Monday, June 13, 2011

Letter from My Oncologist to Boston College Health Services (8/12/92)

19 summers ago, I was in the middle of treatment for a cancerous brain tumor and was due to start my freshman year at Boston College. My favorite parts:

  • My alphafetoprotein level was over 800, and normal is less than 15 (this number is also what told my doctors I had cancer, and made my scheduled brain surgery biopsy unnecessary)
  • The use of “germinoma” reminds me of this scene from Fletch:

  • The line “he may be able to avoid radiation therapy” – When I was diagnosed, they said I would need chemo and radiation, but really had no explanation for how well I responded to the chemo
  • “He would like a full load with five courses, but this may be too ambitious for his first semester.” – Looking back, it probably would have made more sense to take off my first semester (like my doctors and parents suggested), but I didn’t want cancer to tell me when I should start college – and I didn’t.
  • The prediction that “there is some chance that he would need to be hospitalized for IV antibiotics” came true. I was hospitalized in the middle of September and was at UMass for two weeks – my longest, and last cancer-related hospitalization.
  • The exceptional, excellent, determined, and intelligent comments…not going to argue.
  • All of the doctors that were involved with this letter reminded me of this scene from Spies Like Us:

Here we go Bruins, here we go! Play the whole 60, boys!

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