what did they take out of my head??

christopher william holt bio photo By christopher william holt

So now I’m home. I’ve got a bandage on my head covering a nice 10” long zipper of staples, and the swelling in my eye has nearly disappeared. My right eye is still having some issues with brightness sensitivity so I bought some awesome sunglasses that could fit over my bandage comfortably.

home hat and glasses

I was told when going through my discharge process that the pathology report would take until Tuesday or Wednesday, and that they would let me know as soon as they have the information about the biopsy of the tumor that they took out. The pathology report would tell us exactly what the tumor is.

So what do I do now? Sit on my ass until I get some news? Sure, but i’m going to do it the best way I know how. I ordered my favorite pizza from Seamless, Bleecker Street Pizza Nonna Maria w/ pepperoni.


I decided to try and start getting back to normal life as much as possible. The next day I got to meet with a friend Phil about the possibility of him joining Picturelife – which I’m excited to now say he has joined and been working hard on for almost two weeks at the time of writing this.

Pampered myself with a manicure and a pedicure with my friend Ben. After being in the hospital for days I wanted some uber pampering.

manicure pedicure

A few days later my little sister Marisa moved from Los Angeles to NYC, that made me very happy.

marisa and me

But back to my tumor… once the pathology came in I was able to speak with Olga Akselrod, PA-C, MCMS.

What they removed from my head was in two pieces. Both are classified as Anaplastic astrocytoma, WHO grade III. The main tumor was 4.5 x 4.5 x 2.3cm in size, and a smaller piece just 0.6 x 0.6 x 0.1cm. Still, I had something bigger than a golf ball just chilling in my head. My neurosurgeon estimated that it was growing anywhere from 10 or 15 years!

Direct from Pathology Report: Microscopic description: The tumor consists of a dense proliferation of neoplastic astrocytes in a background of brain parenchyma. The tumor cells show cytologic atypia with nuclear pleomophism, high N/C ratio, and occasional mitosis. No significant endothelial proliferation or necrosis seen.

I have no idea what some of that means, but I got started looking up exactly what anaplastic astrocytoma is. There is some scary stuff on that page.

However, here’s what applies to my situation. My tumor was in an extremely good place to be removed, and I had Dr. Scwhartz, arguably the best neurosurgeon in New York City, to remove it. While there was potential for neurological damage from the resection, I am happy to say I am in 100% physical working condition.

As for my mental health, I feel better than I have in my entire life. Each day I am now waking up at 6AM with 100% energy, ready to get started. I have never been a morning person, and my mind always hated changing states – wake to sleep or sleep to wake – it would take me an hour of laying in bed to go from one to the other. Now i’m able to get to sleep within 5 minutes, and when I wake up I feel rested and have not moved the entire night.