Latest Brain Tumor advisory: Slightly less Grizzly

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Holton on July 12, 2011

Dr. Bobustuc

Today I got to see the results from my Monday (7/11/2011) MRI scan . The report I received from my neuro-oncologistbwas better than anything I would have allowed myself to hope for going in. My worst fear was that the neurological decline and increasing left-side weakness have experienced since my last scan in May (see


.) could only mean that the GBM tumor mass on the right side of my brain had swollen up like some malignant, leaky, water balloon. Instead, Dr. George Bobustuc gave me the good news right away: “I think this is definitely better.” The new scan showed significant improvement since May,  meaning that the course of 17 radiation treatments I completed in June had the desired effect of beating back the disease inside my head and, perhaps, giving me more time to stay alive and actually enoy it. “The mass effect (of the tumor) is almost gone.” The only caveat in the report was the appearance of a new growth nodule at the edge of the tumor zone, which will give us something to keep a close eye on when I get my next scan in six weeks.

All in all, I’melated, if not “cured.” Doctors treating glioblastoma multiforme brain-cancer patients such as me don’t keep “Mission Accomplished” banners stored in their clinics because they know such a banner, realistically, cannot ever be unfurled and hung on the wall. In my two-year battle with GBM, I’ve learned to respect the disease enough to know not to put too much weight on any single scan. I’ve had scans indicating everything from zero disease progression to “you may have just a few weeks left to live (such as was the case with my May scan.)GBM can sometimes seem as exhausting and frightening as having a relentless Grizzly Bear on my tail as I run and search frantically for the best route out of the dark woods. Pinning one’s hopes on one good MRI scan is about as comforting (and also futile) as climbing a tree thinking you may have escaped, until the instant you remember, Oh , yeah, bears can climb trees, too.” I’ve already taken the well-worn treatment paths ofhospitalization with major brain surgery (three craniotomies), radiation (two courses totaling 47 treatments and many, many combinations of chemotherapy in both intravenous and pill form.  Sometimes the bear slows down a bit or seems to get distracted when it’s hit by the most powerful medicine, while at other times it seems to just rear up on its hind legs and swat away the latest batch of new-and unproven-chemo pills like so many rubber bullets. Then I just turn around and start running again as the bear crashes through the timber and underbrush behind me, always making some fearsome roar that comes out sounding like the words:”Next scan!” “Next scan!” T least that’s how the roar always seems to echo in my head whenever I wake up and lie there awake and thinking in the dark woods of 4 a.m.

"Cancer metaphor, my ass. I'm a a goddamn GRIZZLY BEAR, you idiot!!

After today’s report, I feel like I’m still running but  I don’t feel  at all like I’m close to being  out of room or about to climb a tree. I’ll just set abouttaking my newly prescribed chemo medications,go on managing my condition and neurological symptoms as I have been and just keep waiting forthe next scan. Just like the bear says.


24 Responses

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  1. Jane said, on July 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Best good news of the day! Stay strong, Sean!

  2. RebelliousRenee said, on July 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Sean… well that news is bearable…

  3. Jamie said, on July 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Any report not delivered by the guy holding a scythe is a good one. We love you and plan to keep you with us for a long, long time.

  4. Stuart said, on July 12, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I’m glad to see that you are in high spirits. I doubt that the grizzly is so sanguine after 47 poisonings and 3 bayonet attacks. We all keep cheering for you.

  5. Claudine Hellmuth said, on July 12, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Keep beating back that bear Sean! We love you!!

  6. Justus said, on July 12, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    That bear will have a very long rest indeed. I could not be more pleased about the news—way to go Sean.

  7. Judy T said, on July 12, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Way to growl back!

  8. dtkeating said, on July 12, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    i feel like this is worthy of unclenching my butt cheeks for a second.

    • Sean Holton said, on July 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      Just be careful about unclenching too abruptly, Dan. That one Levy County overvote ballot that we never could account for might just fall out and then be lost to history forever.

  9. Sandy Mathers said, on July 12, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Bear or no bear, where there’s life, there’s hope and then some! Hang in, Sean.

  10. paulglester said, on July 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Go Away, Grizzley!! Maybe you can go on that cruise after all! Thoughts and prayers, Sean.

  11. Keith Kohn said, on July 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Sean, at least while you’re not being chased by the bear you might be able to enjoy a stroll through the forest. Glad the news was good today and I hope it stays that way for quite a while.

  12. April said, on July 13, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Glad to hear you’re keeping that nasty old bear at bay!

  13. patebooks said, on July 13, 2011 at 6:49 am

    “The woods are lovely, dark and deep/ but I have promises to keep/and miles to go before I sleep” or words to that effect. Anyway, happy to hear the bear has backed off. And he’s not invited to our next picnic!

  14. Becky Bultemeier said, on July 13, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Dear Sean,
    We are lifted by this news. We continue to send you our love and strength. Winning! That’s what it really means. Are you back to prank calls yet? The lady with the “For Sale” add for chocolate poodle pups may need to be asked where you can get the vanilla and strawberry ones. Oh, good memories of your and David’s parties. We still LOL about them. Much love,
    Becky & Pat B.

  15. Michele said, on July 14, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Scanxiety. Hate It. Glad the Bear succumbed to the radiation …. each successful scan is always the Best News Evah!

  16. Janet said, on July 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    This is wonderful news. I found your blog through Craig Crawford and I’ve been reading for a long time. I was going to send a note after your last post (Half-Ass), but I was a bit overcome. I’m sure like everyone here we’ve all come to think of you as a friend and we care very much how you’re doing. Keep up the good fight and remember sometimes the bear gets you and other times YOU GET THE BEAR!!

  17. Greg said, on July 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Even with the caveats, good news is good news. Glad to hear it. Best wishes, as always.

  18. Lisa said, on July 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Glad to hear the good report, Sean. I’ve been thinking about you, and you remain in our prayers.

  19. Steve Doyle said, on July 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Fabulous news! Hang in there and keep the bad stuff at bay.

  20. Mike Oliver said, on July 18, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Sean, Mike’s wife Catherine here posting under his name. Just want you to know you are our hero. Bears always take time to hibernate. I’m praying this bear takes a nice long nap. We’re with you in spirit sending light, love and healing peace.

  21. Molly BB said, on July 23, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Just now reading your post Sean – wasn’t expecting a ‘new’ one so soon. Think of you often and wish we lived closer so I could visit and help out in some way …take the dogs for a walk or they could take me for one – whatever. You’re in my daily prayers – take care and keep us posted. lv, mbb

  22. Michele said, on July 24, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Did you post today? Google Reader sez you did but I can’t find it. Dang!

  23. here said, on May 30, 2012 at 5:22 am

    I tried taking a look at your blog on my iphone and the design doesnt seem to be correct. Might want to check it out on WAP as well as it seems most cellphone layouts are not working with your website.

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