June 8th, 2010


[links] Link salad mutters gabba gabba hey

Punking Fiction Part 1: Steampunk Reading List — A rather nifty overview.

E-Books Rock, But Will They Rule? — More industry analysis. (Thanks to scarlettina.)

arcaedia very kindly picks up my note about The Specific Gravity of Grief

The Pleasures of Imagination — A rather nifty article on imaginary friends, fiction and more. (Thanks to seventorches.)

“USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) tests her washdown system during sea trials off the Virginia Capes, June 24, 1998” — rathr strange photo of an aircraft carrier from x planes.

Cancer guardian found playing a role in sex — (Thanks to shelly_rae.)

Genetic Testing Can Change BehaviorPreliminary evidence suggests people respond more strongly to genetic risk. Slightly misleading headline, interesting story.

'Roman gladiators' link to York skeleton find — Ah, history.

Has life on Titan been discovered? No. — Evidence, proof and exobiology from our friends at Centauri Dreams.

On the Sanctity of Marriage — Ta-Nehisi Coates with a heart-rending letter between former slaves spouses in the post-Civil War era.

Texas textbooks and the truth about the ConfederacyTexas is right: We should teach kids about Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy. But let's tell the whole story. Speaking of political and racial idiocy...

?otD: Would you have your genome sequenced? Why or why not?

Writing time yesterday: n/a (chemo exhaustion)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: none (irregular hypnagogic state for about nine hours)
This morning's weigh-in: 228.2
Yesterday's chemo stress index: 9/10 (on the pump)
Currently (re)reading: Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett


[cancer] Wasted days and wasted nights...

Absolute failure to sleep last night. I spent eight or nine hours in a hypnagogic state, more or less, so at least I was resting in the dark. I feel stripped like paint this morning.

It's been rougher than ever lately. I note from an old blog entry that I walked three miles the day I came off the chemo pump during infusion session one. Nowadays, walking up the block (50 yards or so) is brutal. I'm emotionally and mentally thin, while the recent additional cognitive deficits have stabilized but not recovered. A lot more tears, a bit more panic, and return of the sense that my life has been dramatically shorted. (That's not medically justified by any specific indicators or prognoses, it's just a form of cancer fear.)

The upcoming schedule is that I have the last infusion session June 18th through June 20th. I come off the needle for the last time then. I have several recovery curves to deal with, ranging from the fatigue and digestive issues (perhaps 4 weeks to something acceptable, plus more time to normalcy) to sexual and immune responses recovery (perhaps 8 weeks to sexual recovery, oddly, my white blood cell counts have held up abnormally well) to peripheral neuropathy (up to two years to recover, with possible permanent effects).

I am probably going to be back to traveling in late July, but will have to schedule around quarterly CT scans starting in July or August, plus colonoscopy and lower GI followup, and perhaps eventually day surgery to remove my chest port. I have been advised that leaving the chest port in makes the CT scans an easier process. Given what a mess my veins are after the last 26 months of cancer experience, that is highly attractive. I had some minor bloodwork done yesterday via my left arm, and due to the scarring in my veins the needle overshot and had to be pulled back, causing internal bleeding. This fairly normal for me now with an arm stick, unfortunately.

Frankly, the upcoming scans terrify me, or would if I had the energy to focus on them a little more. My history with scans is either fantastically good or fantastically bad, depending on the viewpoint I choose to adopt. I think if we find another round of metastases, I will come completely unglued. I was way too young for my original cancer (about twenty years earlier than average age of diagnosis), and I was absolutely not expected to have any metastases, given the staging and treatment at the time. It's fair to say that medical expectations of the usual course of tubovillous adenocarcinoma have been violated twice in my case already.

Cancer is made of fear, at some very basic levels. That fear has infected my family and loved ones, and it has infected me. Mostly I laugh at it, just like I laugh at most people and things that bedevil me, but this isn't publishing failure or ongoing Internet harassment or a flat tire or a chest cold. This is life and death stuff, something that can erase all my ambitions, hopes and fears and leave a hole in the hearts of others I love so much it makes me ache with grief to contemplate.

So I am afraid. I don't let fear stop me, but sometimes it is a millstone larger than the world, fatigue its sly ally.

Thank the universe for love and hope and kindness.

And sleep. Argh.