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.


– 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!

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.


– 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!

5 thoughts on “So You’re Thinking Of Getting Brain Cancer…

  1. I’m a fellow GBM patient and recently came across your blog. I appreciate your honestly and frankness regarding this disease. I struggle with the urge to curl up and wait to die, but have beaten back the urge for 16 months now. I had surgery May 2012 at Duke and have been on a mixture of “standard of care” and things I think might help (it gives me a sense of participation in the equation). I was fortunate enough to make it out of an “awake” craniotomy with my wits about me and go back to work last September full-time. Some thought I was crazy, but I think it helped me keep on track and have some normality in the midst of this life-changing event. This disease is nothing to ever “smile” about, but your observations about the things that used to be trivial that are now monumental (like waking up each day) are so true. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. This post was amazing, thank you for writing it. Okay fine, I liked it a lot. I fell upon your blog by a friend that must have posted on fb or something as now I subscribe and here I am and you don’t know me. This post is a great post for anyone that is diagnosed with a lot of things. I love your sense of humor and your attitude in general. Keep up the great work at everything.

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