[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, part 2 this week

Baseline Health

My baseline health is a bit poorer than it has been in the past, even allowing for the fact that I’m on light artillery chemotherapy. My nails are splitting and cracking much more readily. My gums bleed excessively from tooth brushing. My ongoing weight gain is disproportionate to my dietary intake and exercise levels. (In the past I’ve been able to keep 20-25 pounds lighter with this same behavior patterns.) I wonder if those are related to evolving liver issues, though so far the biochemistry doesn’t suggest that. I also wonder if they’re stress-driven. Psychosomatic, in other words.

Stress and Meditation

I saw my therapist yesterday. We talked a lot about my stress levels, which are pretty much off the charts for both painfully obvious reasons as well as some exacerbating issues I don’t discuss here. He suggested I try meditation. As it happens, Lisa Costello has a daily practice, so I will discuss with her how she goes about it. Meditation has never been terribly successful for me in the past, as I find it difficult to focus that tightly, but I guess that’s kind of the point: reaching that focus.


I’m currently operating under the assumption that I have about three months of productive writing time left in my life. Possibly as little as two. This is due to my anticipating going back on heavy chemo next month, and knowing what that usually does to my creative brain. Of course I would love to be wrong, but right now I have to act as if this is the case. I’ve abandoned all but three projects. Original Destiny, Manifest Sin is ongoing, and I try to spend at least an hour a day on that. I’m also writing bridging material for Jay Lake’s Process of Writing, forthcoming from Apocalypse Ink. And I’m working with [info]kenscholes and series editor Steve Feldman to get METAtropolis: Green Space edited and out the door. Pretty much anything else I have on my plate is either being abandoned or seeking a collaborator. If I do wind up with a bit more time, I believe I will spend it working on short fiction. If somehow I wind up with a lot more time, well, we’ll see.

My Premortem Wake

I have received a very generous offer from some experienced con runners to manage my premortem wake. If things go the way I fear, that may coincide with JayCon XIII. Otherwise, it will happen as appropriate, sometime within the next year most likely. The trigger will be me receiving a terminal diagnosis. I’ll want to do it soon after, before medication or the progressing illness render me less and less able to enjoy the proceedings.


I think I want to start documenting my portrait. In a perfect world, I’d work with a pro photographer and do a weekly shoot. As a practical matter, I may set up a tripod and camera in a semipermanet installation in my house. Either way, I can capture myself in a series of portraits from now until death. I need to think this through. I think it would make a hell of an art project.


We continue to scour the basement here at Nuevo Rancho Lake by way of simplifying the stuff in the house before the shit all hits the fan. There will be concerted collective effort this Sunday. All sorts of things are surfacing, including the aforementioned note from my 8th grade English teacher, some of my Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominee pins (some are still missing), and my 1980 Connecticut driver’s license. Also, some long-missing belongings of both [info]the_child and Mother of the Child. It’s a very strangely mapped trip down memory lane.

3 thoughts on “[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, part 2 this week

  1. Lea says:

    It’s my pleasure, Jay. I and the people J_____ is gathering regularly put on a party for a group with includes a great many people we don’t care much for and a few that we actively dislike. Imagine what we could do for a gentleman we respect and admire. 😀

  2. Rachel Sinclair says:

    When you finish exploring your basement, want to come over and do mine? 😉

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