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You can adjust the meta data at any time and a curl back to the metadata will show that. The VM must have access back to the metadata server for that to work (ie I don't see a nova command for issuing a modification to the user data. Also note that Cloud-init only runs the user data on first boot. If you want to have the vm run user data you must alter the rc configuration to make that happen. Feel free to ask questions.

User data (custom data of any kind) can be issued at boot time. But not in an update as far as I can see.

[root@wma-cloud-06 ~]# nova help meta usage: nova meta <server> <action> <key=value> [<key=value> ...]

Set or Delete metadata on a server. Positional arguments: <server> Name or ID of server <action> Actions: 'set' or 'delete' <key=value> Metadata to set or delete (only key is necessary on delete)