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Garth Callaghan

Napkin Notes Dad





The Napkin Notes Blog

If I Only Had A Brain

WGarth Callaghan


I had a brain MRI on Monday. I couldn’t help but think of this song…

I could while away the hours
Conferrin’ with the flowers,
Consulting with the rain;
And my head I’d be a scratchin’
While my thoughts are busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain.
— From The Wizard of Oz

If I only had a brain. I love words and wordsmithing. There are two ways to read this statement.

If I only had a brain – I am missing a brain, and I really need one.

If I only had a brain – I have more than a brain, and I wish I had just the brain.

Well, that’s me. I have more than a brain. Not much more, but there’s more in my skull than what I want or need.

So, I think that’s 7. Seven times a doctor has called me and told me that I have cancer. Seven times I have had to look at Lissa and Emma in the eyes and tell them that I have cancer. Seven times putting a treatment plan together.

I could handle this easily if I didn’t have to tell Lissa and Emma. That’s the most difficult thing I have had to do (7 times!) since 2011 (7 years!).

I know the Napkin Notes community. I know you feel for me. I know this is difficult news for you to read.


I can handle this.

I’ve got this.

(If my cancer life were a meme, it’d start with, “Hold my beer.”)


I shared something with Emma this morning. I asked, “Of all of the people you know, who is the one most suited to fighting cancer 7 times?”

You know what this kid, this wonderful, strong, confident, young woman answered?

“That’s why you have the hammer.”

Damn straight.



We’re scheduling a little brain surgery later in the month. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers for me, my family, and especially the medical team.

Three of the last three scans have shown “new” things. Did anyone ever think that maybe the scans are the actual problem?!?


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PS – I have been kicking around this tattoo idea of my missing body parts. I was pretty disappointed when everyone decided to not cut out part of my lung. Without “lung” my list was a tad anemic:

Tonsils – Appendix – Kidney -- Adrenal Gland

But now, now I have a LIST!

Tonsils – Appendix – Kidney -- Adrenal Gland – Brain

That’s some list!!

Scarecrow Image and Song Lyrics are owned by MGM and EMI