January 16th, 2013


[links] Link salad is off to see its surgeon

The Acts of Whimsy cancer fundraiser and the Lakeside Kickstarter for the documentary about me, [info]the_child, and cancer are still live. Both have made goal, but additional support is always welcome. Please check them out if you have not done so yet.

Time Lapse: Howard draws "Jay Lake Kicking Cancer's Ass" — This picture is so awesome.

Gabrielle Harbowy with another Act of Whimsy — Where are you now, indeed…

Acts of Fashionable Whimsey for Jay Lake — Gail Carriger does it with style.

How You Can Help Peter David Recover — Speaking of people in need of help for medical reasons.

Fasting Might Boost Chemo's Cancer-Busting PropertiesA new animal study suggests that short-term starvation might improve outcomes for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. (Via [info]lillypond.)

Fisher-Price Synesthesia — Huh. And maybe hah. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Why would a biotech company keep a secret herd of goats?Many antibodies get made in a surprising factory—animals.

Crematory claims 18 human heads from U.S. Customs — Wow. Lowering the Bar is Very Funny about this.

Small Factories Give Baxter the Robot a Cautious Once-OverRethink Robotics invented a $22,000 humanoid robot that competes with low-wage workers. I'm rather conflicted over this story.

There's More to Life Than Being Happy — (Via [info]mlerules.)

Bioluminescent leave — I love art. (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

Penn and Teller on Vaccinations — Speaking hypocritical intellectual dishonesty, anti-vas is one that has taken hold in certain elements of liberal America, a demographic not normally afflicted with the kind of wholesale willful ignorance that pretty much defines American conservatism, reinforced through vigorous data suppression and media-driven epistemic closure. This one makes the good guys look stupid. (At least conservatives have an excuse: almost their entire Weltanschauung collapses in the face of the facts on the ground. Their willful ignorance is sheer self-defense. Liberals have no such excuse for this kind of stupidity.) (Via [info]goulo.)

Long-Term Global Warming Trend Continues — Speaking of facts antithetical to the conservative worldview...

Sandy Hook truthers claim the Newtown massacre never happened — This is just disgusting, vile. But philosophically it's little different from the moral, upstanding citizens who own guns and shrug off the eighty plus deaths a day that occur because of their gun "rights".

The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery — I've been contemplating the link between widespread private gun ownership and slavery for z while (both vigorously defended as Constitutional rights, both defended as necessary social good, both supported by people who considered themselves good and moral, both with vile and immoral consequences completely at odds with their putative justifications), so this is especially timely and fascinating. (Via David Goldman.)

Hard-liners Don’t Speak for All Conservatives — Oh really? This is one of the funniest headlines I've seen in ages. Maybe those not-hard-line conservatives might want to speak up once in a while. Not to mention doing something about the loons and vandals currently running the House and disrupting the Senate. Any takers…? No, I didn't think so.

?otD: Are you a cut-up?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (stress)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 221.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing disability rights: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks


[culture] Pharmaceutical Puritans

My insurance plan, like many, has multiple tiers of pharmaceutical co-payments. Most of my drugs cost me $10 per prescription filled or refilled. A few cost me $20. Exactly two cost me $50. Those same two drugs are also the only drugs I have ever been prescribed in my life for which my insurance company limits the number of doses I'm allowed per month below what the doctor prescribed.

That would be Viagra and Levitra.

Ever since my colon surgery in May of 2008, I have had persistent erectile dysfunction. The probable root cause is surgical disruption to the vagus nerve. That, and the effect of being in my later 40s with a lot of medical and life stress, has kept me from ever recovering full functionality.

If and when any organ in my body other than my penis malfunctions, insurance covers everything required. I have co-pays and other minor hassles, but my insurance carrier is consistent and supportive. They have unquestioningly paid for drugs that cost $10,000 per dose, as needed in my chemotherapy regimen, with no co-pay at all because they were dispensed in a clinic.

