Sunshine


Diagnosis

I appreciate my Dad's experience is just that of one person so not at all significant but in my view it appears to be consistent with the ‘late CMV infection leads to tumours’ theory.

As outlined below I believe Dad was infected with CMV in May 2009 at age 60. Three months later the tumour had grown to the size of a golf ball and it began to have a noticeable affect. Dad suddenly became aware he was unable to read and comprehend complex sentences and so visited the doctor with his concerns. At this point, he received the devastating news that he had an inoperable brian tumour.

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Dad was diagnosed on the 7th of September 2009. His neurosurgeon, who's been excellent throughout, estimated that the tumour had been growing for 3 months.

When I came upon the theory that Cytomegalovirus might be the cause, Dad and I looked through his little pocket diary to see if we could determine if and when an infection took place. I recalled he'd been unwell on my mother's 60th birthday, Dad was so rarely ever ill that it had been memorable so we flicked back and found the following diary entries...

Saturday 23rd of May 2009 (Mum's 60th)
“Fever gets underway, no respiratory element.”

Sunday 24th of May 2009
“Fever buggers sleep.
Take paracetamol, helps sleep.”


Monday 25th of May 2009
“Fever still there"

Tuesday 26th of May 2009
“Wake at 10.45 am, fever still.
Work at home till 1.30pm.
No respiratory problems.
Headache, eye muscle ache, stainless steel tooth ache.
Variation in body temperature.
Went to work.”


These symptoms are consistent with a CMV infection and are just a little over the 3 month time frame estimated by the neurosurgeon.

After reading more about the virus and it’s transmission, a likely source of infection sprang to mind. My Dad's brother-in-law. He has multiple myeloma - cancer of the bone marrow, has had it for a number of years and was being treated at Westmead Hospital, receiving chemotherapy and blood transfusions. If my Dad’s brother-in-law were CMV positive (he says he doesn’t know his CMV status and doesn’t want to find out) then the chemotherapy treatment would have suppressed his immune system making it possible he was shedding the virus and could have spread it do Dad.

My Dad's sister and her husband (my Dad's brother-in-law) had arrived in Australia from Scotland in January 2009. My father had frequent and close contact (including the sharing of food utensils) with his brother-in-law, Dad was always over at their place, helping his sister and her sick husband set up a life here. Within 5 months of their arrival my father developed symptoms consistent with a CMV infection (as above) and three months later was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
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