MEDICAL ALERT: Leonard Shlain Has Brain Tumor (Sept 15, 2008)

Dear Friends,

On September 4, 2008 you received an email newsletter from Leonard Shlain which included his upcoming Fall speaking engagements and news about the near completion of his fourth book “Leonardo’s Brain: The Left Right Roots of Creativity”.

On September 6th Leonard was admitted to California Pacific Medical Center where doctors removed a malignant brain tumor. It is sadly ironic that he developed a brain tumor in the same location that Leonardo Da Vinci suffered a stroke in the later years of his life.

Leonard is at home resting and will soon begin radiation and chemotherapy. He is canceling his speaking schedule but in typical Leonard Shlain fashion he is determined to complete his book. Leonard is getting stronger everyday and wants us to keep you updated on his progress. Also, Leonard would love to read wishes from you here. Think of it as a giant get well card.

Warmly,
Leonard Shlain’s Family

UPDATE: 9/25
Leonard has begun has daily radiation and chemotherapy treatment at UCSF. He has regained most of his speech and strength in his right side since the surgery. He sings “Zippity Doo Dah Zippity Zippitay Ay” to convey his envisioning of his brain getting zapped by Gamma Knife Radiation on a daily basis. He is looking forward to a family trip to Hawaii the week after radiation.

38 thoughts on “MEDICAL ALERT: Leonard Shlain Has Brain Tumor (Sept 15, 2008)

  1. Robert DiYanni

    Dear Leonard,
    I am sorry to hear about the tumor, but I’m happy to hear that you are home recovering.

    I was looking forward to seeing you at the MAIS Conference, where I was hoping to coax you to a top-notch public school system where I am doing some consulting on critical and creative thinking. I have folks there interested in your work, especially in your thinking about Leonardo’s brain–and ours.

    We last were together at a previous MAIS conference, and I believe my last chance to chat with you was at the Borghese Gallery, where we went to see the great Bernini sculptures.

    I look forward to your complete and speedy recovery and a chance to engage you once more in heady conversation.

    Bob DiYanni–NYU and the College Board

    Reply
  2. Diana Wentworth

    Wonderful, brilliant Leonard:

    You are such a hero of mine. If anyone can finish a book project while recuperating, it is you!

    Thank you for your continual inspiration!

    Diana von Welanetz Wentworth, Founder of the Inside Edge Foundation for Education

    Reply
  3. Rick Greene

    Len, Donna and I wish you a speedy recovery. We would hope that you are raring to go by the time the ACS meets in San Francisco in October!! All the best, Rick Greene

    Reply
  4. kathryn murdock

    First I am so sorry for him and all of those near and dear to him.
    This is tragic – he has so much to offer and what he offers is needed.
    I will adopt the attitude of others in similar situations. He will get well.
    His books are important to me and have given me so much. Even a plot for a story.
    I will support him and you in my thoughts.

    Reply
  5. Lynn Kable

    Dear Leonard:
    Best to you for a successful and joyous completion of the book!

    I hope that you are finding a “quicker than usual” recovery from the your surgery and are able to get on with treatment and the book ASAP!

    I look forward so much to reading it!
    Best wishes to you and your family,
    LYNN KABLE

    Reply
  6. Olga Lucia

    DEAR Leonard,

    I am deeply sorry to know about your health situation. You are not alone in these moments, you have tons of people around the world praying, wishing, and hoping for your soon recuperation.

    Un abrazo,
    (hugs)
    Olgalucia

    Reply
  7. Olga Lucia

    DEAR Leonard,

    I am deeply sorry to know about your health situation. You are not alone in these moments, you have tons of people around the world praying, wishing, and hoping for your soon recuperation.

    Un abrazo,
    (hugs)
    Olgalucia

    Reply
  8. William Nack

    Dear Leonard—
    I was saddened to hear about your recent problems with your health, but knowing you—with your energy, your drive, your optimism, and your unyielding sense of joie de vivre—I’m confident that you will pull through this and continue to make your original contributions to American culture and thought. And I fully expect to see you at the Conference on World Affairs next April. Let’s do a panel on Garry Kasparov’s attempt to apply the principles of winning chess to the intellectual challenges of beating Putin in the game of politics. Only you could begin to figure that one out. Warm Regards, Bill Nack

    Reply
  9. Rabbi Jamie Korngold

    Dear Dr, Shlain,

    May you have a refuah shlaimah, a complete recovery in every way.

    May your doctors have the wisdom and skill to care for you with precision and grace.

    May you loved ones be given the strength to support and hold you.

    And may your heart and soul be strengthen with the knowledge that you have educated and inspired so many of us around the world.

    With gratitude and great respect,

    Jamie Korngold
    Boulder, CO

    Reply
  10. Jordan Snyder

    Hello Leonard!

    You are an inspiring, brilliant man!
    I hope it doesn’t come across as insensitive, but I am not a bit worried about this tumor. Whatever happens, you will handle it with class and wisdom, and you will be Leonard Shlain all the way! I do offer my encouragement and positive thoughts, hoping that you will be around for much longer, inspiring people all the more!

