So - the format for Toss-up Tuesday is... a toss up /ducking
But then again, so is life. (ya, I should write greeting cards, eh?)
You go along, having a great year, husband and kids busy with work, school and baseball. Your days are watching their games and practices or working on campaigns and convention plans. Then you go in for a routine follow-up, because of the lymphoma that you kicked four years ago. And on that July 5, 2012 day, instead of "See you in six months", I get "It's back."
Now, unlike last time, the lymphoma is so "indolent" that it hasn't changed my blood counts (last time, my red cells were non-existent because my overproduced white cells were crowding them out). And in the four years since, they've come out with two new great drugs - Treanda and Velcade. So the next Monday, July 10, I started on Treanda. I get the chemo as an outpatient every three weeks for three days. Day one is about 5 hours, with an infusion of Rituxan (which I had last time and isn't really a chemo drug, more gets your body ready for the chemo drug). Then the 2nd and 3rd days, I get the Treanda over two hours. That first week, it was Monday Rituxan and Tues and Wed, Treanda.
That first treatment, not only did I head from the outpatient infusion directly into work, on Thursday, I flew to Charlotte to check it out for our delegation. Two 14 hour days, followed by a flight back to California, day in Disneyland and then staffing a contentious endorsement meeting between two sitting Congressmen. And got through it with no problem.
It was really remarkable how my schedule went for the next couple of months - the every three weeks went right on schedule, and still let me do everything I needed for work such as an Executive Board meeting, 10 days in Charlotte for the Convention itself, and various other projects and trips. I did get an occasional mild nausea or fatigue, but compared to four years ago when I was totally on disability and out of work for 13 months, this time hasn't been bad. To try to get it more aggressively, we did add Velcade to the mix and I have been getting more side-effects with this drug, but still overall doing well.
So - could be moping and depressed, or could be thankful that they know sooooo much more about my particular type of lymphoma (Mantle Cell Lymphoma or MCL, one of the rarest of lymphomas - lucky me).
And with gentle pushes from a loving partner, as well as a private Facebook community of others going through MCL in various stages, I'm actually taking this really well (mentally). It's interesting when someone just finds out, as did one woman at work in late august who asked "So, are you waiting until after the National Convention to start treatment, and was shocked to hear I've been doing chemo for over 6 weeks at that point, including a session the day before she had asked me.
But it's also been awkward when someone goes "You look great - lost some weight? How'd you do it?" and my instinct is to answer "Oh, the lymphoma's back". Weight loss isn't drastic - down to 210 (from a high of 230 at the beginning of the year - I blame holiday foods).
So, I figured I might make a post about this at some point, and now seems appropriate. Because going back to the title, a lot of life is just perspectives.
We've had some great discussions here about criticism and authors. And I can see a lot of very good points - between that the criticism is needed to keep this a place of quality writing, to the fact that some of the talent we have here is great but very raw - and sometimes the misspoken harsh word in public can cause shame or discomfort and any of a variety of feelings of rejection.
And since we are not ONLY a community of quality writing, but also a COMMUNITY of LGBT persons and their friends and supporters, it would also prove beneficial to remember to keep in mind that there is a person on the other side of that screen, that these are not writings or posts by nameless/faceless automatons. Heh - at work, I frequently get emails that are shouting diatribes, and when I calmly send an answer back on what happened, usually get a "Oh - I'm so sorry, I thought this was just an automated service and no one would ever reply".
Someone else pointed out a lot of it is "tone" - and it is. But some of it is patience as well. And lord knows, I am guilty myself. I recently loved a first chapter of a story, and dutifully posted a review, but in addition to commenting on what I liked, did I really need to point out that there were two typos in the chapter - that all future reviewers could then see. Just as easy to take an extra twenty seconds and put that part in a private message to the author. Or I could have phrased it better...
A good sarcastic rant may feel good to get out of the system, but is it always really worth it?
Just my thoughts at 1:30 in the morning with a new chemo session in eight hours. But to me, worth it, as I really love this community, heroes, warts and everything in between. it's why I eagerly took on the role of "Member Advocate" for the site when Myr needed additional help, and though at first I was skeptical about being the GayAuthors News Blog person when Lugh and Myr asked me to, now I am glad as it helped re-connect me with a lot of GA that I was missing and lets me read so many great reviews (and the stories that got reviewed), as well as all of the other information we feature here.
I hope you enjoy this blog and consider some of what I've said.
Trebs (aka Robert)