Monday, August 18, 2008

I have some other things to write about

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve written here about my medical condition. But I’ve decided I have some other things I want to write about.

Every four years, at about this time of year, we witness some major events: the Olympics, and the National Conventions leading to the November presidential election.

All year long, I’ve been looking forward so writing about these events, and sharing my personal, insider’s look as a former participant.

Okay, I was never actually IN the Olympics – mostly just watched it on TV, like everybody else… (Note: If they had ever added “horse” as one basketball events, as they rightfully should have, I’m certain I could have been a contender.) -- but I wanted to write about it anyway. Also, I actually WAS a delegate to a couple of National Conventions.

Anyway, I plan to get back to writing about these things starting next week, because we can wrap up the medical stuff today.

So let me start by bringing you up to date my recent surgery.

Two weeks ago, I told you that I had been diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. Last week, when I wrote this column, I was preparing for surgery, but had no real indication of the outcome.

Well, that’s not totally true. I did have SOME indication, because of the sheer number of friends, acquaintances and total strangers who were praying for me.

The prayers worked, along with the skilled hands of Dr. Sunil Patel, Chief of Neurosurgery at MUSC. The news during and since the surgery has been very, very good.

During the surgery, Dr. Patel was able to extract the tumor without any damage to surrounding tissue, and was able to remove all indications of cancer. The tumor revealed that the cancer was metastasic melanoma, likely a recurrence of an earlier melanoma 25 years ago. Normally, this would be bad news, but a post-op MRI revealed no sign of additional cancer… which is good news. Moreover, the team at MUSC has offered even better news: that the recommended therapy to prevent further recurrence can be limited to a very targeted, “mild” therapy, rather than the harsher, unpleasant therapies that had been predicted.

Of course, it’s still cancer, and anything can happen. It is in the hands of the Lord. But as for now, it appears that the Lord wants me on this earth a while longer. The surgery, and every indication since then, has been very good news.

So, that’s the brief report from my surgery and the week since.

However, I know that’s not the stuff you readers really want to know. So I’m going to give you the answers to YOUR questions now, too.

A reader asked me this question: “Did you lose all your hair?”

The answer is “no” I did not lose all my hair. In fact, I didn’t lose any hair during the surgery that I can tell.

(A reader didn’t really ask that. I’m pretending somebody asked these questions, like all columnists do… even “Dear Abby”.)

Another reader asks: Will you lose your hair during your therapy?

The answer is “yes”… but it really won’t make a big difference, cause there's not a lot of hair to lose.

A smart-aleck reader asks: “Have you ever done this therapy before, because you sure are missing a lot of hair?”

I will not dignify that fake question with a response.

Next reader: “Do you have a scar where the surgery was?”

Yes, with metal staples. Gnarly!

Reader: “Are you on drugs?”

I was, but I kicked the habit. They were very good drugs, starting with steroids before the surgery, and some very impressive painkillers afterwards. But, there were side effects… like waking up at 3:30 am and phoning total strangers in Bangladesh. So, I decided I really wasn’t in pain any more.

Yet another reader: “How’s your brain? Can you spell and do numbers now?”

The original symptoms, which led to the discovery of the cancer, were that I was getting numbers and letters confused. Those symptoms are completely gone… although the “over 50” thing has been steadily taking its toll on my spelling, numbers, remembering, etc. for a few years now.

A reader’s question: “Did you retain your same level of comedic wittiness?”

Unfortunately, yes.

Another reader, another question: “How does this effect your weight loss competition?”

Apparently, it made the other contestants virtually give up... based on the reports I have gotten that they’ve basically quit losing weight altogether… but with two weeks to go, anything can happen.

Reader: “Does your head hurt?”

Actually, no. Strangely, no pain at all. But, of course, the first few days, I was medicated.

Reader: “Are you back at work yet?”

No. Doctor’s orders. No work until Thursday. However, he did clear me to use my cell-phone and laptop… which is pretty much what I do if I’m “at work”.

Reader: “Anybody you want to thank?”

Everybody I want to thank! We don’t have that kind of time or space. But “thanks” to everybody who wrote, called, cared, and most of all prayed.

Now that I’ve answered all the questions you really wanted to know, next week I’m going to get back to writing some of the other stuff I want to write. I’ll still keep you posted on any medical developments which might occur on my blog:

Enjoy the rest of the Olympics, albeit without my expert, inside commentary. See you next week.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Rod. That is great news, and it is great to have you back online.

shirleytowne said...

I am elated to hear you are doing so well and that you have not lost that witty sense of humor. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Shirley Towne

Wes and Bonnie said...

You have been a blessing to many people.

Beck said...

Just heard today that you made this post. Knew you were back from MUSC, but didn't realize you were back in the saddle this soon. You are not just a great American, you are truly an inspiration. Visited New Irmo News today and was told you were doing well. How good news!