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[photos] New Zealand: Wellington

I didn’t do as much tourism photography as I might have around Wellington. Many of our trips were incidental, not photosafaris, so I missed a lot of things I might have caught. It’s a terribly charming place, putting me somewhat in mind of a smaller, cleaner, less urban version of San Francisco. I was struck by the beauty of the area, and by how pleasant so many of the people were.

Looking out at the city from the street just above the home of Our Gracious Hosts.

A neighboring property.

The home of Our Gracious Hosts. The State Limo can be seen lurking in back. The shared driveway connects through to another property.

Folk art on a restaurant out by one of the bays.

A bayside intersection.


The Poseidon oven at Heaven Pizza.

A house built from shipping containers.

A strange little car in downtown Wellington.

Some flowers and plants:







Us and Our Gracious Hosts:





As usual, more at the Flickr set.

© 2010, Joseph E. Lake, Jr. and Shannon Page.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. and Shannon Page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

[cancer] Home, recovering

Finally feeling more or less like myself. Minus various kinds of pain and distress, and the trailing end of a post-surgical Dilaudid haze, but still, I’ve made the mental transition from “sick dude” to “Jay”. Still pretty hard hit, though.

I did have hopes of trailing off the Dilaudid today — I’m taking it very moderately now, as I taper down. But I woke up in too much surgical pain to ignore, so I suspect I’ll be using it for a few more days. (The good part, of course, is that I slept through the night in the first place without being awoken by the pain.) For obvious reasons I can’t drive until I’ve been off the Dilaudid for a few days, and that places a lot of limits on my activities.

I always seem to forget how extreme the surgery experience is. This is probably a natural process to protect my sanity. Still, I should not feel so surprised at how rough the process is. Not to mention the recovery.

Each procedure is different, as well. In the case of the liver resectioning I have just undergone, there’s surgical pain from the entry wounds, there’s site pain from the liver itself, and there’s lower GI pain from the very difficult restart process. The various drugs don’t address each issue equally, and to some degree I don’t want to completely suppress the sensations. They’re important feedback. But meanwhile, ouch. Ouch ouch ouch.

Anyway, having finally returned home again yesterday afternoon, H— came over with food and a DVD. At my urging, calendula_witch took a break from Cancerland and headed for the hills. I ate my usual handful of stuff, after which H— the_child and I watched Panique au villageimdb ].

It was one of the weirdest films I’ve ever seen, and that’s going some given my film viewing habits. I don’t know if the movie would have made more sense or less sense without the Dilaudid, but it was a heck of a lot of fun.

Also, viz yesterday’s comment about wearing purple:

Today I lay low. Most processes will be in neutral while I try to re-enter my normal life. Have not yet really processed the news about not needing chemo, frankly, as post-op has been so overwhelming. Plenty to gnaw on there, and rejoicing yet to come.

[personal|cancer] Getting back on the horse

…or perhaps getting back under the horse, for my next trampling.

Back home and once again life’s inevitabilities are closing in. Our vacation in New Zealand and Australia was excellent for taking my mind off cancer and its discontents, even with substantial discussion of the issue along the way with many friends and acquaintances. However, this is Saturday of the week before my next cancer surgery, and a young man’s fancy turns lightly towards thoughts of tumors.

Laying low this weekend, mostly Doing Nothing and working on the Kalimpura outline. I’m a bit behind my own writing schedule, but have not yet consumed the available slack, so I’m not going to fash myself unduly. Reconnecting with friends and family as I can. Back to work on Monday, Tuesday is my pre-surgery dinner party, Wednesday is pre-op day at the hospital (I think I have either four or five different appointments) and Thursday I have the left lobe of my liver removed. I expect to be discharged from the hospital the following Monday or so. Once the pathology is done on the lesion in my left lobe, we’ll know for sure, but the strong medical opinion is that I’ll soon be enjoying another six-month round of chemo for this, my probable second metastasis.

As nancyfulda says of her cancer treatments, Not-Dying is time consuming.

My dear friend markbourne in Seattle is having his third go-round of cardiac issues in hospital this coming week as well. I wish I could be there for him and e_bourne, much as they had planned to be here for me and calendula_witch, but we’ll just have to wave at one another from hospital beds 200 miles apart.

So, yeah, this horse sucks. But I’m still getting back on it. Either that, or be dragged behind the pale beast.

[travel] Up, up and away

Finally back on the road for business again, for the first time since last October. Chemotherapy really does interfere with life. I have discovered this morning that wearing gloves and a hat into the security line trips some TSA protocol regarding pat-downs. Apparently peripheral neuropathy is a threat to air travel.

Omaha today, dinner tonight with garyomaha and elusivem, assuming the flight is on time and I haven’t hit the wall somewhere along the way. I’m in all-day meetings at the Day Jobbe Tuesday and Wednesday. They’ve reorganized the company, moved offices and had a fair amount of personnel changes since the last time I was there, so this ought to be interesting. Omaha Beach Party will be Tuesday instead of Thursday this week due to further work commitments.

Friday I fly to Seattle instead of Portland, so’s I can attend the last Clarion West party. calendula_witch will meet me there, then we’ll head back to Portland Saturday morning.

Next week: New Jersey, via Philadelphia.

