I actually sat down to write a completely different post, but when I looked at the date on my computer, I realized that it appears to be April, in the year 2016.
This is a mind-blowing enough fact on its own, but it also reminds me of another not literally (just figuratively, and quite intendedly double-entedrely) mind-blowing fact:
I have had brain cancer for 4 years.
Four years! Four freaking ©ancerful years! Holy smokes… that is 1/10th of my entire life. That’s a lotta life!
It’s also 328% more life than the measly 14.6 months they tell you you’re gonna get when you get yourself some glioblastoma, and you go looking for median survival rates on the internet. (See, I told you not to do that four years ago! Remember?)
So… Four years of living with brain cancer. Wow!
Now that is not something I would have voted for back in 2012…
Or, you know what? Maybe I would have voted for it, now that I think about the last four years, and all the things I experienced in that time that I never otherwise would have. (For example: Do you know what cerebral spinal fluid tastes like? I do! It’s not half bad, actually. And I’ve got plenty of extra, so hit me up if you’d like to give it a shot, and maybe I’ll see if I can send you a shot.)
Besides, if I hadn’t voted Brain Cancer 2012, what would the alternative have been? A Normal Life? Without Brain Cancer? That sounds about as exciting as a nap in the park.
Mmmm… a nap in the park. That sounds nice.
Actually, it sounds boring. I’ve been so overwhelmed with nap-needing and nap-taking in just the past ONE year that really all I would like to do now is to just stay awake. Hell, if I could I would stay awake for four more years. At least!
Anyway, I’ll never know if I would have voted for Brain Cancer or not, way back in the year 2012. I’m no time-traveller, and I can barely hold a steady conversation with myself today, let alone myself from four years ago. Plus, I think my current self would probably freak my past self out with my weird scarred gourdlike head and my deep familiarity with cerebral spinal fluid (including what it tastes like).
I didn’t have a choice in the matter, anyway. There was no election back in 2012. This Steady Olde Brain Chance just happened upon me.
And through some wild combination of luck, determination, medical science, chocolate, luck (yes I said luck twice– that was on purpose. This is The Brain Chancery, after all), and perhaps above all the help and support of people I love (some of whom I’ve never even met!), I have survived, as a living person with glioblastoma, for four years.
On April 5th, 2012– Four years ago to this day– I walked myself up an impossibly steep hill to an MRI clinic in an impossibly tall Hong Kong skyscraper. After some banging and some whizzing and some who-knows-what, I then saw a picture of the insides of my own brains, for the first of what would come to be many, many times.
And lo, what a surprise this very first brain-gander had in store for me! Because the image I saw on that day looked exactly like this:
The picture looked exactly like that, because that is the exact picture I took at the exact moment I first discovered the tumor inside my head. The text, of course, was added later. (MRI machines don’t allow for customization, even in Hong Kong.) But see that big spot on the bottom left side of each head shot? That’s my cancer! That’s what it looked like, on April 5th, 2012– four years ago today. Well how d’ya like that!
All sorts of things have happened since I took that picture. And honestly, not all of them have been bad. A lot of them have been bad, of course. Just not all of them. And we don’t like to complain around here in Brain Chanceville… it feels like the fact that we’ve magically retained the ability to communicate at all leaves those skills best reserved for useful endeavours, like writing this blog. Or writing songs about cancer.
Or even… just talking to myself, since to be honest I quite frequently need a serious dose of inspiration just to keep this whole thing going. And since a lot of you have said I’m good at that (being inspirational) I have of late been trying to see if I can inspire myself.
Unfortunately when I talk to myself, especially in my head (and especially, for some reason, right when I wake up in the morning), the conversation tends to be more of an anxiety-filled “oh my god oh my god what the hell are you gonna do you idiot” kind of thing than the more inspirational stuff I reserve for the shining Cancerful halls of the Brain Chancery.
I can really freak myself out sometimes, when I talk to myself. And so one trick that I’ve learned, is that I shouldn’t always listen to myself. I should try to only listen to myself when I’m being encouraging. To myself. And if I’m not being encouraging, then I should tell myself to shut the fuck up and talk about something else for a minute. I mean, I don’t need myself to remind myself of how precarious my situation is– I know fully well how precarious my situation is, thank you!
But if you want to give me a firm but endearing kick in the ass, Myself, and tell me that I can do it, because look how far I have come, and doesn’t it feel great when I make it even just a little bit further than I thought I could? If you wanna say that, I’ll take that. I will listen. Because honestly sometimes, I really need a firm but endearing kick in the ass.
And I’ll bet sometimes a lot of you do too. So here you go, in case you do:
You can do it.
Seriously, you probably can.
And while we’re at it, try this thought on for size too, since it doesn’t cost a thing, and maybe it’s even true…
Now that’s a nice one, isn’t it? And maybe it’s even true! Maybe everything will be OK!
Hey– maybe it already is.
And maybe I’ll blink my eyes and wake up, and it’ll be four more years from now, again. It’ll be 2020. And I will be awake. Maybe that will happen. And that would be A-OK with me.
So cheers! To four more years.