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Monday, February 28, 2011

Mark Colvin's question

Anyone in Australia who listens to serious radio will know the name Mark Colvin, best known for presenting the ABC’s PM programme. He had mentioned briefly (not on PM) the research relating to brain tumours and mobile phones. Using Twitter, we had a short dialogue during which he asked the question, 'Apart from the Avastin, is there nothing a Charlie Teo, for instance, could do?'

   It was a good question and set me thinking yet again. At this stage of my treatment, what really are the options for me? Which ones matter to me?

   There actually are a few options – more chemotherapy, more brain surgery at the top of the list. I have rejected these for what I believe to be very good reasons, mostly involving overwhelming risk to the quality of life I still have, calibrated against the likely time remaining. Chemotherapy would be a forlorn hope - grasping at straws. My oncologist admitted as much. Anyone who’s followed my blog on these matters will understand those reasons and I won’t go back into them here, but given it’s my life at stake you can bet I haven’t taken them lightly.

   As Mark mentioned Charlie Teo, I’ll say on that point that the treatment using some forms of brain surgery could extend life significantly, but is so fraught with complications that there’s no way I’d countenance it at this stage. Some of those who took the fight in this direction spent much of the gained time in misery. Not for me, not at the age I am.

   So my plan, having exhausted all the traditional options for treating this form of cancer, is to ride the Avastin wave till we hit the beach, and hope the ride is as fulfilling as it can be. No-one knows quite when we may hit a sandbar or find the water too shallow, or be taken suddenly by a Noah’s Ark, but ride it we will. I’ll do all in my power otherwise to assist the fight in using anti-angiogenic elements in my diet, and a mental attitude derived from my philosophical approach, and I am very comfortable with this.

   Below are some of the relevant references to the mobile phones studies. Given that some cellphone companies refuse to let their employees work there unless they use earpieces instead of jamming the phone in their ear, I’d do the latter as little as I possibly could if I were you....especially now that in some countries brain tumours are the greatest killers of young people. You want the reference? I put it on FaceBook some time ago but could unearth it if you can't use google.

   So the jury on cellphones is still out. Care for a smoke?


  1. Love it!! Take care.

  2. My grandmother died of bowel cancer. She refused to see a foreign specialist for over two years and by the time it became unbearable, it was too late. A high price for not having a black man look up her bum. She died medicated to the nines with morphine.

  3. I never needed to go to doctors for anything but trivial complaints. I always hated the idea and probably would have put off going for fear of what might be found. I had no choice when it came to this, as there was no warning. I just found myself in an ambulance heading for hospital. The only thing I would say is, don't ignore signs. Days can mean a difference.


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