December 23rd, 2009


[links] Link salad observes antepenNoel

The Pinion cover is made public — It's lovely. I am terribly pleased.

matociquala commits glory — Go read. It's only a few sentences long.

Why handwriting is history — The handwritten scoring on the SATs would have sunk me as a kid. I routinely placed in 99.9th percentile, but my handwriting is so atrocious...

Santa awing — A funny classic photo from x-planes.

The capitol subway, 1915 — Speaking of funny, classic photos. This one from Shorpy.

A solstice sunriseAPOD with one of those images that just suckers me in. The solstice sun, rising behind the Temple of Poseidon.

Titan's Lakes, An Exoplanet's Seas — More from Centauri Dreams. Money shot: If mapping the continents on planets around other stars doesn't rouse your interest, you may not be paying attention

The Oral Tradition — Phil Nugent with a fascinating take on Oral Roberts, televangelism and the American Right. (Snurched from The Edge of the American West.)

?otD: Is it beginning to look a lot like Festivus?

Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike
Hours slept: 7.0
This morning's weigh-in: 226.2
Currently reading: Finch by Jeff VanderMeer


[cancer] The dread and fear of things

Slept pretty well last night, something close to normal in terms of both quality of sleep and duration. Woke up pain free, though that didn't last long.

Every now and then the reality of my current situation hits me from a fresh angle. As I've observed before, when your life is such that metastatic colon cancer is good news, you're pretty deep into the Twilight Zone. (And I'm thinking Golden Earring here as much as Rod Serling.) I mean, I used to think the word "metastasis" meant "the grenade's gone off, kiss your kids good-bye". And maybe it does for me, too, though I continue to retain my fundamental optimism about all this.

Likewise chemotherapy. When I think, really think about what's going to happen to me in slightly over two weeks, it scares me spitless. I mean, this is raw, nasty stuff. Heavy metal poisoning. Impotence. Cognitive impairment. Immune system failures. Chronic, persistent nausea. Carcinogenic chemicals flooding my bloodstream. Forty eight hours on an infusion pump. I'm going from an asymptomatic disease to weapons-grade pharmaceuticals. Still, the only way forward is to walk into the fire. So walk into it I shall.

Really, chemotherapy is kind of like eating mushrooms. When I really think about the biology of fungii, I can't touch them. When I just think, oh, a mushroom, they're delicious. Chemo's the same way for me, it seems. Don't think, just act.

The marvel and miracle of it all is that I still go to bed, i still sleep, I still wake up, I still exercise, I still hang out with the_child, I still live, love, laugh, eat, crack wise, write stories, get confused by literary contracts, go to work, do laundry. Spoons or no spoons, I get things done. I live.

So the dread and fear is there. The sheer enormity of it all could overwhelm if I let it. I am well loved, well cared for, and have good insurance. That and a bit of non-neurotic compartmentalization is what it takes. Because the stark, raving truth of this is hell.

Also, I wanted to note that the responses in comments to yesterday's post about why I talk about cancwr so much [ | LiveJournal ] are varied and moving. Well worth the read, if you're interested in such. Most of the action is on the LiveJournal side, so start there.


[polls] Caption contest voting poll, Nachoectomy edition

Time for another caption contest voting poll in celebration of my New Adventures in Cancer.

My sister took this photo of me and calendula_witch in the hospital, shortly after my nacho-ectomy.

Nov 26 2009

© 2009 M. Lake, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

garyomaha felt that this was a natural for a caption contest. The usual comment madness ensued: [ | LiveJournal ]

I have now converted it to a voting poll. Unfortunately, some of the longer witticisms at my expense are truncated by the poll code, so take the time to pop over to those links and look them over before you vote! Usual rules apply. Prize after the voting poll will be an inscribed ARC of Pinion, plus a bonus book. Plus garyomaha will also get a special prize for his role in inciting this idiocy.

Voting poll is here. Encourage all your friends!


[cancer] More sex, and other mysteries

Just spoke to the chemo nurse. I have been advised that due to me being on 5-FU (Fluorouracil), condoms are absolutely required for any relevant sexual act during chemo and for three months afterward. The drugs involved are too disruptive to risk passing on to my sex partners via my ejaculate. Also due to my immunocompromised status, I cannot perform oral sex without a dental dam, as the consequences of me contracting a bacterial infection are severe. This is not surprising, but it does not please me.

In other news, thanks to a prompting from a friend of calendula_witch, I queried about EMLA, an anaesthetic cream that's applied to the skin above the chest port an hour or so prior to the needle being set. The nurse said, "Well, that's a good idea. It will cut down quite a bit on your incidental pain." Which made me wonder why they didn't prescribe it proactively. She also indicated that I can continue physical therapy while under chemo, with no particular cautions. So my shoulder will progress further.

In other news, I'm mulling a post on cancer, stress and my atheism. It seems to need to be discussed — even my clinic is advising me to support my spiritual side through my faith, which seems to considerably privilege religious belief. I'm not planning to make an issue of it there, not at all, just wanting to answer the implied question, which was explicitly voiced by an acquaintance who recently commented, "I just don't understand how you can do this without faith in God."

That definitely deserves a thoughtful response.