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The Neurobiological Nature of Mike, Again…

September 21, 2016

Hello, friends and neighbors! You may remember my post from a couple of month ago regarding my less than ideal MRI results. Well, last Wednesday Dr. Chamoun, my neurosurgeon cracked open my skull and performed brain surgery on me while I was fully awake to get this little white dot out shown in the scan below on the upper right. During my first tumor craniotomy (Stage I DNET, Stage II Oligodendroglioma, & Stage III Astrocytoma) there was no problem with immediate interference of important brain functions. This time the tumor recurred very, very close to the Broca’s Area of the brain located on the front left side. This is the brain’s primary linguistic center.

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In order to locate and avoid important centers involved in retaining my linguistic abilities they decided to keep me awake and zap my brain with electrodes in the presence of a speech therapist during surgery. I remember questions and conversations I had with her while my skull was open and problems I had as regions were being hit with small doses of electrons. Brain surgery is scary enough so take my word, I would avoid doing it awake… Everything turned out well, so far and I was released from the neuro-ICU less than 48-hours later last Friday morning. I swear modern medicine is insane when they can perform brain surgery and release you less than 2-days later. I’ve got a brand new zipper on my head (I do remember staples being put in my head).

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Though the cancer recurrence was small anyone who was around for the last occurence will know that it’s not so much the size as the Stage of the tumor that determines the seriousness and speed of growth. Doctor’s cannot tell cancer stages without sending in a piece of the tumor to be analyzed. This was sent in last week. Today we finally get the pathology report back from Dr. Taylor, my neuro-oncologist. This will determine my future treatment. I’ll keep yinz updated on the prognosis and treatment options as I get it.

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I’ve almost got all the iodine off my skull and out of my hair. I gave myself a fancy new haircut of my own design to help get it out. I call it Trim Four! Last time they used a purple skin glue called Dermabond, much more palatable to the eye than 50-some titanium staples I have now. But whatever. I’m alive and kicking.

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