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Oct. 6th, 2011

PT Scan Results

I had a pt scan on Tuesday, and it was not one of the better days of my life.  The tech had to stick me four times to get a vein to inject the radioactive tracer.  Including one in my wrist, which hurt like the blazes.  Ugh.  We were a half hour finding a vein.

I saw the doctor today and the results were not as good as I’d hoped,  First of all, I have fluid accumulating under my breast stump that is interfering with my breathing.  I’ve been very short of breath for quite some time now, and I’ve been beating myself up about it.  It’s kind of nice to know it’s not my fault, but I’m bummed because I have to go to the hospital Monday and have them stick a big needle in there and draw off the fluid.  It’s called a “thoracentesis”.  Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  I’ll bet it’s going to HURT.  They’re supposed to numb me up with Novocain, but I’m not getting my hopes up.  It will be nice to breathe again normally.

Seriously, I thought I was losing my mind.  I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get my breath.  Much negative self-talk (“Come on you fat slob.”) and trying to ignore it.

As far as the cancer is concerned, the bones of my trunk are pretty well peppered with it.  Nothing big enough to call a tumor, but lots of little specks.  My breastbone, ribs, shoulder blades, both arms, my pelvis and hips are fairly well invaded with “specks”.  Plus, I have a couple   of one centimeter lesions, both in the bones of my left arm.

So, it looks like my back pain and the problems with my hips are more related the cancer than we thought.  *sigh*

What we’re going to do is continue the targeted chemotherapy and they’re adding a drug called Xgeva to strengthen my bones.  My prognosis is not as good as we were hoping.  I’ve probably got five years at the absolute maximum, more likely just a couple.

I know this is going to upset everybody (think how I feel!), but let’s try not to fuss too much about it.  I know you all want me to get well.  I wanted to get well, too, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.   We can cry, if you want, but then let’s get past it and try to enjoy the time we have left together, okay?

Aug. 24th, 2011

Latest Step Toward Normal

I had my annual mammogram and an appointment with my doctor today.  I’ll tell you right up front – I was a nervous wreck.  I lay awake all last night wondering, “What if it’s in the other breast?  What if it’s spread out from the surgery site?”

The mammogram was typical.  Not too comfortable, but not awful, either.  We had a little trouble working around my port; it’s right where the paddle needs to come down.  But we shifted and we tugged and finally got some good pictures.

Then I rode the elevator down one floor to see Dr. Longmire-Cook.  She came in, said everything looked fine in the mammogram, and then felt around on my normal breast. 

“What’s this?” she asked. 

“What do you mean ‘what’s this?’?” I replied.

“I feel a lump.”  Let me tell you, folks, I almost threw up right then.  We went whizzing across the hall to the ultrasound machines, and I climbed on the table with shaky legs.  She gelled me up, then passed the wand over it.

“It’s nothing,” she said.  I almost threw up again, from relief.  I swear, if it was another cancer and I had to go through it all over again, I would have run into the traffic on 86th Street.  I just finished radiation on June 15th!

It was a bad couple of minutes there, but I don’t have to see her again until February.  I complained about the pain I feel in my upper back and pectoral area, and she said it might get better, but it might not.  We’ve just abused the poor thing too much.  So what, I’m not dead.  I was supposed to be by this time, and I’m not only NOT DEAD, I’m heading off to a convention this weekend, where I have a full schedule of panels and am helping host a party.  So there, cancer.

Giddy with relief, I toddled down the hall to the breast cancer store, where they sell wigs, hats, all kinds of stuff – and prosthetic boobies.  The lady treated me with incredible kindness, and the first bra she brought me fit.  The first prosthesis she brought was a little too big, so she got me the next size down, and it was perfect.  In twenty minutes, I had three new bras and a really nice prosthesis.

Bill and I celebrated with sushi.  I’m so excited, because I get to go to Context this weekend looking fairly normal.  My hair has grown out enough so it covers the tops of my ears, and I have two boobies!  Yay!

Aug. 15th, 2011

Context 24 Schedule

I will be attending Context 24 in Columbus, OH, August 26-28.  I will be participating on the following panels:

Let’s Talk About Demons – Saturday 10 a.m. – Arena District

What Should A Human Be Able To Do? – Saturday 1 p.m. – German Village

NaNoWriMo – Saturday 9 p,m, – Oak 1

Mistakes Beginning Writers Makes – Sunday 11 a.m. – Main Programming

I will be able to be found most of the rest of the time either at the IHW table in the Dealer’s Room, or sitting around with a drink in my hand.

And don’t miss the IHW/Apex party Saturday night!

For more info, go to: http://www.contextsf.org/

May. 25th, 2011

Mo*Con 2011 – Part One

I can’t talk about this without crying.  You’ll just have to watch the video.

