Moving Forward… with Trepidation

September 14, 2008

It was a busy week.

On Monday, I took my dad to Baltimore to meet with the neurosurgeon to whom our local doctor referred him.  The doctor looked at the MRI, CT and angiogram images and said with absolute certainty that my dad does not have an AVM.  This is good news.  An AVM meant that surgery would be very complicated and possibly even lethal.

However, the doctor also said that the tumor is probably an oligodendroglioma, and that is not good news.  From what I’ve read, they are incurable, cannot be completely removed, and almost always grow back.  The prognosis will depend on what grade it is, but my feeling is that it’s probably a grade three because he’s had it so long and it’s doubled in size in the past four years.  If it is a grade three, it could mean that he has just a few years left before it will kill him.  (My dad doesn’t know any of this.  That is information that needs to come from the doctor once he is certain what type of tumor it is.)

The shred of hope that I’m clinging to is that a biopsy is the only definitive way to diagnose an oligodendroglioma, and we haven’t had that done yet.  The doctor told my dad on Monday thought the best option would be to have a biopsy done to determine exactly what he has.  He said that he would confer with the radiology team and get back to us.

On Tuesday, my dad got a call from the doctor saying that everyone was in agreement that a biopsy should be done ASAP.  It was scheduled for next Tuesday, September 16.  (I’ve found that when dealing with this mess, “as soon as possible” makes me quite panicky.)

Wednesday was blissfully dull, at least on the medical front.

On Thursday, my dad let me know that he had gotten another call from the Baltimore hospital, saying that he had to be there Friday morning at 8:15 for pre-operative testing.  This news was not received well by me as I am not only caregiver but also chauffer.  Arriving in Baltimore at 8:15 AM means leaving my home at 5:30 AM.

On Friday, I got up at 5:00 AM, got ready, and hit the road.  After a morning of tests (bloodwork, physical exam, health history, chest x-ray), we left.  I got home just in time to pick up the kids from school.

And now, after a month of waiting — a month of blissful calm that allowed me moments where I could forget about the tumor — we are moving forward.  We will get the answers we need, which is not to say that we will get the answers we want.



  1. praying for a peace that only the Holy Spirit can provide….

  2. I also have an Oligodendroglioma. It is likely late to consider this however it was a good option for me. After reviewing my CT and MRI my neurosurgeon was also certain the tumor was an oligo and wanted to do a biopsy however I was able to convince him to go straight to surgery. The next step is surgery so I opted for one recovery vs. two.

    Good luck to you and your Dad.

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