Boats, Bikes, and Greyhounds


If you are new to my blog, I feature brain tumor survivors on my blog on Thursdays.  You can read more about this feature and archived posts here.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to C Michael Miller.

I hope…

I hope that advances in technology will allow more understanding for the less known medical issues.  My own Acoustic Neuroma (benign brain tumor) diagnosis took over a year to find, due mostly to a lack of awareness of the condition — both in the general population and in the medical community.

I wish…

I wish that everyone with a brain tumor (or any other major medical ailment) had a support network as amazing as mine was.  My wife, family, friends, doctors, therapists, and everyone else I came into contact with during my treatment and recovery were incredibly helpful and supportive.  I wish the same for everyone dealing with a difficult diagnosis.

I dream…

I dream of a time when the medical treatments for all brain tumors are less invasive and more successful.  Period.

I am (be)…

I am stronger because of my brain tumor.  I have gone on to new achievements in life, including long distance bicycling and writing a book.  I look forward to continuing to find new challenges.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

I was diagnosed with a 3.9cm Acoustic Neuroma (benign brain tumor) in 2009.  It was pressing on my cerebellum, brain stem, and facial nerve.  I had a fourteen hour Trans-Labyrinth approach surgery that got most of the tumor, but left a small sliver to preserve my facial nerve.  I also contracted Meningitis during my recovery due to a Cerebrospinal Fluid leak.  The tumor and surgery left me with some partial facial paralysis and deaf in one ear.

C Michael Miller’s MRI

3 things about me:

I went from a hospital bed after surgery to finishing a one-hundred mile bicycle ride a little over a year ago.  Crossing that finishing line (photo) marked the end of my physical recovery.

Crossing the finish line

I was lucky to not have my balance affected dramatically by my surgery, which has allowed me to continue my passion for sailing.

2012 National Ocean One Design regatta in Annapolis. I’m kneeling just over the “Bad” in Bad Cat.

I am passionate about greyhound rescue- my wife and I have been a foster home for our local greyhound rescue group for 10 years. (photo of our Rider)

Rider

I was inspired to write a book, Diagnosis: Brain Tumor – My Acoustic Neuroma Story, about my brain tumor experience. I’m excited to be able to share hope with others.  You can find more info at www.cmichaelmiller.com. (cover photo)

Diagnosis: Brain Tumor – My Acoustic Neuroma Story

If you would like to submit your profile for Brain Tumor Thursday here, please email me directly at memomuse@gmail.com or you can check out the information page and read past archives.  Caregivers and loved ones are welcome to share their profile too, following the same template. #BTSM and #BrainTumorThursday is a wonderful community reaching around the globe with out-stretched arms and love. If you are on Twitter, you can use the hash tags #BTSM and #BrainTumorThursday to reach out to this wonderful community.
You can leave C Michael a comment here or email him directly at author@cmichaelmiller.com. Thank you for your support of Brain Tumor Thursday.
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Tammy’s Profile


If you are new to my blog, I feature brain tumor survivors on my blog on Thursdays.  You can read more about this feature and archived posts here.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to Tammy.

I hope…

I hope for a cure.

Brain Cancer Awareness

 I wish…

I wish for a cure for my headaches.

I dream…

I dream I will be here to see my kids grow up.

Tammy’s family

I am….

I am stronger than my cancer.

I was diagnosed January 2011 after I thought I was having mini strokes. It turned out to be GBM grade 4. I had my 1st resection 1/7/2011. My second was 1/17/2012. I also had surgery for radiation necrosis–more cancer cells were found at that time. I did Temodar and 30 something treatments of radiation. After one of my surgeries, I wound up with spinal meningitis and staph and Pseudomonas infections. I was in the hospital for almost the entire spring of 2012. I had gamma knife surgery August 2011 for yet another tumor. In a couple of weeks, I will be given a vaccine my surgeon has been working on. He has had great success in his lab animals, so I am hoping for the same for me.

3 Things about me:

These are photos and images Tammy wanted to share.

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Diagnosis and Treatment:

1)    Diagnosed in January of 2011 with GBM grade 4

2)    First surgery on 1/7/2011

3)    Gamma knife surgery August 2011 for recurrence

4)    Second surgery on 1/17/2012

5)    Surgery for radiation necrosis of which more cancer cells were found

6)    Spinal meningitis along with staph and Pseudomonas infections

7)    Did Temodar and 30 treatments of radiation

8)    In hospital for pretty much the entire spring 2012

Please leave Tammy lots of comments as she will be reading the comments. If you want to send her a personal message, email me at memomuse@gmail.com and I will make sure she gets it.

If you would like to submit your profile for Brain Tumor Thursday here, please email me directly at memomuse@gmail.com or you can check out the information page and read past archives.  Caregivers and loved ones are welcome to share their profile too, following the same template. #BTSM and #BrainTumorThursday is a wonderful community reaching around the globe with out stretched arms and love. If you are on Twitter, you can use the hash tags #BTSM and #BrainTumorThursday to reach out to this wonderful community.

