Diary of a Brain Tumor Patient's Wife

Jan. 10, 1999

Renette Davis

Below is a message that I got from Dr. Nicholas. I thought it would be easier to just forward his message to all of you rather than to try to tell you what he said. My original message to him is at the bottom.

I would guess that these next couple of months will be the hardest I have ever faced in my life. Please pray for strength for me (both physical and emotional) and for comfort for Paul. I told Paul about Dr. Nicholas's message and he handled it pretty well, I think - better than I did, actually.

I've been telling myself all along that it's too early to fall apart, and that has worked pretty well. I certainly don't want to fall apart now, so I guess I'll just keep telling myself that it's still too early.


dear renette: sorry to hear that things are going more quickly now. i am concerned that any active therapy might actually harm Paul, including thalidomide which was hard on the bone marrow of brain tumor patients (low platelets, etc.) I would suggest supportive care now. I think Paul (and the rest of the family) might benefit from hospice services. I can help arrange that if you like. as to how much time he has: a very hard question, but a few months is a reasonable quess. please contact me again so that i can help.


On Mon, 4 Jan 1999, Renette Davis wrote:

Paul has asked me 2 days in a row how much time I think he has left. The first time I said I don't know. The second time I decided if it was me, I would want to know, so I told him I really don't know but I would guess a couple of months. I have nothing to base that on other than correspondence with wives of other brain tumor patients, so I wanted to ask you if that seems reasonable.

I also wanted to ask you if you have any thoughts about removing the screw from Paul's shoulder. We had a follow-up visit with Dr. Narayana on Dec.22, and he said he would schedule surgery to remove the screw. I didn't think too much about it at the time, but now I'm wondering if it is worth putting Paul through the pain of surgery just to remove the screw.

It seems like Paul is declining very quickly, even since we saw you last Wednesday. Yesterday when I gave him his medicine to take, he forgot what to do with it and put it in his glass of water. Have you been able to find any further treatment possibilities for Paul? I don't think we have too many illusions about something stopping the tumor at this point, but we had said that as long as Paul feels able to fight, we would continue to fight. I think he still wants to fight.

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Created: June 7, 1999
Last updated: July 20, 2010