The WHAT'S NEW! page contains the latest medical updates. If you're wondering how I'm going as far as health is concerned, this is the place to start. Latest: Wed 27 Nov 2013. 7.20AM

Friday, February 25, 2011

Brian calling. Don't hang up.

Oh. Gidday.

   You know who this is, don’t you? Yes, it's me, Brian. That’s right. Brian, your friendly brain tumour. Your tenant up in the attic. I hope you like my name. It’s a bit of a joke really – sort of, reverse of ‘brain’.

   Oh, you got it already. I wasn’t sure. I’m not too smart you see, though you have to give me full marks for persistence, don’t you? Top marks in fact. You better. I have ways of reminding you, don’t I?

   That was fun this morning, wasn’t it? Well, I kinda enjoyed it. There you were, sleeping like a baby, at 6.15 AM, and I thought, it’s about time I reminded my pathetic little host just who’s the boss around here.

   So, I gave you a wake-up call, didn’t I? Got the old neural sledge hammer and slammed your fingers and wrist around for a couple of minutes, yes? Not all that long and not all that hard, I know. I went easy on you, but I might not next time.

   You’ve been so smug lately, after that last shot of that blasted Avastin stuff nearly three weeks ago. No seizures since you had the last hit, right? You had two friends over yesterday afternoon and finally got round to skiting to them about it. You got quite excited talking about Christchurch and the uprisings in Africa, and you practically ignored me.

   Respect! That’s what I want, get it? I want to dominate your whole existence and be the subject of your every pathetic thought.

   Admit it, you started to think, seeing as things were so hunky dory in the last couple of weeks, that maybe, just maybe, I was in retreat, just a little. Oh yes you did. You dared hope Brian was backing off, did you not?

   Well, that’s disrespect, old pal, and we can’t have that. Brian runs the real estate market up here, though you think you’re the host. The landlord. I’ve got squatter’s rights here and you don’t get away with the idea of being in control of anything.

   Respect, OK? And I might go easy on you.

   What I really like is that you are now in a bit of a quandary. A dilemma. A jam, a predicament, a fix, a sticky situation.... you expected to wake this morning and do all those stupid exercises that were starting to allow Brain to triumph over Brian just a little bit, weren’t you?

   Now you don’t know whether doing them will cause more seizures before Wednesday when you’re scheduled to have that next hit. You generally get a couple in a row once you start, and look even now at those right hand fingers you’ve been so laboriously straightening out over past weeks. Two minutes with me and they’re mine again, I guess you noticed. They’re curling back up just the way I like them. It’s my public branding so there’s no way you can hide from any one of your little mates just who’s boss round here.

   But you now don’t know whether to go on with the physical stuff and risk a more damaging seizure, or pretend that this warning I gave you when you were beddy-byes earlier today didn’t happen. Don’t forget I messed with your mind and body with seizure after seizure for three hours last time, down your whole right side, just a couple of weeks or so ago.... so what are you going to do?  Hah hah, I’m having fun here.

   Listen. We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Easy is you just give up this Avastin nonsense right now and let me fulfil my purpose as quickly as possible. You know my purpose. It’s just to replicate my cells until... well, I don’t have to spell it out for you – you have some squeamish friends and we don’t want to upset them, do we?

   That’s all I ask. And then we’ve done with it. My job is finished. And you can rest in peace after fifteen months of life-sucking fighting.

   Be careful how you say that. Ha ha.... Just a little joke. You have to have a sense of humour, right? You've said so enough times. Oh, it's all right to laugh at Brian just so long as things are going your way.... but not when I'm calling the shots.

   You don't seem to be laughing. Come on now, don't be like that. You've made enough fun of me in the past fifteen months. My turn. Smile.

   Oh, I know you have some grand thoughts that your reason for existence might be loftier than mine, but get over it. The little ripple on the state of human existence you made or make will disappear after a bit of hoo-hah.... why don’t we just do it like that? The easy way. You hate them sticking that needle thing into your collapsing veins, don’t you? You don’t have to do that, you know. Give it up. Go easy on yourself.

   Or, we can do this the hard way. I know this is the way you’re going to choose, because you’re just like the rest of them, and want to stick around, messing with your pals. You’re going to have another hit of that stuff, aren’t you? And I will have to stick around a bit longer until I get some extra strength to beat it. Brian has time on his side.

