Fishing For Thought

Normally

  • excited
  • excitable
  • exciting
  • inciting

neurons now fire and fade in my mind like they’re covered by a wet blanket.

The initial pulse of a thought is still clear… recognizable as something interesting or joy-inducing or worth pursuing.  But it’s then dampened enough to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the mind and flowering into something resembling real inspiration.

But maybe this is the limit now: the New Fogged Normal.

And if so, in that context those damp fogged-in flashes are inspiration (or at least as much as you’re gonna get), and so you’d damn well better grab onto them and facilitate their flourishing as much as you can.

For maybe this process– not so easily letting go of the now-slippery rope ends of worthy, valuable thoughts– is a new skill that must be learned and suddenly

PRACTICED.

And maybe by practicing this skill, the soft paths of thinking can be tread down more clearly and precisely, and I’ll be able once again to follow those shooting stars swiftly through the woods.  I’ll be able to follow them to a clearing where things are clear, and the light shines bright, and I can soak in it and bend it and spend as long as I want basking in it and shaping it and making something of it.

For certainly, focussing only on unfocussed transience will lead me nowhere but the same place: standing alone, waiting for the next faint flash that I know in advance will quickly disappear.

So hold on to those ropes, for dear life.

For life is dear.  And dur.

But so long as your eyes are open and your hands remain dipped in the water, those slippery ropes of beautiful thought and enriching experience will continue to swim by like eels packed in a freshwater stream, asking to be caught if you’ll only just try.  And maybe you just need to try.  To try harder.  Maybe then you can get better.

The fish used to swim into your mouth with no effort at all.

Now you must learn to be a fisherman.

When is it going to stop?

When will this feeling stop? I’m so tired of it. I feel like I’m living inside a bubble, where the full clarity of my mind and unfiltered connection with the world around me exists outside of that bubble. And I am inside, observing. But not always fully connecting.

I can still appreciate things beyond the bubble, beyond the fog of imposed sickness, but I can’t grab them as easily or as readily as I could before.

Something is just different. And I’m so tired of it. Exhausted by it. It’s been too long. When is it going to go away? When is it going to stop?

Maybe it never will.

Accepting that is like accepting that the itchy sweater or ill-fitting shoes that you just put on and really want to take off are now a permanent part of your body, an unremovable part of your existence. And that’s a hard thing to accept.

Maybe you shouldn’t accept it. Even if it’s true.

Maybe you should just think about something else.

The most important thing– the utterly crucial imperative– is not to lose yourself into an anxious hysteria of “oh my god I’ve gotta get this thing off I can’t get this thing off!” and instead to breathe calmly, consider rationally that you can still smell roses and that they still smell good and that your dinner last night was pretty fucking delicious and that when you were jogging yesterday you felt really good and totally forgot about the itchy sweater foggy bubble imposed sickness that we were just talking about that two minutes ago sounded so scary and important and suddenly no longer does.

Because feel this Tuscan breeze. It’s lovely. It’s filled with grace. And that grace isn’t coming from anywhere else but inside of you, because it wouldn’t exist without you feeling it.

And there are many more breezes like this to come. You know that. Many, many more beautiful moments await you. You’d better be there to greet them.

And so, do not get lost in the woods of fear. Choose not to let the pain hold sway over you.

Instead stop, point yourself in the direction of hope, in the direction of where you’d love to be and how you’d love to feel, and then do the work it takes to make that real.

Because that’s exactly when this feeling will stop.

SEIZING FRIDAYS: The Inconvenient Truth About Smoothies

You had a great day, you were relatively alert and awake. (Which is rare, but maybe getting less so?)  You got some work done, and you had a great meeting about your writing where you were not only talkative (and reasonably articulate), but enthusiastic.  You felt good about what you’ve done, and about where you’re going.  And that feels a lot like hope.

