Everyone who knows me knows and my work knows, but I need to publicly come out and state that a moderately large and inoperable tumor was discovered in my brain about a year and a half ago. I say this because I want to give my thoughts on McCain’s glioblastoma and older politicians in general (not that anyone reads my blog).

First, my tumor. A very long story short, the tumor was discovered in my right thalamus after an MRI was ordered due to sudden idiopathic hearing loss in my left ear. Technically, the tumor was considered an incidental finding, although that is debatable, and my hearing was restored by going on a high dosage of steroids for two weeks. The tumor directly caused hydrocephalus, nearly killing me, in April, 2016. A June, 2016 biopsy was aborted after two hours of me being under anesthesia due to high chances of me going blind, having memory loss, left side paralysis, a combination of all three, or death just by sticking a needle through my brain into that spot to take a small sample of tissue. Radiation therapy likely would not kill me, but would significantly impact my quality of life so neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists are recommending against doing anything with it…for now.

My tumor as it was first discovered. This is an axial FLAIR scan from an MRI and I have circled the tumor in red so that there is no confusion with other parts of the brain.

As for what my tumor is, nobody knows because a biopsy is unable to be performed. But, statistically, there’s a very high chance that it is a form of glioma (mine is a rare location, but two studies of thalamic tumors in adults identified ~95% of them were gliomas), and that’s what neurosurgeons finally came out and said they thought it was after 10 MRIs and 4 CT scans over the past year and a half. Since it has grown only slightly, it is definitely a low grade. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that all low grade gliomas in adults should be considered malignant, even though the higher grades of gliomas are the ones that are truly malignant. This is because low grade gliomas in adults are likely (80% or so) to transition through the higher grades as they get older. Thus, my tumor is likely to ultimately turn into a glioblastoma. So, there’s an argument there to be made that I likely have brain cancer and not “just” a brain tumor.

The shunt that was put in place for hydrocephalus. The black arrows note calcification in the tumor picked up by the XRay.

I am in no way shape or form a neurosurgeon, but over the past year and a half, I’ve done a lot of research on brain tumors and brain cancer. A lot of reasearch. In legitimate medical journals, not in places like the anti-vax public forum for inbred internet users (not that I think something like big pharma is always acting in the best interests of people, I know they’re not and that’s a topic for another day). Nothing I read suggested that brain tumors or glioblastomas present themselves as a blood clot, which is what McCain and his hospital initially reported he had. Sure, some tumors present themselves as having a lot of blood in them or being made up of almost entirely blood vessels, but not as a blood clot or hematoma – those are remarkably different in presentation on an MRI.  If McCain was going in to have surgery on a blood clot, then the tumor was found incidentally during imaging for the blood clot and a biopsy of the tumor was done at the same time the surgical procedure for the clot was performed. The far more likely scenario, however, is that McCain and the hospital lied about the procedure and were aware there was a tumor for a time and were going in to take as much of the tumor out as possible while simultaneously saving tissue for a biopsy. Not that anonymous users on the internet are a quality source, but I don’t appear to be the only one who believes this among people educated about brain tumors:

The fact that the mainstream media didn’t immediately question the blood clot turned glioblastoma scenario given by the hospital is yet another example of the media not doing their jobs for decades. Also, having done my prior research, I know pathology coming back as glioblastoma is very bad. A glioblastoma is universally considered a Grade IV and the worst type of brain tumor to have. The odds seem very high McCain will be dead in a year, as only a few percent of people live for a few years beyond that. Some die within weeks or months. If his glioblastoma was indeed in his left frontal lobe, that’s actually a very good location for it, all things considered, because it would be almost entirely resectable with his brain being able to recover given time if it were a lower grade. But glioblastomas always send out strands of malignant tissue well beyond the borders of the visible tumor and new glioblastomas are certain to appear even with chemotherapy. Also on the negative side of things when discussing brain tumors, McCain is 80 years old.

A lot of people have been remarking about how McCain has seemed confused in recent months. A notable example came during McCain’s questioning of James Comey at Comey’s hearing because a lot of people were confused by McCain’s line of questioning towards Comey asking him about the Hillary Clinton investigation, which is not what Comey’s hearing was about. I listened to this live on the radio during a work trip in the car going up north and the funny thing is, I understood McCain’s thought process at the time, or at least I thought I did at the beginning. I thought the point McCain was trying to make from the start was that Comey was very quick to close the Clinton investigation when there was enormous amounts of material to investigate, whereas Comey keeping notes on Trump when there was virtually nothing there, seemed odd and/or partisan. Except McCain got bogged down when Comey became confused by McCain asking about the Clinton investigation, then McCain allowed his time to run out before making his point.

