April 27th, 2011


[links] Link salad goes back to the oncologist again

Letters to MycroftThe true story of the 'Great Hiatus' told via Holmes' cables and letters to his brother Mycroft.

Scrivener's Error on GBS, Borders and the NFL — The NFL is having a lockout?

Inside zombie brains: Sci-fi teaches science — Brains...

1940 sign from a British country club instructs on how to golf around the Nazi bombs

Twitter is in Denial About its Massive Spam ProblemTwitter doesn't seem to have enough incentive to eliminate auto-spawned accounts -- and that's a larger problem than most of us realize.

Ironic Headline of the YearSean Hannity To Host Special Report On Media Bias For Fox News. Hahahaha.

State Dept. wants to make it harder to get a passport — This is just nuts. Also, I am reliably informed that most of this crap would irrelevant to State, and is likely originating from elsewhere in the government. FBI or Homeland Security, presumably. ETA: [info]pnh points out by way of correction that my summary of the story about the State Department's proposed new passport application leaves out the widely-reported fact that it's intended for people who weren't born inside the US, weren't born in a medical facility, or whose birth wasn't legally documented within a year of its occurrence.

The Crash and Burn of an Autism Guru — Andrew Wakefield is further proof that reality is no defense against people's passionate need to believe. (Via Mike Brotherton.)

Right wing upset that gays pressured law firm to drop DOMA case. How dare we be intolerant of their intolerance?

Opponents of gay marriage getting slimy and desperate — Yep. Still no principled stance against gay marriage. Only prejudice and hate dressed in religious "principle".

Fact-Checking's Got Nothing To Do With It — Ta-Nehisi Coates on the racist fraud of birtherism. The question isn't "Is Obama a citizen?" It's "Why does a large swath of America, virtually all of it conservative and white, believe that Obama isn't a citizen?"

"Birther" claims debunked in new report — Also, this just in: creationism disproved, tax cuts do not raise revenue. As usual, the facts are biased against the conservative worldview.

Republicans are being held hostage by their baseRepublicans have a problem. Their base is killing them. [...] the loopy, enraged divorce from reality of the Tea Potniks has infected the entire party. And it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of opportunistic hypocrites.

?otD: Did one thing lead to another?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (1,200 words to wrap a new short fiction project, some WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
Weight: 246.2
Currently reading: Nifft the Lean by Michael Shea


[cancer] My theory of problems

So, during the continuing adventure of surgery followed by chemotherapy followed by more surgery over 2009-2010, I evolved a new theory of problems. Actually, it's a theory I've had for a long time, but my personal medical situation really underscored the point to me.

Essentially it's this: Everyone's problems are as big as they are.

I would reasonably often have conversations that went something like this:

Friend: "Man, I feel lousy. I have a cold."
Jay: "Man, that sucks. I hope you feel better soon."
Friend: (embarrassed) "Oh, wait. You have cancer. Never mind."

For "a cold" substitute "a flat tire", "a job interview", "a sick dog", etc.

The thing is, the scale of my issues don't mean that anyone else's matter less. Yes, there is the question of perspective. I'm not an idiot, I understand there's a huge distinction between a three-day upper respiratory infection and a year of brutal treatments for a potentially fatal disease. But if you're not the one with cancer, the cold can be a pretty big problem. (If you're on chemo, a cold can be a gigantic problem, but that's a topic for another time.)

Sick or not, I am human too. I care about my friends and am sympathetic to their troubles. Often as not, it eases my mind to talk about some else other than FUCKING CANCER ALL THE GOD-DAMNED TIME. Even if that something else is tough stuff as well.

So, like I said, everyone's problems are as big as they are.

This applies in writing as well. Novelists worrying about their royalty statements are grappling with problems that are just as real to them as people aching to sell their first story. We just call that trading up to a better class of problems. If you haven't sold yet, the kvetching of established writers sounds like complaining about paying taxes on your lottery winnings. But guess what? Lottery winners pay taxes, too.

Cancer sucks. So does a head cold, a flat tire, etc. We all live our lives. I'm just trying to live mine.


[cancer] Quick updates

Saw the dentist yesterday to have my teeth cleaned and checked. That's strongly discouraged while on chemotherapy due to bleeding, infection risk and mouth sensitivities. Tattoo artist tomorrow (also discouraged while on chemo), therapist Friday (encouraged while on chemo).

Today I see my surgical oncologist to discuss the plan for dealing directly with the tumor in the right lobe of my liver. He'll either confirm what my medical oncologist proposed, or offer a different course. That in turn will determine my treatment schedule and so forth.

Spent a lot of yesterday evening making plans of various sorts for caregiving and logistics during chemotherapy. I certainly know how to do this now. Some kinds of expertise are discouraging to have acquired. I continue to be very lucky in my friends.

Also, received a well-meaning but moronically insensitive voicemail last night that badly blew up my already tenuous emotional balance. That pretty much screwed up the end of my evening and sent me to bed in a deep funk. Thankfully I seem to have shaken off my depression overnight.

And for some reason my liver aches this morning. I'm 95% certain this is psychosomatic, as I don't believe the tumor is large enough for me to feel it directly, but still that is discouraging.

This is only the beginning.