Even better that that, you felt even better than that the day before, when you also got a lot of work done, and despite getting half of your face gently torn apart for two hours by a dental hygienist named Sonny for the third day in a row, you still had enough energy to come home and go for your old standby five mile jog, which felt fantastic and gave you even more energy for the evening, when you went out and had some otherwordly tacos with a very very good friend who lent you some money to help keep a roof over your head and otherworldly tacos in your mouth.

And all of that on the heels of an MRI on Tuesday that came with very good results!

Things are looking up, huh?

Then, back at home, you’re sitting at your computer doing some work and a picture of that creepy guy from Breaking Bad catches your eye and you suddenly realize that you’re feeling a little bit weird, just totally out of the blue.  So you close the page and you look away from the screen, and instead of feeling better you suddenly realize that you’re feeling really weird.  Like smoothie weird.  Like seizure weird.

If you have brain cancer, do not look at this picture (or watch this show)

If you have brain cancer, do not watch this show.

Not wanting to seize this particular day, you stand up and carefully but methodically try to navigate yourself into the other room, where your anti-seizure Ativan awaits.  Every step you take, you realize that you’re giving any tables or sharp objects you pass a wide berth, so that if you suddenly drop and hit the floor you’re not going to re-crack open your skull.  Or poke your eye (or anything else) out.  You have to be careful when you’re dancing on a smoothie— you have to be careful until you get your body somewhere safe.

Somewhere safe is where I got myself last night around 7 o’clock when I picked up my phone and started typing out the words that follow.  I barely remember any of this (Ativan has some very impressive amnesic side effects), but this is what I wrote…

********

IT GETS A LITTLE HARD TO PLAN ANYTHING when just when you’re starting to let yourself think that you might be starting to feel better, you go and start to feel like you’re going to have a seizure and have to cancel some plans and lie on the couch and take a few pills and text a few friends to alert them of a potential Friday Night Lights Out.  (I did just feel like I was maybe going to have a seizure, and I did just lie on the couch and take a few Ativan and text a few friends.  I’m OK now though, so don’t worry.)

But even though I AM OK now, it did get me thinking about these seizures.  Despite the fact that they’re controllable and not even (anymore) a sign of having lots of cancer in my brain, the smoothies and hints of seizures are still very powerful in what they represent: sudden death reminders of how close I am (and have been) to suddenly dying.

So rather than just feeling weird and kinda funky and even somewhat interesting (which is how the smoothies really feel– in other words not all that bad), put into context even just the slightest hint of one washes over my brain now like this wave of terror, as if to say “EVERYTHING YOU HAVE AND KNOW IS THIS CLOSE TO JUST COMPLETELY DISINTEGRATING AND DISAPPEARING INTO NOTHING.  SO DEAL WITH THAT.”

It’s unignorable, because it reminds me of the stakes.

And it reminds me now that I am actually afraid.

The more I am able to embrace life and being alive, the more I FEEL everything that I’m at risk of losing.

And so even the whole getting better thing has its own personal dark side: it just means there’s more now to take away from me.

I skirted death once (twice?), which was an original and interesting and deeply engaging experience.  But now that I’ve learned what that’s like, maybe now  the fun and freshness of feeling like you’re gonna die has faded a bit.  Maybe now it’s just scary.  Like it’s supposed to be.  Or at least like everyone always says it is.

I miss the not being afraid part.

Especially because now, as I’m starting to feel better, being afraid makes me afraid to invest more in my life, to allow myself to feel even MORE better.  Since that will just give me even more to lose.  I’ve come to terms with losing everything that I have right now.  I came to terms with that a year ago.  But what if I suddenly fall in love?  Then I also have to deal with the fear of losing that.  What if the Eagles start the season 2-0?  Then I have to live with the fear that they make it to the Super Bowl and I don’t.

With this perspective, every blessing becomes a curse.  And that’s a hard thing to work through, when promise and hope can leave you with more fear and pain.

