Your neuro-oncologist, after scanning your most recent MRI, puts her arms around you, and gives you a solemn hug, which was the case with me this past Wednesday. Not that we didn’t guess that something was up – we haven’t been feeling particularly great lately, and we had some weirdness the previous Thursday, falling twice, inexplicably, in a short period. Friday morning our left leg was numb from the knee down and we had a minor, local motor seizure.
Anyway, the MRI reveals 3 new tumors that weren’t in my brain 12 weeks ago. In my understanding of Glioma, this represents a not-untypical course for the end stage of this almost invariably fatal disease. Prognosis at this point? A few months, at best.
How do I feel? In a weird sense, relieved. I’m calm, I’ve known this was coming for these last almost four wonderful years (thank you UCSF!), and I’m ready for this transition. I’m not particularly looking forward to the icky stuff – spreading paralysis et al., but I am hopeful that the hospice people we’ll be working with will help me get me through that as well as we can.
Shortly after we received the news Linda asked me if there was anything I wanted to do, and I honestly couldn’t think of a thing. We’ve filled these last precious years with travel, culinary adventures, extended stays in the French village of Ameugny where we now have friends and connections – we even launched a startup, InMenlo, that seems to be developing nicely.
I’ve watched stepson John grow, flourish and find success, not the least of which was marrying the lovely Julie Brown. Our granddaughter, Grace has been one of the brightest lights in sometimes dark days. Watching her grow has truly been a gift.
My regrets are few – chief among them that I won’t be able to be by Linda’s side, stumbling into old age together as we watch John, Julie and Grace make their way (as John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans”). Linda really has been my partner, my soulmate, my best friend and the core of my life these past 30 years together. She has been a precious gift, and God only knows what she saw in me. It pains me to leave her alone, though I know John, Julie and our wonderful friends will come together to support her as they’ve supported us both during these trying times. I’ll be around for a while, drop me a line if you’d like, or better, come over for a glass of wine…I’m drinking the good stuff these days…