Last updated: 8/18/2013
Greg awoke up at 3 a.m. on May 15, 1992, disoriented, suffering spasms on
his right side. His wife telephoned paramedics. Soon after they arrived,
Greg seemed to come out of his stupor and was allowed to go to the restroom.
While he was there, he suffered a seizure and fell to the tile floor with
such force that he fractured a vertebra.
Greg was rushed to DePaul Hospital, the closest to his home, where doctors
focused on his fractured vertebra. A neurosurgeon, Jonathan Partington, was
in the E.R. and wanted a CAT scan to find out what caused the tumor.
The CAT scan showed a tumor the size of an egg in the left frontal
hemisphere, in the area that controls speech and language. After several
days of anti-inflammatory medications, Dr. Partington took Greg into surgery
and removed the tumor. A post operative MRI showed no sign of residual
Dr. Partington feared that Greg might have trouble speaking or communication
after surgery. Because Greg was left handed, he had shared functions for
speech and language and suffered little impairment.
Because of doctors weren't certain about the grade of the tumor, Dr.
Partington sent samples to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, which
determined that Greg's tumor contained anaplastic cells. Greg went through a
standard course of radiation.
Fearing that he might not life to see his three-year-old daughter, Emmy,
grow up, Greg began writing letters to her. The letters ended up documenting
those early weeks and months, when everything seemed uncertain. After
several months, a newspaper published stories based on these letters.
Because of the tremendous response, a publisher decided to publish a book,
Magic and Loss, based on the letters. After that was published, Reader's
Digest selected Magic and Loss as a condensed book selection. It ran in 17
languages. The book has since been published in full in Germany and Taiwan.
Greg's story has also been included in Navigating Through a Strange Land,
book for brain patients and their families, published in 2001 by Fairview
Press. His letters to his daughter also form a chapter in A Message of
Family, an anthology published by Reader's Digest in 2001.
In the ten years since his illness, Greg has lived in the Czech Republic and
India and has traveled around the world. He has written for dozens of
newspapers and magazines and has a novel coming out in March, 2002.
Greg Raver-Lampman speaks to cancer support groups and has raised money for
the American Brain Tumor Association. He emphasizes that hope and an abiding
desire to live are an essential to survive any illness.
You can check out his website at http://www.SignedCopy.com
Greg Raver-Lampman is now working as a public relations manager for Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, Va., and has had no recurrent seizures, tumor growth or symptoms. He's continuing to write and is working on a sequel to Magic and Loss, the book of letters he wrote to his then 3-year-old daughter when he feared he wouldn't survive. Excerpts of Magic and Loss were published in 17 languages by Readers Digest. The sequel will end with his daughter's graduation from college.
Updated 2/11/2012Six months later and I'm still doing great. One nice thing about having my
profile on Virtual Trials is that I get email from people who are just
beginning this journey and feel as if I can help them. In some cases, I'll
send along a copy of my book, "Magic and Loss," the letters I wrote to my
daughter when it appeared I wouldn't make it from spring to Christmas.
Greg Raver-Lampman is still working at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters as publication relations manager, just completed a master's degree in Applied Linguistics and has recently watched his daughter graduate from college. He continues to receive and respond to emails from cancer patients who have read his book, Magic and Loss, which is being updated to include some changes that have taken place in his life.
Greg Raver-Lampman is still writing and will be coming out with a sequel to his book, "Magic and Loss." He is now teaching English composition and English as a second language at Old Dominion University and Tidewater Community College. His daughter, Emmy, who was 3 when he was diagnosed, has graduated from college and is performing in her second Broadway tour.
I am now teaching English as a Second Language at the Old Dominion University English Language Center, which brings in students from around the world who need to work on their English skills before attending an American university. It's a great job, and leaves time for writing.
I'm also finishing up a sequel of my book, Magic and Loss, which covered my diagnosis and first six months of treatment, and was addressed to my then 3-year-old daughter, Emmy. My new book provides updates and includes a forward and an afterward by Emmy, who is now 25 and performing on Broadway. The sequel is called Postcards from the Storm.