But wait, this is the goddamn Brain Chancery.  If I know anything about the tone of this blog, it’s that it inevitably ends on an upbeat note.  And it usually does because there usually is one.  It’s just up to me to seek it out, to see it, and to choose to focus on it.

[ DRAMATIC PAUSE…. ]

I will not be swayed by fear.  Or at least I won’t be swayed by fear any more than the amount that nudges me safely and softly down on the couch, in case I do have a seizure.  I’ll be swayed exactly that much by fear, but no more.

And here I am on that couch, and I am safe.  And I’m not unhappy, even though I was feeling truly and honestly afraid just two minutes ago.

I’m not unhappy right now, because even if I do at some point lose everything, until the exact moment that that happens I am still surrounded by it.  By ALL of that everything that I love and that I know and that I want and that I might (will) some day lose.

But while I still do have all of that everything… boy does it feel amazing.

Or maybe that’s the Ativan talking.

Maybe I should have gone for a jog instead of almost having a seizure.

But then I never would have written this blog post.

Maybe I’ll go for a jog right now.

MRI RESULTS: A RHAPSODY IN BLUE!

Sorry to have created another cliff hanger by not posting about this until a few days late.   Life got in the way.  Which is a good thing, because if it’s still getting in the way that means it’s still there.

But sorry if any of you were worried.  And thank you for being worried.

The MRI was good!  I got to wear my own pants since they didn’t have a zipper, the contrast needle didn’t hurt too much and I didn’t get nauseous.  I was seen very quickly, and the scan lasted about 30 minutes, which I loved because then I had plenty of time to sleep and to meditate and to listen to the new age classical piano music they put on for me.  And afterward, me and Dr. Who talked about the Eagles game the previous night, which was pretty damn exciting and (we hope) a sign of great things to come.  Including (I hope) a Super Bowl before my brain decides to explode.  That would be nice.  Then I could really go out happy.

But oh, back to my brain!

But oh, back to the MRI!

The MRI results were good! 

To elaborate:

The hole inside my brain is still there.  If you’re curious about this hole, it always will be there, cancer or no cancer.  The brain doesn’t fill back in completely to re-occupy the tumor cavity.   The cavity just fills up with cerebrospinal fluid and stays like that.  Forever.  Which is normal and isn’t a problem.  Or so I’m told.

The good news about the MRI is: like the last few MRIs, the cavity where the tumor was seems to have less and less of a “white halo” around it.

This white halo, if you’ll remember, has been there since the beginning, but has slowly been getting smaller.

The whiteness itself could represent two things:

1) Cancer, or

2) regular non-cancerous brain tissue that is just healing, or R.N.C.B.T.T.I.J.H. (In other words, healthy brainy tissue that is just inflamed and straightening itself out after all the radiation, chemo, vaccine, etc.)

The only way to know if it is/was #1 or #2 would have been to crack my brain open again and biopsy it.  But rather than do that, you can just keep an eye on it and see what happens.  That has been our approach.

And what has happened, over the last 6 months, is that the white halo has gotten smaller and smaller.

Now you can barely see it at all (it doesn’t even look like a Scooby Doo ghost anymore!)

What this means is two things:

1) Whatever we did and are doing in terms of treatment is working.  For now.  Whatever cancer is/was in there is not growing or spreading.  For now.  (I repeat “for now” because this kind of cancer usually— if not always— winds up changing its mind about coming back to the party.  And that’s just the troof, Roof.  That’s why it pretty much always kills everybody who gets it.  Until now!  (Maybe;) )

2) Since it has been shrinking this whole time, we can now say that the white halo probably never was cancer.  Cancer cells would have been growing, because that’s what they do.  Because the halo was shrinking, now we can say with a good degree of confidence that it very likely was just healing tissue that whole time.  So it may very well be that the surgery & the chemo and the radiation did a heckuva job rummy getting most if not all of the GBM cells OUTTAAHEEEEEERE!

Harry the K wants that tumor OUTTAHEEEERE!

