My brain, and some news about same

MRI image of my brain

So, as promised, here is a Magnetic Resonance Image of my brain taken last Friday, October 13. The view is from below as it were, and the perspective is such that the hemispheres are reversed – that’s the right hemisphere on the left, and you can probably see a bright oval something there, wherein lies a tale.

Some months ago I began to notice that my left arm was behaving oddly. I was making more typing mistakes than usual, and I was having a hard time in the gym working the weight machines with my left. So I saw the doctor; he suspected a pinched nerve or orthopedic issue and sent me off to an orthopedist. Orthopedist suspected tendonitis, and sent me to a physical therapist. Physical therapist said she thought I had something weird going on, and recommended a neurologist, so I made an appointment.

Before I could keep that appointment, however, a very odd thing happened. Sitting in my office at Adobe, in San Jose, I had just finished typing a document and was reaching for the phone to call a colleague when my left arm suddenly convulsed into a painful contraction that froze it, every muscle tightly clenched and curled up against my chest. Wild contractions began to flow up and down the arm.

Completely nonplussed, and absolutely at a loss to figure out what was going on, I slid to my knees and crawled to the corridor and said ‘Help.’ Three colleagues appeared, 2 headed for the phone and one came and tried to calm me down. By now I was hyperventilating and completely freaked out. The contractions begin to reside, San Jose Paramedics arrived, and some 6 hours later, in the E.R. at O’Connor Hospital, I was told that I had just had a seizure, and a CT scan was showing a mass in my brain. Sixteen days, 3 ERs, 4 hospitals, MRI centers et al. later, I now know that I probably have a tumor called a glioma, and will soon undergo a procedure at UCSF known as a right frontal craniotomy using stealth navigation and motor mapping. I had thought the blog was a little dull lately, so here ya go… more TK…

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About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
This entry was posted in All, My Brain, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to My brain, and some news about same

  1. gfbird says:

    Wow, Chris, thanks for some detail . . . you were right about the walnut imagery . . . no wonder its called the old nut.

    I’ll back-channel some comments . . .

  2. ji says:

    You’re a brave one, Chris. Hang in there buddy.

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  4. Timbo says:

    I hope everything goes well Chris. Fingers crossed for a good recovery.

  5. Doug McCrary says:

    Thanks for the update Chris, you will of course remain in Leah and my thoughts.

  6. Marge Rice says:

    Hi Chris,
    Dave Cole shared this with me. I’m sorry this is the way we’re making contact again after so many years. All my good wishes are with you and your family for a full recovery.
    Marge Rice

  7. Christopher Caneles says:

    Hey Chris,

    Like Marge, I also got an e-mail from Dave Cole. Knowing Dave’s contact list, you’ll probably be getting lots more notes from people from your past!

    I wish you a speedy recovery. Hang in there…

  8. Linda Strean says:

    Hey Chris,
    It’s been years, and I’m sorry this is the reason to get back in touch. But I do want you to know that I’m thinking about you. I remember you as a positive, can-do kinda guy, and I know that’ll be helping you now.
    All the best,
    Linda Strean

  9. Gerry Hurley says:

    Hi Chris … still a regular lurker and rare commenter but I’d seen your note a few posts back and came back in search of more detail. Thanks for clarifying and very best wishes for the surgery. Congrats on the claustrophobia victory … it brings to mind my then 8 yo daughter’s comment as we lifted off in first Napa Valley balloon ride. We asked why she had her eyes closed and she said “I’m conquering my fear of heights.”

    Take care and God bless.
    Gerry (from MacExpo booth, Olympia, London!)

  10. Raleigh says:

    Chris,
    after all of the wild spot news, and newspaper photography which included fires, floods and riots, which you survived, now the challenge is surviving a brain tumor.
    Well, I also wish you a speedy recovery dude. If there’s one thing that will pull you through is remembering to update your blog, and taking at least one picture a day.
    The scenics you’ve shared with us along the jogging trails have been wonderful.
    Best,
    Raleigh

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  12. David Howard says:

    Chris,
    Alice forwarded your blog and information about your journey into the world of medicine. We do appreciate more than ever that she is working hard to make sure that her students are qualified to be at large in the population with a MD deisgnation. I have read with interest about some of your tests and the really great people you have encountered along the way. I wish you continued progress and send my prayers for you and Linda.
    David Howard

  13. Cloud says:

    Hey Chris I just googled your name because I was thinking about you and Linda. I ended up here. So know that I am thinking about you.