MoCon 2011

May. 1st, 2011

Just Call Me Stumpy

Sorry to be so out of touch.  What can I say?  It’s Mo*Con time.  Here’s a whirlwind of info for my cancer fans.

Surgery was a slam-dunk.  I went in a little after 8:00 a.m., and woke up in Recovery a little before 11:00 a.m.  By 11:30 I was back in my room, drinking a Diet Pepsi.  By 12:30, I was eating lunch.  At 4:30 they unhooked all the various pieces of monitoring apparatus, and said I was free to get up and move around whenever I wanted.  I ate a huge turkey dinner that night, and a big breakfast the next morning.  I was outta there by Friday afternoon, and slept in my own bed Friday night.  I had very little pain, did all the exercises they taught me, and had no problems with mobility.  Really, it’s almost embarrassing how easy it was.

The drain was a total butt pain, but there was no problem with it.  It came out with an icky slithering sensation that I won’t easily forget.

When I went to my post-surgery check-up, the surgeon was all enthusiastic at how well I was healing.  She said the chemo had reduced the tumor size by 90-95% and what was left of it was pretty shriveled and pathetic looking.  A couple of the lymph nodes did light up, but the ones she took out were all scarred from chemo as well, so we remain hopeful.

The incision is pretty much healed, there’s no soreness left in the area.  It’s the UGLIEST thing I’ve ever seen.  It goes from my armpit to my sternum.  I have this sort of breast stump, about an inch tall.  Very weird.  My seatbelt keeps coming up and smacking me in the face because there’s nothing to hook it under any more. :)

I went last week and met the radiology oncologist, Dr. Dugan.  I’ve had my “planning” CAT scan, and they drew on me with some Sharpies and put some stickers over the marks.  I believe they will be tattooing those marks on more permanently.  I have my first radiation appointment on Tuesday.  They will be taking some x-rays and doing all the stuff to get my position right so the little beams will be spot on.  Perhaps they will tattoo me then.  I have to go Monday through Friday, every day for five and a half weeks.  They said there will be some burning like sunburn, possibly as bad as blistering, but they’ll give me stuff for it, so I won’t suffer too much.

I’ve been told I will probably “breeze through” radiation, whatever that means.  I asked my surgeon, if I’m such a medical miracle, why can’t they cure me?   All the doctors keep jumping up and down at what a great patient I am, and how well I’m doing.  Cure me, then, dammit. *sigh*

So, I battle on.  Mo*Con’s in nineteen days, so I will be terribly preoccupied with that until then.  You should come, if just for the food.

Apr. 6th, 2011

You Don’t Have To Be Freud To Figure This One Out

I keep having this recurring dream.

I’m at a convention or a workshop that I know I’ve registered for, but when I get up to the sign in table, they don’t have a badge for me.  I pull out my receipts, showing that I’ve paid, and usually the person at the registration table will then refer me to someone else.  When that person can’t find any record of my registration, they pass me on to yet another person.  This goes on and on, until I suddenly realize I’m dead, and that’s why they can’t find any record of me.

For several months after my mom died, I kept having these dreams where I was talking to her, and then suddenly I would realize she was dead and I was talking to a ghost.  In those dreams, I would be horrified that she didn’t know she was dead and I would be so upset.  They were like nightmares.

In the recent ones, I’m not scared at all or even upset to realize I’m dead, but I’m incredibly sad.  I feel so bad because I won’t be able to go to the convention and see all my friends.  It’s weird, because I’m obviously not invisible or mute, but clearly in the rules of this dream, dead people do not go to cons.  It’s not at all like a nightmare, but when I wake up, I’m crying.

Apr. 3rd, 2011

Mo*Con Ad Space Now Available!

Program and website ad space for Mo*Con VI is now available.  Writers, editors, publishers, and fans come from across the country to attend the Indianapolis based conference.  This year’s guests will be participating in readings, panel discussions, and book launches.

For more information on Mo*Con, go to: http://www.mocon.indianahorror.org/

Program Ad Rates (April 15 Deadline):

$20 ….. Business Card (2 X 3.5”)
$25 ….. Quarter Page (2.25 X 4.25”)
$50 ….. Half Page (5.5 X 4.25”) 
$75 ….. Full Page (5.5 X 8.5”)
$100 … Full Page (inside front cover)
$100 … Full Page (inside back cover)
$100 … Full Page (back cover)

Website Ad Rates:

$25 ….. Sidebar Ad (all pages)

Mo*Con Sponsorship:

Platinum Sponsors:

$225.00 For this donation level, sponsor will receive – Logo recognition as Platinum Donor through placement on web site and mailings; special mention during opening and closing ceremonies and other announcements; name on Mo*Con banner; full page ad in program; opportunity to provide literature, advertisement, coupons and/or merchandise at registration table; literature available on individual tables; side banner ad on web site; mention in all press releases as platinum sponsor.

