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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-06-03 05:11
Subject: [cancer] Continuing fog, with reefs
Security: Public
Tags:books, calendula, cancer, friends, health, personal, process, stories, sunspin, writing
The head fog carries forward. Yesterday was a pretty tough day at the Day Jobbe, for both external and internal reasons. Afterwards for a while I was barely conscious enough to interact with mikigarrison and kenscholes. Even the arrival of calendula_witch didn't get me out of my chair. I continue unusually hard of thinking. Not to mention exhausted. Every time I think I've hit a bottom, there's a new bottom. Chemotherapy is like cloud diving without a parachute.

Another issue has cropped up, one I find quite disturbing. I've mentioned before that I'm not blocked in the classic sense of writer's blocked so much as too exhausted to focus my creativity. A day or two ago, I re-read "Permanent Fatal Errors", a Sunspin story of mine that is included in the excellent anthology, Is Anybody Out There?. I didn't recognize the story. The writing struck me as very good, and as something I had no idea how to do. It was quite literally as if I were reading a piece by another writer for the first time. And I had the feeling that I couldn't do that again if you paid me. (So to speak.)

This is deeply frightening.

I'm not foolish. There's nothing wrong with my meta-analysis. Chemo is messing with my head in a big way lately, on top of months of exhaustion and slow decay. But subjectively, this is the first time in over ten years that I can't find Fred somewhere inside my head. My inner writer has skipped out.

Of all the thefts and treacheries of cancer, this is the worst. Of all the other issues that bedevil me, this is the worst. My logical self knows Fred will be back once the drugs loosen their grip, maybe even sooner. My emotional self is, well, being emotional.

I hate this. Hate hate hate.

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User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-06-03 12:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And I had the feeling that I couldn't do that again if you paid me. (So to speak.)

And yet, dear, this very blog entry shows every bit of your writing voice and writing style. Dearest, Fred's still there. You just can't recognize him at the moment.

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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-06-03 13:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I sympathise. But it will come back.
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Peter Hollo
User: frogworth
Date: 2010-06-03 13:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You have to focus on the fact that this is just chemo-Jay. Fred will return when things return to something resembling normal. I know this well as a creative person myself, although I am so unfocused that my personal Fred is pretty wayward anyway.
But you know and we know that Fred will come back, and you just need to let him take a rest while your body's being battered around.
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calendula_witch: First Book
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2010-06-03 13:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:First Book
Remember how Fred went to sleep after the surgeries too, and how worried you were that "it"--your writing self--was broken, when you first wrote again after the first surgery. He has not gone away: he is suffering chemo along with the rest of you.
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scarlettina: Writing
User: scarlettina
Date: 2010-06-03 14:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Fred will be back; don't doubt it for a second. ::hug::
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User: keikaimalu
Date: 2010-06-03 14:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

It sucks, fearing that you may have lost something precious permanently. Chances are you haven't, but that's probably cold comfort right now, when the fear is strong and immutable.

You feel how you feel.

Others have covered the pep talks, so I'll just offer my sympathies. And my admiration for your clear and honest communication about what this experience is like for you.
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Deza: How I roll
User: deza
Date: 2010-06-03 16:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:How I roll
Hi. I'm new here, but I wanted to say I can empathize with this.

I'm on weekly chemo treatments for the rest of my life, due to an autoimmune disorder. I know the brain fog, the lassitude, the despair. I know how it feels to have everything stripped away by a disease and the medications used to treat it.

I skipped my treatments for two weeks, while my other half's been away with the military. In those two weeks, I've been attacked by rabid plot bunnies. Apparently they've been penned up and breeding steadily while I've been in the chemo-fog. I've written each one down; now I'm just hoping that I'll be able to squeeze the stories out once I'm back on the meds.

You are not alone in this. The drugs do horrible things to you, but the treatments do end. Once you get through this, Fred will come back to you, ready to go back to work. Hold on to that knowledge. It will help you get through this.
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Renegade Vagabond: Monkey
User: khaybee
Date: 2010-06-03 18:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
On a completely unrelated note, I thought I'd tell you that when I was a small child, I had an invisible friend named Fred who lived in my pants.

Yes, my mother was embarrassed to take me out in public, why do you ask?
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They Didn't Ask Me: hal-9000
User: dr_phil_physics
Date: 2010-06-03 18:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's okay, Jay. Every once in a while I'll go trolling through the hundreds of stories I made notes for or wrote part of -- and realize that I have no idea what this story is, where it's going or remember writing it. And I have neither a chemo or Alzheimer's excuse. (grin)

Storage and retrieval from Long Term Memory is an amazing and chaotically unpredictable electrochemical process even when it's working.

Dr. Phil

(And then I post this in the wrong place, then click on the wrong button to put it in the right place. Dave... my mind is going...)
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User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2010-06-03 20:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Fred was tired of the intestines taking up all your time and energy, so he is walking down to the corner store for a pack of cigs, lottery tickets, and a paper. Then he is going to sit on the porch and do the crosswords.
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