- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rob Magin has been one of the leading figures of the Montgomery County Road Runners for more than a decade.

So when news quickly spread that Magin was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at the end of May, there was shock and dismay amongst the area running community.

“I’ve been getting calls and letters from everywhere,” said Magin, 38. “It’s been amazing.”

Magin said he had surgery three weeks ago and surgeons removed as much of the tumor as they could without apparently affecting any of his functions.

“I went back to work for nearly four days last week,” said Magin, who works for Marriott at its Bethesda headquarters in the finance department. “It is amazing getting in the work with all the doctors appointments,” including with the radiation oncologist.

As Magin awaits the second pathology report, he prepares for six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy beginning next week, then more chemo after that as needed.

Before his shocking discovery, Magin’s regularly participated in Tuesday night track sessions at Walter Johnson High School and had at least two June races on the radar, including the MCRRC Gaithersburg Cross Country 5K on June 6, a race in which he finished fourth in 2002.

Then during much of May, Magin didn’t feel right.

“I was having headaches for a few weeks that were actually making me nauseous,” he said. “My primary care doctor sent me to the ER for a CAT scan.”

The preliminary pathology report indicated that he had a malignant glioma tumor, the same type of tumor Sen. Ted Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, is battling and that took political consultant Lee Atwater’s life in 1991.

Gliomas are the most common type of brain tumor/cancer in adults, with about 9,000 people diagnosed with malignant gliomas in the United States each year. Gliomas are typically classified into four grades, with the first two grades representing tumors that are easier to treat. Grades 3 and 4 are reserved for malignant tumors, and the outcome for patients with these cancers is seldom good.

Magin said he had a Grade 3 tumor. He said he was lucky to have caught it early before he had a seizure, a common side effect of the tumor. Because he caught it early, he expects a full recovery.

“The next two months during the radiation and chemo I may take time off to spend with the kids,” said Magin, who has children ages eight, five and seven months with his wife. “Or I may try to work if I can. Marriott’s been great. They’ve been very flexible. The radiation can be very tiring. The surgery tired me out a bit. But I got out once last week for a run and I try to walk every day.”

In the fall of 2000, Magin also was lucky to have caught another damaging disorder - Lyme disease - before it damaged him.

“At the time, a friend of mine, Steve Mann who had Lyme disease, was riding bicycles with my in-laws, and he was talking about the symptoms he had,” Magin said. “And I was talking with my mother-in-law [Mary Kuta] about how bad I was feeling, and she said I should tell my doctor it could be Lyme disease. I got antibiotics and it turned out I had Lyme. It knocked me out for a couple of weeks.”

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