How I Found Out That I Had Brain Cancer – Glioblastoma

brain cancer survivor
Me and my oldest son in Denver. Note my swollen face and eyes. Cancer + Steroids + A lot of Crying

“Gimme a double cheeseburger with jalapeños, an order of chips and queso, fries and a large Dr. Pepper.”

“Is that everything?”

“Yeap, sure is.”

This was me a year ago.

This was my diet a year ago. And add to it a TON OF STRESS FROM STARTING TWO COMPANIES. Then you get a little ol’ recipe called “HOW TO GET CANCER QUICK AND EASY – A HOW TO GUIDE written by James Compton.”

I’m going to save elaborating on diet and stress for upcoming posts. Today what I want to talk to you about is how I found out that I had brain cancer.

It happened so suddenly. It came out of the blue. Now I’ve always had random health problems. Tonsillitis visited me a few times every year and my throat and tonsils would swell up like golf balls. This made it hard to breath and eat. You know, the stuff that makes you live. The solution was easy enough. One quick trip to Dr. Jim and one steroid shot in the ass and I was all better.

And sometimes I’d get weird infections in my mouth. They were always in the same place too. They were located underneath a tooth that I had some dental work done on. But I was used to waking up some mornings with my lower jaw swollen from bacteria or some such being trapped underneath my tooth. The solution for this was antibiotics. Sometimes I’d take them, other times I wouldn’t.

So here I was, building companies, seeing if they worked, and pivoting on them like crazy. Pivoting means that if something didn’t work, I stopped doing it, and tried something else. I was like a mad scientist and the city was my personal playground. It was the most exciting part of my life.

A couple of years of experimenting left me feeling great. I was in most aspects a free man, coming and going as I pleased. I didn’t go too much because I liked to plant my ass on the couch and read.

One ordinary night after watching our nightly shows, my wife and I went to bed.

When I woke the next morning, I couldn’t move. Something felt weird. My right arm was numb and shaking.

“Lemme try and get out of bed. Maybe I can shake this off” – I told myself.

I grabbed the side of my bed and scooted over to the edge, sitting up.

I noticed that I was very weak. Maybe too weak to stand. I grabbed my bed with my right hand and stood up. My goal was to walk into the bathroom and throw some water on my face. After all,  I’d never felt like this before. Maybe it was just a freak thing that would go away with some walking.

I took one step and nearly hit the floor. My right leg was shaking and trembling as well as my entire right arm. What was going on with me? I began to yell and scream. I remember yelling “Something is wrong with me! I’m so messed up, I can feel it.” I repeated this over and over.

Drool was spilling out of my mouth.

My wife told me to get back in bed. She was obviously very frightened. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I just got back in bed.

Have you ever seen someone who is paraplegic try and walk? They sort of shake and jitter back and forth. Or you could say it’s what someone looks like whose having a seizure and walking at the same time ( this was me).

I fumbled around and found my cell. I called my parents screaming. I told (screamed) everything to my parents as I did my wife. I told them to come get me right now.

They picked me up and took me first to an Urgent Care center. When I walked in, I was still coherent enough to read and so I read the sign in small print. “If you think you’re having a seizure or are having a seizure then you need to go to the Emergency Room.” My parents and I didn’t wait. We went straight to the emergency room.

When we arrived at the ER, the people checking me in asked the standard questions and admitted me based upon seizure like activity.

They put me in a room and the first doctor came in. He informed me and my parents that he wanted to get a CT scan done.

I got the CT scan, but I can’t remember if it showed anything. Maybe it did. Either way, the doctor ordered an MRI. After the MRI, I went back to my room and laid down. In no time at all, the same doctor was back in the room with some news.

“I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to say it. The MRI shows spots on your brain and it’s not good. In my opinion they’re tumors. This is cancer.”

Explosion!!!! Tears exploded from my face and eyes. The same happened with my parents. The only time I’ve seen more tears was when I was being wheeled off into brain surgery. But I’m getting too far ahead.

The first doctor said the neurosurgeon was going to come by in a few minutes and take a look at the MRI. Shortly after a big man walked in and said “Kid,  I’ve seen this shit before, my best friend had this. It’s an infection, nothing more.”

Can you imagine how this hit me?

I was just told that I was going to die and this neurosurgeon was telling me I wasn’t going to die! It was just an infection!!!! And he’s “seen this shit before”!I leaped up from my chair, throwing Tiger Wood’s first pumps all around the room. My parents were elated and were jumping up and down crying tears of joy.

This jubilant celebration came only minutes after we first  heard it was cancer. In my head I knew it all along. I was too young and healthy to have cancer anyways. Imagine if you will – one minute doctor’s telling you that you’re about to die and the next minute a doctor telling you that you’re not going to die. It was a mistake. Talk about rattling your brain! It’s funny now but trust me, it was not funny when it happened.

They striked the spots on my brain up to an infection they said I’d received nine years earlier in Brazil from a mosquito. I never had an infection, only dengue fever. Their story was I got infected by some kind of rare fly that carries eggs and lays them all inside your body. Then after ten years, the eggs begin to die. I had these eggs in my brain and it’d been about nine years and so these eggs were beginning to die.

The solution came in the form of ten pills that cost $10,000. I took them. And guess what? The main side effect is they make your brain hurt. After that, I went in for another MRI.

You know what? I hadn’t searched brain cancer or brain tumors on Google or done any research. This is how naive I was.

In the waiting room of the “big man”, he walked in. “I want to tell you I hope this isn’t a tumor, but I’ve been seeing a lot of them lately.” I thought to myself “WTF?” (and yes, I’m trying to become a better man, but this is the only way to describe it). I went and did another MRI. Then I went home.

The results would take a couple of days and they’d call and setup a time for me to come in and visit with the neurosurgeon about them.

After the MRI, I walked out thinking “if it’s bad, I’ll hear from them soon.” My phone rang at 7:00 a.m. the next morning. I didn’t even need to pick the phone up. I knew this was bad.

But other people knew the gravity of my situation. My mom and wife both went with me to the neuro’s office.

We sat down again in a room and he walked in.

“James,  what I’m seeing in your MRI is a tumor most likely Glioblastoma or what we call GBM. It’s stage 4 cancer and we’ve got to remove this thing ASAP. This is no joking matter. This will kill you. People only live a few months with this so we need to schedule you for brain surgery in the next couple of days.”

He then took us into his personal office and showing us the most recent MRI. What was once a barely visible spot on my brain was now the size of a golf ball, maybe even bigger.

This is how I found out that I had brain cancer.

 

 

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