This Post is for the purpose of offering to travel anywhere at any time to speak with any group who is interested in knowing, as closely as possible without having Cancer yourself, first-hand what is in the mind of the Cancer patients they are treating. The improvement of lifespans, emotional health, optimism, hope and being encouraged is available to those you are treating. For those not in the field of Cancer treatment there is still open to you the ability to accomplish everything listed above for a friend or family member. Below is my story.

As a 27-year survivor of Brain Cancer (Anaplastic Oligodendroglioma), to put it bluntly, I am aware of what a person goes through after a Cancer diagnosis better than most anyone else on the planet. The fright, anxiety, stress, and even anger (typically focused at God) were all part of my life for years. An existential crisis of the first degree demanded to be addressed and resolved before I died. Please note the use of first degree existential crisis in the previous sentence. It wasn’t as though I was told an acquaintance had been diagnosed, third degree, or even a friend, second degree, but this was my very life that was to be cut short.

After a Grand Mal seizure at a college football game I was taken to the local hospital. I will never forget looking through an opening in the curtain they had drawn in the Emergency Room. Time seemed to stand still as I observed the Neurologist and Neurosurgeon slumped over the MRI results shaking their heads from side to side. It came as no surprise to me that they came in bearing bad news. Even though the news was not unexpected, the gravity of it left me in despair. The words are seared into my mind, Mr. Cobb you have a Grade IV Astrocytoma, read Glioblastoma, and 6 to 12 months to live. As if this wasn’t enough they sent a doctor to my hospital room the next day to teach me “how to get my affairs in order and die with dignity.” No matter the passage of time I still resent this guy but he will remain anonymous nonetheless.

At this point I was bound and determined to get as many second opinions as necessary. All of the major Cancer Centers and renowned neurosurgeons were targeted. My methodology was simple, I went down the list in US News & World Report. One through five all agreed with the original prognosis, but number six turned out to be my personal Golden Ticket. He told me Steve we need to operate and we need to operate now.  I reacted in a way that I am ashamed of to this day. I said to the neurosurgeon who gave me the best news I’d ever had to that point in my life and challenged him that five top surgeons in his field had rejected the possibility the Cancer was operable. He looked at me and said, “Well they’re full of shit, unless you open the skull and see for yourself it is a guess, a medical school educated guess but a guess nonetheless.”  This is an exact quote and I hope to be forgiven for the slightly off color language. It turned out he was correct, it wasn’t a Glioblastoma which takes most people in a year, but an Anaplastic Oligodendroglioma which statistically takes every individual who has it in a decade. Please note I am coming up on 30 years living with this Cancer.

Since this successful surgery, I have been through two years of chemotherapy (1991 and 2013), 30 radiation sessions, and an indescribable spectrum of emotions. It occurred me several years ago that although medical science has improved by leaps and bounds since I was diagnosed all those 27 years ago there is still one void yet to be addressed. Oncologists and Radiologists all have teams od P.A.s, a social worker, and several specialized nurses to support their Cancer patients. There is one critical person missing from those teams. It is the person to offer Hope and Encouragement in the face of the news that alters the course of one’s life if not addressed correctly. It most always falls to the social worker to be that person. With apologies to the wonderful jobs they do in the areas for which they are trained it is patently unfair to place this expectation on their shoulders.

As mentioned at the top of this Post I will go anywhere to share the knowledge gleaned from living with Cancer, a Cancer that by all accounts should have killed me 20 years ago. If anyone is interested please contact me at:


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *