Health Care

More | | | Editor

Tumor worries fade on route

  • Follow Health

Johnathan Tisdale's fight against cancer is uphill only when he's pedaling back from treatment.

Back | Next
After Johnathan Tisdale underwent surgery to remove part of a brain tumor, his doctor recommended that the avid cyclist ride his bike to radiation treatments. Tisdale considers the trek an enjoyable experience and a way to thumb his nose at his cancer.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
After Johnathan Tisdale underwent surgery to remove part of a brain tumor, his doctor recommended that the avid cyclist ride his bike to radiation treatments. Tisdale considers the trek an enjoyable experience and a way to thumb his nose at his cancer.

That's his outlook, anyway, on the tumor that's been growing on his brain for at least a decade.

He didn't know it was there until Independence Day three years ago, when he had a seizure in his parents' living room.

Tisdale watched fireworks that year through his hospital window.

An MRI revealed he had a big mass called a glioma growing on his brain. Doctors drilled a hole in his head, took a sample and declared it to be a low-grade tumor.

"No brain cancer is good," Tisdale, 36, said. "But at least it wasn't aggressive."

This quasi-good news relieved some of the fear for Tisdale, 36, a husband and father of two children who were 1 and 3 years old at the time.

It also let him forgo dangerous brain surgery and take an oral chemotherapy instead. The medicine weakened him but didn't interfere with his favorite pastime: cycling.

Mountain biking appeals to his love of the outdoors, and he relishes the challenge of making a split-second course correction to avoid tumbling down a trail. He bikes all the around the area, and he has traveled to Moab, Utah, to try the wavy canyon trails.

He rides in large groups of street bicyclists on long tours of the area. It's a mind-clearing exercise, where the only focus is on the tires in front of him, Tisdale said.

After two years of oral medication, the tumor in his head had shrunk only a bit. Dr. Alan Friedman, at Duke University, who also removed Sen. Ted Kennedy's malignant glioma, recommended surgery.

In April, surgeons successfully removed a major chunk of the tumor on his brain. Part of the tumor was left behind because they didn't want to risk damaging his speech or mobility.

During Tisdale's recovery, Friedman mentioned that another of his patients rode his bicycle to radiation treatments. Tisdale saw no reason not to do the same.

He lives in a brick-street neighborhood with towering shade trees a few blocks away from Walton Way. In August, he set out about 8 a.m. on his first bike ride to Georgia Radiation Treatment on St. Sebastian Way.

He passed joggers stretching their calves, university students hurrying to class, commuters sipping coffee. The whir of leaf blowers and the laughs of schoolchildren blended with the hum of his tires.

All his worries about the treatment were swept away by the wind in his face; his only focus was navigating the clot of traffic outside the hospitals.

It was an enjoyable experience and one he hopes to repeat until his radiation treatments are finished. Tisdale sees it as a way to thumb his nose at an incurable cancer.

"There are very few things that I can control," Tisdale said. "But the one thing I can control is my attitude."

Comments (10) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Nightwing
0
Points
Nightwing 09/16/10 - 02:51 am
0
0
God bless you Mr. Tisdale,

God bless you Mr. Tisdale, you are an inspiration to us all.

Edward B. Turner
69
Points
Edward B. Turner 09/16/10 - 08:24 am
0
0
A well-written piece about a

A well-written piece about a true inspiration to everyone. Keep on riding, Mr. Tisdale!

rainboot
0
Points
rainboot 09/16/10 - 09:29 am
0
0
Great story about a great

Great story about a great guy.

countyman
21299
Points
countyman 09/16/10 - 10:31 am
0
0
What is the brick street

What is the brick street neighborhood a couple of blocks away from Walton Way? Hickman rd, Midtown, Summerville/Hill, Forest Hills, Country Club Hills?

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 09/16/10 - 11:15 am
0
0
Why does it matter countyman?

Why does it matter countyman? Great inspirational story and God Bless you Mr. Tisdale.

Quack Quack Quack
696
Points
Quack Quack Quack 09/16/10 - 12:10 pm
0
0
Congratulations Mr. Tisdale.

Congratulations Mr. Tisdale. You are an inspiration to all who are facing what you are. I know your family must be very proud of you. I am. I went through 45 treatments of radiation for prostate cancer in 2007. Every day is a blessing to me. God Bless you, your family, and your friends. Keep on riding.

uscsoccer86
0
Points
uscsoccer86 09/16/10 - 01:06 pm
0
0
I have known Johnathan for

I have known Johnathan for quite a few years now and it brought me to tears when I found out about his tumor. He really is an incredible guy and would do anything for anyone. I consider it a blessing to have him as a friend.

LAughing
0
Points
LAughing 09/16/10 - 02:44 pm
0
0
A brain tumor is something

A brain tumor is something created by your body to fight or build something in your structure, NOT ALL TUMORS are bad! Is a cave in the ground bad because it isn't filled with soil? Look, you body is an extension of your thought in the physical world; would you forget how to use your hand if you couldn't see it?

dgaddis
16
Points
dgaddis 09/17/10 - 09:53 am
0
0
@LAughing - You're absolutely

@LAughing - You're absolutely right. It's all about muscle memory, everything leaves an imprint on us forever, everything is connected, we are all One. If you shake a mans hand, his hand remembers you, even if his brain does not. Fill in the cave, the earth remembers it. You touch the earth, you remember the cave, even if you didn't know about it.

But seriously, how high was LAughing when he/she made that post!?!

JT - you're an inspiration, keep turning the pedals man.

jtisdale
0
Points
jtisdale 09/20/10 - 12:09 pm
0
0
countymanThursday, Sep. 16

countymanThursday, Sep. 16 11:31 AMnew Report Ignore user What is the brick street neighborhood a couple of blocks away from Walton Way? Hickman rd, Midtown, Summerville/Hill, Forest Hills, Country Club Hills?

Bransford Rd, its a bit like the Paris Roubaix on cobbles

LAughingThursday, Sep. 16 3:44 PMnew Report Ignore user A brain tumor is something created by your body to fight or build something in your structure, NOT ALL TUMORS are bad! Is a cave in the ground bad because it isn't filled with soil? Look, you body is an extension of your thought in the physical world; would you forget how to use your hand if you couldn't see it?

I've tried to keep an open mind about this whole situation since it started, but I am going to have to disagree with you on this one. Not one person who I have consulted has in any way said the lesion on my brain is helpful or good, in fact I personally know several people who have died from this. I tell you what, I'll trade you...you can have it and any treatment regimine or lack thereof you want to pursue?

Thanks to all the postive messages/prayers here and from others who commented on the article, I appreciate them.

Regards,

Johnathan

Back to Top

Top headlines

Smith case referred to Attorney General's office

A state probe into allegations former Augusta commissioner Donnie Smith moonlighted for a hospitality company while drawing his Georgia State Patrol salary will be reviewed by the state attorney ...
Search Augusta jobs