Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Blog Birthday!

After a few "blast" emails to family and friends, this blog was born on November 21, 2005. This is a happy belated blog birthday! Going back and reviewing those first posts has been an interesting experience.

It was four years ago today that I was going in for my second MRI -- the one with VECTOR VISION! I had no idea back then how my life was going to change.

My mom likes to tell my brothers and me that some of the things you worry about will never happen, and the rest will never be as bad as you think, and she's right. However, at first, I thought I had found the exception. I was naive enough to think at first that as long as my tumor was operable, all would be fine if I could just make it through surgery. So the news that this tumor was cancerous in a really bad way was the realization of the worst possible scenario.

However, four years and many words later, Mom has been proven right again. On this day of Thanksgiving, I have more to be grateful for than I did in Thanksgiving 2005. And while glioblastoma was never on my wish list, there is no lack of sincerity in my gratitude today for how the experience has blessed me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Messiah 2009!

I've got half a mind to sing again!

December 20, 2009 (two shows)
Artisan Center Theater
418 E Pipeline Rd
Hurst, TX
(817) 284-1200
Free admission, reservations required
Audience is invited to sing along!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Another month of survival is safely (and gratefully) in the can!

These milestones are always a time for reflection: Was I a good steward with the time I've been given? What have I done in exchange for another month of life? I'm very grateful for each day, and hope that I use it well.

Monday, November 09, 2009

"Thankful Fours"

Last Saturday was a day to be thankful "four":

On Saturday, FOUR Mighty Oakes participated with thousands of others in the FOURTH ANNUAL Dallas-Ft.Worth Brain Tumor Walk, benefiting the National Brain Tumor Society. We were one of more than seventy members on my doctor's team, "Fink's Fighters." (That's Dr. Fink on the left, celebrating with us after we crossed the finish line.) When we moved to the Dallas area FOURteen years ago, I had no idea that I would later be so glad to live in an area with such a skilled neuro-oncologist who was so actively involved in research.

FOUR YEARS ago, when they were holding their first walk in D/FW, I was training for a 5K run. I was having seizures (just didn't know it yet) and would later find out that I had a grade FOUR brain tumor. It changed my life for the better.

FOUR MONTHS ago, I earned my black belt in karate. I was alive and kicking long past my projected expiration date.

FOUR DAYS prior to this weekend's walk, I had ear surgery. I was on my surgeon's orders not to run this weekend, but I was able to walk the 5K course, and I didn't lose my balance and fall into the Trinity River!

This was a good way to celebrate the beginning of my FOURTH year of good MRI scans!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Surgery was a Ten

Yesterday's tympanoplasty was a "10," both literally and figuratively. It was the tenth surgery in my 42 years of medical history, and it scored a perfect "10" with me. My surgeon (Dr. Robert Owens), the hospital (Baylor UMC Dallas), and all of the staff were great, and the outcome was much easier than expected.

The only thing that wasn't a "10" was my pain scale, and that's a good thing! I was expecting lots of pain and balance problems, but so far I've been walking straight and managing with an occasional ice pack and over-the-counter Tylenol tablet. I'm fuzzy from the anesthesia and pretty tired from the steroids that kept the swelling down (and me up all night), but I can't complain. It's just a reminder that I have survived GBM long enough to start dealing with some of the long-term effects of treatment!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Stumbling Blocks or Building Blocks

Only God can make a real eardrum, but my surgeon is going to try and make a reasonable facsimile tomorrow. I'm anticipating a painful and wobbly recovery, but hey -- this isn't exactly brain surgery! And I'm looking forward to having an eardrum again. I thought I had stopped taking things for granted, until I realized how much I missed having an eardrum, and how I never really gave it a thought until it wasn't there for me.

(So for those of you with eardrums, give a prayer of thanks!!!)

Something else to be thankful for today -- I wrote another article that was published this month. It's called "Stumbling Blocks or Building Blocks," and it's a short capture of what I've learned about the challenges we all face in life. You can read it online at (The article is on page 20.)