‘I’m not sit­ting here whin­ing about it’

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - LINE OF DUTY -

Chicago fire­fighter, 46, glioblas­toma, a form of brain can­cer

Di­ag­no­sis

Chicago fire­fighter Grant Ray­mond was stricken with a de­bil­i­tat­ing headache on New Year’s Day in 2017. Af­ter a brief ex­am­i­na­tion in a hos­pi­tal emer­gency room, he was as­sured the headache likely was the re­sult of too much mer­ry­mak­ing on New Year’s Eve. He was re­leased and sent home.

But 10 months later, fol­low­ing count­less ex­cru­ci­at­ing headaches and an on­slaught of other symp­toms, Ray­mond, 46, was fi­nally di­ag­nosed with glioblas­toma, a rare form of brain can­cer.

His view

Ray­mond says he and his wife, Nia Ray­mond, are re­lieved his treat­ment at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois Hos­pi­tal in Chicago is keep­ing his tu­mor sta­ble, but they’re cast­ing a wary eye on the fu­ture.

While he had hoped to re­turn to his job with the Fire De­part­ment once he was fully re­cov­ered, he re­cently de­cided to re­tire — years ear­lier than he had an­tic­i­pated be­fore he was di­ag­nosed with can­cer.

Prog­no­sis

“All is good. … I’m not sit­ting here whin­ing about it,” said Ray­mond, whose surgery to re­move his brain tu­mor re­sulted in bouts of apha­sia, a par­tial loss of the abil­ity to un­der­stand or ex­press speech.

A once vo­ra­cious reader and his­tory buff with a for­mi­da­ble vo­cab­u­lary, Ray­mond re­mains witty and ar­tic­u­late, and knows pre­cisely what he wants to say, but of­ten finds him­self search­ing for the right words to ex­press him­self.

He said he re­mains un­cer­tain if his can­cer is re­lated to his pro­fes­sion, or if it could be the re­sult of his mil­i­tary ser­vice or past work as a com­mer­cial fish­er­man.

“I’ve been around a lot of nasty stuff and not just at fires, so the doc­tors don’t re­ally know,” Ray­mond said, adding, “For now, I want it to be just me, my wife and my dog as much as pos­si­ble, for at least a por­tion of the time I’m still alive.”

STACEY WESCOTT/CHICAGO TRI­BUNE

Chicago fire­fighter Grant Ray­mond un­der­goes test­ing with a speech lan­guage pathol­o­gist. Ray­mond had a brain tu­mor sur­gi­cally re­moved.

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