Early-2015, I began to experience episodic dizziness and left-sided numbness and weakness. These episodes were accompanied by a sensation originating at the base of my skull, crawling around my head, laterally, and walking down my left leg, causing slight to moderate, temporary paralysis along the way. Episodes lasted three to five minutes in duration, and increased in frequency from once or twice monthly to weekly by the end of 2015. By May, 2016 I was experiencing up to three episodes daily.
Over this 18-month period I shared symptoms with my PCP at three separate office visits. When hearing hooves, doctors are trained to infer horses, not zebras. A healthy 30-something presenting with episodic dizziness is a horse: we suspected stress, maybe a pinched nerve, even positional vertigo.
The zebra trotted in May 13, 2016.
I returned to my PCP with worsening symptoms, more frequent episodes, increased left limb involvement, and we administered a standard neurocheck. My left visual field was gone on the peripheral, both eyes.
Call back same day to return to my doc’s office. 71mm primary brain tumor, medial right parietal lobe, with possible invasion in my sensory and motor cortex. Contrast enhancement typical of aggressive tumors.
May 26, 2016, awake craniotomy to resect as much tumor as possible (debulking), while protecting sensory and motor eloquent functions. Seurgeons removed over 90% of the tumor while I watched the monitor as pieces of tumor were resected away from healthy brain. Amazing experience.
The pathology arrived on June 10, 2016: glioblastoma. Patient mean survival around nine months post-diagnosis.
Upon writing, I am four months post-dx (pathology). I have completed first round standard of care–a six week chemo and radiotherapy regimen. I am now on adjuvant chemotherapy: a five day high-dose round followed by 23 days off, cycling monthly. I have adjusted my diet to a restricted calorie ketogenic diet. I am reading, researching, and taking steps to fight cancer and extend my life.
It is my hope this blog is here for my wife that she knows my deep love and respect for her, for my kids to see dad fought like hell, for other cancer patients that we may be strengthened, and for friends and family of cancer patients to find inspiration.
This is where the “About” ends and the blog begins.
PS. The episodes turned out to be undiagnosed seizures.