the diagnosis, say it out loud.

christopher william holt bio photo By christopher william holt

“Say it out loud” I kept telling myself.

In the most simplest of terms: “I have brain cancer”

Still when I say it I can feel a hesitation after I say the word brain, and then you feel your throat close up a tiny bit starting to say the first c in cancer. Most mainstream media and entertainment teach us cancer is a death sentence. My aunt recently passed away from terrible pancreatic cancer, and it was extremely emotional.

So how do I intellectualize a death sentence? Decide it’s not one. Understand that every single person’s cancer is different. My cancer is unique to me. My cancer. I accepted it. It’s a part of me, for now. I believe my mind has known on a physical level for a long time that there exists this nemesis in my head. I believe my cancer grew into “just the right spot to be resected”(quote from a doc) because that’s where my mind told it to go.

“Oh, you’re gonna be moving in? Alright, but please go over here so I can eventually get rid of you easily.”

What an annoying roommate.

If you say it out loud, and please do, “Chris has brain cancer”, please imagine yourself saying it with me, and with no hesitation. Right now, my stage 3 anaplastic astrocytoma (here on known simply as brain cancer), although mostly resected there is still some lingering up there, is just as much a part of me as every other piece of my mind, and my personality. One day it will no longer be with me, but for now I’ve decided to learn as much about it as possible in an effort to intellectualize and continue to round it up and get it ready for complete cell death.

On Monday, September 30th, 11 days after craniotomy, I got my staples and sutures taken out.

staples removed

Holy shit did this feel so much better. I had been off percosets or any pain management medicine for a week, having not needed it (and honestly, preferring to get back to having normal BMs), but when the staples were taken out my skin was able to readjust and the pressure reduced quite a bit.

My older sister took some video of removing the staples, it’s pretty cool looking albeit a bit gruesome. I apologize for the vertical video orientation (pet peeve of mine).

During that process I was also informed I have a titanium plate and screws in my head where the skull was put back together. Sweet. I got upgraded.

I was really surprised to see how well the scar was healing only 11 days after my head was cut open. Closer up picture of scar (some scabbing). You can also see the nurse missed removing a suture on the left, which my beautiful and extremely supportive girlfriend Kay got out a few days later using two of my steak knives. And look at all that hair growing back already, it’s unstoppable.

Although I’m trying to write all this up in chronological order as much as possible, let’s fast forward to today and show you what it looks like at this second, click for high-resolution:

0day scar