November 10th, 2009


[links] Link salad follows the example of the comic-paper idol

The Dragon Page reviews Green Powell's | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Borders ] — (Thanks to brent_kellmer.)

A reader reacts to Madness of Flowers Powell's | Amazon ]

Jay Lake, Religion and a Benediction — Shlomi, on my cancer.

TWA Mechanics from Outer Space — Hilarious photo, ca. 1941.

Saturn After the Equinox — Another APOD image that will take your breath away.

1962 textbook, When You Marry — Check out the excerpted material on class differences in child rearing and sex. It's creepy.

SMBC on the perils of evolutionists — Heh.

Antihealthcare Reform Idiocy — Oh, wow. Money shot: "When I need health care, I pay for it out of pocket," he said, adding that he did not fear the possibility that an accident or illness would leave him with unaffordable bills. "I'm a Christian, so I'm not afraid of death," he said. Good luck with that.

?otD: How thick are you?

Body movement: 90 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 6.0
This morning's weigh-in: 234.0
Currently reading: The Jade Man's Skin by Daniel Fox


[cancer] The frame of mind begins to narrow

As I know from experience, my focus tends to narrow when I close in on a major milestone in my cancer journey. This illness induces all sorts of pathologies in me which I never enjoy in the course of my normal life — anxiety, panic attacks, crying, etc. It also invokes an old, old specter of depression, which I struggled with to severe clinical extremes in my teen years and young adulthood.

Walking this morning, I found myself turning over my surgery fears. I don't actually have much of a negative reaction to the idea of the surgical procedures. In fact, they tend to fascinate me. But anesthesia... I have both a reasonable and an unreasoning fear of anesthesia. My true terror in surgery is that I simply will never wake up.

And boy did that terror dog me this morning.

Yesterday was a perfectly fine day. Day Jobbery, lunch with kenscholes, got my hair done in the afternoon while Mark Ferrari kibitzed, then dinner with Mark, then a quiet evening at home. But the whole day I was very bundled up, like Randy in A Christmas Story. I cannot afford to come down with a respiratory infection in the next week or two, not going into lung surgery, so keeping my core temperature high has become a significant priority.

And that depressed me, for reasons it took me a while to unravel. What I finally realized was that exaggerated protection from being chilled is also part of the chemo experience, at least for the chemo I'm most likely to be on. Being ridiculously bundled up was like a pre-echo of that extended state of medical fragility into which I will be entering all too soon.

The petulant part of me keeps crying that I don't want to do this, again, or ever. The stubborn part of me says fuck cancer, we will survive.

Still, the focus narrows.

[science] I love Pluto

Wisdom of the Niece:

My five year old niece recently discovered - to her dismay - that Pluto is no longer a planet. So she drew a picture of Pluto and wrote, "I Love Pluto. I think Pluto is a planet."

I love Pluto

© 2009 D. Otteman and M. Lake. All rights reserved.

[cancer] My inner rebel speaks

Flying to Philadelphia tomorrow (including the open dinner tomorrow night at the Philadelphia Marriott). Meetings on Thursday in Pennsylvania, then Friday I fly to San Francisco to spend a few days with calendula_witch.

One thing I've become very concerned about is catching cold or flu. A respiratory infection right now would be an utter disaster. I've had my seasonal flu vaccine, but as recently as couple of days ago the H1N1 vaccine wasn't yet available here in the Portland area. Pretty soon I'll be so close to the surgery that even if I do manage to get it, an adverse reaction will affect the surgery.

So tonight I went out and bought some hand sanitizer to carry with me, and some face masks. I'm cool with the hand sanitizer, but find myself oddly reluctant to wear a face mask on the plane. This is rather out of character for me, given my usual indifference to the opinions of random strangers. I'm not even sure what it means, except maybe that feels like another surrender.

And that is one of the hardest things here. My sense of narrowing is in effect a surrender to cancer and the demands of both the disease and its treatment. I'm about to give up a couple of weeks of my life to surgery and recovery; then half a year or more to chemotherapy. I've given up my usual clothing in favor of roaming around bundled up like a rag doll. I'm giving up at least some of my writing for a while. The space this takes in my head is growing, and it's pushing almost everything else out.

For some reason, my inner rebel is drawing the line at the stupid face masks. Yet if I do pick something up on the plane, it could be dreadful for me.

I hate this. Hate hate hate.


[art|cancer] Call for masks

Since I'm not going to be at OryCon due to the thoracic surgery, and I'm kiboshing the Sunday visitation plan for reasons of respiratory health (will try to make the Skype thing happen, though), I have a new idea.

Jay Lake masks.

Could be stick masks, casts, abstracts, whatever. If you're an artist, or a crafter, or just want to have fun with it, make a mask of me. There's a kazillion photo references on my Flickr account. Bring it or send it to OryCon, or to your hometown con, and while I'm laid up from surgery (and later, chemo), I can be with you. I'll make a Flickr pool for the project, and later on we can have prizes and stuff.

But mostly for fun, and so I can go on being out in the world with you guys.

Make me a mask, if it pleases you.