Catching up on Stuff

Stream of Consciousness Warning

1  For those playing along at home, I have had sixteen ray gun therapy sessions, with only nine more to go.  My skin in the treatment area has begun to burn, which I know by looking at it.  Surgery left me mostly numb in that region, which is a blessing.  There are one or two small areas that are not numb, though they don’t hurt nearly as much as a visual inspection suggests that they should.  Yes, I am using the prescribed emollient; and Steve has taken over chauffeuring duties to and from the Cancer Center.

For fans of the Hummer Bar:  we are open, and have seen custom, which is gratifying, and amuses me, at least.  The cats don’t seem so interested in hummingbirds.  Squirrels, now. . .

3  For those who may not have seen the news — Uncle Hugo’s and its sister store, Uncle Edgars, in Minneapolis, have burned to the ground, victims of Friday night’s civil unrest.  All hands are safe and accounted for, but the stores and all contents are gone.  This is a horrifying loss to the community.  Don Blyly, the owner, is in the process of — well, processing the situation, consulting his lawyer, and doing those things that one must in the aftermath of catastrophe.  He has not set up any Go-Fund-Me accounts, he has not put out a call for books to help him restock.  He’s still thinking, taking advice, and weighing options.  If you see any calls for contributions of cash or stock, please do not respond; several drives have been started by concerned persons, but they are not in any way official.  When Don needs our help, he will tell us.

4  On Monday June 1 — that’s tomorrow — morning at 9 am Eastern, the first chapter of The Wrong Lance will — or at least, should — appear at Patreon, for Patrons Only, and also at Splinter Universe, for all who care to look for it.

4a  For those who missed the announcement and the ground-rules in re The Wrong Lance, you may find those here.  The Introduction, posted last Monday, is here.

5  Trooper just stole a face mask off my desk. He was very clever about it, sneaking in under the lip of the standing desk, and lifting his snout centimeter by centimeter, until he was in a position to snatch! the ear-loop, fling himself to the floor, and take up position on his favorite sun rug, looking oh-so-very pleased with himself.  I have recovered the mask, and will wash it later.  In the meantime, I am, need I say, in Trooper’s Black Book.

Here endeth my stream of consciousness.

Everybody stay safe.

Whole New World, Part Nine

So, yesterday was. . .not a lot of fun.  In particular my back hurt, and otherwise I felt as if I had been Hulk-smashed to the decking and left there.  Lots of Command Chair time with the cats.  Let me say here that Sprite takes her Duty to the Command Chair very seriously, indeed.  She was Entirely Asleep in the jetpak in my office, but when she heard me hit the chair, she staggered into the living room, her eyes still half-closed, and looking more asleep than awake, jumped into my lap, got curled around on my stomach, stretched out one paw to lay over my hand, and started to purr.

Anyhow, I’m figuring that the back situation is being exacerbated by the necessity to Maintain A Position on a metal table for 15-25 minutes M-F, and the plan is to be pro-active next week, by taking an Aleve before I get in the car and drive.  The muscle relaxants are too much; I can’t drive if I take them, so here’s hoping Aleve does the job.

Today, I am Much Improved, have started a load of laundry and will in the fullness of time, make some rice for weekday breakfast, and dry-mop the floors, for a bit of gentle aerobic exercise.  I may also take a tour of the backyard, which has greened up nicely — speaking of exercise.

And — that’s sort of that.  Only 18 more ray gun sessions left.  Not that I’m counting. . .

Saturday ketchup

The Big News around here is that I have completed seven — SEVEN! — sessions of Ray Gun Therapy.  Only 18 more to go.

I had hoped to get some work done this weekend, and may actually get there yet, but first — the Command Chair, because, despite having gone to bed early and gotten up late — I could use a nap.  Trooper is promoting this heavily, having pushed into my lap as I was typing this short correspondence, and banging my chin repeatedly with the top of his head.

In more interesting news, I recorded three chapters from Mouse and Dragon that constitute one of my favorite scenes in the Liaden Universe® and they are being posted on Patreon, first for patrons, then, when the next chapter posts, the previous one is made available for All the World.

This means that Chapter Thirty is free for you — yes, you! — to listen to, right now, right here

Chapter Thirty-Two will be posted for patrons on May 18, whereupon Chapter Thirty-One will become public.

