Inside Gerv

As some of you may remember, I had a couple of operations earlier this year to remove what turned out to be the primary site of my cancer from the floor of my mouth. (For those just catching up, I have Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), which in my case originated in a salivary gland.)

However, the scans done around the same time revealed that I had a number of lung metastases. A metastasis is a secondary cancer caused when the primary sheds cells which implant themselves in other parts of the body; this is a characteristic of most malignant cancers. Further scans done in October confirmed this; I have five in the left lung and two in the right so far visible. There may well be more which are too small to show up on the scan.

I’d been hoping to share these images with you before now, but the files on the CD-ROM I have are in some strange medical interchange format that even imagemagick doesn’t understand (although it claims to). So I had to fire up the proprietary viewer on a Windows machine and take a screenshot.


This is a cross-sectional CT picture of my lungs, taken at the beginning of October this year (click the image for a larger version). The lungs are the black areas – they normally don’t contain much that shows up on a CT scan. This cross-section is from near the top; the bony areas (white) are the top of my ribcage, my spine and my shoulder blades. My left lung is on the right of the picture, and the lump in the bottom left corner is the largest and most clearly defined of the seven metastases. It’s about 1cm across.

A combined PET-CT scan showed no discernible metabolic activity, so they aren’t growing very fast. However, one is getting close to a major blood vessel, so reasonably swift removal is recommended. So, I am having two back-to-back operations – one for each lung – probably just after Easter 2006. Each one will take about a month, including recovery time.

How am I feeling? Well, I was in the pub on Wednesday night with a bunch of Ruby and Perl geeks. One chap (whose name I forget, and who may not want it publicised anyway!) was talking about how he thought for a while he had testicular cancer, and paid £200 to go for a private scan, rather than wait two weeks to get it free on the National Health Service, because he was so stressed about the possibility. In the end, it turned out to be a benign cyst. I then mentioned that I had cancer with lung metastases, and was probably having two operations this year. He said “But they can’t be malignant, right? Otherwise you would be worried. And you don’t look worried.” I said “The creator of the universe is looking after me personally. What possible reason do I have to worry?”

18 thoughts on “Inside Gerv

  1. You are a strong person Gerv, so you seem to be the best person in the world to tackle this. I am so young I can’t really imagine what this is like for you, but I wish you luck and happiness in spite of the hard times and accomplishments you have before you.

  2. Enjoyed the post bro! I will be praying for you.

    You will keep in perfect peace
    him whose mind is steadfast,
    because he trusts in you.
    Isiah 26:3

  3. Gerv-

    I just wanted to let you know you’re an encouragement to other computer geeks trying to walk the life Christ has set out for us to walk. It’s horrible what you’ve had to (and will) go through and I’ll be praying for you. Hang in there and press forward in the race of life. Thanks for your contributions to the Mozilla projects and your witness for the Gospel.

  4. Hey Gerv,

    the Mother Nature is strong and you can coop with her to win the battle. Just give her a chance. You’re a strong man, as I can see from your blog’s posts. Keep fighting with the Nature in mind. To get some asenal, look at this page.
    I hope you’ll choose some.
    Good luck, mate!

  5. > “The creator of the universe is looking after me personally. What possible reason do I have to worry?”

    Amen, Brother.

    Keep the faith, and God bless you.

  6. There’s nothing like self-belief.

    Jon, without meaning to be rude, did you actually read what I wrote? My entire point is that self-belief is not what I have – in the face of death, self-belief will ultimately fail. My strength comes from trust in God, and the certain hope of heaven I have.

    Mathias: Thanks, I’ll try that. :-)

  7. I’m not sure why my previous comment didn’t appear in this blog. I wanted to say that you’re one of the people on this planet that makes me want to believe in God and that I really hope you get well after those operations.

    As for Jon’s comment, I think he meant it as I interpreted it (in a good way), that you have faith. Your trust in God is, in a way, a trust in your belief, hence “self-belief”. I’m not sure about your religion, but to me, believing in yourself is a good thing and is one of the things that keeps you strong and healthy.

  8. I’m not sure about your religion

    You may find that the title of the blog is a bit of a give-away :-)

    Seriously though, Gerv is saying something entirely different from mere positive thinking. I’m not denying that there can be some psychological and even physical benefit to having a positive outlook in this sort of situation, but the key thing I think you should notice in what Gerv says is not his faith, but the God he has faith in — the creator of the universe. Now you begin to see the context. If God is creator of the universe, he is powerful enough to do anything. So although Gerv’s illness is a very serious situation — a situation I’m sure we’re all very sorry to see him have to endure; a situation bigger than I could handle if it happened to me; a situation bigger than Gerv could handle, with or without positive thinking or “self-belief” — it is not a situation too big for the creator of the universe.

  9. You will be alright.

    I saw your post on times about and saw your blog.
    You will be good.

    I dont really know about the God but the docs and Technology are great in helping you.

    All the best

  10. it’s a long shot, but i am looking for a greg bannister that went to montgomery high school in santa rosa. is the greg that posts here the same guy? if so, email me at montgomery71 at aol. thanks

  11. I APOLOGIZE. i scrolled right down to the bottom of the page and didn’t read a thing. sounds like some heavy duty online discussions. i hope you are well and all works out. it looks like you have a great support group.