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John Gunther Jr

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Emily Morgan

on 30 May 2014

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Transcript of John Gunther Jr

John (Johnny) Gunther Jr
Start of Cancer
Johnny's Cancer started in 1946 and lasted 15 months
It all started with a stiff neck in 1946.
His parents weren't worried about it because he had just gone to the doctor the day before for an annual checkup and nothing was wrong.
A classmate noticed Johnny's stiff neck about a month after it started and insisted that he see the school doctor.
johnny did as the boy requeste
The school doctor took Johnny to the infirmary to make sure that he didn't have polio.
while there a school nurse noticed him stumbling and bumping into walls when he walked. After a closer look he was squniting as well.
After further examination doctors found that there was a build up of pressure in his head.
On April 25, 1946 Johnny's parents got a call from the doctor saying that he thinks their son has a brain tumor.
Johnny thought that he had polio because no one had told him the news yet.
Hardly a week passed when Johnny didn't have some sort of examination or other for the next 15 months.
Throughout this entire ordeal Johnny had 32-33 or more doctors, all of which came to love him and many would have given their lives for him.
On April 29, 1946 Johnny had his first major operation
Went into operation room at 11:10 am.

Came out at 5:20 pm.

making the operation a little more than 6 hours long.

Luckily the tumor was at the surface of his brain.

It was the size of an orange and the doctor only got half of it out.
The doctor said that Johnny would be unconscious all night
At 9 pm that night Johnny gasped and stirred making gestures towards his swollen mouth.

The nurse told him to spit it out.

He miraculously replied in perfect understandable speech, "You know perfectly well I can't spit. I'm completely dehydrated!

The nurse just stared at him dumbfounded.
Night after operation
Johnny's eyes were stuck shut for two days and during this time he feared he was blind.
Couple days after the operation
Father, "Don't you realize you've had quit a serious operation?"

Johnny, "Of course, I heard them drilling three holes through my skull, also the sound of brains sloshing around. From the sound, one of the drills must have had a three-eighths of an inch bit."
The doctor was optimistic that x-rays would heal the rest of the tumor
They left his skull open and just covered it with a piece of scalp just in case the tumor continued to grow.

This way there wouldn't be pressure in the head and no damage to Johnny's brain would occur
Johnny's parents told him that the tumor was completely dead even though it wasn't.
johnny was recovering nicely
Johnny's left side was weak since the cancer was on the right.
He was discharged from the neurological center June 1
Johnny had to return to the hospital every morning for x-rays until June 20.

They stopped because they didn't want the x-rays to harm him.
The bulge in his head continued to grow
It became the size of a tennis ball
Johnny had papilledema
This was pressure in his skull that was causing damage to his optic nerve

On July 17 pus began to leak from the bump
Everyday Johnny had to have his hand dressed and bandaged until a month before his death
The doctors found out that Johnny had a Malignant Glioma
His parent found a possible cure: Mustard Gas
Mustard Gas
Mustard Gas is a deadly poison that was just beginning to be used on tumors

It had never been used on a brain tumor before.

Johnny had his first doses August 1 and 5.

The first day Johnny had heavy bruising and puking.

The new solution helped at first.

Soon Johnny's blood count went down so he had to take penicillin.

The next treatment that Johnny tried was the Gerson Diet
Gerson Diet
No antibiotics
Lots of rest
No salt
No fat
Minimum protein
Nothing canned, seasoned, smoked, or frozen
No: meat, eggs, cream, butter, fats, sugar, pickles, spices, preserved foods, white flower, condiments
Very little water
Vegetables cooked with no added water or steam
No metal used to cook fruit
No aluminum used to cook vegetables
Took biacin, liver powder, lubile, vitamin a & d, iron, decalcium phosphate with viosterol, lugol, and iodine

Meal #1
Pint of fruit juice
Apple-carrot mash
Soup made from fresh vegetables (throughout the day until he ate a quart or a quart and a half)

Meal #2
Cooked vegetables
Fresh Fruit
Baked potato

*Later he was allowed pot cheese, skimmed milk, adn dried pumpernickle


Johnny became stronger but the bump got worse and turned into two bumps
Doctors tried to drain the bumps but they were harder than rocks.