I hope I continue to put things in perspective…


Brain Tumor Thursday
I have volunteered to write about brain tumor patients and survivors to raise awareness on my blog on Thursdays. There is an ongoing awareness campaign over on Twitter called “#BrainTumorThursday.”  It happens every Thursday on Twitter.  Just put in the hash tag #braintumorthursday or #BTSM (brain tumor social media).  There is great information, support, and community for the brain tumor community.  Did you know that Kathy Wakile from The Real Housewives of New Jersey is very active in the brain tumor community, as her daughter, Victoria,  had a brain tumor.  You can follow her on Twitter @KathyWakile.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to Liz and her army of inspiration.

I hope…

I hope I continue to put things in perspective.
chasethesun1.jpg
I used to be a workaholic, and I’m still an “achieve-aholic,” but after my first seizure and then a brain tumor diagnosis, it was hard for me to slow down, focus on my health and heal. I actually felt ashamed that I lost my job and was on disability. I was embarrassed that I lost my health insurance and that my friends had to put together fundraisers to cover my medical bills. (I now realize that my friends were glad to have a way to help me.)
When my tumor grew back and I had a second brain surgery something in my brain clicked (pun intended). I thought, “Holy sh-t. This is for REAL.” I knew that my job did not define me. What did define me was my strength of character and how I took care of myself. And I needed that outlook after my second surgery. I had to relearn how to walk and balance. I had to deal with seizure maintenance. And I was put on a chemotherapy pill called Temodar for 24 months.
Now that I’ve been off Temodar for nearly a year, I sometimes get caught up in my work/busy life. Keeping in communication with other brain tumor patients and cancer survivors keeps me grounded and reminds me of what is important.

My husband embodies the term “unconditional love.”

I wish…

I wish I could take my husband to Disneyland and a baseball game all in one day. OMG, he would explode with happiness. (Technically, this is possible–but he hates the Anaheim Angels. They’d have to be playing against the Oakland Athletics.)
Brain tumors are hard on the caregiver, and my husband was only my boyfriend of a year and a half when I was diagnosed. Instead of running away, he jumped in and took care of everything. We didn’t even live together at the time… I had to tell him what all my Internet passwords were so he could log into my accounts and make sure all my bills were paid. He made my food, and drove me to all my appointments. I couldn’t drive for 11 months. He did everything.
My husband embodies the term “unconditional love.” I am so grateful for him, and it means a lot to me when I can do something amazing for him.

I dream about…

I dream about Logan sometimes. (I included a photo of Logan.)

Liz's friend, Logan

Logan is a friend of mine who was diagnosed with brain cancer, and died two years before my diagnosis.
Before Logan, I didn’t know anyone with brain cancer. I didn’t know anyone in their 20s could even get cancer! And brain cancer sounded so horrible, the worst of the worst. Logan was alive for three years after his diagnosis. He had a medulloblastoma.
After my diagnosis, I thought about Logan so much that I started dreaming about him. One night, in the months between by first and second brain surgery, I dreamt that Logan told me that I wasn’t going to die (from brain cancer). Something about that dream was pretty powerful to me. It is always nice to think that the people you’ve lost are looking out for you from the other side. (I wrote about that dream on my blog.)

I am (be)…

 I am passionate about using my “nerd skills” to tell stories of change and inspire engagement among the brain tumor community.

 Brain tumor diagnoses and treatment 

(I included a photo of me and my MRI.)

Craniotomy 1: September 2008
Diagnosis: Grade 2 Astrocytoma with gemistocytic properties (borderline grade 3)
Craniotomy 2: February 2009
Damage to left parietal lobe after second craniotomy, right-sided sensory changes
Treatment: Temodar chemotherapy for 24 months
Parietal lobe epilepsy

Favorite quote…

 “First save your life. Then worry about everything else.” – Dr. P., my neurologist (I included a photo of me with my neurologist).
 

Three things you’d like to share…

 1. I’m ambidextrious.
2. I dislocated my shoulder seven times in 2009 and had to stop chemo for six weeks to have a surgery.
3. As of this year, I am serving on the medical advisory board for the National Brain Tumor Society. In May, I am going to Washington, D.C. to lobby our elected leaders about the importance of brain tumor research.
If you would like to contact Liz, you can reach her via her blog, thelizarmy.com and on Twitter @thelizarmy.  She’ll be reading the comments, so send her some love.  If you would like to submit your profile, you can contact me on Twitter: @memomuse1 or by email at memomuse@gmail.com.  You can read archived posts here:

Here are links to website that offer information, support, and forums for patients and their families.  Please add any useful one you know of in the comments and I will add them to the list.  Use the hash tags #BTSM and #braintumorthursday on Twitter to find a great community.

 Thank you for stopping by my blog today and offering your support for Liz.  She is really an Army of inspiration.