Derek Birnie

First post: Mar 29, 2016 Latest post: Jul 17, 2019
Welcome to my CaringBridge site. With the help of some friends, we've created it to act as an information hub to keep you updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.

My challenge: At the ER on March 24, 2016 I learned I had a brain tumor called Glioblastoma. The world-class medical team at Swedish operated on the 26th to remove the mass. On the 27th I felt better than I had in weeks and was released. I subsequently had a chance to review the lab results with the team and set a follow up treatment plan. This particular bugger is aggressive, so we are responding in kind. On April 18, I began a six-week set of radiation and chemotherapy. After this, we will reassess and determine next steps, but most likely we should anticipate a period of several months where I will do more chemo (a week) followed by a period of rest (three weeks). 

My response: In many ways this challenge defines "no walk in the park." I am cold sober about the backbone I need to bring to this fight and I have friends helping me to plan and prepare for all the possibilities. That said, in so many other ways I am deeply moved by daily reminders of the magic, love, and beauty surrounding us. I welcome you along for both the sobriety and the ecstasy of this journey with me. 

Appropriate discussion: I and my team will be aiming to be as informative as we can. I am counting on the love that comes from honesty and intimacy. Please also understand that we will be communicating in sometimes oversimplified terms, or in euphemism, since all of this will be affecting certain young people so directly. Please be respectful by limiting more advanced discussions to an offline forum among adults, so that the younger ones can also be involved while reconciling with facts on their own terms. 

How can you help: I can't express how moved I am by the overwhelming amount of support I've already received. Still, I'm reminded frequently that this is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be countless ways for everyone to help, many of them in small easy portions so nobody ends up feeling overtaxed. There will be occasional journal posts with more detail, but we will always keep the key links on the front page. For now, the key ways you can help are: 

While I am enjoying my strength, please be in touch with me personally. I am always there for a walk, a meal, a glass. 

We have only accomplished this with the gratitude to many, many donors! You can get in touch with my sister Margot, at

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