Well ... the results showed that I had a "schwannoma". I thought, at first, that was a brain tumor for little Jewish guys like me. It turned out to be benign and treatable ... just irritating because it sits on a sensory nerve making the right side of my face numb so that during high level meetings I might drool or speak in tongues. Other than that ... and not tasting food ... it's a "no brainer".
I went to see the Wizard (Dr. Steve Klasko, my great friend, Pop Night guru and King of ALL that is medical at USF). He and my Internist, Dr. Dick Hoffman, set me up with a great neurosurgeon Dr. Harry Van Loveren who planned my course of treatment. It's called Cyberknife and it is done through a big robotic x-ray machine that sends out directed bursts at the tumor ... all non-invasive and no side effects. It kills the tumor without surgery. Great ... all set for the following week.
Last Friday I had a stress test because I was having a series of skipped heart beats and feeling kinda tired. As luck would have it ... the cardiologist told me that I needed to get a heart cath done immediately because there was strange electrical activity going on in there.
The Yellow Bricks on the road started to get slippery.
"Hmmmm" ... said the conference of doctors who were looking at my test results (the neuro, the cardio, the internal med and the Wiz) ... what should we do first? The cyberkinife or the heart cath? There is a window of opportunity for the schwannoma based on the size of the tumor ... but you gotta take care of the heart first. What to do?
I have amazing luck.
Sitting on stage, I felt the room spinning and gingerly made it down the stairs ... ending up at Tampa General Hospital.
The decision was made. Get the little Jewish guy in the Cath Lab!
Dr. Cohen (Woody Allen on steroids) was the cardiologist who admitted me, Dr. Stromquist (a former flower child of the 60s) was the cardiologist who did my cath and Dr. Gallardo (looked like he just took a break from the "Country Bear Jamboree") was the EP cardiologist.
Oh ... that reminds me. I need to tell you this: You are NOT asleep when they thread that wire through your crotch into your heart. I don't care what they say ... I saw and heard everything. I didn't feel anything ... but I know where the nurses went on vacation, who likes country music, why American Idol sucks and who takes the most potty breaks. I also was part of the process and was instructed by experts ... they were great!
I had two stents (tiny metal springs that open) which are permanently placed into an artery that was 80% blocked. I was also told I might have to have another procedure for the electrical misfiring of my heart beat. Who would have thought, huh?
They are resetting my schwannoma procedure to give me a brain ... now that I have a heart.
Other than that .... I'm fine!
I'm home now with my medicine cabinet filled with a wonderful array of new drugs (One pill makes you larger ... One pill makes you small). And unless Toto bites my ankle or some flying monkey whisks me away ... I will continue to ...
Ease on down ... Ease on down ... the road ....
Special thanks to my family ... my wife Debbie who has been with me through it all and has the patience of (and even looks like) a saint. My great and brilliant kids ... Alissa and Josh and Dr. Nicole (who by the way was there at the hospital helping me figure out stuff, taking notes, telling me to stay healthy and worrying about me). All of my great doctors who I HIGHLY recommend if you have the fortune of meeting them and the misfortune of needing them. And all of my terrific family, friends and co-workers!! Love you all.