June 30th, 2009


[links] Link salad goes to the oncologist today

A reader with small love for Green Powell's | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders ]

The New Space Opera 2 is out [ Powell's | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders ] — Including my novelette "To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves", set in the Sunspin universe.

Images from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland — Wow.

Silhouette Masterpiece Theatre — Hahahaha. Serious art humor. (Thanks to goulo.)

Daguerre, Painter — Some awesome apocalyptic art.

Enceladus: Riddle of the PlumesCentauri Dreams on oceans in space.

Igniting FusionTechnology Review with some very big science, indeed.

?otD: Have you ever been to heaven?

Body movement: 10 minutes of stretching and meditation (overslept for walking)
This morning's weigh-in: 220.5
Currently reading: P.S. Your Cat is Dead by James Kirkwood

Originally published at jlake.com.


[cancer] No one expects the Spanish Inquisition

Flew into San Francisco last night. Plane was only a little late, and the airport van was completely full, so it took a while to get home to calendula_witch. Whereupon I discovered her in the Witchnest with the building alarm shrieking and the power out. Some fiddling with the alarm panel took care of the shriek, but the power was a couple of hours coming back. This crimped our evening routine, but we successfully improvised.

This morning I have the oncologist appointment here at UCSF for the second opinion on this year's New Adventures in Cancer. Though I've been looking forward to this, I find myself tinged with dread today.

A lot of new words have entered my life in the last fourteen months. I didn't used to be able to pronounce "metastasis", and "tumor" wasn't something that came up in conversation very often. Likewise "resectioning" and "chemotherapy" and "oncologist." Hush words. Scare words. The kind of words that if you're talking in the elevator or on the telephone in the departure lounge, people around you fall quiet and strain to listen while pretending to unobtrusiveness. The experience of cancer has inflected everything from my travel schedule to my vocabulary. I don't suppose I ever understood the miracle of my good health until it was undermined by the enemy within.

Another thing I've been thinking about is the unexpected nature of all this. Cancer is like the Spanish Inquisition in my life. Prior to April, 2008, if you'd asked me to list my likely causes of death, I'd have put heart attack first, followed by a more generic listing of cardiovascular disease, followed by a none too imaginative set of possibilities ranging from falling in the shower to airplane crash to death by jealous lover.

But cancer? No one in my family dies of cancer. Not that I'm dying now. But no one in my family gets cancer. We're a heart attack family, pure and simple, on both sides. As a doctor of mine said years ago, we don't live long enough to get cancer.

So the rearrangement and derangement of my life continues. I'm coping pretty well with the current uncertainty, and rather afraid of finding a bad certainty this morning. Or in last week's MRI, whenever the read comes in. Or the upcoming CT scans.

The only thing worse than a bad certainty would be continued uncertainty. I'm tired of the unexpected, at least in this regard.

Life is for living with all the knobs set on full tilt boogie. I'm doing my best, damn it.

Originally published at jlake.com.


[cancer] The Magic 8-Ball

The magic cancer 8-ball continues to say "Reply Hazy, Try Again Later." calendula_witch and I had my second opinion visit today with the oncologist at UCSF. Her take on my situation was roughly the same as my OHSU team's take. That is to say, suspicious situation, but too soon to tell for certain. She seemed more focused on the issue of there being multiple possible sites, whereas my oncologist in Oregon was more focused on the liver site. This doctor was careful to hold to the line that as this was still unknown, it would be premature to call this cancer without affirmative evidence.

The radiology group here will read my existing scans and present their own report. I'll do followup scans both at UCSF and OHSU (they use different CT protocols, which the oncologist at UCSF thought might be relevant), and followup consults at both institutions in the second half of July.

In other words, the results were inconclusive and I continue to be in a state of ambiguity. No factual variations. It is somewhat comforting that a completely different practice and medical team came up with essentially the same answer — hold and re-image. But I'm still in the grip of the magic cancer 8-ball for the time being. A bit fashed, run down, even depressed at the lack of progress or resolution.

Onward I go.

Originally published at jlake.com.


[writing] Endurance progriss riport, day 17

5,000 words in two hours today, broken over three more abbreviated writing sessions. Manuscript is now at 75,700, and I'm at 9,800 words towards my week (Mon-Sun) goal of 17,500. Also, passed the pivot point in the plot today, which means a while lot more action happening now. Set up? Set up? We don't need no more stinking set up!

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Originally published at jlake.com.