Gregory Karr Gregory Karr

First post: May 5, 2015 Latest post: Apr 11, 2023
For any of us you never really know where your "story" will take you. We all start somewhere, never fully understanding who or what has a plan for us.
I have always said to many, that I have been so fortunate to have lived the charmed life. Oh yes, we all have our ups and downs. But a casual observer would relish in the fact that we are lucky, happy, healthy people. A loving marriage of many decades, wonderful children, a circle of family and friends the envy of all. Until one day. April 20th, 2015. After the many hours of a string of endless projects at home which never get finished, a weakness in my left hand,progressing to total loss developed. Not giving it much thought, oh, a pinched nerve, muscle strain, no big deal. I had a routine visit for my six month blood work scheduled Monday morning. I will just wait and ask Dr. Poulos, my colleague , my friend of almost 30 years. She examined me, ordered a CT scan and scheduled me for an appointment with a neurologist friend. Upon completion of the scan she requested I return to her office prior to leaving our local community medical center. Instantly, I knew. I knew it was not good. Knowledge is a wonderful thing to have. You can go far,do great things, or you can become acutely aware in a very short time, that your life will never be the same.
She sat me in a exam room, closed the door,so as to inform me I had a tumor or, mass in my brain. Game changer,bam! Would I live, would I still work, would I dance at my children's weddings, would I ever get to hold my grandchildren. So much for the "charmed life." To me, single primary growths in a middle aged man with few health issues could only mean one thing. Glioblastoma. I knew it, we all knew it. Yet you wait, hoping and wishing it were something different. Now as reality sets in, what do you do? You cry, you hold your wife,and then you cry some more. When there are no more tears, you act. You take that knowledge, you use it and you do everything you can to fight. With the help of my brother in law we found our way to my old home, Northwestern Medical Center Brain Institute. Sitting in an office, located on the very same plot of land in Chicago where I used to park the 1975 VW, which I drove everyday to complete my Dental education, I waited for some answers. That is where I met Dr, James Chandler. After an initial exam and reading of my scans, he knew too. Knowledge. What a curse. I told him, I had to have this out of head,and I could not wait. He rose from his chair, looked at me and said to his staff, " We are doing surgery Mondqy morning". Now mind you this is last Thursday, April 23rd. After a Functional MRI to map my motor function, other tests and exams I was ready for the fight. Beat Cancer,Win, Live. With the love and support of the most amazing family and friends I checked into the hospital April 28th, after spending the night in the very same hotel Lynda and I spent our wedding night. At noon after saying goodbye to my family I was wheeling into the most amazing high tech Operating theater I have ever seen. For those who really know me, it would not surprise you to hear me, the tool geek of the world, "I want play with those tools too!" So as not to damage my motor cortex, this surgery is done with the patient fully awake, and I will tell you, you are Awake! Dr. Matt Tate and I spent a long time communicating back and forth as he accurately identified all of the vital areas not to be touched during tumor removal. Dr. Chandler entered the OR, and with his world class skill was able to remove 98% of the tumor. Unbeknownst to us, and it was a good thing, they thought this was going to be a large biopsy, rather than a resection. Yet the tumor did not appear as invasive as one would have imagined from the scans. I am one lucky man! So here I am less than a week later,tying my shoes, brushing and flossing with both hands, ready for a fight. It is far from over, I have a long road ahead,but, with all the love, support, and prayers from those around us I can tell you, I am already a winner! Cancer, you can not have me, I will not let you! " I belong to Others, not You!" PLEASE POST ON MY GUEST PAGE. I would love to hear from you!

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