It looked like two tomatoes on his head.

Everyday the bumps would leak pus
Doctors tried for a second time to drain the bumps
Draining the bumps
The doctors went 5cm into Johnny brain and got a full cup of pus and fluid.

Johnny recovered with great leaps.

Doctors were amazed and thought that the tumor was "arrested", they all fought over who cured him.

Johnny was discharged from the hospital January 12.

He continued to use the Gerson diet because doctors didn't want him to risk it.
Johnny had been away from home since August and finally got back February 6, 1947
Johnny could walk and use his left arm and hand well.

Six weeks later the bump began to grow back again.

His parents worried that paralysis on his left side would spread.
On February 19 Johnny began to have brief amnesia
The bump continued to get bigger and was once again rock hard so doctors were unable to drain it
One of their doctors told them there might still be hope if they give up the Gerson Diet and try more mustard gas and do another major operation.
On may 1 Johnny had another major operation
On May 1 the barber came to Johnny's house to shave his head.

Johnny remembered him from the first surgery and became frightened.

He called his mom saying, "the executioner is here! Oh my! It's Tony. The guillotine. No! Protect me!"
His mom replied, "tell father to throw him out the window."
Johnny, "father is too polite".

Johnny knew that shaving his head completely meant another big operation.

Johnny made such a commotion that the barber left and the nurse said it wasn't necessary to shave his head.
Second Major Operation
Johnny went into surgery without knowing what was going on.

They waited until Johnny was unconscious to have the barber shave his head.

He went into the operating room at 1:10pm.

He came out at 7:25pm.

Johnny didn't look as bruised and swollen as he did after the first operation.
the doctors got two handfuls of substances out this time.

The tumor was growing fast, clotting his blood vessel and invading his scalp.

The doctors went 11cm deep into his skull but never reached healthy brain tissue.
The day after the operation Johnny was very talkative.

Over the next two weeks the bulge disappeared completely.

On may 15 Johnny was allowed to go home.
Johnny had a difficult time doing anything with his left hand and the bump began to grow once more.
Johnny tried Mustard Gas, more x-rays, and finally the Gerson diet again
On June 30 Johnny got a very bad headache
Doctors found out that he had a Cerebral Hemorrhage
Johnny died June 30, 1947 at 11:02 pm in his sleep, he was 17 years old
His headache was so bad that Johnny requested morphine.

One of their main doctors came back from vacation early saying, "I have a feeling that Johnny Gunther will die this weekend".

Johnny was very pale and had moist skin.

He was taken to a nearby hospital a little after 6pm
During Johnny's entire experience, his main priority was school.

He insisted on having tutors so that he could catch back up in school.

On March 18 he caught up in history and on April 7 he passed English.

He went to the library with his dad and wrote no fewer than 54 chemistry experiments.

Johnny loved science. He wanted to take science class every year.

He was the only student to take five subjects in one of his schools history.

Johnny also had the highest IQ ever recorded at one of his schools.

He wanted to be five things: physicist, chemist, mathematician, poet, and a cook.

While he was ill he took a three hour trial exam in two hours and got a 77% on it.

He also took collage board exams that lasted 6 1/2 hours without taking a break.

On May 25 Johnny was caught up in everything except one examination and he was to receive his diploma and graduate with his class.

He hadn't been to school in 14 months.

Johnny graduated on June 4, 1947.

Without telling his parents, before graduation he finished his final exam in chemistry and passed with a B+ even though he had never taken a regular chemistry course.

Johnny was determined to graduate the right way and on his own. He walked 1/4 mile with all of his classmates and took his diploma with his left hand like it was supposed to be done.

