End Game


I am a patient man, but I wish I had a heavy bag to punch.

I’ve grown tired of waiting. Wall-E, the little neuroendocrine tumor, has overstayed his welcome. Cheeky little devil.

So, here’s how the Battle Royal of my life will play out. I’ve been lead to believe that my surgery will occur any day now, and that I will only have a few days’ notice. I have been through the pre-op drills, and marked and sent for another MRI and CT scan — and those results only have a shelf-life of 30 days. I have ten remaining.

I like my neurosurgeon, Dr. Clarke, and he comes highly-recommended. He’ll be working with Dr. Massoud, who is an ENT man; I know him very well because he was Mom’s doctor, too. He’s a wonderful, gracious man from Egypt, and I will always be grateful for the kindness he showed to Connie.

Mostly, I find the news encouraging.

The procedure is expected to take about five hours, but sometimes it takes the better part of a day. I will only spend three to four days in the hospital, and I should be out of bed on the second day. I should not be scarred because they’ll be going in through my sinuses. So my hair will not be affected!


My recovery will last six weeks or more, and I’ll need to act like a dandy. I won’t be painting our office and I won’t be returning to karate any time soon. Perhaps I’ll be able to work on my second book, he wrote optimistically (which seems important to me now since the first book seems to be going nowhere).

I’m hoping the odds will be ever in my favor. I have a 50 percent chance of losing all pituitary function, and a minute chance of regaining some that I’ve already lost.

As a former wine taster and food writer, my heart does turn icy when I think about losing my senses of taste and smell. The chances are only ten percent, but know that I’ll be crossing my fingers on the table.

It gets better from here. I have less than a one percent chance of losing my vision, suffering a stroke, or dying on the table.

I’m not a betting man, but I like those odds.

What I don’t like is that Wall-E is expected to return. Dr. Clarke says it’s unlikely he’ll get it all, and that the sneaky little bugger will once again take up residence.

But that’s a story for another day. And hopefully a day that’s far, far away.

Right now, I’m thinking that I’d like to live happily ever after. At least for a little while.

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10 Responses to End Game

  1. I pray that you’ll get through this with no more than a stuffy nose, and that you’ll live without daily pain and with all your senses.

  2. Laurel says:

    I’m stoked for your surgery! I REALLY TRULY ON THE LEVEL OF POLAR EXPRESS believe that you will benefit from the surgery.

    Now, as regards possible side effects of surgery, I hope you don’t mind that I’ll be praying. I will ask other people to include you in their prayer requests. Mostly because I think God is bigger than religious differences or manifestations AND the data on recovery for people who are prayed for, in any faith and regardless of the recipient’s faith, have better outcomes.

    Maybe it’s just a mojo energy thing. Whatever it is, it apparently has an impact. So me and mine will pray.

    Go, Richard, GO!

  3. Kim says:

    Well, let’s get this thing over with then, get that messy little nuisance out of your head so you can get on with your life — with senses of smell, taste, and whatever the pituitary’s in charge of intact.
    I’m THRILLED your hair is safe. Seriously. Guy reaches your advanced age with a full head of hair, he should get to keep it for the duration.
    I’m glad you like and trust your doctors. That bodes well for everything. Best wishes for a successful operation and a speedy recovery.

  4. Roxie says:

    Hey rich………as you know our hearts are with you all the way
    Roxie and ross

  5. Pete says:

    Well I will remain convinced your surgery will be a complete success. What possible good can that little bugger be doing? Remove it and all will be well.

    Thoughts and prayers.

  6. Precie says:

    Well, I do hope Wall-E takes a good long holiday, at least, and lets you enjoy life a bit. Wishing you well!

  7. j a zobair says:

    I’m glad you said something — we were all prepared to shave our heads in solidarity.

    Seriously, I think you’ve got this. It all sounds very encouraging. Wall-E won’t know what hit him. Hopefully, he’ll be down for the count for a long, long time.

    We’re all pulling for you. Take good care!

  8. Stacy says:

    Keeping my fingers crossed for you …

  9. Jason Tudor says:

    I know you through a friend. All the best during this. Stay positive. Will be looking for you when this is done.

  10. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures
    on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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