As reported earlier, I DARE t-shirts are being mailed, so — watch the skies!

I’ve been working, very slowly, on an Archers Beach story.  Steve is working on the next Liaden novel, the deadline for which has been put back to mid-summer.

I do think that’s all the news that’s fit to print.  I hope y’all are keeping safe and healthy.

I DARE Liaden Tshirts available for preorder NOW!

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, working in partnership with Offworld Designs, offers for preorder, starting right now, a new edition of the classic Liaden Universe® tshirt.

For those who want to order NOW, here’s your link.

Continuing, for those who want the Rest of the Story…

The short sleeved shirts are offered in unisex (men) and women’s styles, in your choice of black shirt with pink message, or pink shirt with black message.  In addition, in reply to popular demand, we are also offering a long-sleeve black tee with pink message.

The first Liaden Universe® tshirts were offered to fans by the authors in 1997.  Since then, there have been several runs of tshirts, each with a different slogan.  The tshirt previous to this one — DRAGON IN EXILE — was licensed in 2015, by Offworld Designs.

There is a Story behind this new tshirt, which I posted on Facebook barely three days ago, and which is reproduced below.

So, I was getting dressed this morning, and, since today’s adventures encompass me going to the pharmacy to pick up my new drugs and old, I said to myself, said I, “Self, you need something to coordinate with your face mask. How about! an I DARE tshirt?”

I went to the tshirt drawer, but of course I don’t have an I DARE tshirt, I have a DRAGON IN EXILE shirt — which is, don’t get me wrong, an EXCELLENT shirt. But I really wanted and I DARE shirt, and I figure to want an I DARE shirt for several weeks in the future.

And then I thought — it should be pink.

Um. I looked at that for a long while, trying to figure out where it had come from, and as I was doing that I was putting on my rings and my stylish new silicon bracelet that says NO IV/BP/NEEDLES THIS ARM, which is ALSO pink, for everyday wear, though I do have a black one, for formal occasions.

SO, for those of you who are with me so far, and before I pitch it to the long-suffering folks at Offworld Designs, here is The Question.


The answer to the above question was a resounding YES! and here we are.

Here’s the link to preorder your shirt-or-shirts.

In which Rolanni picks up sticks

The last couple days have been sunny and warm, with high temperatures near 60F/16C, here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  Tomorrow, the weatherbeans predict rain, or possibly snow, with a high around 36F/2C.

Welcome to Maine.

The deck is not quite finished — still lacking a privacy panel and the stairway down to the yard.  But it’s plenty finished enough to put the deck chairs out, so that’s what we did.  It’s nice to sit in the sunshine.  I took advantage of that same warm sunshine to play the games of post-winter trash collection and pick-up-sticks in the yard.  The Lawn Guys promise to come by next week to do a serious clean up — for instance, the branch that fell out of the apple tree needs either an application of chain saw to get it into pieces short enough to schlepp down to the Big Pile of Twigs by the Forest Gate, or it needs a tractor to drag it there.

We have hyacinth and snowdrops in the backyard, and several pods of daffodils blooming by the front door.

So, yes, it is spring, Maine-style.

For those who may have missed it — Splinter Universe Presents! has published.  Here’s a link to Apple, BN, Kobo, and Angus & Robertson.  Here’s the Kindle linkHere’s the link to the paper edition.

Splinter Universe Presents! is a collection of character sketches, discovery drafts, portions of novels, and of stories, that quit before they became whole.  Each piece comes with an author commentary, which may make the volume of value to those who are interested in the writing process, and possibly to those who wish to become — or who are becoming — writers.  All of the material has been previously published to, and all are Liaden in nature.

In other news, I have what I sincerely hope is the definitive telehealth visit with Oncologist the First this afternoon, to discuss the results of the oncotyping.  Today, I should find out what my treatments will be, going forward, and have the beginning of a schedule for same.  Which is to say, Waiting will End, and Events will Move.  That by itself will be a relief.

At the moment, I have two coon cats — Trooper in the copilot’s chair, and Sprite on the desk by my keyboard — snoring in the sun, my mug is empty, and it’s time to make up a list for Instacart, and start the towels to washing.

See y’all on the flipside.  Stay safe.