His left shoulder sagged, his arm hung useless, his mouth was twisted, the left side of his lip sank, his eyes were filmy, and his head was bandaged, but Johnny was happy.

He would have gone to Harvard in Autumn if he had lived.
Johnny's Personality
Johnny was most known for his humor, charms, and brains.

He was very humble and didn't like to brag about the things he accomplished.

Johnny was always polite and on hi best behavior.

He wasn't athletic, wasn't organized, and wasn't extremely religious.

Johnny tried hi hardest to stay positive and he would often make jokes. When the barber was shaving his head for the first operation he nervously but jokingly asked, "papa, they aren't going to electrocute me are they?" He also commented once "I'm afraid the tumor has gone to my head".

He was also a very considerate young boy. If the nurses were tired or having a bad day he'd make it as easy on them as possible.

When the doctor told Johnny that he had a tumor he said, "how shall we break the news to my parents?"

When the doctor told him that his bone was growing back, but it was growing back the wrong way he said, "better not tell mom it's growing the wrong way".

Johnny wouldn't admit when he needed help and he didn't want people to think that he was impatient. He wanted to be independent.

Once when Johnny needed to go to the restroom so his parents called for a nurse because he couldn't walk, his response was, "I could crawl".

After complaining once Johnny said, "Father, you ought to slap me when I talk like that!"

One conversation he said, "I'm afraid I'm being too much trouble!" "Don't worry about me." "Somebody's got to worry over you!"

Every morning his dad would call him to ask how he was feeling and no matter how feeble his voice he always answered, "Simply marvelous!"

While he was in the hospital, if no one answered his bell he would alert the entire corridor by playing his recorder loudly.

Johnny often wanted to hang out with friends but he was worried that he would bore them since he could no longer do many things.

Once the elevator man wept at the sight of Johnny's drooping face and difficulty to walk. Johnny gave him an excuse for his limp assuring him that it would go away soon.
The day after his first operation Johnny asked his dad to bring his physics book to the hospital and read him the questions. He got them all right.

Johnny was the first person to come up with a way to liquify ammonia.

johnny taught himself how to give himself a hypodermic injection of liver extract with his left hand so that his mom didn't have to.

Johnny's brain weighed 2,000 grams. The average weight of a grown males brain is 1,500 grams. The largest Grown male brain weighed 2,222 grams.

Johnny could hardly walk without swaying, could barely move his left fingers, had only half of his eyesight he was daze, and his brain was half eaten away, but everyday that he could he got up to work in his lab.

Johnny's cancer lasted 15 months and the doctors didn't think that he's last that long.
Johnny wrote a letter to Albert Einstein about an idea that he shouldn't have even been aware of. Einstein wrote him back wanting to meet Johnny in person after he got well.

Johnny was on the Gerson Diet for 7 1/2 months.

Before his illness Johnny was worried that he was going to get fat, so without telling anyone he went on a 1,200 calorie a day diet and lost 15 pounds.

Johnny was always fascinated by his condition. He demanded to know the precise reason for everything the doctors did.

Johnny was aware of the seriousness of it all but never showed it. He know what was going on even though his parents didn't think so. He also knew that the doctors and nurses wouldn't always tell them everything there is to know so he would threaten them in order to get information.

Years before he got his tumor Johnny met a girl named Mary that he developed a crush on. He was able to call her and arrange to meet. "When I talked to her my temperature went up and took three days to go back down!"

At one point in time during his illness Johnny declared that he thought he had schizophrenia.

Another time Johnny entered a question to a program and they used it. He stumped everyone and won an encyclopedia.

Johnny decided one day that he needed to learn how to dance for his senior prom. His mom taught him how even though he never got to go to prom.
Birth and Family
He was conceived in California

Born in Paris on November 4, 1929

He had a twin sister but she died at the age of 4 months

His parents divorced but were still friendly

Mother: Frances Gunther
Called her "Mutti"

Father: John Gunther
Called him "Papa"
Johnny's cancer was becoming glioblastomous.

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