There was some debate last night over whether I should bestow my brain chance with a proper name.
As in: “What do you mean I didn’t bring anything to the party? I brought Brandon!” or “I wouldn’t have invited Brandon if I knew it would cost a quarter of a million dollars to get him to leave.” or “I flew to Hong Kong, and all I came back with was Brandon. At least most of him decided to stay in Kowloon.” or “Mr. Peacock this is Doctor Chan. Call me soon, we need to talk. It’s about Brandon.”
As funny as this is, and as much as I would normally totally be into an idea like calling my brain cancer Brandon, here’s the reason I’m not going to do it:
Cancer isn’t a sentient creature with thoughts and opinions and motives. It isn’t evil, it isn’t even bad. It’s just a type of cell that replicates very quickly and doesn’t have a shutoff valve.
And I don’t see any reason to anthropomorphize it.
This is why I’m not into “fuck cancer” slogans, why I’m not angry at or scared of some demon lurking inside my skull. There is no demon, there’s just this random thing in there that could kill me but would have no idea even if it was succeeding at it. Cancer doesn’t know anything, doesn’t want anything. All it does is duplicate. It’s not even a virus, for godssakes; it’s completely idiotic.
So if I happen to be in the way of these random cells duplicating, which is a distinct possibility, then so be it. It is what it is. I’ll try to make it stop, for sure, but I’m not gonna get pissed off about it. Getting pissed off at cancer doesn’t make any more sense than getting pissed off at your lawn, or dust. Cuz if you’re pissed off at dust, what are you really pissed off at? Brandon?
The point is, there’s no reason for this. For any of this. There’s no reason for what happened to me, just as there’s no meaning behind it or cause for it. It’s all just random. It happened randomly, and it could for all intents and purposes have happened to anybody. But it happened to me, and all I can do now is just do what I can do, control what I can control, and not worry about what I can’t.
I actually find quite a lot of comfort in the thought that none of this has any meaning. Not treating cancer like a Brandon, or an enemy, frees the non-Brandonized portions of my mind from being weighed down by things like anger, disappointment, despair, and fear. And considering the limited overall timeframe that I’m potentially dealing with, the last thing I want to be doing right now is running around being angry or disappointed or despairing or afraid. Kierkegaard can kysse min røvhul— anxiety is a waste of time.
And so is brain cancer, come to think of it. Although actually, I take that back. A lot of pretty amazing things have come out of this whole experience, things that have been far more powerful and affecting than any of the fear or pain that I’ve experienced. What I’m gonna do is focus my non-Brandonized brain on those things.
Is all this to say that I’m glad I’ve got a little brain chance? That I’d do it all over again?
It’s hard to say yes to the first question– it is brain cancer, after all. (I mean, who says hooray for brain cancer, other than the accounting team at the Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Brain Tumor Center.)
That said, it’s equally hard to say no to the second question.
I don’t have that option right now anyway, so I think I’m gonna go for a jog and smell some roses.