By: J.V. Askem
Updated: 5-25-2002

Post Op
On May 22nd I met with two Oncologists!! With the first doctor, the neuro oncologist (from my neck up), I discussed post surgical treatment following my brain tumor removal, and with the medical oncologist (from the neck down), I discussed the abnormality in my right lung.

The Neurologist, the brain specialists, suggested radiation therapy of my entire brain to destroy any possible microscopic tumors that might be lurking in other parts of my brain.

I have rejected this recommendation! This is based on a gut feeling that radiation therapy on my head would do me more harm than good. In my opinion, radiation therapy is risk on even less critical parts of the body, like an arm or a leg, but on my central processing unit (my brain), I'm not willing to consider it.

On a personal note, I witnessed my own father murdered by such radiation treatment 15 years ago for prostate cancer. All radiation did for him was disrupt his already existing cancer cells and spread them more rapidly through out his body. This took any quality of life he possibly could have enjoyed. And the really bad part was that he was told by his doctor that he would live 5 to 10 years after the treatment. Instead he lasted just 10 months.

Also, having once worked in a nuclear power plant, and having been trained in the dangers of radiation, I've always questioned why such treatment is used, when it's a known fact that radiation causes cancer.

The other fear, and I concur with my neurologist on this, is the possibility of another seizure like the ones I had on and before April 29th. Thus I will continue on my anti seizure medication (Dilation) for another 4 weeks.

Conjecture about my lung!
Regarding the irregularity in my right lung. First off, let me say, I HAVE NO BREATHING PROBLEMS WHAT-SO-EVER. In fact I am in better cardio respiratory condition than many men half my age.

There are two tests the medical oncologist suggests be done to find out for sure if there is a malignancy. The first test is a Bronchoscopy (sp?) where a probe in inserted with a camera which looks for a spot to take a biopsy.

The second test is called a Pet Test (Positive Emission Temography), where radio active isotopes are attached to sugar molecules and injected into the blood stream. Then once fully circulated into the body's system, the sugar molecules, which automatically attract to cancer cells, will show every possible cancer hot spot in the body.

At the present time I've decided not to participate in either of the fore mentioned tests. The CT scan of my chest shows an area in my right lung about maybe a centimeter in size that could be a metastasized growth (a melanoma that was formed from cells that traveled from another part of the body).

The theory of how the brain tumor formed!
As I previously stated before my surgery, the tumor was expected to be a meningioma, which usually are benign.  However, my tumor turned out to be a  metastasized growth with a malignant melanoma. However, after reading my surgeons final report it's his opinion that ALL the tumor was removed. It should also be noted that this operation was very high tech with the surgeon being guided under a microscope.

It's believed that the fore mentioned tumor came from cells from a mole that I had removed from my abdomen 10 years ago. The mole in question I know was larger than normal size going back at least 18 years. The attached photo shows the mole as it appeared 17 years ago in 1985. It never ever bothered me, and I only had it removed when I mentioned it in passing with my doctor, who at the time diagnosed as a Keratosis, which he said was not dangerous.

The fore mentioned mole grew back, and in 1996 I had a dermatologist remove it again. This doctor had the tissue tested, and from a pathology report of that tissue, I became aware of the existence of melanoma cells. Thus the dermatologist recommended I see a surgeon in the same building he had his office. This second doctor, the surgeon, did not make a good impression on me!

I felt that this guy was only interested in "charging by the inch". He said he wanted to remove lymph nodes and surrounding tissue measuring about half the size of a football, from under my left arm pit, to make sure. So I opted to do nothing. And this was based upon all I've known who have been unlucky enough to get lymphoma! I felt that if I did have it I was as good as dead anyway. Now as it's turned out, if the irregularity in my lung was from that mole, removal of my left arm pit lymph nodes would have been for nothing.

It's my belief that the original mole enlargement was caused my an allergic reaction to some fabric that I wore! I remember in 1980 or 81 getting a reddening skin condition on my abdomen and chest from some T-shirts I bought with illustrations on the front.

As for the lung irregularity. This could be from scar tissue from when I had pneumonia in 1969, which resulted in a collapsed lung. It's common for pneumonia to leave scar tissue in the lungs.

So my present plan is, three months from this time, I will have two new CT scans, one taken of my head, and one of my chest, to see if there are any changes in my condition. It's my hope that there will be no changes, and that there will be no more seizures or a relapse.

Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.

Best regards, JVA