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The good news, Timothy Hodson says, is that he has a new grandson, his first. The bad news, the veteran Capitol staffer and university professor says, is that his prostate cancer has apparently spread to his brain and he will have to undergo surgery this week to assess its severity.

Hodson was a long-time Senate staffer, specializing in the arcane process of redistricting, before becoming director of the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento.

He revealed both the birth of his grandson and his bout with cancer in an e-mail to Capitol friends today, noting that one of the Stanford University physicians dealing with his case is Meg Whitman's husband, neurosurgeon Griffith Harsh. Hodson said he's been assured that he has about an 80 percent chance of full recovery "with odd sense of humor intact."

"To try to make life as easy as possible," he added, "we have set up a website here for health updates. It would much, much easier for my family if folks would simply visit the website rather than calling or e-mailing."



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