Feeling better about feeling worse

mri_FSE T2.450.jpg

MRI_3_18_09_Ax_T1.0001_225px.jpgThe image, above, does a pretty good job showing what’s been bugging me the last couple months. The amoeba-shaped light grey stuff on the left side of this image (which is a slice of my brain looking up from my heels) is something called edema, aka ‘swelling’ that has been erupting in my brain, intruding onto both my motor strip, and lately into cognitive areas in the prefrontal lobe (compare to MRI from this past March, left).

Oddly, seeing this image helped me feel a lot better, mentally, about what’s been going on in corpus meum lately. That said, after a long day at UCSF yesterday, and a morning in physical rehab today, I’m pretty wobbly, not to mention exhausted.

My glioma (brain tumor) is the ghostly oval thing in the middle of the edema that kind of looks like the face on Mars (or is it the Virgin in a toasted cheese?).

The tumor is quiescent, and has been for the better part of 3 years. As you can see, the edema is a bigger intrusion on the brain as I write, and it’s the cause of the recent decline in my left side.

Given this, and research that suggests angiogenesis blockers like Avastin are effective against edema, I decided, in close consultation with Neuro-oncologist Susan Chang, to resume Avastin infusions, in the hopes of halting or reversing the edema. Losing pieces of two years of rehab work on the left side has been no fun…


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, New Life, Photos, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Feeling better about feeling worse

  1. Beth Ann Daye says:

    Technology is truly amazing. And to my very uneducated eyes, I think I can see the extra clarity in the new MRI compared to last March. Is that correct. You’re right, it’s nice to be able to see the problem.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The ghostly oval actually looks like Obama.

  3. Jim Graham says:

    Tell me this latest change wasn’t the spec that you first saw when Susie and I came for your famous Feta/Spinach scrambled eggs last March? We have recreated that dish about 20 times since we saw you. Just love it.

    7 Tesla- jeez. When they get up to 10, there is a new scale- 10 teslas = 1 gulker.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You help to educate, with your candid medical diary, all those who are interested in knowing what something is and what it means in many ways. Please continue and remember there is plenty of understanding of your brief melancholy.

  5. cg says:


    Probably, after 20 plates of my famous eggs, you’ve noticed that your mind can once again grab those oh-so-apropos words and phrases that had previously been hard to come by, and when you see old acquaintances, their names (and their childrens’ names) click sharply into mind like a cartridge slamming home in a carbine. Doubtless you’re getting up earlier, jogging farther and working longer hours, all without breaking a sweat.

    Have the offers of speaking engagements become something of a nuisance, along with the local Party’s constant admonitions to run for mayor?

    You’re not alone – many who’ve tasted Gulker’s Famous Eggs find themselves in your shoes. Were it not for the brain cancer, I’d be taking over at Apple (but Steve thought 2 CEOs in a row with cancer was just too much).

    But, to answer your question, yes that was about the time the current malaise descended. Complete coincidence, of course.

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