Journal entry by Michael Bischoff

My MRI today showed a new area of growth, that is almost certainly cancerous, on the left side of my brain. All the growth so far had been on the right side of my brain. It appears that the cancer crossed over the corpus callosum into the left side of my brain, next to an area that is important for both understanding and expressing language. My oncologist was concerned that there were cancer cells in between the old and new areas of growth, that also needed to be treated.

When my oncologist first entered the room, he said, "it is a bad day." I don't want to think of it that way, but I do feel scared and sad. I also feel alive and very grateful to be able to write this to you, to hug my children this afternoon, and to hold Jenny's hand through the appointment.

The next step is to have a functional MRI, to identify more precisely which parts near the new growth I use for language. Then we'll meet with my surgeon to map out the risks and decide together if and when I should have another surgery. The potential surgery could be a traditional surgery, or use gamma knife, a high power radiation. After a potential surgery, I'd then maybe do regular radiation on the area of new growth.

When I did a functional MRI before my first surgery, they had me read a Dr. Seuss book in the MRI machine, so I might have that to look forward to again.

With my use of language being threatened, I want to be especially appreciative of the beauty of language, and just as appreciative of ways of connecting and knowing that don't rely on language. I also want to be fully living in this fleeting time--and in what is beyond time. Sometimes I talk too much and live in words and ideas more than I'd like to. There's a good chance I'll have opportunities to have a new relationship with words and the places they come from.

I want to ask you, as needed, to remind me who I am and who we are, and if there are times I can't understand language, to remind me with your presence, eyes, and prayers.

For now, in the words of Monty Python, "I'm not dead yet." My body feels great, I'm biking, hiking, and writing philosophical posts.A wonderful research nurse is researching possible clinical trials for me. I'm meeting with my beloved friend/doctor, Peter, tomorrow morning to process next steps, and I have an appointment next week at the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion. And with the river and all of you holding me and my family, I'm in very good hands.
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