But when I need a drug to help me enjoy the basics of male sexuality, I'm limited to a handful (or less) of pills per month and charged 2.5 to 5 times what every other drug I've ever taken costs me, when I have had a co-pay at all.

Is there any logical reason for this? To my view, this is just the ingrained Puritanism in American culture. Yet another stupid price we pay for the Calvinism in our national DNA. The unwillingness of many people, most of them conservatives, to contribute to the sexual enjoyment of others. Millions for cancer, barely a few cents for a good fuck. I cannot imagine any medical or financial justification for this beyond simple, petty discomfort with human sexuality.

I know perfectly well the sordid history of health insurance and female birth control. I don't expect much sympathy from female readers, who have borne the full cost of their sexual health for decades, until quite recently. But it's really the same problem that conservatives so ardently and wrongly tried to smear Sandra Fluke with: people don't want to think they are paying for other people to have sex.

You know what? I'm just as entitled to sexual health and well being as I am to any other form of health and well being. This is really a minor issue in the symphony of horror which is my cancer experience, but it's a damned annoying one. The medication restrictions on sexually related drugs are just petty, and serve no purpose other than to make some people, somewhere, feel good about punishing me for having a libido and opportunities to exercise it.


[cancer] Field notes from cancerland, surgical edition

This and that...

The Acts of Whimsy Fundraiser

Thanks to your incredible generosity, we've added some more unlock stretch goals to the Acts of Whimsy Fundraiser:

  • $42,000 — NY Times Best-selling author Steven Gould will run for SFWA president!

  • $44,000 — Video, "How to Write Like My Dad" by Bronwyn Lake (a/k/a [info]the_child)

  • $46,000 — Klingon language expert Lawrence Schoen will present Five Pick-Up Lines Used in Federations Bars by Klingons

  • $50,000 — A delicious surprise!

And yes, I do know what the delicious surprise is. It will be pretty awesome, I can assure you. And it was [info]the_child's idea, so she's in a sense responsible for two of these stretch goals.

Personal Stress

Some folks contacted me privately after yesterday's post entitled "Hope and Despair" [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]. A lot more expressed both concern and support publicly in comments. Rest assured, I am not going off the rails. I was talking about my experience, not expressing a desperate cry for help. I am receiving both good therapy, and excellent support from family and friends. The big issues in my life are soul-crushing, but I still live day to day in (mostly) good cheer, love and personal fulfillment.

Surgery Next Week

Next Tuesday, I am having my liver resected for the third time. This will be my fifth major cancer surgery. (There have also been five minor surgeries, repeatedly inserting and extracting my chest port.) That means, among other things, that the blogs will be dark for a while, with the possible exception of occasional status updates by Lisa Costello.

Also, I am seeing my surgical oncologist today. We'll be exploring some of the issues around the apparent emergence of Ashcroft (tumor #4), and how that affects the surgical plan, as well as treatment expectations going forward. I should be commenting on this here on the blogs tomorrow.

The release of Kalimpura, the third Green novel

In one of those bizarre coincidences that wouldn't work if you wrote it into a story, Kalimpura releases two weeks from yesterday, Tuesday, January 29th, a week after my surgery while I'm flat on my back at home in bed recovering, and thus unable to do even local promotion at Powell's and elsewhere. Part of the irony is that the paperback release of Mainspring occurred the day I went into the Emergency Room with my initial cancer presentation back in 2008. Apparently my careers as a professional writer and as a professional cancer patient are intertwined.

One way to support me is of course to donate to the Acts of Whimsy Fundraiser. Another way, which is better for my other career, is to buy a copy of Kalimpura. Though it reasonably stands alone as a novel, if you haven't enjoyed Green or Endurance, feel free to take a read of them. Audible.com also has a terrific set of audiobooks for the series.

If you want to purchase Kalimpura today, here are some links: [ Powells | BN ]