Whole New World, Part Seven

So, we talked to the radiologist, who recommends going straight to radiation and zapping those lymph nodes into the next universe.

So, that’s The Plan, pending the results of the oncotyping, which I should have on the 21st.  If the oncotype is high, then chemo takes precedence.  If the oncotype is low, then I will be given aromatase inhibitors and can start radiation therapy in May, 5 days a week for 5 weeks.

I am — not in a good place about this, even though I know it has to be done.

I also note that we’re still in Hurry Up and Wait Mode.

And that’s All The News.

Whole New World, Part Six

When last seen in this space, I was waiting for appointments with Specialists.  On Monday, I had an appointment with my surgeon — healing nicely, says the surgeon, we’ll touch base again in two months — and with Oncologist the First, she who determines when chemo will do the patient any good.

In order to determine this, she has to have the results of a DNAish test, possibly called an oncotype.  She ordered that test on Monday and expects results in two weeks.  No, I don’t know why the test wasn’t ordered when it was discovered that the lymph nodes were involved; and no, I also don’t know why they’ve kept my tumor hanging around for weeks.  I hope at least its had books to read.

Anyway, we’re waiting for the results of that test so that we can figure out what’s to do, going forward.

In the meantime, the hospital is trying to limit the number of visitors to it, so my next meeting, this with the Ray Gun Specialist, will be via telehealth, which is a fancy way of saying, “The doctor will meet with you via Zoom conference.”  And that’s what we’ll be doing next Thursday.

Before someone leaps up to Explain how REALLY SCARY AND EVIL Zoom is — this is the doctor’s choice of communication tool; it is far, far better than making a 100+ mile round trip to the hospital, exposing myself to a lot of immunodepressed persons, and exposing them to me, while Steve is excluded from entering at all.  The Zoom conference will allow Steve to attend the meeting fully, and the cats, too; and lowers the risk of infection considerably.  Also, the laptop runs Linux, so considerably less danger than were it running Windows.

So, basically, we’re in Hurry Up and Wait Mode.

The news from my surgeon is that, in the Current Climate, the hospital is reassessing its risk management guidelines, meaning that some procedures which would have been on the front burner, in Olden Times, are now being kicked down the road by two to six months.

In the meantime, I’m working — slowly — on Splinter Universe Presents! and not writing at all.  I’m not particularly happy about that, but it is what it is.

Steve and I have been pretty much staying in, except for visits to the hospital, which — except for visits to the hospital — is pretty much our normal.  The next-door neighbors are looking out for us, and we’ve been using InstaCart for grocery shopping, which has been working out surprisingly well, despite shortages in the store itself.

A kind friend gave us gallons of frozen blueberries, so we’re wealthy in antioxidants.  Today, I made blueberry muffins, and Steve is figuring to make blueberry pancakes over the weekend, which still leaves plenty left over for smoothies, and putting over ice cream, and, and, and…

The cats have been working hard to give equal coverage — right now, Trooper is in my Command Chair, while Sprite and Belle cover Steve in his office.

And that?  Is all the news.

Everybody stay safe.


Whole New World, Part Five

. . .in which the Dealer allows the Joker into play.

When last we visited the pathology report, all was well — the tumor had been large, but self-contained; the margins were clear from Bangor to Cincinnati; the estrogen and progesterone receptors were receiving and strong.

There only remained the vexed question of the surveyed lymph nodes.  Pathology discovered that, of the four taken, one was positive (bad), one was negative (good) and two had tiny, tiny, ohsoverytiny, isolated amounts of cancer in them (oh, dear, now what?).

Given the Medical Rule for when to take All the Lymph Nodes, it was a tough call, what to do next.

The call has now been made — the lymph nodes need to go. There are two ways to do this — one surgical, one radiological — and I am being set up to meet with the surgical oncologist and the radiology oncologist.  Based on what little I have gleaned, I’ll probably just jump straight to radiation, since surgical removal has two gotchas — one, if any of the other lymph nodes are found to contain cancer cells, I’ll have to have radiation, anyway, in addition to the surgery.  Two, the chance of lymphoma arising from surgical removal is twice as high as removal by ray gun.

I will of course know more after I meet with the specialists, Steve attending both meetings with me via cellphone from the isolation unit we like to call our car.

So, there’s that.