Harry the K wants that tumor OUTTAHEEEERE!

So the results are good in two ways:  they mean I’m stable right now, and they also mean that for the last 6-8 months, things have been good inside my head (physiologically, if not emotionally and intellectually).

So those are the results.  And they are good.  For now.

To celebrate those results, I went and saw my fellow GBM pal George Gershwin.  Earlier in the day I’d noticed that the LA Phil was going to be performing some Gershwin that very same night at the Hollywood Bowl (which is very likely my favorite thing about Los Angeles), so when I got my good GBM MRI news (GGBMMRIN),  I felt like going Gershwin would be an appropriate way to celebrate.  And so I went!  And it was lovely.

Good Old GBM George

Good Old GBM George

As it turns out, if I didn’t already love George Gershwin’s music (I did), I love it even more now that I have brain cancer.  Because, as it turns out, George Gershwin died of the very same brain cancer that I have: Glioblastoma Multiforme.  And he died at the very same age I am about to turn:  38 years old.  AND he died at the very same hospital I go to for my chancey treatment: Cedars Sinai!  (At the time it was called Cedars of Lebanon.  As in the bologna.  Mmmmmm…. Lebanon bologna.)

Not only that, Gershwin’s tumor first reared its ugly brain-head 77 years ago, when he passed out at a piano only a few blocks away from my house.

Not only that, Gershwin used to love jogging around the Hollywood Hills, just like I do.  Even after he got brain cancer, just like I do.  Apparently I’m a lot like George Gershwin.  I wish I was more like George Gershwin (except for the dying at 38 part).

By the age of 38, George Gershwin had written Rhapsody in Blue, Porgy and Bess, and a lot of other music that you know by heart, even if you don’t know it.

77 years later, by the age of 38, I will have written… this blog.  And maybe a book.  And a bunch of screenplays that have never been made.

But maybe one of them will!  Maybe the one I’m working on right now, which is about cancer.  It’s no Rhapsody in Blue, it’s something else.

I really think it’ll be Somethin’ Else.

I think George Gershwin will probably be in it.  And I think I will too.

I hope you get to see it.

Turns out I’ve got some work to do, before I die.

And even before I turn 38.

I’d better hurry up…

Start With The T’s.

I’d like a long old life.

I’d need one to be able to even scratch the surface of the outer crust of all the things I’d really rather know inside and out.

The world is too complex now — it’s overwhelming for an insatiably curious mind.  Even more so for an insatiably curious mind that’s conscious of its own debilitated powers of recognition and absorption and retention.  A mind that is now stunted by traumas both blunt and penetrating.  A diminished mind that feels somewhat helpless in the face of its own undiminished curiosity.

In other words: there’s too much shit going on, and I want to know about all of it.  And I’ll never have the time.  I’ll never have the time to get a handle on what’s happening in the world right now, let alone catch up with all the things that have already happened that I’ve missed, like Graham Greene and Tolstoy and the Austronesian language family and Finland and most of opera.

I didn’t even know that the Earth’s crust occupies less than 1% of its total volume until 5 minutes ago.

I don’t even know who the Birds’ starting cornerbacks are this year and the season starts tomorrow.

But luckily — luckily— this is a dilemma of overabundance, of finding yourself hungry and thirsty and in the middle of a citrus grove at peak season trying to eye the ripest or fattest or most fragrant fruit to peel and devour first.  It’s lucky to be hungry and surrounded by food.  It’s stupid to be paralyzed by choice; the smart thing to do is to know what you like and start there.  Or, failing that, start with anything that looks delicious.

Being paralyzed by choice is about as useful a way to pass your time as being crippled by anxiety over a fate that’s already determined.

I have an MRI on Tuesday morning.  The results of that test are already determined.  Not in any mystical determinist way; it’s just going to be exactly what it’s going to be, and nothing more or less than that unless I smash my head into a wall on purpose some time in the next 48 hours, which I’m certainly not prone to do.

