Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Brain tumors

I was sorry to hear about Ted Kennedy and the diagnosis that he has a glioma brain tumor. My cousin was diagnosed a couple of years ago with glioblastoma multiforme, Stage Four. I've seen him go from being a healthy active person to someone who can no longer walk, has difficulty speaking, and who is living marginally.

I say marginally because he can no longer read, has great anxiety, is bedridden, and communicates minimally. His glioma was in the left parietal lobe, the same location for Sen. Kennedy's tumor.

My cousin did have surgery, followed by chemo and radiation. He has been on a number of drugs used to counter the effects of swelling on the brain and to help wipe out the tumor. His last MRI showed no further growth of the tumor. But the effects of the surgery and radiation have taken their toll. Further, it seems likely that the tumor has "branched" out and is still active at a level that is undetectable by MRI.

His wife has remained devoted in her care of him but she has suffered a terrible toll also. She has given up any kind of life for herself to be his sole caregiver. I wonder what will happen to her when he dies.

I heard on the news that Sen. Kennedy is finding out as much as he can about the tumor. If he has read about it, then he knows that it is devastating. I wish him the best. It's a tough diagnosis with a bad disease.

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