Apr 7 2014

Annoyances and updates


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However, the good news is: Today was my last dose of Taxol.  That’s the T in the TH of my current chemo regimen, and it’s the culprit in the peripheral neuropathy.  So, whatever increase in side-effects I get in the coming week will be the last increase.   Then it’s just a question of will it go away?  And if it does, how long will it take?

Meanwhile, the usual steroid crash I get after these is due, probably by tomorrow night, after which I will lie around like a plate of particularly uninteresting aspic until, oh, Saturday night.  But also on the upside: I only got that massive dose of steroids because of the Taxol, and this was my last Taxol.  Sooo … after this, also no more steroids or steroid crash.  That will be nice.

Going forward, we just have the Herceptin every week (which does not knock me back as much as the Taxol), then surgery in May, and recovery, and soon after that, radiation therapy.  Which will be a whole new adventure.

In other news:  I missed the window for getting the ebook of The Language of Power completed before this week’s chemo and steroid crash.  So, it’ll have to wait until Sunday earliest for any further progress; ditto with the non-kindle versions of the ebooks.

One thing that ate up time was my taxes!   While in theory it could have been simple, it was complicated by the fact that I actually did get some miniscule amount of money from Del Rey on the paperback versions of my books.   I do have the rights back, and they’ve stopped selling my works — but the delay in their accounting system meant that I was still owed money from before I disengaged from them, and this money was paid in 2013 and I had to include it in my income.  Using the Profit or Loss from a Business 1040-C form.  I wanted to do it right, and be beyond reproach for 2013, because 2014 is going to be crazy-time, what with income from various streams, and all sorts of business expenses, as well as the Day Job that provides my health insurance.  It’ll be complicated.

And I had to get the taxes done before Chemo and steroid crash, because although I’ll probably be past the crash by Sunday, I might not be, given that it takes longer to recover each time, and it’s possible my down-time might extend into the tax-filing deadline.  So I wanted to do the taxes while I still had a brain I could count on.

Unrelated info:  Sabine and I have been watching Continuum on Netflix, which I quite enjoy.  They put a lot of work and thought into the future-scenes, and the acting is pretty good, the storyline complex.  Don’t let the synopsis fool you: “Cop from the future chasing terrorists.”  Bleagh.  Doesn’t cover it.

Also: I’m currently reading  The Little White Dove by JM Barrie (of Peter Pan fame).   This was a book I had stumbled upon ages ago when I was house-sitting in an old historical home, which had all sorts of fascinating old literature and scrapbooks lying around.  I found the book hilarious and sweet at the same time, and I love the narrator.  I just picked it up in a massive Kindle compilation of all of Barrie’s works, with cost next to nothing.  I’m glad to see that I’m enjoying The Little White Dove as much as I did the first time.

Apr 1 2014

Many thanks! Plus: Bumped by the blizzard


I want to thank all the people who jumped right in and bought copies of the ebooks for The Outskirter’s Secret and The Lost Steersman last week — My royalty check for the month of March is going to look very pretty!   And since my disability payments are only a fraction of my regular wage, the royalties help me a whole lot — so, again, my thanks to you all.

(Yes, Amazon pays out royalties on a monthly basis.  There’s a two-month delay between the month’s final calculation and the actual payment, so I’ll get paid for March at the end of May; but I can see what my sales are, and what my royalties will be, in as close to real-time as makes no difference.  This is VERY different from traditional publishing.)

I’ve emerged from my steroid crash, and am once again awake and alert.   So, The Language of Power ebook will be out before the end of this month.

In other news: I was supposed to get my Herceptin-only infusion on Monday, but to everyone’s surprise, the day dawned with rain, hail, sleet and snow coming down in remarkable amounts at astonishing speeds.   Last day of March!   You know the proverb about March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb — but apparently this year “going out like a lamb” refers to some poor lamb being born in a blizzard (which I understand does happen) and then DYING OF EXPOSURE to the cruel elements before the the shepherd manages to find it and carry it to the shepherd hut to warm up (I’m picturing Granny Aching from Terry Pratchett’s Wee Free Men series, here).

We tried to get out to the hospital, but every route we tried had a spinout, or an accident, or a bus spinning its wheels, unable to make it up an unplowed hill.  We had to turn around.

So, doing it today instead.  The Chemo suite is jammed with people: Tuesday’s regulars, plus those bumped from Monday.

The trend is still generally good — the tumor’s shrinkage means we’ll be doing a lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy.   This is excellent.  However, lumpectomies “come with” radiation therapy, as my oncologist puts it.   Previously we’d thought we might be able to do without the radiation.  But this is a trade-off I’m happy to make!  Because: no mastectomy.

One fairly inconvenient thing: a significant percentage of patients being treated with Taxol have a side-effect called peripheral neuropathy, where they develop pins-and-needles sensations and numbness, which starts at the tips of the fingers and toes, and can sometimes creep further and further up.    I’m one of those patients, unfortunately; but fortunately, my symptoms are comparatively mild.

But, a further downside: it can be permanent.   We won’t know if it’s permanent in my case, unless it actually fails to go away — and even the temporary kind can take many months to clear up.   But I count myself lucky that it’s no worse than it is.   Because: Hey, I’m not dead!   I win!

Other good news:  when my pal Brian was here filling in in as caretaker while Sabine caught some sea & sun in Florida, he discovered a good Indian restaurant just down the street from me.  Excellent, another win!

It’s Wins all around, basically.