What’s Cooler Than Having 3 Brain Surgeries?

QUESTION: What’s cooler than having three brain surgeries?

ANSWER: Having three brain surgeries, and not having brain cancer anymore.

Hmm– that’s not exactly what I have in mind.  (Pun very much intended.)

Let’s try again:

QUESTION: What’s cooler than having three brain surgeries?

ANSWER: Having FOUR brain surgeries!

There we go!  I’m gonna go with that one!

Why?  Because today I found out that I’ve got a reason to get my skull cracked open for a personal-best  (and Peacock family record) fourth time!  That’s right folks– BRAIN SURGERY NUMBER FOUR!

Nuthin' Beats It!


Mind you, I’m not just doing this to show off (well, at least not only to show off).  I’m doing it because, well, I need a haircut.  And I prefer to get my hair cut in Beverly Hills.  I’m fancy like that.

Actually, earlier today my mother (who happens to be out here visiting for a week) looked at me with a wry smile and a subtle level of consternation and said “So what are you going to do about that hair?”  She is right– my hair is kind of a mess at the moment– but when she said this, I laughed out loud and said “Mom… why don’t we wait and see if I have to have brain surgery first.”

Turns out… I do!  Need both of those things.  A haircut, and brain surgery.  Two birds, one stone.  Boom!

Joking aside (or at least mostly aside) here’s the gist:

– Had an MRI today.  Have felt really (really) good of late, so I didn’t expect anything unusual.  But “unusual” in the world of glioblastoma being a relative term, what I found out today is that my much ballyhooed Brain Chance is back!  Or, more back, as it were, since it’s clearly been hanging out for three years now, just popping up now and then to remind everyone (except for me, because I tend to be conscious of this fact) that I have brain cancer.  Well how d’ya like that!

– The new Mini Tumor Piece (MTP) has appeared since my last MRI, two months ago.  It’s about a centimeter or so in size, and is located in the same hole in my head where all of the action has taken place thus far.  This is a good thing, where it is.  As Doctor Who said (I’ll take the liberty of paraphrasing, since that isn’t how he spells his name either): “This is pretty much exactly what you’d hope for, if you were hoping for something like this to happen.”

– Any respectful brain surgeon (and I find most brain surgeons to be, among many other things, eminently respectful) would scold me for saying this, but the particular surgery required to remove this New Chancey Growth (NCG) is somewhat of a fastball down the middle.  Which is to say, “easy” to hit out of the park, if you’re a good brain surgeon and not using a baseball bat.  Why?? How?? Well, I’ve already got a nice hinged door in my skull right there for them to go in and take it out (Wild West style, with a gap at the bottom for stray dogs and tumbleweeds to roll through), and my surgeon is already quite familiar with this region in my right front temporal lobe, having had his magical porcelain fingers in there two times already in less than three years.

– So I’m not 100% sure I’m going to have brain surgery soon (I could, after all, get hit by a bus tomorrow, thereby beating brain cancer and rendering further treatments irrelevant to my ongoing going), but I’m totally probably gonna have brain surgery.  Relatively soon.  Which brings me to the next point:

– There’s a fancy new clinical trial that hasn’t even started yet that coincidentally (or not, since this could all be a sham, just a creative writing exercise on my part performed to cheat my sister out of a reasonably meager inheritance), I just might be able to get into.  And not only that… NOT ONLY THAT!  But, well, a couple of things:

– I could be Patient #1 in said clinical trial.  Which means, The First Guy Ever To Get This Fancy Ass New Treatment For a Henceforth Mostly Untreatable Disease. (TFGETGTFANTFAHMUD)  Well how do you like THAT!? **

**(I like it a lot.   I am almost incomprehesibly lucky to have this option, or even any of these options.  And this is one big reason why you’ll rarely hear me complaining about any of this stuff that fate has bestowed upon me and my noggin.  I have options (with an S!), and in the world of glioblastoma, options barely exist 20 years ago.  I am one Cancerfully lucky sunuvagun.)

