Question: what’s cooler than having five brain surgeries?
If you’ve been following this blog, you probably have an idea where I’m going with that, and you might be thinking either “oh no…” or “SIX?!?” or some combination of those two things. Well let me calm your fears and answer the question for you:
Yes, one thing that’s cooler than having five brain surgeries is in fact six brain surgeries, but what’s REALLY cooler than five brain surgeries is…
Six brain surgeries, WITH LASERS!! (insert animated laser effect here for emphasis)
Sorry if I’m being coy with a bit of a bombshell (sorry in particular to my mom.) So let me switch to concise – mode:
One week from now plus a couple of hours, Plus a couple of hours, I am going to have my SIXTH brain surgery. But this one, excitingly, is going to be brain surgery…. WITH LASERS! ( repeat laser FX here.)
Some more detail: the other day, I had my regular MRI, and when I went to talk to my oncologist about the results, I noticed that my very charming and handsome neurosurgeon was there to discuss it with me as well.( not to say my oncologist isn’t charming and handsome too – he most certainly is. But everything is always amplified with the brain surgeons.😏)
So what they had to tell me was very exciting, but not all bad. In fact, on the whole I think it is very very good.
Yes, my scan was showing one of those dreaded “ areas of concern and close that you usually hope not to see, but in this case, my area of concern is not only relatively small and not that scary looking, it is also eminently treatable by what my charming and handsome oncologist referred to as “one of our newest tools.”
Now I am always a sucker for fancy technology, especially when it applies to brain cancer, because this kind of stuff is not only incredibly cool and impressive, it also is the kind of stuff that tends to save my life. I have been subjected to quite a bit of fancy brain cancer technology so far, and while it has kicked my ass quite a bit along the way, it has also kept me kicking. So when I learned about this “ New tool” the other day, I was immediately and very genuinely excited. I mean, who would not want to have LASER Brain surgery?? (Most people who don’t have brain cancer, I’d imagine, Probably would not — but when you’re in my Brain Cancerful shoes, your perspective on these things tends to be a bit different.)
So… Laser Brain Surgery? Heck yeah! Sign me up!
That was pretty much my reaction, and it still is. Which is good, because I am literally signed up to do it next Monday, early in the morning, at the hands of my trusted (and charming, and handsome) brain surgeon and friend, Chirag Patil.
I actually didn’t know much about laser brain surgery until I learned I was going to do it, but here is some of what I have learned since then (all very reassuring, and exciting. And cool.)
The procedure is actually called Laser Interstitial Thermal Ablation Therapy, or LITT. It is a relatively new type of treatment for brain cancer, and in fact was only approved in the last few years. But it just so happens that my hospital here in Los Angeles(Cedars Sinai) is one of the very few in the country that already has the technology and expertise in place to do this procedure.
How’s that for luck? I swear, aside from the whole getting malignant brain cancer thing, I have been on a major lucky streak. Not everybody has this option. If a few little things were different, I would not even have this option. But I do. And it might wind up saving my life. So you bet your ass I’m going to take it.(You can also bet your ass I’m going to be bragging about my laser brain surgery for a long, long time. I mean, How’s that for a story – topper?
“ oh, you got a new Hyundai? Well guess what, I had deadly tumor cells removed from my brain… With LASERS! And before breakfast!”) I am particularly eager to brag about this with my dear Cancerful friend who recently had the one super cool brain cancer procedure that I have not yet done, called Cyber Knife (which uses radiation beams— pretty cool, but not as cool as LASERS!!) this particular friend also writes a blog about her Cancerful experiences, and it is extraordinarily beautiful, just like her. I highly recommend you check it out (since if you’re reading this you obviously have a taste for cancer blogs. And hers is a really good one. Her’s also has extremely beautiful photography, which mine lacks. But Mine has more jokes. And I am having LASER brain surgery.😜). Here is the link to her blog, I hope you’ll check it out:
if you’re curious how this whole laser brain surgery thing works, here is a fancy video that explains it: (don’t be alarmed by the seemingly three-foot-long brain drill–i doubt my skull is that thick 😉
To summarize, What I can tell you right now is that this procedure is relatively safe and quick and affective, compared to your traditional crack-open-the-skull- and-scoop out-cancer approach (which I have done five times, so I think I can safely compare.)
With laser brain surgery, all they do is drill a small hole in the back of your head (funny how in my shoes that is the preferable option, Huh?). Into this small hole, they insert a catheter filled with fiber optic cables.
The fiber optics conduct the LASERS, which create a field of heat at the end of the tube that…
Totally roasts anything in its way (in this case, brain tumor cells!) in order to monitor this process(since we don’t want to be roasting too many good brain cells) during the entire procedure I will be resting comfortably inside an MRI machine, and my surgeon will be monitoring his progress in super accurate detail. As it happens, the spot that we will be roasting seems to be particularly amenable to this procedure – my doctors sounded almost giddy as they explained how ideal at all was, and how well the procedure should go.
As far as potential risks go, whenever you have a hole drilled in your head there always is a risk of something going wrong, but in terms of risk/benefit, this procedure is very safe and very effective, so it’s a total no brainer (pun most certainly intended.)
So hopefully that gives you an even better idea of why I am excited, and not at all sad, about my SIXTH brain surgery (with LASERS!)
I think I’m a pretty lucky Cancerful duck, and I look forward not only to my newfound bragging rights, but also to having less cancer in my brain. Which will most certainly be the case.
So bring on the lasers!
I will of course report back after the procedure – they’re telling me I will be home the next day, and I’ll do my best to at least give you a snapshot of how it went. (my doctor has said he will try to get some video of the laser roasting, so hopefully I will even be able to share that.). And if anybody is in the market for some laser-toasted tumor (delicious with a glass of prosecco!), let me know and I’ll see if I can get some samples…(Warning:It’s not going to be cheap. Extremely limited supply. 😉)
Thanks for reading, and for all of the encouragement – I look forward to displaying my new laser –brain powers to you next week. I promise I will only use them for good…
So farewell for now! Hope you all had a laser-full Labor Day weekend.
PS: Below is a picture of what I hope the laser show in my brain will look like… i’m not sure what the soundtrack will be yet, but I’m thinking probably some Pink Floyd. If you have a better suggestion, please share in the comments below. Thanks!