Gold Sponsors:

$175.00 For this donation level, sponsor will receive – Logo recognition as Gold Sponsor through placement on web site and mailings, pinpointing and recommending your place of business; special mention during opening and closing ceremonies; opportunity to provide literature, advertisement, coupons and/or merchandise at registration table; 1/2 page ad in program; mention in all press releases as Gold Sponsor.

Silver Sponsors:

$125.00 For this donation level, sponsor will receive – Logo recognition as Silver Sponsor through placement on web site and mailings, pinpointing and recommending your place of business; opportunity to provide literature, advertisement, coupons and/or merchandise at registration table; special mention during opening and closing ceremonies; 1/4 ad in program; mention in all press releases as Silver Sponsor.

For more information, contact Sara Larson at wlarson@indy.rr.com or Maurice Broaddus at mauricebroaddus@gmail.com

Mar. 22nd, 2011

Quick Hi

I just wanted to let everybody know surgery went well.  I’m doing fine, just sleepy from the pain meds.


More gooshy details later.

Mar. 12th, 2011

Surgery Info

Greetings Faithful Readers-

Sorry to have been away so long.  Lots of things have been going on, some good and some awful; I’ll get to those in another blog or two later.  I just want to catch up on the details of my mastectomy for those of you playing along at home.

Surgery is scheduled for March 17th.  Yes, St. Patrick’s Day.  No corned beef and cabbage and green beer for me this year.  I’ll be lucky if they bring me some green Jell-O.  I have to be at the hospital at the ungodly hour of 6:45 a.m., and surgery is scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m.  It’s supposed to be a two to three hour procedure, then I’ll go to recovery, and from there to a room.  If all goes well, they’ll keep me overnight and send me home on the 18th.

I’ve been going through the usual battery of pre-operative tests to make sure I’m healthy enough for surgery.  I’ve had my heart scanned and my chest x-rayed; next week I’ll have my blood tests and the feared radioactive tracer injection.  I’m really dreading the latter.  It’s an injection straight into my breast, so they can see if my lymph nodes light up.  (The optimal result is that they do not glow.)  I’ve heard this shot packs quite a wallop.  Supposedly, they are going to give me shots to numb my breast.  They better.  They’d better have a gallon of lidocaine there ready to shoot into me.  If it hurts, I’m going to chew their internal organs out.  That’s on Wednesday, the day before my operation.  I guess I go in, they shoot in the tracer, and then I go have lunch and come back two hours later to have them take scans and see if anything fluoresces.

Then I go in Thursday morning, and she removes my breast through a honking big incision, and pulls out three of my sentinel lymph nodes to send down to pathology for a biopsy.  What I don’t understand is, if she’s going to do that, why do I have to have the tracer shot?  Maybe I should call.  I’m sure Anne, the nurse would looove to talk to me yet again.  Anyway, if my nodes are clean, then they won’t take out any more of them, which is a good thing.  She’ll stitch me up, insert the drains, and send me off to recovery.

I’m not thrilled about the drains, either.  Two weeks of goo-dripping tubes hanging off the front of me.  Yippy skippy.  However, she has assured me they don’t stink, so at least I won’t be repulsing people wherever I go.  Then after two weeks, if all goes well (have you noticed how often I say that?), she’ll take out the stitches and the drains (ick) and I’ll just have to finish healing.

I’m mostly busy trying not to freak out over the fact that I’m going to have an amputation, and trying not to worry about dying during the operation.  The last time I got operated on, I nearly bled to death, so I’m not exactly sanguine (yes, pun intended) about this little foray into slice and dice.  I’ve been looking at some pictures of mastectomies on the Internet, and it is One Bloody Surgery.  Fascinating photos, though.  Better than zombie movies.

An anecdote:  I was telling the surgeon that I had been looking at pictures on the Web, and she said, “Oh, no, you shouldn’t be doing that!”  Then she laughed and said, “I forgot I was talking to a horror writer.”  Then she told me that when she and her husband starting dating while she was in med school, he asked her why she had decided to specialize in surgery, and she told him that she just loved to get inside folks and look around.  He replied, “I’m so glad there’s a legal way for you to satisfy those urges, honey.”

So that’s where we are as of today.  I’ll keep you posted as to how things go, and I’ll let you know if the tracer injection is torture or not.  Of course, if you hear on the news that a group of radiologists was ripped apart bodily at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis, you’ll already know the answer. :)

Mar. 5th, 2011

New Review

Check out my review of THE WIDE GAME on Horror Web:


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