   Can’t you see you’re interfering seriously with my quality of life while you fill your body with that Avastin junk? Give it away, save yourself and everyone else the bother of being a blight on their existence. They need to get on with their lives. They have things they can do a lot better without a millstone around their neck. And you, with your Sword of Damocles poised up there above us all this time.

   Let it fall. It’s me, little old Brian, telling you like it is, or should be. Trust me.

   Whoo hoo, all those clichéd metaphors I’m using this morning. Not as dumb as you think, am I?

   What’s this? You’re demanding equal time? A right of reply? Up to you, sunshine. Try to convince yourself to stick around. You’ll have some smartarse thing to say, I’ll bet. But just remember, I have till Wednesday at least to have a bit more fun with you this time round. And there's always next time. For a while.

   I am boss. Don’t forget it again. I own you.

   That’s right.   I   O W N    Y O U.   Have a nice day. 

   This is Brian, over and out. For now.


  1. Dear Brian

    A movie has already been made about "your" life thus you can get back into your corner and BE QUIET.

    Yours sincerely
    Dee, daughter of Zeus, twin sister of Apollo

    PS. You have been *warned*

  2. Message from Brian (apologies, he has no manners at all):

    'So what are you going to do about it, Ms Huntress? Shoot me with one of your famous silver arrows, Ίσως? Be my guest....'

  3. No maybe about it buster.

  4. Well actually, my friend is Brain, so I'm not speaking to that other creep. And, dear Brain, it has seemed to me from my ignorant distance that actually you have had comapratively pretty good quality of life lately, since the avastin. Yes yes, I know the details may be hidden to an outsider,but I'm certainly enjoying your presence A LOT. It's up to you, of course. Brain has many choices, Brian. 'messing with your pals' he says. Which 'pals' would it be who would want you no longer around to 'interfere' with their lives?? Are you that sort of pal yourself, to think that way? Enough of the millstones and swords, as that Jewish person might say , who also said that one about 'be here now and be someplace else later'.

    I'm very sorry indeed about Brian showing up this morning.

    Also - your writing is getting just better and better!!

  5. Figured out a way to get to Brian completely by-passing Brain, Anon? Let's know when you do! (And now I guess you'll say 'no problem - Brain is very very small...' right?)

  6. I'm enjoying my presence too Julie! You are right. Since the Avastin my quality of life has been comparatively good most of the time, especially after ditching chemotherapy. Its always all relative.
    Still figuring out Brain's reply to Brian. That in itself is a very fascinating experience for me, and somewhat revealing. It takes time.
    Very tired now.....

  7. Thanks to Avastin, this blog is one of the most fascinating reads I've found on the web. It should be properly published and kept going as long as possbile. So Brian, take note of that when you tell Brain that it is a blight on others' existence. Not true at all. I would rather not have this blog at all and have the old Denis back, but if given the choice between no Denis and this blog, I'll take the latter thank you. So get back in your box and disappear up the fundamental orifice of the universe and leave us all alone.

  8. Message to Brian
    STOP! In the name of love


  9. Thanks for the kind comments. I confess that the going can be tough at times. Writing stamina I mean. But if you find it worthwhile then it fulfils an important purpose.

    As to being properly published, I really don’t know about that. If I started writing with any idea in mind that it might become some sort of permanent record, maybe the spontaneity would go and I’d stop being silly and lazy the way I express things, and it would lose whatever ‘mono no aware’ value this sloppy diary might exude.

    Maybe I’ll just press on and see what happens.... but I am flattered you think it might have some enduring worth.

  10. Denis, you have a rich talent for writing outside the academic discipline. Most academics find more creative writing gets pre-empted by the rationality and logic required of their chosen field. But not you, it seems.

    Press on with the spontaneous free flowing expression of thoughts, feelings, and intuitions. Perhaps someone who knows you very well can help shape it for publication, even if you just have print copies for friends and family.

    You can do this very inexpensively through, if you wish to go this way. If not, the blog will remain, but probably eventually get swallowed up by the infandibulum of the cyber world.

    I feel your daughters and their children, if they have any, will treasure a print copy of your testament, as will other members of your family and their descendents.

    Last night I had dinner with Rowan Webb's ex-partner, Wendy Beck, and the motley collection of Rowan's friends who have gathered at his Invergowrie home to sort out his amazing mess. So much of the talk was about and their searches for who they are through their ancestors. Ancestor worship is alive and well in our culture, and if they could find something like your blog for their own family, they would think they'd found a seam of gold. At today's prices, that's something.


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