– This particular clinical trial involves some shit that’s so rad and futuristic that it would knock your socks off if you weren’t already reading this post in bed while wearing flip flops.  (Why are you wearing flip flops in bed?)  So what is it, you ask, as you sheepishly remove your flip flops and put them on the side table?  What is this Bitchinly Futuristic New Trial (BFNT)?

– It’s giving my brain a cold.  Literally.  Now if you watched that 60 Minutes piece a few months back where they injected polio into some guy’s brain who has glioblastoma, you may be familiar with The Hot New Trend™ (THNT™) in cancer therapies, which is modifying viruses that usually do shitty things to people to instead do awesome things to people, by doing shitty things to their cancer instead of them.  That’s kind of what this is.  But I’ll explain a bit more:

– In this particular trial, the idea is to inject a modified COLD VIRUS (not as cool as polio, but a lot more down-home and cozy) directly into my brain piece, right smack in the area where the brain chance is chancing it up.  Unlike the polio virus treatment, which uses a modified virus to actually attack the cancer cells themselves, this jigged-up cold virus is instead designed to invoke your own immune response.  In other words, it puts some shit in your brain that makes your immune system say “Hey look, let’s get in there and take care of that shit!” and makes it fly in in full force to attack and remove anything and everything that isn’t Good Old Fashioned Useful Brains (GOFUBs).  Now I know, you’d think your immune system should already be saying this about the fucking brain cancer that’s in there, but this is where the science gets a little fuzzy and hey I’ve had a long day it’s not my job to write clinical trial abstracts, it’s just my job to have brain cancer and not die from it for a surprisingly long time.  And also write about all of this to make people (myself included) feel better about Cancer! in general.

– So to round up: I’ve got more brain cancer, and since the most obvious way to get brain cancer out of your head is to get in there and physically remove it, that’s exactly what we (myself and my magically Cancerful Team at Cedars) plan on doing.  Hence brain surgery #4.  And since the clinical-trial-injecting-cold-virus-into-your-brain thing requires that you already have an actual opening in your skull big enough to get a turkey baster through, a convenient time to do the injection would be during an already-in-progress brain surgery.  Hence Brain Surgery #4.

– Right now they working to figure out if we can actually make all of this happen at the same time, so I don’t know if or when it’s all exactly going to happen.  There’s lots of medical and scientific and bureaucratic finagling required to get the trial up and running, so we (and by “we” I mean not really me but mostly those aforementioned Cancer Magicians at Cedars) are currently figuring out if it’s possible to make it all happen quickly enough.  (In the world of glioblastoma, “quickly” is loosely defined as “with as much haste as you can possibly fucking muster, since this shit grows real fast.”)

– If we can’t get the trial stuff ready quickly enough, there’s a possibility that I’ll just drop by Cedars for a Run-Of-The-Mill Get-The-Cancer-Out Brain Surgery (ROTMGTCOBS) some time in the next two weeks, and then go back later when the trial is ready and have a fifth brain surgery shortly on the heels of the fourth, just to get that cold into my head, and maybe cure my cancer.

–  Wait, did I just say a FIFTH brain surgery?

– I did.

– What’s cooler than having four brain surgeries?

– Nothing.  Having four brain surgeries is cool enough, so let’s start there and see what happens.

– Brain Surgery #4 time & date is yet to be determined– I’ll keep you posted on here as soon I have more details.  (What a cliffhanger!)

– Speaking of cliffhangers, this Cancerful Movie and Cancerful Foundation I’ve been working very hard on are going really really well, and I have no intention of letting any of the myriad brain surgeries I have coming in the coming weeks slow me down even one bit.  Well maybe one bit, but not any more bits than that.  Preferably only a half a bit.

