Scott: Doctor, talk about your experience. You have a unique one with cancer. And I think you went through an awful lot to kind of find some answers and to get to where you are today.
Dr. Charles Majors: Yeah, in 2010 I was having severe migraine headaches, to the point where I was passing out. I would go three days, with no function at at all. Couldn't take care of my patients any longer, couldn't play with my children, couldn't go anywhere. And then after three days, I would be back to normal again. But as soon as I exerted myself, I'd go down again. And finally through different testing I was doing and, finally it was time for an MRI. Got an MRI. They found four tumors in the brain. They thought at the time, I was young, it was probably benign. I immediately was rushed to Northwestern Hospital, in downtown Chicago. The took a drill, literally, immediately put a, you know, it's like a drill with a saw on it. And they saw down into our head, and they put a hole into your head. They literally drilled into it, to put a tube down there. And I tell you, for the first time in years I was so happy to be at an MD. Most of the time I didn't understand crisis care even, didn't understand the purpose. But, thank God, my headaches were gone for the first time in probably eight months. And I felt great.
Scott: From draining fluid?
Majors: It was draining, there was so much spinal fluid up from, all the tumors were holding back the spinal fluid.
The next day the neurosurgeon came in and said, this will be easy, we're gonna get those four tumors out of there, you know, 400 thousand dollars later, you'll be fine. So I went into the process of getting ready for surgery. During surgery, he cut on the first one, started bleeding all over. He realized that it wasn't benign and it was all cancer. And he cut on it, and when you cut on something it creates an inflammatory reaction and it swells. So now I have severe swelling, more swelling on my brain stem. And he came into the room and told my wife and the other doctors, my friends that were there, he probably won't even wake up by the morning. But I woke up. They said, we don't know where the cancer is coming from. It's a secondary. So they went and did a ton of testing. I must've spent a week of testing. I was like a guinea pig. And then finally they did a bone marrow, last test, the last test they ran was a bone marrow tap. They tapped out my bone marrow, took some of my bone marrow out. Found 30-40 percent of my blood was making cancer, 24 hours a day, and it spread to my brain.
So I was diagnosed at that time with a, you know, myeloma's a multiple myeloma and there's only three stages but a lot of them kept saying stage four, stage three, there's only three stages of myeloma, but because it was spread into the brain, it was all over the body, you know, it's usually called late stage. They said there's no cure, there's no hope, there's nothing you can do. We can try a bone marrow transplant. We can do a high dose of chemotherapy and radiation, but it's only going to buy you time. I was 118 pounds and in a wheel chair. I could barely even take care of myself any longer, let alone get all of these treatments. I knew I was sick. You don't get cancer because you're healthy. I'd been sick for years, then I got cancer. So where I was, I knew you couldn't make me sicker to get me healthier. So I knew that I needed to figure out exactly what caused my body to go from these normal cells to these cancer cells. Something caused it and I didn't need a cure, I wanted to know what caused it.
Dr. Charles Majors describes his experience with being diagnosed with brain cancer and what his thought process was after finding out he likely only had weeks to live. Find out what he did in the first part of our interview with him.
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