There’s nothing I can do right now to control the outcome of this bi-monthly brain parole hearing, and so I’m not at all anxious about it.  So why am I so anxious about all these things that I know I will never get a chance to know?

Because I miss them already.  I miss all the things I will never get a chance to know, even though I don’t even know what most of the things are that I will never get a chance to know.

But I do know what a lot of them are.  Tuscany and Tolstoy and  Tristan und Isolde are three.

Hey why don’t I just start there?  I should live long enough to get through the T’s!  (As long as I start with the T’s.)  And that’s something!  That’s something I can actually reach.

Something I can reach is the full part of the glass that is otherwise occupied by an unreachable infinity.  For the emptiness stretches out beyond the rim of the glass to join and connect with the infinite everything that isn’t, from here to the ends of the universe.  And that’s a lot of nothing.

So why bother worrying about this unreachable part?  Even the emptiness in the glass (to belabor the metaphor further) is not nothing.  Emptiness implies the presence of something that was once there, or has the potential to be there.  And so there is a kernel of positive value even in emptiness, if you’re willing to see it.

Look at it this way (before we both lose our trains of thought— and believe me, my train is almost off the rails):

Missing someone or something hurts, because it is someone or something you love.

And love is something.

And that is positive.

I am positive that I will live long enough to go to Tuscany for the first time.  I should live long enough (I hope I live long enough) to return to Toluca.  And those both start with a T.  So that’s a start.  With a T.

In fact, I think a lot of this started with Toluca.

(Cue blurry transition fade and flashback music… or you know what— screw irony, just listen to the story.  It’s a flashback.  This is the transition.)

When I was 12 years old, I went on an elementary school exchange to Toluca, Mexico.  For a month.  At 12.  I didn’t speak any Spanish.

And after a ten hour plane delay and layovers in Cancun and some random person’s house in Mexico city and a drive in a van to the house of the host family with whom I would be living, I fell asleep in a bed that I have absolutely no recollection of getting into.

Nor did I remember getting into that bed in the morning, when I woke up in that room, completely alone.  I looked around and saw no one.  I heard no one.  (This is because there was no one there).  And so I tentatively wandered out and into the hallway and down the stairs and around this strange and unknown home in Toluca, Mexico that seemed to be inhabited by no one other than my 12 year-old self.

It was slightly traumatic.  It became even more traumatic when I finally encountered the one other human being who was there in the house:  a kind but grizzled old woman with the face and teeth of a fisherman who’d been lost at sea for 35 years.  Needless to say she spoke no English, and I spoke no Spanish.  But we tried anyway.  It didn’t work.  I was 12.  I was terrified.  I burst into tears.

I wept, probably harder than I ever have before or since.   Then she hugged me.  I would probably have fallen apart if her bony arms hadn’t been there to hold me together.  And now her cleverness and compassion took over, and she got me on the phone with someone I did know, who did speak my language, and who informed me that my teacher and my friends were already at our host school, and had been for hours.  (For some reason this annoyed me more than the fact that I had no idea where I was.)

Apparently my host family had felt bad about the long trip and didn’t want to wake me at 7AM, thinking it would be better for me to sleep in.  And to wake up, alone, watched over only by a grandmother I had never met, in a place that was so foreign to my limited and sheltered suburban Philadelphian sensibilities that my head would explode upon seeing it, and I would never be the same person again.

They couldn’t possibly have known that this was what they were doing, but it worked.  I had never experienced any kind of trauma in my life, any kind of separation from the familiar, and this situation was a shock to the system so powerful (and inherently safe) that it could not have been orchestrated any better.

It exploded the walls of my brain.  It pressed the reset button and tore down any retainer fences that may have persuaded me into thinking that there was some limit to what’s out there, to what’s knowable or experienceable in the world.

And so since that day when I was 12, I’ve been addicted to immersing myself in the unknown.  Into tearing myself away from the familiar and diving head first into the freshness of the new.