– Since I don’t want to appear overly cavalier about all of this (I’m only mostly cavalier, and that’s just because I’m an idiot) I will now admit that YES, this is all scary.  And yes, it’s hard.  It’s really hard, in fact.  But I end this day mostly and honestly relieved and excited and above all thankful that there are people and ideas out there that allow a person with a Super Terminal Whopper Of A Disease (STWOAD) not only to keep living, but to keep living well.  And the gratitude and utter amazement I feel for all of that keeps me going.  And keeps me wanting to keep on going.  Man, what a ride this is.

And it isn’t even close to being over.

Good night!  I will see you all in the morning.

26 thoughts on “What’s Cooler Than Having 3 Brain Surgeries?

  1. Hey Chad! I’ll bring you chocolate when I come back to LA in June. Chocolate and Denial are my favorite modes of existance, and since that MRI blew the lid off the denial approach, I say we up the chocolate content. Glad we got to meet at my dad’s last week.

  2. That stinks!!! I’m constantly moved by your brave/positive….front/attitude! You’re my hero! You’ll continue to be in my prayers….and btw I like the hair 😄

  3. Chad, this is not what I was hoping to read on the day Amos became my alwaysandforever 5 years ago, but I am so grateful for the advances in science that make your journey ever more hopeful and for your willingness to go for it! Thank you for your courage and badass attitude. And good luck!

  4. Well. ..you answered all my questions that I couldn’t ask your mother. ..been on my mind all night. You are a precious, wonderful person. And now I can sip my coffee on this rainy morning knowing you and Dutch are going to be fine.

  5. GOFUBs is my new favorite acronym; I’ll try to work it into my next call to Philly sports talk radio. And good luck with the trial, I want to tell people I know TFGTEGTFANTFAHMUD.

  6. Hi Chad. We will be thinking very positive thoughts about you. You really keep us going. I have been following your posts since the very beginning when my husband got the same diagnosis. Big hugs and lots of love to you.

  7. Chad,
    Possible option, Tocagen clinical trial number three, surgery with injections of virus at UCLA. My husband is recovering from surgery number three with this trial. He is stable and he just starting on 5FC. He is number four person on this trial, Tocagen (lymphoma) virus. Excited for you and I hope you can get on a trial!
    Peace and Light,

  8. My first comment got lost in space so I will try again. Irwin and I were soooo sad to hear about your recurrence but we were also inspired by your positive attitude. Both you and Irwin always see the glass as half full. By the way, please don’t use the word terminal. That should only refer to trains and planes. We join you in your war against brain cancer. Together with our “amazing” (excuse the word) medical team at Cedars we will win. You had an open invitation for dinner. I will make chicken soup to help the cold vaccine fight your f—— cancer!! Sending lots of healing prayers and love 😍😘💕❤️

  9. YATA – you are totally amazeballs! Good luck for the surgery and or the trial…hope it’s not too much of a trial for you!

  10. Chaaaaaad! Whenever you’re up for it, I will come over and make frikadeller & æbleskiver for you; that should help a little tiny bit at least. 🙂 Wishing you lots of love and luck. Xoxoxo

  11. Chad, you will be better than ever and have a new haircut to boot. Love your blog. If my seventy year old husband can live a cancerful three years You will probably live to be a hundred. Maybe A hundred and two! Love from this doddering old can_do couple.

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  15. I had brain surgery 20 years ago. Five days in the hospital then healed right up. Right side frontal. 2 aneurysms. This year, I had two extra large aneurysms on the left side frontal. Had another craniotomy. Never healed. Sent home twice doing crazy stuff. Green stuff started coming out of my forehead. I was full of MRSA. Sepsis set in. Blacked out for two days. Had another craniotomy to scrape MRSA out of my brain, skull and eye cavity. This time took a big cut out of my forehead as well. Both times entered through eyebrow. Had vancomycin by IV for 6 weeks. Renal failure. Back to hospital then nursing home for the last month. Closely monitored still doing crazies! Now fast forward 6 months. Doing fine! Driving, cooking, etc. But not done yet. Go back in February for another aneurysm on the right side closer to my ear. It’s a double. Hmmm

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