Two years later

Rosemary

This morning, Facebook reminded me that it’s been two years since my last chemotherapy session.

And how am I doing now?  Fine, just fine, medically speaking.

Well, I’ve got the scars.  And a sort of… call it a divot.  Because the chemo was so successful, I didn’t need the full mastectomy that we all expected at first.  They ended up removing so little tissue that under most circumstances the divot isn’t even noticeable at all.   The site aches a bit when I move in certain ways, but not enough to limit my motion at all.

I’ve been lactose-intolerant as a result of chemo for the last two years or so, but it actually seems like that’s starting to back off.  I might be free of it, soon.

I have some residual numbness in my fingers and feet, also a known side-effect of the really aggressive course of chemo we took.  It’s weird, but manageable: sometimes things can slip from my grip, especially very smooth things.  I just have to pay closer attention than I used to.  I have to watch out for bruises and cuts on my feet in places I can’t feel, and be careful of over-flexing.  (Which always reminds me of Cordwainer Smith’s story, “Scanners Live in Vain.”  I have to scan.)

And I have periodic check-ups from my oncologist and surgeon.  But these are being scheduled at longer and longer intervals.

So… No problems.  Two years later, no real problems.

When I reread the blog posts from the time of my treatment, it seems as if I was perky and cheerful for most of the experience — but I know that much of that is illusion, caused by the facts that a) I used my blogging to cheer myself up and stay positive, and b) when I felt really unhappy, I just didn’t blog at all.   But trust me: I experienced the full range of possible emotions during that time.  Including some that defy description.

I got a lot of support and encouragement from the comments and emails from all of you, by the way.  I can’t express how much it helped me to know you were out there rooting for me.

Of course, my sister Sabine was my main support person, and I was so lucky to have her.  Still am, generally, by the way — but especially during that time.  I can’t say enough good things about her and how she helped.

I had many things planned for that time, most of which had to be abandoned, or changed, or  postponed.  I was barely able to write during that period.  Some  writers and artists actually manage to maintain (or even increase!) their creative output during cancer treatments.  I was  not one of those.  The emotional limbo interspersed with  periods of stabbing angst were not, I found, particularly conducive to maintaining the clarity of thought and steadiness of imagination I needed to make serious progress.  I had some spurts, but nothing I could maintain for long.

However, one thing that I did manage during all that was the publication of the ebooks.  For the most part,  the process was straightforward dog-work — tedious, but doable.  And with no set schedule and no deadline, I could do as much as my strength and mental acuity allowed at any particular time, and set it aside whenever I wasn’t up to the effort.

Below: Links to the posts I made during my whole cancer experience.  I just reviewed them myself, and found it pretty interesting…

12/23/2013: breaking the news

Sometimes the wind comes out of nowhere and knocks you sideways.

12/30/2013: First chemo

Quick post.

01/08/2014: A rant on pseudo-scientific bullshit included here

Amazon emails! Plus: here come the loonies

01/13/2014: losing my hair, but I don’t care…

Abandon ship!

 

01/19/2014: missing out on Boskone that year

As I feared, no Boskone for me.

01/28/2014: in the chemo suite

Three down, five to go

 

02/05/2014: health update inside ebook update

Predictably… Plus: ebook update

 

02/13/14: at the halfway point.

Snow day! Plus: halfway through chemo. Extra flash: Delia Sherman’s Con or Bust offering!

02/27/14 :  one way you  know you’re using the right chemo

You know what? This stuff actually works.

 

03/12/14: Cumulative effects of chemo, including no guitar-playing

Still here…

 

03/24/14: Just another day in the chemo suite

Use it when you’ve got it

04/01/14: Chemo continues, despite blizzard

Many thanks! Plus: Bumped by the blizzard

04/04/14: A hat.  I wore a hats a lot during my treatment

Delia Sherman knitted me a little hat.

 

04/07/14: Numbness side-effects of chemo, with drawings!

Annoyances and updates

 

04/25/14: Gaining strength once the heavy-duty part of chemo is done

Still here…

 

05/09/14: Surgery had to be postponed…

Surgery postponed

05/13/14: The body has a mind of its own

Foiled again.