Regardless of whether or not that’s what was going on in McCain’s mind at that time, there seems to be a number of other instances of McCain becoming confused. This allows for a question to come up that isn’t usually discussed, except seemingly in a partisan manner: Should older politicians be allowed to serve out their terms if they show consistent signs of mental confusion? I think it’s a legitimate non-partisan question, especially given the gross hyperbole that politicians use to get themselves elected to office. According to politicians, the very future of America, not to mention the world, is at risk unless they’re given their seat at the decision-making table and all the perks from the American taxpayer that come along with it, when actually doing nothing most of the time except sitting there with their thumb up their butt.

When McCain ran for president in 2008, the fallback argument against McCain from Democrats was that he was too old to be President. My personal opinion on the subject was that while he was indeed advanced in age, if he wasn’t showing any signs of mental health issues, then it wasn’t a problem. Denying someone an opportunity simply due to their age is the same as denying someone an opportunity solely based on their race, sex, religion, etc. It’s discrimination.

Fast-forward to the 2016 election and all three of the major candidates (Trump, Clinton, and Sanders) were “advanced in age”. At the time that the potential candidate would take office, Trump would have been 70, Clinton would have been 69, and Sanders would have been 76. Given the advanced age of Clinton and Sanders, that largely negated the Democrat’s argument that McCain was too old to be President in 2008. He would have been 72 at the time.

But the advanced age of politicians is now becoming a problem. With some focused on McCain’s mental confusion in recent months, Nancy Pelosi’s mental confusion, which frankly, is much worse than McCain’s, has largely been ignored. Pelosi sounds as though she’s borderline-alzheimers, or has some other significant brain damage, and continues to mistake Bush for the current President. The likelihood of an extreme gaffe and spectacle from her is high and is that really how America wants to remember the woman who became the most powerful woman in American history? The mainstream media can hide her gaffes and mental confusion all they want by continuing their fake Trump-Russia collusion drumbeat, but in this age where everyone has a camera and access to youtube, an embarrassing video of Pelosi going viral is a high risk, just like what happened to Clinton prior to the election. Pelosi is 77, by the way.

Voters don’t seem to be fazed by any of it, however, because they keep voting these politicians into office. So is it time to for voters to take a serious look at the candidate’s age when going to the polls? Given what’s going on with McCain and Pelosi, I think that answer is yes, especially since McCain and his medical staff were likely lying about his problem. There’s no doubt in my mind that something is going on with Pelosi and that she’s either lying about a condition too or medical staff is shielding her from it.

One example of someone being floated as a Presidential candidate for the 2020 election where age should be considered is Maxine Waters. While I have serious issues with her as a candidate in general based on things she’s said and done in the past, she would be EIGHTY-FUCKING-TWO when entering office in January, 2021 if elected President and NINE-FUCKING-TY when leaving office in 2029 if elected to a second term. I’m sorry, but at some point people need to retire and Maxine Waters is at that point and should not be considering a run for President in my mind. I believe there’s a reason why retirement age is in the mid to late 60s (if you’re fortunate enough to be able to retire) – it’s so that you can live out the remaining years of your life peacefully without the hassle of working before you die at age 76, on average, if you’re a man and 81, on average, if you’re a woman (or are we not doing this whole man/woman thing and saying we’re all one sex now?). If you have a desire to be at a new job throughout your 80s until your 90 years old, I’m thinking that you’re thinking that the job is cake or that you’re not going to take the job seriously.

Keep in mind, my mind may be off-kilter thanks to brain cancer, but many career politicians are becoming advanced in age, are likely keeping quiet or are outright lying about health issues, and I think it’s time for voters to start seriously looking at the age of these politicians.

For the record, I didn’t have any strong feelings towards McCain one way or the other prior to his diagnosis. Some Democrats hate him simply because he’s a Republican, and some Republicans hate him simply because of his feud with Trump, but I’m neither here nor there. I do think the things Trump said about McCain were very wrong, but unfortunately, that’s the way politics is now and that type of behavior by politicians is fully condoned by voters on both sides. I do think the fact that he fought in the Vietnam War made him a better candidate than some others given he experienced the horrors of war first-hand. Even if I despised McCain, I would say I wouldn’t wish brain cancer on anyone. I personally feel it’s among the “worst” cancers one can get because it robs the body by robbing the mind and is thus completely devastating in nature. Out of all the immediate reactions to the news of McCain, I liked Barack Obama’s the best:

Also, many democrats have floated the idea of Trump being forcibly removed from office because he’s somehow mentally incompetent. People who voted for Trump knew exactly the mentality they voted for, and the Democrats being incredible sore loser crybabies of an easily winnable election had they not forcibly nominated Clinton leads me to say that the Democrats don’t have an argument there and are muddying the waters for when real age and mental issues of people in office occur.