Even better, I’ve always trusted that things would work out great.  That leather-faced old lady—as terrifyingly knobby and shriveled as she was—would always be there to wrap her arms around me and show me that everything was going to be OK in the end.

And it has been.

And it continues to be.

So I’m gonna go move on to the next T.

And hopefully one day get back to Toluca.

(And, once there, learn to play the Ukulele and Violin.)

Cosmovitral Jardín Botánico de Toluca

Cosmovitral Jardín Botánico de Toluca

PS: If you ever get to Toluca, be sure to visit the Cosmovitral Jardín Botánico de Toluca  .  Somewhere in the world there is a photograph of me standing in front of the beautiful stained glass window pictured above.  It was taken almost exactly 25 years ago.  I haven’t seen it (the photo or the real thing) since then.  I’m happy to report that I remember it perfectly.  I’m sure if you go you’ll never forget it either.

So You’re Thinking Of Getting Brain Cancer…

Having had it for over a year now, I can say without hesitation that it might not be all that bad of an idea.  So if you’re feeling it, then by all means,  please get it!  We’d be happy to welcome you to our exclusively chancey club.

AMONG THE MANY BENEFITS:

– Experience the magic of having had a man or woman’s actual hands inside your actual brains!

– If you’re a thoughtful, reflective person, going through the life/death process while you still have (or at least should have had) plenty of life left can be an extremely rewarding process.  Terrifying too, but at least as rewarding as it is terrifying.

– If you’re not a thoughtful, reflective person then… well… you will be soon enough!

IF YOU ARE DEFINITELY READY TO GET BRAIN CANCER, HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PREPARE YOURSELF: (Also useful if you have recently been diagnosed)
NOTE:  None of this should be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.

1) Be nice to the people you need right now, because you’re gonna need them even more once your head is filled with cancer.

2) Get all that paperwork you’ve been putting off forever done and out of the way, because once you get your very own brain chance it’s gonna be at least 14 months before you’re able to do anything significant other than trying not to die.
(NOTE:  The other alternative is that you won’t even make it 14 months, in which case maybe you shouldn’t have bothered with any of that paperwork I just told you to do.)
Divorces, taxes, health insurance plans… these are examples of nice things to get out of the way before you go and get your brain cancer.
So stop procrastinating– clear that plate off now!  Then you’ll have tons more brain room for cancer!

3)  If you don’t already have it, hurry up and get health insurance.  Lucky for you, this is about to become a lot easier and a lot cheaper thanks to the Affordable Care Act.  (<— click that link to learn more!)

4)  Live somewhere very close to a major hospital, in a cushy city in the Western world where there’s nice things like running water and food and friends and family everywhere.
Failing that, find somebody who can give you a ride you to one of those hospitals every day, even if it’s 4000 miles away.
In my case, I was lucky enough to already live 5 miles away from a great hospital in a great city with with great friends and great parking for motorycycles.
This happened by coincidence.   Boy am I lucky.

5)  Familiarize yourself with the current available medical treatments for GBM.  There aren’t many (there’s only really three, and they don’t always even work), so this shouldn’t take long.   (HINT– They are: surgery, radiation, Temodar.)

6)  Don’t familiarize yourself with all the holistic new age treatments out there, because there are too many of them to fit into one lifetime, let alone a lifetime that will soon have such potential brevity.  And a lot of them are crazy.  And anyway, you don’t need to look for them– plenty of people will breathlessly tell you “YOU HAVE TO EAT _______ IF YOU WANT TO NOT DIE!”  So you can count on them to keep you informed.

7)  If you are interested in holistic natural cures and think you might want to pursue some, get yourself a dart board. Because that’ll be the only efficient way to decide on which one(s) you’re gonna follow.   (In the case of western medical treatments, substitute actual scientific studies and extremely intelligent people whose job it is to make you not die for the aforementioned dartboard.)

