can you let the team know i'm unavailable

christopher william holt bio photo By christopher william holt

“can you let the team know i’m unavailable” was my next text to Jacob. I realized I had to step away. As someone who has provided some sort of Internet service to paying customers nearly every day of my life since 1994 this was an extremely hard mental shift for me to make. I am now my own top priority, and I can’t fix this problem with keystrokes. Time to get this shit dealt with.

The project manager in me took over – I didn’t know I had one, or maybe I didn’t really want to admit to myself that I am apparently quite good at it. I’ve always preferred my hermitic technical abilities.

On the morning of Friday, September 13th the Neurosurgery team at Northshore Evanston – mainly Egon Michael Doppenberg, M.D. and Ryan T. Merrell, M.D. – discussed with me in detail as much as they knew at the time. Without knowing the exact type of tumor they scheduled a full body CT scan and confirmed that what I have is a primary brain tumor (likely a type of glioma) and not lymphoma. Additionally, it was explained that I would require surgery as soon as possible to remove the tumor.

It’s then I realized I had no real idea where I was in Chicago at the time. Northshore Evanston. I pulled out my iPhone, loaded Google Maps, waited for GPS to lock. This is not where I wanted to be. Spending years in New York City you develop a constant sense of awareness for exactly where you are at all times. I did not have that in Chicago. When I was moved from Northshore Skokie to Northshore Evanston I had absolutely no idea where or how far I had gone. I had to go home. Some synchronicity here is that due to some changes at Picturelife, the day before my MRI I had decided to move back to New York within a few months. This stepped that schedule up.

I reached out to my very close friend Andrew for assistance in finding the best doctors to talk to in New York, and within a few hours was out of the hospital in Chicago with a plan to return to NYC. The next day I hopped on a flight to New York. The morning of Monday, September 16th I had a consultation at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell with Mark M. Souwedaine, M.D.. Dr. Souwedaine brought in Theodore Schwartz, M.D. who went into much more detail about the surgery that needed to be done, and we scheduled it for 07:30 Thursday, September 19th.

A picture of me from the night of Monday, September 16th spending time with some close friends:


So i’m going to have a craniotomy. Let’s cut all this damned hair off (Thanks Barber Bart!!).

24 hours later:


The following days before surgery were spent just seeing friends and family and generally being overwhelmed with as much positive energy as possible.