    Cheers!

    Reply
  11. Daniel Oberti

    Dear Leonard,

    I’d like you to know that your ideas given so creatively and freely shared in Art and Physics inspired and changed my life in a profound and wonderful way. Thank you.

    I have had the pleasure of getting to know you a little and have read you other books as well. You have brought challenging ideas to the forefront with candor and humor as well as forceful and convincing argument.

    I hold your image dearly in my heart and wish for you a healthful recovery with this challenge that faces you. My best to your daughter and all your family.

    Sincerely,

    Daniel Oberti

    Reply
  12. Daniel Oberti

    Dear Leonard,

    I’d like you to know that your ideas given so creatively and freely shared in Art and Physics inspired and changed my life in a profound and wonderful way. Thank you.

    I have had the pleasure of getting to know you a little and have read you other books as well. You have brought challenging ideas to the forefront with candor and humor as well as forceful and convincing argument.

    I hold your image dearly in my heart and wish for you a healthful recovery with this challenge that faces you. My best to your daughter and all your family.

    Sincerely,

    Daniel

    Reply
  13. Daniel Oberti

    Dear Leonard,

    I’d like you to know that your ideas given so creatively and freely shared in Art and Physics inspired and changed my life in a profound and wonderful way. Thank you.

    I have had the pleasure of getting to know you a little and have read you other books as well. You have brought challenging ideas to the forefront with candor and humor as well as forceful and convincing argument.

    I hold your image dearly in my heart and wish for you a healthful recovery with this challenge that faces you. My best to your daughter and all your family.

    Sincerely,

    Reply
  14. Lucia

    Hi Leonard, I was so inspired when I heard you speak at Skyline College’s opening day a few years ago. Your ideas are world-enhancing; they have definitely inspired me in my own teaching practices. So sorry to hear about your tumor and wish you a quick recovery.

    Reply
  15. Jeff Peterson

    Hi Leonard,

    I am, of course, chagrined to hear of your sudden diagnosis and travails. Your brain left quite a mark upon my consciousness, between your presentation and our offline discussions at BioAgenda a couple of years ago in Indio.

    I thought your children’s comparison of you to Da Vinci was quite apt. I had given one of your books and brought you to the attention of my father, whom I have always admired as a Renaissance Man as well.

    You certainly don’t know me well, but I wanted to take a moment to pass on best wishes to you for a speedy recovery, and a return to your mind-expanding pulpit!

    All the best,
    Jeff

    Reply
  16. Lynn Mernovage

    Dr. Shlain,

    I am so sorry to hear of your illness. As a Native American of the Cherokee tribe, it is my nature to burn sage and sweet grass for your healing. As the smoke from the sweet grass and sage travels to my ancestors, I say prayers for your healing and continued good life. The ancestors honor those prayers and send to you strength, healing, and a rapid recovery.

    My best to you,
    Lynn Mernovage

    Reply
  17. john eger

    Leonard…..I can hardly think of you ever slowing down let alone confined to a hospital bed.

    I think of you often as no one has done as much as you Leonard, to penetrate public consciousness to new thinking about the human condition, and the creative marvel of our species.

    Please be well.

    John

    Reply
  18. deanne sabeck

    I went to a workshop of yours at Esalen and found you and your work both fascinating and brilliant! My thoughts are with you and I will keep them there. I imagine that if anyone can deal with this you can!

    Reply
  19. Jamie Jacobs-May

    Lenny-want to spend my few lines picking up your spirits. So did you hear about the new hamburger McDonalds is marketing for senior citizens?
    They’re calling it the McCain.
    Ihear you are doing very well and getting stronger. Never doubted your capacity to push back. You Go Guy. Love Jamie

    Reply
  20. Lance Strate

    Len, the news was duly noted on the Media Ecology Association listserv, and the Institute of General Semantics list, and on behalf of both organizations, we wish you the best for a full and speedy recovery. And on a personal note, I will include your name when we do the mi sheberach prayer for healing during Shabbat and holiday services. And I very much look forward to reading your Leonardo book after that wonderful talk you gave in June at the Media Ecology Association convention.

    Reply
  21. David Kipper

    Dear Len;
    My thoughts are with you for a comfortable ride through this journey. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this new issue and hope there are some good options for your wellness. I’m thinking of you, David

    Reply
  22. lynn hershman

    Dear Leonard,

    Your work has inspired me tremendously. I don’t know if Tiffany related to you how impressed GIlberto Gil was with me when I said I knew you! Your work has an enormous global impact and I feel so fortunate to to have met you and your family.

    I survived what was diagnosed as a brain tumor a decade ago. Miracles can happen.

    My prayers are with you!

    much love,
    lynn

    Reply
  23. Ellie Sommer

    I was privileged to meet Leonard at the Arts in Medicine conference in Gainesville FL, where he delivered the keynote speech, which set my mind afire and changed forever how I look at language and art. It was the slide presentation based on his book The Goddess and the Alphabet.