8)  Donate any money you can spare — as fast as possible– to brain cancer research.  Get other people to do this too.  (Screw “awareness”– I don’t even know what that is– hard RESEARCH is what you’re looking for.)  That way, when you DO have your very own brain tumor, there will be all sorts of new, real, proven treatments out there in addition to the very few scientific ones I listed above (which do actually work, but not always, and never forever), and the very many new age ones that may or may not do anything at all.

9)  Find a doctor (in your case, a neuro-oncologist) whom you trust.  This isn’t to say that you need to tread carefully because they’re a swarthy, untrustworthy bunch (they certainly are not that).  I just mean that you should meet at least two, if you can, before you decide to go with one.  For every doctor you meet with, you will  undoubtedly learn something.   And then after you’ve chosen one of them, you’ll always feel like you have some idea of what else is out there.  This may prove useful at some point.

9)  Be ready to accept the fact that there might not be any reason at all for what’s about to happen to you.   Blame and regret and fear are fun games to play for an afternoon, but living with cancer is difficult enough.  Fueling your recovery with the acidic seeds of blame, regret, fear, and other negative emotions probably isn’t gonna help you much, and very likely will make you even more scared and confused than you already will be.  Get ready to just accept brain cancer.  It’s not that hard to  do.  (In fact, it kind of forces you to accept it once it shows up inside your brain.) 😉
Point is: brain cancer happens.  No one did it to you (unless you know differently, in which case feel free to blame the holy hell out of them), and you didn’t do it to yourself (unless you know differently, in which case what the hell is wrong with you, and more importantly how’d you do that?!)

10)  Find some kind of exercise that you enjoy, if you haven’t already by this point in your life.  Once you have brain cancer, you’ll find that you like this exercise even more.  And the added bonus is, it will now not just help you lose weight– it’ll help you not die!
(And, perhaps equally important, it’ll help you not go insane.)

11)  Enjoy whatever it is you’re currently spending all your worrying time worrying about, because soon you’re not gonna be worried about that shit at all.  Brain cancer is gonna take up more than enough of your worrying space, so say goodbye to pining over “Should I tell my second cousin that I’m secretly in love with him?!” because once you have brain cancer you won’t give a shit– it’ll be the first thing out of your mouth!

12)  Learn to mediate.  Or find things that you already like doing that are like meditation in that they make you totally stop thinking about anything else while you’re doing them (knitting, fixing cars and skimming the pool are all good examples).  You will need this sort of mental downtime very badly once your head is packed tight with both cancer cells and a whole host of shit that you never knew you’d one day have to start thinking about.  Giving yourself a break from all that thinking will be difficult, but if you already know how to clear your mind and just vibe out for awhile, you’re gonna be a much happier Brain Chanciteer.

13)  Stop saying “amazing” so much.  The salad you just ate wasn’t amazing.  Neither was that episode of Breaking Bad.  Save this word for when you wake up from brain surgery and are still alive.  Save it for when you’re shot up with morphine for the first time and your doctor asks you how you feel.  Save it for when you’re starting to recover and you see Bryce Canyon at sunrise for the first time.  Save for when your first child is born.  Don’t cheapen your capacity for being amazed by pretending you’re amazed by things that you actually just like a lot.

That said, don’t get me wrong: the world can and does amaze.  Being alive can be amazing, and often is.  Don’t settle for less, in fact.  Don’t settle for less than being alive and feeling like it is truly–literally–amazing.   When you get sick, you’ll be really thankful you learned to feel that way.  Because now you’ll want to feel that way even more, and you’ll already know how to do it.

YET ANOTHER BENEFIT OF GETTING BRAIN CANCER:

– Life will get even more amazing.  Even more amazing than that salad you just ate (a lot more, in fact).

So Why Wait?  Act NOW While Supplies Are Still Incurable!

Imagine Yourself With a Brain Chance!

Imagine Yourself… With Brain Cancer!