CDR Donaldson Hospitalized

Dear Friends of Bill,
This will be a difficult letter to write, but it must be done.

Some of you may know that Bill was scheduled for back surgery to rectify some lower back problems such as weakness in his legs.  More recently he began to experience weakness in his left arm and a couple of weeks ago he began to loose some vision in his left eye.
On Monday, January 22nd, Bill's wife took him to the emergency room at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington where an initial CAT scan showed a brain tumor.  Over the next few days many other tests were done and on Thursday he had a detailed MRI which showed that there was not one, but two tumors.  The largest of the tumors was located in an area which was accessible, but close to the brain stem.  The other, much smaller tumor is in an area of the brain that is not operable.  On Friday morning, January 26th, the neuro surgeons at Walter Reed performed a 6 hour operation and removed as much as they could of the larger tumor.  The part touching the brain stem could not be removed.  Bill spent Saturday and Sunday in the Intensive Care Unit and was transferred on Monday to the general Neurosurgery ward where is recuperating.  He is alert and cracking jokes about the permanent part in his thinning hair.  His progress over the last two days has been excellent.  He has regained some of the use of his left arm and left leg and began walking today.  If he continues to improve he may be transferred to a rehabilitation center nearer to his home in Southern Maryland early next week or possibly as early as the end of this week.
His long term prognosis is still uncertain.  The doctors will not speculate until they see the results of the biopsy but their initial reaction was not very encouraging.  They plan both radiation and chemotherapy, but we don't know when that will start or how effective it will be.
In the meantime, he is surrounded by his family and friends but could use a couple of extra prayers.
Some of you have been asking about his surgery thinking it was the long planned back operation.  I was reluctant to say anything until he could advise me how he wanted to handle this.  For that I apologize.  This morning I asked him what he wanted me to tell people and his reaction was typical: " Just tell them the truth!", "Its a fact, we can't change that.".."Just tell it like it is".  It's too bad that our government doesn't have the same faith in people's ability to handle the truth as Bill Donaldson.
Bob Donaldson




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