 

05/21/14: results of that biopsy

About that biopsy…

 

06/01/14: More delays

Wait, what? Postponed AGAIN?

 

06/06/14: Just an update to say all went well

Quick update

 

06/07/14: What the surgery entailed

Two days later

 

06/15/14: Could not ask for a better outcome

And the official pathology report says…

 

06/24/14: Radiation therapy meant no WorldCon in London for me

Well, about WorldCon in London…

 

07/08/14: Prepping for radiation therapy

Hey, I got a tattoo!

 

07/17/14: Echocardiogram, because of Herceptin

Briefly ….

 

08/28/14: A post mostly about a poll, but including info about radiation side-effects

Poll reports. Plus: Ow.

 

09/07/14: And heading back to the day-job

Inching my way back into the Day Job

 

12/29/14: An essay on radiation therapy

Radiation therapy and me

 

02/25/2015:  Herceptin isn’t killer chemical like most chemo, so at some places they call a patient’s official Last Chemo the last of the heavy-duty chemo…. but at my hospital, they declared my chemo over with my final Herceptin infusion.

Last chemo

And that’s it.

Sometimes, looking back, it all seems sort of unreal.   I remember it all quite clearly — but heck, I have a writer’s imagination.  There are plenty of things entirely imaginary that exist in my mind just as clearly as if they happened.

I do know how to tell the difference, however.  This was real.  And… seems to be over.

In other news: Hey, I’m alive!

 


11 Responses to “Two years later”

  • David Says:

    I’m so happy you’re celebrating this milestone! Thank you for sharing!

  • Rosemary Says:

    Of course, having just posted that about my lactose-intolerance possibly going away, I just NOW got hit with a massive intestinal you-do-not-want-the-details, due to having had pasta with a ton of parmesan yesterday, and having forgotten to take a Lactaid pill beforehand.

    I no longer count up the times that I have been hoisted upon my own petard.

  • Lindig Says:

    I’m so grateful this worked and worked well and that you are still with us, doing good work. Here’s an annoyingly chipper optimistic statement (imagine lilting voice with toothy grin): At least you still have a petard. [sorry]

  • Charlie Russel Says:

    I celebrate with you, and am thankful that all is well. I read all of the posts then, and watched with concern and hope, even if I didn’t comment on every post. I’m truly glad you came through it with (relatively) minor remaining issues. Ge’shada, as the Liadens would say.

  • Mage Bailey Says:

    tho slowed down by thick bandages and pain pills, i just want to tell you how much i appreciate you.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Mage — thanks! I appreciate you too. Readers are why writers write.

      I hope that whatever had you in thick bandages last week, when you wrote your comment, has backed off and stopped slowing you down… and I hope those pain pills did their job well.

      Get well soon, if you can, and be good to yourself.

  • Tamara Says:

    Seeing what you went through makes me appreciate your books more. Your Steers women are what I see for our future. Protecting knowledge, keeping it safe.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Keeping it safe — and sharing it. As the saying goes: Knowledge wants to be free.

      And truth matters. So many lies going around these days… we need truth, always.

  • Eloise Says:

    I just discovered your books, thanks to a friend. Blew through all four in the series in a little over a week. OH MY GOD I NEED THE NEXT ONE. Hope you are feeling well and inspired to write it!

    Curious, too, as to why you took your rights back from your original publisher. Were they not interested in putting out e-books?

    • Rosemary Says:

      My original publisher, Del Rey Books, eventually allowed the books to go out of print.

      This sort of thing happens all the time; if a book isn’t a bestseller, or a steady-seller, then at some point the publisher just doesn’t print any more copies for sale.

      It was long ago enough that ebooks were a fairly new concept, so Del Rey did not generally do ebooks at that time. So “out of print” really did mean no longer available for sale at all.

      As Del Rey was not interested in keeping the books available, I had the legal right to take them back, and could do with them whatever I wished.

      Thus, the ebooks.

      I’m thinking of self-publishing paperback versions, as well, but I haven’t yet decided if or when.

      Still working on the next books… stay tuned for updates.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WP Hashcash