First, let me assure you that I’ve not gone crazy. But I was talking to a few people about acquaintances who have had their primary cancer spread to other parts of their bodies (including their brains) and I started thinking about the finer qualities of having a primary brain tumor. Here are my top ten benefits of a brain tumor:
1. A primary brain tumor doesn’t spread. It only attacks the brain. It may come back time and time again, but it won’t move to your lungs, liver, bones, etc… Other cancers may develop outside your brain, but it won’t be because of your brain tumor.
2. The chemotherapy for a primary brain tumor comes in the form of a pill. This means that there are no daily trips for hours of infusion therapy. You still feel like a truck has hit you, but you don’t need to leave the comfort of your own toilet AND you won’t lose your hair! Thank goodness for the blood-brain barrier, right?
3. Radiation treatment however, WILL cause you to lose your hair – giving you multiple opportunities to explain and make up wacky stories about the strange baldness in random places on your head. For instance, ‘My cat has a fondness for hair.’
4. With radiation treatment, you will receive a free mask. You can use it for your latest Super Hero costume!
5. Fear of needles? Hah! Not any more. You’ll now watch with interest as they struggle to find a vein that will cooperate. You’ll barely flinch as the dig around with that needle to find a clear path to your blood. You’ll be given an honorary certificate in phlebotomy.
6. You can use your craniotomy scar to freak the hell out of people. For instance, apply some fake blood before you head to the grocery store and act like you don’t notice. When someone asks if you’re ok, you can look straight into their eyes and say, ‘Yes, of course. Why do you ask?’
7. You can leverage people’s general lack of knowledge about brain tumors and shock them with the facts, watching them trying to process the immensity of the problem and desperately search for the ‘right’ thing to say. Tell them that THEY can do something to help by spreading the word and donate to National Brain Tumor Society.
8. You can live in constant suspense, like Clarice in Silence of the Lambs. Will she survive? Will someone come to save her, just in time? Will she put lotion on her skin? A monster is lurking and can strike at any moment. Fun!
9. Multiple experiences in an MRI machine will act like immersion therapy and cure you of any claustrophobia you may have had prior to getting a brain tumor. You’ll also develop incredible self-discipline, learning to keep your eyes closed for extended periods, fighting the urge to open them, just for a peek. You’ll also learn to make itches disappear right before your closed eyes!
10. You can point out to people the irony that radiation treatment for your brain tumor MAY cause brain tumors. Then laugh hysterically.
See? Having a brain tumor isn’t ALL that bad. However, I’d still dissuade you from getting one.
There really aren’t any benefits, but sometimes you need to laugh and appreciate the ridiculousness of the experience.