Something Finished, Something Started

Last week I started radiation treatment. Every day at 1:15, I clock out from work, drive to the nearest hospital, strip from the waist up and don a hospital gown that I’m not allowed to close, then get my left breast bathed in x-rays for 30 seconds or so from each side (right, then left). Then I dress, drive back to work and finish the day. It seems like something as serious as “cancer treatment” should take longer and be more trouble.

In the waiting room, I see people who are much, much sicker than I am. A lady who miraculously survived stage 4 (the next stage is terminal) lung-to-brain cancer nearly four years ago, who now has a new tumor in her other lung–this one is small and was caught early, but still, she has to do it again. A retired naval veteran with a brain tumor right behind the middle of his forehead. A man from my mother’s very small home town who received his very first colon cancer treatment today; he’s about the right age to have gone to school with mom. Warm, wonderful people who have only this one thing in common, really–we’re all being treated with radiation, for cancer.

I feel like I’m a poser, even though this was my second cancer diagnosis of 2009 (the first was a funny wart on the end of my nose last spring that turned out to be squamous cell carcinoma; it was removed under local anesthesia in June). All I can say is, get checked–early and often. The key to kicking cancer is finding it before it gets more than a toehold. Then you can be a cancer poser, because it beats being one of the miracle people.

Okay, I’m done being maudlin. Moving on.

I finished a futuristic retelling of Sleeping Beauty and submitted it for the Samhain Hot Fairy Tale anthology. This is the first fiction I’ve finished in over a year. But it’s just the first one–the two novels I’ve been fighting with–I’ve rewritten the first hundred pages of both of them at least once–are next. And then…well, why stop with retelling one fairy tale as a space opera? I’m getting my non-fiction obligations out of the way early (two new newsletter articles and a new workshop), so I can focus on the problem children.


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