[personal] Stuff and things

Nothing bad or emotionally wrenching happened yesterday on the cancer front. Lots and lots of writing and WRPA happened. Had a nice breakfast with H., had a nice Indian dinner with calendula_witch and jkoke, and shelly_rae 148 miles of the STP. Go wish her very well, indeed.

More writing today Hopefully more “nothing bad” as well. Tomorrow, the oncology consult to find out what the next three months of my future holds.

[personal] Plans, plans, plans

Well, JayCon X is almost upon us. (That would be tomorrow, for those playing along with the home game version of this blog.) shelly_rae swoops in this evening to celebrate. calendula_witch already has jkoke and karawynn at her house. Many other folks coming in from Washington, California, even Nebraska. Plus all my local friends and family. Promises to be quite a shindig, and my body is delivering sufficient energy and focus for me to enjoy the party, assuming I don’t burn it up today.

Which I won’t.

Day Jobbery first, and soon, after which I’m going to mellow with calendula_witch, jkoke, karawynn and the_child. That means sitting in my Big Chair while they bang around the house and one another.

I did get to see Witchnest Manor yesterday briefly, though most of my visit consisted of taking a nap while calendula_witch consulted with her workiepersons about paint colors and whatnot. It is coming along nicely.

So light socializing today, heavy socializing tomorrow, and more light socializing on Sunday. My plan is to try my hand at writing on Monday (or possibly this weekend if I find a quiet hour and the energy) and see just how awake Fred is. Deadlines postponed by chemo impend.

Next week, a more normal routine. I figure another week and I might be fit to drive a car again, which would be convenient for the ordinary errands of my life. I continue to wake up from chemo fog in so many ways, and I am terribly excited about celebrating that tomorrow with some, all or none of you.

[cancer] Continuing fog, with reefs

The head fog carries forward. Yesterday was a pretty tough day at the Day Jobbe, for both external and internal reasons. Afterwards for a while I was barely conscious enough to interact with and . Even the arrival of didn’t get me out of my chair. I continue unusually hard of thinking. Not to mention exhausted. Every time I think I’ve hit a bottom, there’s a new bottom. Chemotherapy is like cloud diving without a parachute.

Another issue has cropped up, one I find quite disturbing. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not blocked in the classic sense of writer’s blocked so much as too exhausted to focus my creativity. A day or two ago, I re-read “Permanent Fatal Errors“, a Sunspin story of mine that is included in the excellent anthology, Is Anybody Out There?. I didn’t recognize the story. The writing struck me as very good, and as something I had no idea how to do. It was quite literally as if I were reading a piece by another writer for the first time. And I had the feeling that I couldn’t do that again if you paid me. (So to speak.)

This is deeply frightening.

I’m not foolish. There’s nothing wrong with my meta-analysis. Chemo is messing with my head in a big way lately, on top of months of exhaustion and slow decay. But subjectively, this is the first time in over ten years that I can’t find Fred somewhere inside my head. My inner writer has skipped out.

Of all the thefts and treacheries of cancer, this is the worst. Of all the other issues that bedevil me, this is the worst. My logical self knows Fred will be back once the drugs loosen their grip, maybe even sooner. My emotional self is, well, being emotional.

I hate this. Hate hate hate.

[cancer] The Tuesday report

Cold continues in its long tail. I’m less miserable, but still not exactly in good shape. That I had a terrible night’s sleep didn’t help. I have a headache and am in a foul mood today. I had deliberately chosen not to take Lorazepam again, as I don’t want to become dependent on it for normal sleep, and was very tired when I went lights out last night a little after 7.

However, my lower GI had other ideas, and I didn’t get to sleep til more like 8:30. Had lengthy, fitful dreams that I was in a serious romantic relationship with , which is odd because while we’re quite good friends, I’m about as heterosexual as they come. (It was working out fine in my dreams, however.) Also had parking anxiety dreams, and a weird interlude with an underage mermaid that had me waking up feeling creepy and old.

Work today, and some writing. I am sure hoping both the headache and the foul mood lift, or it’s going to be long, tedious day for me.

[cancer] The chemo, it burns

A good but difficult day yesterday, if that makes sense. Dear friends in town, arrived, dinner with family. But too many things happened in a row, and too many minor things didn’t happen right, so I got worn out, badly.

Meanwhile, side effects are kicking up in a new and strikingly unpleasant ways. The inside of my mouth has become so sensitive that even toothpaste burns me. I ate some leftover pizza on the way out the the door yesterday morning, and it burned so much that and had to swing by McDonald’s to pick me up a milkshake. This is not a good thing. The burning and sensitivity continues today.

observes that the same process that voids my stomach lining is attacking the cells lining my mouth, and I may have attacked the newly growing replacement cells with hot, spicy pizza, tomato sauce and red peppers. This makes sense to me. Meanwhile, the tip of my tongue is raw, my mouth aches a bit, and I’m very wary of what I put in it.

In other news, my nasal passages have been scabbing over continuously these past few days.

I am not enjoying today very much, even though I am surrounded by people who love me. is here doing mom-stuff, is here doing kid-stuff, and is here doing sweetie-stuff. I resent my grumpiness. Thankfully, they do not seem to.

Stoopid chemo.