A Greeting From the Past

Last spring, after surgery for removal of a brain tumor, I thought I’d be back after a couple of months of recovery. The process however turned out to be much slower and more complex than I expected — to the point where I am still suffering from a number of problems. I’m still not ready to return, but let me bring you up to date on progress.

The good news is there has been significant physical progress, especially in recent weeks. I’m now getting around a lot better and am even about to make my first brief out of town weekend trip. I’ve especially made progress in recovery on a blood clot.

I’ve made a lot of psychological progress, too, but here there is a very long way to go that is effectively keeping me away from work. I have two related problems. One is the ability to read any complicated material. By the time I get to the fourth paragraph, I’ve forgotten the first (interestingly, I can do better with material read to me). It’s getting better, but it is a slow process and limits me to a tiny share of the vast amount I should be absorbing.

More frustrating is my inability to remember lots of words. For example, I was recently watching a moving with a well known actor. I knew him in lots of movies including Cool Hand Luke and The Sting though it took me a while to remember either the name of the actor or the title, though I could remember Robert Redford. Similarly, I have trouble remembering the prescriptions I am taking though I can recall their purpose. It’s getting better, slowly, but remains a huge problem, especially for writing.

The question is of my ability to handle material with enough skill to interpret and write the analysis. For now, at least, that remains an open issue. It was all I could do to write this and it was a difficult accomplishment, slowly written. I hope I get better and faster and in a way that lasts a long time, but right now I cannot say. I’ll try to keep you posted.

Published by

Steve Wildstrom

Steve Wildstrom is veteran technology reporter, writer, and analyst based in the Washington, D.C. area. He created and wrote BusinessWeek’s Technology & You column for 15 years. Since leaving BusinessWeek in the fall of 2009, he has written his own blog, Wildstrom on Tech and has contributed to corporate blogs, including those of Cisco and AMD and also consults for major technology companies.

15 thoughts on “A Greeting From the Past”

  1. Hi, Steve:

    In 1991, I had a highly anaplastic astrocytoma which could not be removed surgically. I opted for conventional whole brain radiation and chemotherapy. In my case, after the whole brain radiation, the tumor liquified and turned into a cyst. I opted to complete the chemotherapy to hopefully ensure that the tumor would not reoccur. After almost eight months of radiation and chemotherapy, I had similar issues remembering things and doing things that I used to do easily.

    The physical therapist was useless. My wife found a champion weightlifter at a local Gold’s Gym and she put me through four days a week of hell for about six months. She worked me so hard I was puking every session. But after that, I could ski, mountain bike, and do all the things I used to do. I never recovered the super fine motor skills and balance that I had before. I can’t really throw a baseball very far, but I can play tennis, for example. I can snowboard pretty well with my kids today, so that should be some indication of what you can achieve post-tumor.

    With respect to speaking, remembering, and writing, I will say that like anything else, it takes a lot of practice. Don’t give up because I know it’s possible to recover all of that capability. I would take a public speaking course so you are forced to practice. I found that very helpful myself.


  2. Welcome back Steve! Thanks for letting us know about what you have been up to. Take your time. The tech news will be here when you are ready.


  3. Good luck Mr Wildstrom and good health. I enjoy your writing and I’m glad to read you’re on the road to recovering.

  4. Best wishes for a full recovery, Steve. I’m glad you’re making progress. It never goes as quickly as we’d like it to go. You have a lot of friends among your former colleagues who are rooting for you.

  5. Steve, I discovered Techpinions about 18 months ago and I really enjoyed your articles. I hope to be reading them again in the future. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

  6. Thanks for the update. Steve if you need some encouragement, I think you’re one of the 2 or 3 best tech writers around.

    Pay attention to the last paragraph in marcabrams’ comment and keep working on your progress!

  7. Steve, gracias por tu interés en informarnos, mantenerte en marcha y seguir siendo alguien realmente interesante. Te envío mis mejores deseos y seguiremos con puntual atención todos tus avances. Un lector español muy agradecido por tantos años de iluminación.


  8. And of course, your recovery is most important to those of us who have enjoyed your perspective and what you bring to Techpinions. Get well.


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