July 12th, 2009


[links] Link salad wakes up with a clear head, finally

A reader reviews "Rolling Steel" by calendula_witch and me — Specifically, she talks about the podcast version, read by Sean Farrell and Mur Lafferty.

The soda-pop map — I used to say "Coke" generically, these days I say "soda." Where do you fall on this continuum? (Thanks to garyomaha.)

Bridge to Nowhere: a Map of Golden Gate Jumpers — Another odd one from Strange Maps.

Solar for Dark Climates — I love the headline alone, but the article is interesting as well, about hybrid solar systems for northern latitudes. Mmm, Stirling engines.

Evidence based revenge — Ben Goldacre on revenge and bitterness. Money shot: Put very simply, if we desire it, does revenge work? People certainly believe in it, from modern thrillers such as Hamlet and Moby Dick, to classics like Kill Bill and Death Wish I-V.

Get Fuzzy on American political parties — Hahahahahahahahahaha.

?otD: Soda or pop?

Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike, 10 minutes of meditation and stretching
This morning's weigh-in: 218.2
Currently reading: Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold

Originally published at jlake.com.


[cancer] Things I am afraid of

It hasn't been my best week. Cancer follies are on hold til July 20th, from a purely medical perspective — appointment then for a follow-up CT scan is the opening measure of the next portion of this symphony. But I spent this past week at my parents' beach house on the Long Beach peninsula of scenic Washington State, mostly being quite ill with an upper respiratory infection. This did not lend itself to rational consideration of life options, though I did get several very good conversations in with Mom and Dad nonetheless.

Lots more to say, and I'll be saying it here, but this morning I've been noodling with the idea of all the things I'm afraid of. Many of these are no rational, but rationality has never been a prerequisite for existential dread. Most of them are not formless. My fears have very definite form, thank you. (Wonder Twins power activate: in the form of a tumor!) But I find it useful to drag the fears out into the light, turn them over a few times and think about them. That seems to disarm some of their power, and makes me feel better.

So, things I am afraid of:
  • Dying soon

  • Dying slow

  • Dying fast

  • Not seeing the_child graduate from high school (or even 8th grade)

  • Chemo head

  • Playing whack-a-mole with this shit til it kills me

  • Losing myself in a fog of illness and never coming back

  • Losing my ability to write

  • Losing my desire to write

  • The look in my parents' eyes

  • My daughter's tears

  • That I'll be so sick I won't be attractive to calendula_witch any more

  • That I'll spend the rest of my life smelling sick

  • That I'll get too thin on chemo

  • That I'll grow too big on chemo

  • That I won't be able to work and my life will collapse financially

It goes on from there. You get the idea. Hamsters chase one another through my head with alarming alacrity. Irrational or not, they're real. As chemo grows closer, I dread it more and more. The next CT scan will tell us whether I have tumors on my lungs. I dread that. Every piece of bad news is a strike against my mortality. My life. Myself.

Still, I carry on. Because there are no other choices except to spit at it and fight. I am so tired of being afraid.

Originally published at jlake.com.


[writing] Endurance progriss riport, day 27-28

Day 27 was lost to illness. Today I managed 2,400 words in an hour, making 18,400 for the past week (measuring Monday-Sunday), so I did manage goal in spite of illness.

Manuscript now stands at 105,900 and is going to end considerably shorter than predicted. I think Fred is trying to outrun the chemo.

Writing up on revision will be a novel experience for me, as I am usually madly cutting down. Live and learn. (Or hopefully so, in my case.)

Collapse )

Originally published at jlake.com.


[cancer] Some days you fly, some days you fry

Had a cancer meltdown over lunch with kenscholes. Not a full tilt, crying-screaming fit. (I've had a few of those, too, just not in the middle of the Lloyd Center Stanford's.) A lot anger, a lot of grief, some good old-fashioned rage, and a whole lot of fear. I said a bunch of irrational things about myself, about the cancer, about calendula_witch, about my writing, about my publishing career. He was very patient and loving and thoughtful.

I don't suppose the details matter much, but they felt very real to me in the moment. Still do. And some of them are real, or at least meaningfully possible pending we see how hard chemo hits me and what comes next with the lung scan on the CT, etc.

This disease turns me inside out, makes me not myself. And it drags everyone who loves me along through the hole. Emotional terrorism, courtesy of rogue cells within my own body. Who ever expected it, eh?

Originally published at jlake.com.