    A superb thinker and explorer, and from reading this blog, an energetic and adventuresome individual with a wonderful family. Thank you for sharing personal stories about this great person most of us only know casually.

    Please convey my enthusiastic and heartfelt wishes for Leonard’s well-being and recovery:

    May the Goddess shine her healing light on you and your family.

    Reply
  24. Heather

    Leonard,

    Alex and I continually have you in our thoughts and prayers. Your lectures and books continue to provide us with inspiration, insight and laughter.

    Thank you for contributing so much.

    Love,
    Heather and Alex

    Reply
  25. Jon

    Leonard,

    I know a little of what you are feeling, our George has had two ops for his brain tumour so far and fingers crossed, it’s all gone for good. He’s now bouncing around like any 12 year old should be.

    Get better quick,

    Jon & George.

    Reply
  26. will

    Hope you get better Mr S! From a fan of your books, as well as a fan of GIVING your books to others, I hope you have many many years to come in which you will write more brain-twisting books!! Get well, and please write more!

    Your books rank as my top gift-giving items every year…

    Reply
  27. Tom McConnell

    It is July 1998 and I’m reading “Guns, Germs, and Steel” on the deck of a cruise ship in the Aegean, when a guy stops by and says “When you finish that book I want to talk to you.” And so it came to pass that Leonard and I met. As physicians we shared a lot in common, but even more so we shared an interest in the human condition. He had with him the onion-skin proof of one of his books, but I can’t recall if it was “Art and Physics” or “Alphabet.” Anyway, I read both of them in due time and recommended them to friends, one of whom has kept track of Leonard better than have I. I am so sorry to learn of this turn of events, and I send every best wish for his welfare.

    Tom McConnell, Dallas

    Reply
  28. Nancy Reghay

    I saw “Who Does She Think She Is” last night at the Angelika in New York. I have been deeply affected by this film – went a year ago to a small gathering to discuss it. I was greatly touched by your deep understanding of a woman’s power and the need for our art to be out there in the world. You have affected my life. Now, lucky enough to view your daughter Kimberly’s site I have learned of your illness. I wish you a full recovery and peace and happiness. We need loving, intelligent, compassionate men to accept the concept that when women have power it enriches life. THANKYOU! You have changed my life by saying this.

    Reply
  29. gail weber

    Dear Lennie
    It was wonderful to see your website and a great review of your early years..some of them I remember. I think of you and wish you well. I always enjoyed you and your family.
    With much love
    Diddy

    Reply
  30. Peggy Lawless

    Len: The world needs you – your genius, your warm-heartedness, and your amazing books. Grant and I are sending you all the positive energy we can muster for your full recovery.

    Much love,
    Peggy Lawless
    Colorado Art Ranch
    Arvada, CO

    Reply
  31. Pete Wells

    Dear Leonard,

    My best wishes, heart, and prayers go out to you. You work is a stable element in my courses, and now I show your taped lecture twice a year. I recall your conversation with our class last year on Leonardo’s Brain, and it is very significant that you are working the best way on both of yours. We can look forward to your return to USF and further discussion. At that time you will have material based on your own situation, much as Emily Levine has bent her show toward autobiography.

    You are an inspiration to many USF students and to their teacher.

    Love in the One,
    Pete Wells

    Reply
  32. Riva Berelson

    Lenny,
    Your great spirit and happy smile are the best medicine for all of our hearts, minds and souls.
    We are thinking of you and sending many wonderful and healthful messages your way.
    Lots of good wishes,
    Riva & David Berelson

    Reply
  33. Liddy Schmidt

    Lenny,

    We have been concerned about your health since our daughter Katherine told us about your condition. We as a family have been touched by your daughter Kimberly since her high school days. What a wonderful family you have raised. Even though we have never met you, our families have been close for years. Our best wishes to you. Liddy and Bill Schmidt

    Reply
  34. Laura Page

    I just want you to know that I am praying/visualizing/meditating on behalf of you all, that this tumor will shrink, that it will disappear. I have been reading his book, The alphebet vs. the goddess, and am impressed by the insight and intuitive genius I see in his careful analysis. All the best, Laura

    Reply
  35. Helen Bruner

    Dear Leonard,
    I just discovered your work and have been enjoying it so much. I am saddened to hear about your tumor. I feel like I just made a new friend. You and your family will be in my prayers. All my best! Thank you for your terrific contributions and wishing you continued success with your new book and your recovery.
    In Joy,
    Helen Bruner, Colorado

    Reply
  36. Kare anderson

    Joining with a legion of others who have loved your books, your wit and generosity of spirit and your trailblazing my heart goes out to you and your family. Nearby here in Sausalito i first heard of your health when in London where another fan of yours told me. You are one of those special writers whose books not only entertain but give is fresh insights into our lives, our humanity – and what it means to be human.

    Reply

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