#Brain Tumor Thursday – Tom McLain


If you are new to this blog, read this so you know what this project and post, #Brain Tumor Thursday, is about.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Tom McLain —  husband, father, friend, family man, and overall awesome person — who also happens to be fighting (and doing a great job might I add) brain tumors.  These are his words, in his voice.

“What then do you do with the statistics?  I choose to think of them as merely a guide.  With my brain tumor, I choose to believe that my chances of survival are phenomenal.”  ~ Tom McLain

I hope…

How can you have a brain tumor and not hope for a cure?  Hope does not completely drive me, because it does have to be tempered with reality — the statistics are often grim.  But even in the face of grim statistics, one can always hope and pray about being an outlier, being the one patient who brings the average up by living far longer that the average or even the top number in a range of years.  The companion to hope is faith in God.  As I have said before, “As weapons against cancer, faith is the bow and hope is the arrow.”

I wish…

It is my sincere wish that no one else ever has to face a diagnosis of a brain tumor.  One of the wisest things said to me at the beginning of my journey was the observation that the central question was not, “Why me?” but “Why not me?”  That shifts the focus from internal to external and allows you to make wishes for others.  My hopes and dreams tend to be about  me and my family and my wishes tend to be broader in scope.

I dream…

With the diagnosis of a fatal disease and no clear answer as to how long I will survive, I dream about the events in life that I may miss.  I have three daughters, so I dream about walking them all down the aisle to be married.  I dream about grandchildren, being convinced that I will be an awesome grandfather.  I dream about being financially secure enough to retire while I still have enough health to fully enjoy life with my wife and family.

“Never underestimate the power of God to use your flimsy self to his glory.” - J.E. Oppenheim

I am (be)…

While it may seem entirely strange to most, I am in many ways thankful for my brain tumor.  Before the tumor came along, I thought James 1:2-4 was a completely insane passage in the Bible:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (NIV)

"The most difficult time in any cancer battle is the time between diagnosis and deciding on a plan of attack." ~ Tom McLain

How on earth could you ever look upon life’s problems as a joyful experience?  But then I began to realize that I would have a phenomenal opportunity to watch God work, both in my life, and in the lives of others around me.   As explained by American author and brain tumor patient, J.E. Oppenheim, “Never underestimate the power of God to use your flimsy self to his glory.”  So far, the tangible benefits of my cancer have been that I have been taught faith, hope, courage, resilience, and purpose.

"So far, the tangible benefits of my cancer have been that I have been taught faith, hope, courage, resilience, and purpose." - Tom McLain

It would be unfair of me to suggest that I have fully adjusted to my “new normal.”  The swirling effects of the tumor — chemo, maintenance drugs, being a male over 50, and possible radiation damage — do provide for some unevenness in my daily approach to life.  If fact, you could easily encounter me on a given day and conclude — “This cannot be the same guy.”

Diagnosis and treatment…

As for the tumor itself, a mass was detected in an MRI at the end of May 2009.  During the first week or so of June 2009, I had a brain biopsy and it was determined that my tumor was an anaplastic oligodendroglioma.  Not only was that good news because they are slow-growing tumors, but I also had what is known as a 1P, 19Q chromosome in the tumor cells which made them more susceptible to a particular chemo drug called Temodar.  On June 22, I turned 50, so you could say the tumor was my birthday present!  After getting a couple of consultations, it became clear that surgery was not an option, so we began Temodar in July 2009.  Eighteen rounds later, I finished Temodar in February 2011.  No too long after that, I started targeted brain radiation and completed that in July 2011.  The net result is: that as of today, my tumor is smaller and stable!

"The net result is: that as of today, my tumor is smaller and stable!" - Tom McLain

It terms of a favorite quote, there are many that come to mind.  There is actually a website that has been kind enough to add a few of my quotes to those of others in the brain tumor community and other cancer sufferers.  I go there frequently for inspiration.

https://sites.google.com/site/tummorwarrior/home/quotes-about-cancer

If you are a brain tumor patient or survivor and would like to share your story, please contact me at memomuse@gmail.com.  If you read this post, you will find the template for the profile feature, as well as, the connection I have to brain tumors.

You can also find me on Twitter, especially on #braintumorthursday.  Send me a message there or in the comment list here at my blog.  If you are on Twitter, be sure to put in the hash tag, “#braintumorthursday” to find support, information, and a whole community of amazing people doing their part to raise awareness and offer each other kindness and support.  You can also put in the hash tag “#BTSM” which means “brain tumor social media.”  You don’t have to have a Twitter account to get the information.  Just go to http://www.twitter.com and put in the two hash tags (#braintumorthursday and #btsm) to see the links to many websites.  You can also use a search engine, such as Goggle, to do this.

I have several links on my blogroll (link list in sidebar to right) which are organizations with a lot of other links and information about brain tumors.)  But in case they do not show up, here is a direct list:

Please feel free to add your link in a comment if it has to do with brain tumor support and information.  If you wish to get in  touch with Tom, you can email him at ThomasLMcLain@gmail.com, but be warned — he does not check it often.  He’ll be reading the comments here on this post, so give him some love here too!

Thank you for tuning in today and supporting #braintumorthursday.  We look forward to seeing you here at http://www.memomuse.wordpress.com every Thursday for #Brain Tumor Thursday and on Twitter every Thursday.  Thank you for your time.

Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.

~ memomuse

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “#Brain Tumor Thursday – Tom McLain

  1. Thank you ever so much for profiling me on this wonderful website – I am humbled that you would choose me. There are many, many stories of both brain tumor survivors and caregivers that demonstrate awesome power, faith, hope, courage, and resilience. I strongly urge you to continue this series for a very selfish reason: I expect to be able to come back here and receive needed doses of hope and encouragement.

    Tom

    Like

  2. Tom,

    It is my pleasure to celebrate your story with my readers and the world. You are a beacon of light for people, both dealing with brain tumors, as well, as people in general. Thank you for sharing a small bit of your story. You certainly helped me see a brighter flame in the human spirit! And yes, I am excited to continue this series every week during #BrainTumorThursday, in hopes to give people hope and faith that they are not alone in their fight! Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Page not found « memomuse's Blog

  4. Pingback: Monday Museletter — April 2, 2012 « memomuse's Blog

  5. Pingback: I Am Stronger Now… « memomuse's Blog

  6. Pingback: Monday Museletter April 9 « memomuse's Blog

  7. Pingback: Mystic « memomuse's Blog

  8. Pingback: I hope I continue to put things in perspective… « memomuse's Blog

  9. You Rock….. Loved this post. You have so much life in you….you inspire me! As for me I see my Tumors as my two little blessings.. Revealing my strengths, exposing my small often overlooked blessings, and allowing me to lean on faith and be a blessing even when I need a blessing… I’ve accepted my Tumors, besides their apart of me, created by my body for a reason so we dance though I am destined to lead this dance though be a student to this tough teacher of life. Be well friend

    Like

Let me know you were here - share your muse

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s