‘I’m not sitting here whining about it’
Chicago firefighter, 46, glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer
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.
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.
“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.”
Chicago firefighter Grant Raymond undergoes testing with a speech language pathologist. Raymond had a brain tumor surgically removed.