Friday, February 26, 2010

I could've been a brain surgeon

I should be a taking a final right now. Oh well. Who wants to see some pictures of a handsome man's brain? Okay, here you go:

"But how do you know this brain belongs to a handsome man?" You may ask, to which I would respond, "because it belongs to this handsome man":

And anyway, why should we spend time debating whether he is handsome or not (he is) when there are brain pictures to discuss at hand. Moving on...

[Begin lecture on Brain 101]

These are flare images of Greg's brain. First, some logistics: the portion of the brain that looks like it's missing in the top left hand corner is indeed missing. This was mostly removed at the age of 12 when he had the first tumor, with a small additional amount removed during this last surgery. It is actually the right front lobe of the brain that is gone. For orientation sake, imagine Greg is laying down and you are looking straight up through his chin and into his brain - this is the angle of the image.

Now that I have your attention class, I can further explain. The picture on the left was taken just after his surgery in November and as you can see, contains significantly more enhanced areas which represent dangerous tumor matter (the white-ish areas that look like Africa one one side of the brain and a stingray on the other). These areas were the targets for the chemotherapy and radiation treatments he has endured for the past two months. The size of those areas alone is kind of scary, no? But fear not young student! The image on the right is from last Friday, and (hurray!) shows very little enhanced area remaining. So basically what I'm saying is that the treatments WORKED.

[End totally accurate and highly intelligent* lecture]

I can't tell you how relieved we were to meet with the doctors and find out about this positive progression. We're not yet done - Greg will be on chemotherapy for another year - but the outlook is really good for the future.

On another note, it's just nice to know that the pain and suffering wasn't in vain. Not just the pain of radiation beams and poison running through the body, but even the logistical pain of driving between Provo and Salt Lake daily. The upside? 4400 tax deductible travel miles! Gotta think on the bright side of things...

So that's the update. And here's another picture for good measure. It's not of a brain, just a handsome man.

*Spell check just informed me that I spelled "intelligent" wrong. Ironic, dontcha think?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What else would you do the night before family pictures?

I'm just going to say it: February is drab. I'm up too early, it's cold and grayish (and surprise! it finally looks like winter around here), and this month is so bland I can't even think of anything to write. Mostly hoping the words come as I proceed...


Oh, ok. So last night Greg and I spent the evening with a bunch of awesome people just sitting around, eating, playing games, eating, etc. and eating. At one point came that inevitable portion of any group hang out where all stories begin with "one time", after which we each proceeded to tell the stories of the things we did as kids that drove our parents crazy. Since it is February, and I can't imagine you have anything better to do, let's take that same trip down memory lane together, shall we? Don't worry, I'll keep it bite-sized.

Probably one of my favorite memories of the like was when my big brother Robb and I shaved my little brother Geoff's head. He was probably 7 or 8 (which would have made us 11 and 13) and had this longish, super straight bowl cut. Instead of shaving his entire head, however, we shaved just the top portion and left the sides so he'd look like a balding old man. My memory tells me that we also found a cane and some glasses for the big finish, and staged his entrance for when my parents would return that night. The moment of presentation came and went and I don't actually recall the parental reaction because even to this day all I remember is how funny we thought we were (and still do!). I think they might of laughed, and then secretly cursed our names what with family pictures in the morning and all. Plus, let's just say that 8 year old Geoff's head wasn't...cough...quite suited for baldness at that time. Love you Geoff!

There are other things that come to mind, like how we rode sleeping bags down the stairs so many times that a few of the stairs actually broke, or how the tree in the backyard got spray-painted, or the dog's hair got dyed, but one memory is probably sufficient for today.

Plus, no one wants to hear about how I pierced my own eyebrow once and got laughed at by my parents. At least, not today.

Thursday, February 11, 2010