>> meet with radiation oncologist>> meet with medical oncologist>> meet with another neurosurgeon>> another seizure>> another ER>> Dilantin level super low>> up the dosage>> up the dosage again>> dizzy pretty much all the time>> get chromosome results>> mostly good>> Close to treatment plan>> Primary Wave II of Cycle wave (c) of Supercycle wave (a) of Grand SuperCycle wave (IV) begins in the stock market (that's a rally)>> NCAA Tournament starts>> Carolina wins>> Carolina wins again and again>> Carolina Wins National Championship and I know I'm going to make it!

Hopefully beginning treatment soon. Almost certainly a combo of radiation and chemotherapy. Not operable. More soon.

J Karma Army Walk for Epilepsy


The J Karma Army Golden J Sub-Committee has approved our first charitable event to be held in conjunction with the Epilepsy Foundation's Strides 5k on April 19th. Come out and join the JKA! Simply visit and select the J Karma Army from the teams list. Get your official shirt by selecting the link in the upper right corner of the blog. A shirt and/or North Carolina blue is a requirement of participation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Golden J

I believe that killing this tumor in my head has to start with me. Any extra help like chemo and radiation is great, but it has to begin with me. This isn't a religious theory but is something which has been demonstrated to me through years of beating my body up. I figure that looking at my diet is the logical first step. Even if its all just placebo I figure that it helps me think I'm killing it which can only help, right?

I believe this goes for a lot of things. We've all heard the story of the guy who was diagnosed and then just watched comedies for 6 months and was miraculously healed. Attitude makes a big difference in everything you do. At least it does for me. So with that I'm introducing the "Golden Js."

The Golden J award represents the highest level of cancer-fighting properties and has been selected by the J Karma Army Golden J Sub-Committee. Each item on this list has been thoroughly screened and tested for quality and results. You can trust that anything you find on this list has the official endorsement of the J Karma Army.

My friend Rob turned me on to an article written by David Servan-Schreiber that I quite like. It is about foods which have proven cancer killing properties. This is for cancer prevention too so check it out even if you don't have cancer. Here it is.

I'll break it down for you because I have switched over to a cancer-killing diet, but it is an official recommendation of the J Karma Army Golden J Sub-committee that you read it. I can hear the little bastards screaming with terror every time I drink a cup of tea.

Please reference the sidebar at right for selections made by the J Karma Army Golden J Sub-committee. These items meet our rigorous standards and have been given the esteemed "Golden J" for their quality in cancer fighting. I personally recommend them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

? is for chromosome

Results of my chromosome test are hot off the presses. I've been waiting for this information since my brain biopsy on February, 9. Things move a little slower in Colorado apparently.

Anyway, looks like I have double deletion of the cromosome 1p and 19q which is favorable for oligodendroglioma. I think this means we have a better chance of fighting it, but PLEASE SPARE ME THE RESULTS YOU FIND ON GOOGLE ABOUT THIS OUTCOME. I have already worked myself into a tizzy several times by doing this and I'll take the feedback of the neurooncologist over wikipedia.

So that's good news.

Bad news is that I also lack P-ten. The lack of this chromosome is usually associated with more aggressive tumors.

My biopsy sample came back as a Grade II tumor (low grade), but there is some evidence to suggest now that parts of the cancer may be acting more aggressively than others. The genetic markers are just another step in the (glacial) process and I'm hoping to get in to see the neurooncologist this week to add her recommendation for the treatment plan. We know that the tumor is inoperable due to its size and nature.

Overall, good news for the most part. but just more reasons to bee positive!

Proper Hospital Ride Etiquette

I am not allowed to drive since suffering a seizure on January 22nd. This means that I either use my legs like a sucker or get a ride where I need to go. Unfortunately I need rides to medical appointments pretty frequently which is no small task given that I have to go to Denver for even the most minor of appointments. I commute via vanpool though so sometimes my coworkers let me bum a ride.

Today I had to go to the hospital to get the dilantin level in my blood taken(anti-seizure meds) from Lovely Jacqueline over at Kaiser. My boss graciously offered to give me a ride. As we sat at the corner of 17th and Downing I pompously recommended that she maybe take a left as it was an easier way to get to the hospital. The look she gave me would have killed a small moose but she very patiently reminded me that she lives about 2 blocks from St. Joes and that it was her hospital too. I thought there would be bloodshed but we continued on down 17th to Lafayette.

Turns out, this is a much better way to go...

Apparently, I'm a really awful backseat driver. My wife is already tired of this and I fear I may not be receiving rides anymore. I apologize freqently, but continue to think I could do better.

I remind all of you suffering from epilepsy or who can't drive to hold your tongue and display the proper etiquette when riding to your appointments. Failure to do so may have dire consequences. I'll have to diversify my ride givers.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The J Karma Army

I'm still pretty new to this whole "I have have brain cancer" thing, but one thing I have already learned is that I can't do this one by myself. I have been humbled and honored to learn that there are many friends and family members around me who are going to help me fight and beat this. Whether through wisdom, physical help, rides, people to talk to, or cheerleaders the J Karma Army is the most powerful force in the universe.

Cancer takes a lot of people - it is a team sport. I've needed an immense amount of help already and I'm starting this with a lot of physical strength. It is an amazing feeling to know that people are thinking and praying for you. I'm really humbled by the support I've received and will take all the help I can get. I feel like a part of a very unique and exclusive club. If you've ever had cancer or a serious illness then you know what I mean. When you visually connect with someone in the oncology ward you know a lot about that person and what they're going through.

I hope that through this Karma Army I will find the extra strength I need to battle this thing into remission, but more than that I hope we can be the karmatic force (is that a word?) that brings a lot of good out of these bummer circumstances to all cancer patients and to the community as a whole.

I don't know why I got this and I'm not spending much time trying to figure it out. I'm just going to try to bee positive, and push ahead while remembering that the love you take is equal to the love you make.

We're at the beginning of this and I'm sure I have no idea what's in store for me, but I hope that if you're reading this you'll come along on the journey and maybe learn and battle with me as part of the KA. I have a lot to share - some about this ordeal, and some not, but maybe you'll find it amusing to visit regularly.

Please join me. Together is the only way forward.

When it is Dark,
You can see the stars.
- Persian Proverb