Chief Complaint: Brain Tumor

Chief Complaint: Brain Tumor

Author: John Kerastas


Solving a puzzle and putting the pieces within the frame might seem like child’s play. Each puzzle is unique unto itself and the pieces are specifically shaped to fit within the confines of the outlines drawn in simple and beginner puzzles and smaller, more detailed and delicate on the more intricate and elaborate ones. But, no matter what kind of puzzle it might be the end result is that you complete it and the picture created resembles what is on the cover of the box. Not all puzzles are quite that simple to complete or finish. Some require finding the answers to hidden clues, mysterious happenings and strange events. You might say that sometimes these mysteries require a detective or even a researcher to find out what is causing the problems, the symptoms that a suspect of person exhibits or in this case the changes in vision that one man is experiencing but has decided to table or not seek answers for so that his puzzle will stay unfinished until he’ ready to sort out the small pieces in order to find out what the big picture on the front cover might be. Chief Complaint: Brain Tumor: let’s find out just how our author learned what was happening beneath the hidden recesses of his mind, why his vision seemed to be impaired and why driving a car was becoming not only a hazard to his family and himself but his poor car too.


Before our author would even consider going to the doctor he decided to do some research on his own to start the ball rolling to find out what might be causing his vision problems and what he can discount. He did not have seizures. He did not have headaches. He did not have mental or personality changes. He did not seem to have the basic symptoms of what he would later learn to be a Brain Tumor. He did not have memory problems. But, his right eye seemed to be the culprit. For some reason in the right vertical third of his right eye he states he saw, “ a cascading series of irregular images that looked straight out of a 60’s movie hallucination sequence.” But, the rest of his right eye and his left eye had no problems and his vision and what he saw was like the everyone else.


Putting off till tomorrow what you should have done today helps many people not deal with the inevitable. Minor problems slip under the mass rug and the major ones like these amoebas appearing take the spotlight but have yet to be addressed. You just pretend they are not there or you call them floaters. However, in his case whatever they were would interrupt his train of thought and cause him to lose concentration. But, this did not send him calling for an immediate appointment to see his doctor. Just like most people he decided to put off the appointment. In this way eh would not have to deal with the bad or good news regarding his health. Whether this makes sense or not he went with it until well you guessed it, he could not ignore it any longer. People are busy and most often do not want to stop and interrupt their busy routines, take time off from work to deal with what would come back at him as the startling truth. So, he put it off until he couldn’t.

Serious health issues do not evaporate, vaporize or disintegrate or even vanish. Some can be cured and others require surgery or more treatment. There are those that decide that the bad news as he states can wait a few more days and it won’t make a difference except when those few days turn into weeks and months. Whether it is peace of mind, fear or as he states the calm before the impending storm, whatever it is just might go away by itself, except when it does not.


Next, the author created a poem dealing with his illness that really says it all and showcases his great sense of humor. Putting his monetary affairs was next as he explained that had nothing to do with having an affair with another woman, which he never did. Let’s get that straight. But, to show that he really was trying to handle this in an adult manner but keep his mind active and his sense of fun in tact he shares his will with readers. Cemetery plots are next and of course the final accounting of who gets it all.


First step he survived the operation but the next step was hysterical. Deciding he could go to the bathroom without assistance you might say brought in the cavalry and definitely got nurse don’t bother me in a thither.


Not wanting to read and hoping to pass the time our creative author became addicted to HGTV. Now, don’t tell me you never watched Design on a Dime or House Hunters. So, he watched until they brought him a real treat: green Jell-O not my favorite either. Next, he decided to deal with a real medical problem that he had which was partial blindness.



Sharing his experiences when he first arrives home, how he deals with his family and why his wife created rules that he had to break, you not only get to know John but realize how hard he was working to get his life back in order to be more independent. From listening and choosing the right music to listen to, breaking the rules to use the bathroom at night, (read why and you will definitely agree with what he did,) to being offered a job, John proves that he was not going to ever give up. When his doctor set the goal for him to be walking a mile and half by Dec 2 he was ready to take on the challenge at full speed.


John was determined to get back to normal and with the help of his family and sister, Nancy, a doctor, he would definitely win this battle if he had anything to say about it. When Dr. Rousseau set some goals for him he set three of his own. He wanted to return to his normal activity, which means walking. Next, take advantage of his sister’s doctorial activities and finally regain his normal vision and cognitive skills. John is truly an inspiration for everyone. There are so many people that dwell on the little things, never really appreciate the fact that they are healthy and can learn some really important lessons about values, appreciation and courage from our author. John Kerastas has more fortitude, creativity and courage than most people would after learning that his surgery was somewhat successful but that he had taken a turn for the worse. Still showing signs of blindness in his right eye and now other visual problems in the left plus the added knowledge that he now had some type of infection, changed everything after their Thanksgiving celebration. The end result and what he learns would leave anyone else in a state of depression but not John. What he has to endure and the next phase of surgery you will have to read for yourself to learn just how much courage it took for him to endure more than anyone should and the support he receives from friends and family.


How many people could withstand having someone use a staple on his or her heads and not on paper? How many people would survive that and so much more? But, things changed when his doctor returned from her trip. Imagine wearing a helmet all the time in order to protect your brain. Imagine having to deal with having part of your brain or skull chipped away. So, John has to go through surgery completion, which he describes in detail. He also read many blogs of others how experienced brain tumors, cancer and had to undergo serious surgeries. More time spent in the hospital, doctors trying to rearrange the many doses of medications that worked or did not work to cure his infection. All the while trying not to feel sorry for himself,

His eyesight did not improve, His hope to get a job seem to wane. A brain tumor that he nicknamed the Blob and a man who just wanted to his life backs the way it was before being introduced to the tumor that seemed to like its position and status in his brain and refused to shrink and go away. Just how they replace pieces of your skull I will not share with you as you can read that for yourself in Chapter 6.  But, there is much more as he goes through the next phase of his treatment, deals with many different therapists that would use some therapy of their own in some respects as he learns some valuable lessons about life. Can he drive a car? Will he pass his driving test? Just how amazing is Barbara his wife and his sister Nancy? What happens when there are medication mishaps and jobs that you want to get and hope to in the future? Read this well researched book filled with one man’s real life experience and learn what happens when you refuse to deal with the inevitable, refuse to think you are so ill you won’t survive and realize that one brain tumor is not going to over take your life. Blogging, speaking and writing about his experience proved to be a positive way for John to deal with an impossible situation. For those of you that want to learn more you can read his blog: or better yet read this book.


One man’s journey from start and definitely not finished yet will make you laugh, cry, smile, cheer and realize that rehab is rough, caretakers deserve big hugs and yes laughter and a sense of humor in this case was the best medicine. Chief Complaint: Brain Tumor: If I know John just from reading this book this tumor has no chance of survival against him. Hear his words, listen to his inner most thoughts and find out the new words he wrote to one of my favorite songs: Run Around Sue on pages 110-112.

Fran Lewis: reviewer



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