Archive for the ‘cancer’ Tag

Update — No, I have not entirely abandoned my website

After recovering from the breast cancer reconstruction that refused to cooperate (no, I will not go into details as I don’t want to freak out anyone; let’s just say I burned off some bad karma), I dove into The Ocasek Opportunity, the story of Tasha’s little brother and how he saved two civilizations from the boogeyman aliens.

Currently, it’s resting before I start editing the first draft into a book.

Now I’m fighting with Kindness of Strangers, the Ganymede Survivors story of Colonel Singh and the elusive Chandra Ramasamy.

And I’ve got one more editing pass on The Unique Solution–the redemption of the evil twin from Blade’s Edge–before I can get it published.

I’ve written more in the last year than in the previous several, just none of it on my website/blog. So now you know.

Thanks,
Val

So, Breast Cancer Came Back

Ductile carcinoma in situ calcifications turned up on a mammogram in February, looking like someone got dust on the negative. Only it was a digital picture. Sigh.

One closeup mammogram, one needle biopsy and three doctor appointments later, the left tata became medical waste. It had thought about killing me twice, so it had to go. And on April 8, it went.

Luckily, it was just starting to think about it (ductile carcinoma is sometimes called Stage 0 cancer, because the body is walling it off with calcium so it hasn’t started to spread yet), which means no chemo. Since chemo is nasty no matter how you look at it, this is A Good Thing.

Right now I’m an Amazon who isn’t good with a bow, and my pendant watch keeps hanging funny, so I’m starting reconstruction on August 18. They’re going to sneak a little muscle from my left shoulder blade area, along with some skin, and put in a tissue expander, which is like an adjustable breast implant. The muscle is to help hold it in place.

The tissue expander starts out kind of flat and they add fluid once a week until you get the size you want — in my case, to match the other side. Then they take it out and put in the permanent implant. And I go buy a t-shirt that says, “One of them’s fake, because the real one was thinking about killing me.”

It’s nice, living in the future. Cancer is annoying and expensive, but it’s nowhere near a death sentence anymore. Also, after the initial wave of terror passes, it’s boring. As a result, this is probably the last you’ll hear about it from me, unless I’m complaining about surgical drains.

So do your exams and get your mammos done. It’s a lot cheaper and less awful if you catch things early. 🙂

Val

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.

Bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah.

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