Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ego Surfing

Ego Surfing

I don't do much ego surfing. Not because I am short of ego but because I am short of time. But I've just done a little, and have found that I have made it to a list of notable brain tumor patients, a list which is at the following URL:

This is a big page so I impatiently searched for my own name, Hugh Cook, and found the name of Raymond Carver just above it. I recognized this name as that of an American short story writer whose works I had sampled at one time, albeit without any particular enthusiasm.

Carver, 1938-1988, is glossed as "Short story writer and poet." We learn from the page that Carver died from "metastatic tumor."

I am glossed as "Author of the fantasy series Chronicles of an Age of Darkness," which tells me that I am the Hugh Cook referred to and not, for example, Hugh Cook the asbestos lawyer.

The page explains that I was born in 1956 but, to my disappointment, fails to explain to me what I died of. It would have been nice to know.

The site gives median survival rates for a bunch of tumors but nothing for CNS lymphoma. In fact, the word "lymphoma" is not on the page.

Since lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph, and since lymph, like blood, is a fluid, I don't understand how lymphoma can form tumors, because my concept of a tumor is that it is something solid. However, I did undergo neurosurgery so a tumor could be extracted from my brain for biopsy, so evidently CNS lymphoma does (or, at least, can) form tumors.

I got an e-mail recently about a friend of the family who is currently in hospital in New Zealand with leukaemia, "acute myeloid variety." She, apparently, has taken charge of her own destiny as a patient, and has told her doctors they are NOT to tell her what her survival chances are. Or anything else she doesn't need to know. Just what's happening today, thank you very much.

Regardless of whether it's socially appropriate to look or not, I couldn't resist punching first "leukemia" and then "myeloid" into the search box, but neither result was on the page.

In the case of the family friend, I decided to probe no further. But, in my own case, I was interested enough to Google "cns lymphoma" in conjunction with "survival rates," and got well over 100,000 results, but, after a certain amount of fruitless page opening, data fatigue cut in and I abandoned the effort.

Later, returning to the notable brain tumors page, I examined it more closely, and found it is broken down into categories, such as acting, music, sports and writers. Eleven categories in all.

There are two links inside the page which looked interesting, one to NOTES AND REFERENCES and the other to EXTERNAL LINKS. The links to the categories and the additional two links are on the left of the page up near the top under the heading CONTENTS.

Looks like a useful bunch of links to start with if you're in the market for data about brain cancer and can't face going another round with the fifty gazillion sites that Google will give you access to.

At this point I'm all surfed out, I think, and I'm going to bed.


Anonymous Steve said...

Two things:

1. the page seems to include people who have recovered from their cancer, such as cyclist Lance Armstrong. So having your name there doesn't mean you've died.

2. If you lack time to "ego-surf" you might want to join Google Alerts which sends you email updates whenever your name is mentioned on the internet.

8:54 AM  

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