Tim’s supervisor Eric Bequette got worried when Tim failed to show up for work. He called Tim’s number all day but there was no answer. That night he turned to Facebook. Eric searched Tim’s friends list and found one of his five siblings. He sent a message letting Tim’s family know something was wrong.
It turned out Tim had collapsed from a seizure caused by an undiagnosed brain tumor. The tumor was nearly the size of a fist. Had he been left to linger on the floor just one more day Tim probably would have died. Tim’s bad news came at a terrible time. Just a few months earlier his mother had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. His sister Susan had also just learned she had an aggressive type of skin cancer. It was as if the Clancy family was being tested, but it only brought them even closer.
To remove a brain tumor without damaging the brain is tricky business. Fortunately for Tim, Washington University neurosurgeon Eric Leuthardt has been helping perfect a technique known as “brain mapping.” Using electrodes attached the brain through to a flexible micro-grid invented by Dr. Leuthhardt a surgeon can see which parts of the patient’s brain control which functions of their body. But to get the most accurate information, Tim would need to be awake for part of the surgery.
Tim’s surgery took seven hours. Doctor Leuthardt could not remove it entirely because the tumor was attached to the part of his brain controlling his speech.
A few days after surgery brain swelling was affecting Tim’s ability to form sentences. But, that would soon get better. However, the results of the biopsy were not good. The tumor was malignant, meaning radiation and chemotherapy was next.
On April 17, Tim had his final dose of radiation. But his joy would be short lived. The following week his sister Susan passed away at the age of 50. Still, life goes on and the next week brought Tim a little victory.
On April 30, Tim went back to work. Two weeks after coming an MRI revealed the size of Tim’s tumor had been reduced to microscopic. Still, the battle continues with a second round of chemotherapy to hopefully finish the job.
“Life doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger.” That is not something Tim has been saying. It’s a quote Tim he has been sharing with friends, on Facebook.
Learn More About Brain Mapping: – www.barnesjewish.org/awake