It is incredible to me that the pathology report took as long as it did. I think that they were preparing me for the worst. Right after the biopsy, I started to press the doctors for information (that very night — at 1 AM). I kept calling the hospital and the neurology department and random nurses stations and other places until I found someone who would tell me something.

I’m not a shy person. I was fairly assertive (okay more than fairly) before I became a lawyer but being a lawyer makes me that much more assertive and when I need to I will pull out the lawsuit card.

The first thing I learned was that in New York you are pretty much nowhere without medical proxy. I am now advocating to all my friends and family that they get medical proxy and durable power of attorney. It is IMPERATIVE!

NY Health Care Proxy information

Right after the biopsy, the first doctor, a resident on call, told me that he appeared to have two brain tumors, one on each side. A large mass on the right side and a smaller mass on the left. He said the term was “astrocytoma.” They appeared to be cancerous. My heart sank. I asked if they were separate and he said no they were really the same thing (this turned out to be not true). The next day another resident said the first resident had no business telling me anything. Nice.

It was a full week before I found out anything of substance. It appeared there were really 3 tumors, all anaplastic astrocytomas, grade 3. Very diffuse and malignant. The doctor was saying it’s serious and will be difficult to treat.