Posts Tagged ‘brain tumor’

05
Oct

Back in the saddle, with epilepsy

Before jumping into writing a new post, let me apologize for the dry period. We had a family emergency a few weeks back, and just when I was getting back on my feet from that, I had a personal scare. Both stories have happy endings, but I’m only now getting back into the swing of things. Onward, ho!

One of the things that brought me back into the cancer world, at first with great resistance, was the onset of mystifying cerebral episodes shortly after beginning grad school in 1999. From the start of my human rights studies, I was inundated with things to read. One morning, thirty pages into a tome on international human rights law, I had one of these episodes. For a moment, I couldn’t understand a word in a sentence I was reading. I could see the letters that formed it—my vision was unaffected—but I couldn’t make out which ones they were. For ten or fifteen seconds, the “e” in international could have been a “q” for all I knew, the “l” a “g”, and so on. And then it was over. I could read once again, but I was shaking. Maybe, after 13 years of being cancer free, my brain tumor had returned.

10
Aug

Killing brain tumors, Star Trek style

If you saw yesterday’s post, “Discovery“, you may recall that I was a bit of a science geek as a teenager. One requirement for this distinction, next to bringing a brick-sized scientific calculator to math class, was to love all things Star Trek–the television series, films, and my die-cast model of the U.S.S. Enterprise. In late November 1986, two-and-a-half months after my brain surgery, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was released. It had a scene I’ll never forget. Captain Kirk and his crew have traveled back in time to 1986 to stop a massive environmental crisis from occurring. Chekov, unconscious from a head injury, is lying on a table in an operating room and being prepped for surgery. Kirk and his wry chief medical officer, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, manage to locate Chekov, and when Bones sees what the doctors are about to do, screams “My God, man, drilling holes in his head is not the answer!”. Having gone through it myself, I couldn’t agree more, but a new approach to attacking brain cancer might—at some point in the future—make surgery obsolete.

09
Aug

Discovery

In a piece that appeared on Ciao, Cancer! last week, “How to beat cancer: prevention and early detection”, I promised to share how I found out I had a tumor. I have a school teacher to thank, a woman whom I’ve never met. She saved my live—by nearly killing me.

22
Jun

Glued to two screens

I was on my laptop this morning working on my film project—Letters from Leningrad—when a Skype message popped up on my screen. “You’re missing SA kicking France’s ass!”, it read. The contact’s name, “John”, appeared above the message, and it took me a minute—and a quick search through my contacts—to realize who it was.