HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Big Island resident Colin Clark enjoyed the challenge of endurance races. Then came his battle with a brain tumor that started about a year ago.
“My left hand started to get a focal twitch. That night it started to go up to my face,” he said.
The former hospitality industry executive was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma, an aggressive and fast-growing cancer. It was so serious that he thought of end-of-life options.
“What I did not want to do is be in a position where my wife and daughter had to take care of me.”
The tumor couldn’t be removed entirely, without risk.
“Where the tumor was was so close to his motor function that the thought of being paralyzed and unable to speak and various other things, it was just not the direction we wanted to go,” said his wife, Natascha.
Doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles chose an alternate strategy. They targeted parts of the tumor.
Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Dr. Keith Black and Neurooncologist Dr. Jeremy Rudnick teamed up on his care.
“He had a possibility of having a good outcome, even with an aggressive tumor like this, having quality time with his wife and with his daughter,” Black said.
After the surgery, with the help of medical experts and his family, Clark worked hard to strengthen his body and mind. It started in small steps.
“It’s the simple things, like touching your fingers. I couldn’t do it for quite a while,” Clark said.
He entered Cedars-Sinai on a stretcher and exited under his own strength.
Now his recovery has taken even bigger strides. Back on the Big Island, the 57-year-old swims again, runs long distances, and rides his mountain bike. He’s set his sights on this year’s IRONMAN 70.3 race.
“Terminal is all of us, so I will always fight,” Clark said.
Black said Clark’s ongoing recovery is very gratifying for the staff at Cedars-Sinai.
“We hope in each patient to try to optimize their chances of being in that group that can have those good responses,” he said.
Being medically retired gives Clark more time for family matters.
“We never look back,” Natascha Clark said. “By being able to do all of these activities we’re creating new memories. That’s what the legacy is about.”
The Clarks made a documentary of their journey to offer hope to others facing difficulties.
“We made the video purely for that reason, so that people could watch it and go, ‘He’s doing it! Look at that guy! I can do the same thing,’” Clark said.
You can watch his short film “Half the Speed, Twice the Fun” here: