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  • Writer's pictureMike Dynamo

The Tale of My Brain Cancer Diagnosis


It all started as a fun trip to a new country back in January of 2022. As soon as the year had changed, my new bride and I would begin a new life in the Republic of Estonia. We’d arrived on January 1 and were completely primed to make this new world every bit as fun and interesting as our lives had been in Cambodia over the last 5 years

It all started as a fun trip to a new country back in January of 2022. As soon as the year had changed, my new bride and I would begin a new life in the Republic of Estonia. We’d arrived on January 1 and were completely primed to make this new world every bit as fun and interesting as our lives had been in Cambodia over the last 5 years. It was only a matter of time before our combination of skill and luck took advantage of her new contract and make Estonia as much of a home as the United States had ever been to us.


Unfortunately, as they often say, “While man plans while God laughs.”


I had only been in the country for one month before I had been caught up in a bedtime seizure that revealed my brain cancer, fractured my shoulder, and led me down a long and desolate path to improve myself. It was not going to be easy but would have to be worth it. Many people died within a year or two of even receiving the diagnosis. I may not have any more life to lead at this point.


Brain Cancer or Glioblastoma Level III


Only one away from Level IV, the very worst you can have, glioblastoma level III still remains the other most dangerous form of brain cancer you can have. Level III may give you some more time, but it’s still going to come down to surgery and luck in order for most people to trigger a relapse.


It was very scary, but I made the decision to trust the doctors and allow them to use their skills to reach into my brain and then use my ability to sing “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls and find the pieces of my mind that they could take out without sacrificing my ability to speak or write. This was a major thing I was sure about holding onto moving forward. What good is a world where I couldn’t speak or write anymore? Perhaps I would have finally learned to play an instrument and add new parts to songs, but ultimately I made my decision. I wanted to keep playing music and touching people in that way.


The surgery lasted between 4 to 6 hours. The doctor cut my head open and basically woke me up during it to hear my worst rendition of a song where “I need Xanax before I’m going to sleep with your boyfriend.” I did a few other songs too, but I’ll never forget it was the Spice Girls that originally helped me survive surgery in Estonia. Thanks, ladies.


The Seizure That Fractured My Shoulder


Something I’ve been surprised by is how hurt my left shoulder has been since I started having to retrain myself after suddenly having cancer seizures. The way it works is that a glioblastoma takes over in your brain and starts to expand its way through your white brain cells and push up against other bits of your brain. Outside, this can cause terrible headaches or even hallucinations. The first seizures alerted me to having brain cancer in the first place.


As I was in a country that really moves very quickly through its medical side, we were able to get a ride to the hospital in an ambulance and start getting looked at almost immediately. The hospital was still in COVID-19 mode and everyone had a mask on as if they took seriously the training had been done. While it seemed to be working I obviously, still managed to get COVID-19 and hold out another two weeks before my own surgery, but still appreciate the effort in trying to keep me well.


What I had not paid nearly as much attention to back then was the pain in my left shoulder that hurts me a year and a half later. While I feel strong and capable in some ways, there are still things I cannot do. I’ve managed to survive pretty well from March 2022 to June 2023 on various daily drugs, radiation, and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten minimal amounts of help with the fractured shoulder.


In Estonia, everyone gets a “digilugu” or a document that showcases whatever injuries you have and the drugs you take. It follows you around no matter which doctor you decide to see. It’s a very helpful piece of your own medical history to collect and add to during your time in such an interesting country that manages very hard to protect you while you’re there. Meanwhile, while I haven’t seen this section of my digilugu, I’ve been told by my Partner that mine has this beautiful, very colorful area around my beautifully fractured shoulder. It sounds nice there's a way to make my body look amazing from the inside like that. In the meantime, I have been lucky enough to keep working with physical therapists who keep giving me new workouts to do. Yoga seems to work best, so hopefully I won’t need any help with arm movements soon.


The Long and Desolate Road To Improve Myself


I don’t know how long I have to be alive.


None of us really do, but there’s something unique about having brain cancer strapped to your back. Now, I know for a fact that 5 years is the date to reach. If I can make it that far then I've basically done the dirt. I've survived my long shot on the stats that lead me right to some other party. I’ve had to work hard to become aware of my own potential death at 46. It’s not fun to think about, but it’s important to recognize as I continue moving forward.


Today, the summer has returned to Estonia. The sun is out almost every day. There are new battles to fight and games to win out here as long as I allow myself to play them. There are beautiful moons and an aurora borealis this far north. There are trips to Finland and Sweden to take along with the rest of Europe to go and see. But most importantly, there are always new musicians to play with as well.


I think that’s what excites me the most about being in Estonia during this strange and revealing time in my life. There is always someone new to play with and make songs with. There’s a way to venture onward, plug into a board somewhere and make some great music for a change. Whether I lead a karaoke or put out some new music of my own, Estonia always leaves me with something new to try. Healing from cancer is one thing, but healing as who you’ve always been is another. I look forward to making this the healthiest, non-drinking cancer recovery ever produced!




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