  14. Theresa says:

    Hey Chris,

    I don’t know if this will help but I just had a brain tumor removed on Sept. 27. I am now planning my wedding, working, running, and doing all the things I love to do. I know its scary as hell to go through but God will never give you anything you cannot handle. I will keep you in my prayers.

    Theresa Monroe

  15. TG says:

    Chris – Good luck with this, I just stumbled on this blog. My husband was diagnosed with a glioma 4 years ago, a few weeks before our wedding. We only had it removed in fall 2006 when it started growing, because it was an incidental find and he was asymptomatic. Unfortunately, he had a terrible, unforeseeable reaction to the surgery which I will not go into, but he is fully back at work now, enjoy spending time with his 2-yr old son, you would never know the trauma he experienced, and his tumor has shown no sign of recurrence. UCSF is a fantastic place to undergo treatment, we consulted with doctors there though were treated in Brigham and Womens in Boston where we live. You are in great hands, and hopefully, this will all become a distant memory soon…

  16. N says:

    Hi Chirs,
    While surfing I came to your blog. I think by now u may be fully fit. I don’t know if this will help but I just had a brain tumor removed on 12th Sept. 2007. I know how it is and wish no one goes through this kind of experience and not after getting married as I was the only person earning. As when my boss knew this he gave me 1 month pay and appointed a person in place of me. Just hoping God will help me some day.

  17. Mia says:

    I read your blog and saw your MRI. My son was diagnosed with a grade 3 oligodendrion glioma with anaplastic astrocytoma in July of 2007. He had the tumor removed and has refused chemo and radiation. He has taken an alternate route and has been getting clean MRI’s every three months since. Thank GOD. anyway, I thought you might be interested in his protocol.
    1. Removal of Brain tumor

    2. Post surgically waited 6 weeks for the Decadron taper to be complete. He was still taking 1000mg Keppra daily.

    3. You ordered the complete Blood panel for Brian which was a complete picture of all of his chemistry.

    It showed a slight imbalance in his ANA reading but other than that everything appeared to be normal.

    4. We purchased a wheatgrass juicer from Bestchoiceproducts.com which can be found on EBay ($54.95) and ordered a pound of wheatgrass to be delivered via FEDEX every other week ($26) http://www.gourmetgreens.com . We have slowly increased it to 2 oz in AM and 2 lbs of wheatgrass per week (19.00 weekly) (Fresh wheatgrass is the most potent). Dr. Ann Wigmore taught me about the wheatgrass therapy. It is a protocol which I used when I had cancer in 1988 and it seemed to really work. If anyone is interested here are some good books which she wrote on the subject. She passed away in a fire about 15 years ago. The books are; “The wheatgrass therapy” and “Be your own doctor” which does not put down the medical community it talks about our connection to nature. She wrote many books on the subject but those are the 2 we used.

    5. He began juicing and drinking ½ oz of wheatgrass every morning. Subsequently, he has discovered that it works best when he takes it at night rather than in the morning with the Keppra.

    6. He went to a vegetarian diet including the avoidance of caffeine, refined sugars, and wheat products

    7. He began taking intravenous Vitamin C treatments weekly (he is currently taking 200grams per week) along with a regimen of supplemental vitamins

    (I can provide a list of their names and quantities if you want)

    8, In February 7 months post surgery he began an 8 week taper of the Keppra drug. He is currently taking 250mg every other day. I have attached the taper schedule to this email

    9. He began taking vitamin B-17 100mcg in AM and PM he is slowly increasing to 1000mcg. He was of 7/8/08) taking 500mcg daily. .He is currently 1.5 years after surgery taking 100 mg of Keppra daily {1/09 }which he seems to still need.

    10 MRI’s every 3 months to track progress (Thank you from the Bottom of My Heart)

    11 He began hydro colon therapy in the 9th month post surgery. I felt that it was important to wait for him to get physically stronger before we went after what I believe to be the source of his tumor, impurities caused by a blockage in his colon. He was having symptoms of rectal bleeding and a sensation of “razor blades in his ureter” during urination. After the first colonic his symptoms disappeared and haven’t returned. He has done 6 colonics to date and will be doing at 3 more beginning next week. He is taking acidophilus to replace the favorable flora and fauna in the intestines after each colonic

    12 In July 08 he had been having an issue with swelling in his larynx, that has abatted and he is now having ringing in his left ear and headaches. We are working on that now.

    13. PRAYER

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