My Brain Tumor and Shaun Cassidy

Stacey Curran
4 min readAug 1, 2023

Originally published at https://www.wbur.org on August 1, 2023.

Shaun Cassidy in about 1970. (Michael Ochs/Getty Images)

An earnest goal of my young life was to meet Shaun Cassidy. I had no executable plan to make this happen. I believed I’d be walking along someday, and he would appear. And of course, he’d know me, as surely as I knew him.

But in the late 1970s, the closest I ever got to Shaun Cassidy was watching “The Hardy Boys” TV show in which he starred, plastering his posters around my room and listening to his albums fanatically.

In 2020, I revisited my youthful obsession with him. I wrote a piece about him which ran in an online publication. I facetiously told Shaun Cassidy I was sorry I’d neglected to properly break up with him in 1979, but that our fictional relationship was long over. I confessed that maybe I listed him as an emergency card contact, and I was releasing him from that responsibility.

I shared the essay on social media, but I didn’t tag him in any of the posts because that felt a little intrusive to me. But in August 2022, he trended on Twitter. I reposted the article and hashtagged his name. He saw it, and kindly responded.

I was part mortified, part thrilled. He graciously accepted the end of our fictitious relationship and said to say hi to my husband Shawn — I mentioned that I’d married someone with the same name. I thanked him for taking the time to fulfill a childhood dream. For a moment, Shaun Cassidy knew my name.

Turns out he was lucky I absolved him of the emergency card duty. About six weeks after our Twitter-sation, I was taken by ambulance to my local hospital, and was quickly transferred to Boston. I thought I’d had a stroke, but it turned out to be a seizure. A CT scan yielded a surprise: a brain tumor the size of a citrus fruit.

I named it Clementine based on the fruit comparison. It was a benign meningioma, an outside-the-brain tumor, between the brain and the skull. It involved the superior sagittal sinus, some kind of super-big-deal area in our heads. I still don’t grasp all of its job description, but if it fails to function, so do we.

Three weeks later, I had surgery to remove my juicy intruder because it was squishing my brain, and I needed that brain to keep me in business. My skilled surgeon found…

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Stacey Curran

Former journalist; few N.E. Press Assoc. Awards, few Boston Globe Magazine essays, @TheBelladonnaComedy @Slackjaw @BostonAccent, @WBUR, grocery lists.