Mary Anne Mohanraj

Journal

May 24 -- 8:56 AM

Cancer log 80: Came up against a hard limit the other day, unexpectedly. Friday, I'd been asked to be on a 10:30 p.m. panel, and I said I'd try, if I was feeling up to it. I'd been going to bed around 11, 11:30, so it seemed likely to be okay. 9:30, 10, 10:30 -- felt fine, so I joined the panel. The first 30-45 minutes of it were fine, but then I started feeling bad. Mostly just super-tired, which honestly, is not so uncommon for a late-night panel for me, since I'm a morning person. I figured I'd just power through. I forgot that powering through is not so much an option for me at the moment, not in the few days right after an infusion.

By the time the panel ended at 11:45, I was ready to fall down. I made it back to my room, really shaky and shivering, fell into bed. Thankfully, Jed was there, able to bring me water and help get me tucked in. I then proceeded to sleep, off and on, until pretty much 3 p.m. the next day. I staggered out of bed at some point and went downstairs to get some food, then came back to bed. I managed to do my 4 p.m. reading (and I think it even went well), but didn't feel normal until after dinner. Most of the day was a total loss (spent either sleeping or watching Gilmore Girls re-runs), and I'm afraid I have to put the blame on my badly mis-estimating my ability to do that late night panel.

I should've just excused myself when I started feeling bad, but that would've been rude, and I am over-socialized not to be rude. I need to learn how to redefine politeness so that it also includes taking proper care of my health. I'm quite sure that no one on the panel, no one in the audience, would've wanted me to stay up there, feeling so terrible. But I couldn't figure out a graceful way to indicate that I needed to leave. Sometimes I think I prioritize social gracefulness a little too much.

I'm doing better now. I took the evening easy -- I went to the dance, but only danced half a dozen songs, just the ones I really loved, and at half my usual energy level. Much less bouncing than normal! Mostly I hung out in the hallway and talked to people, and when I *started* feeling tired, I dutifully said my goodnights and rolled off to bed. Which means that I slept plenty last night, was able to revise a scene already this morning, and feel much more up to talking to people than I did for much of yesterday.

I sent Kevin a note and said I was feeling terrible; he wrote back and said he hoped I was still getting something out of the convention. I am, but I will get more out of it if I am careful and smart with my energy and exertion. Really glad I didn't sign up for my usual 3+ panels / day this year; I would not have been able to get through them. Conserving energy -- that needs to be my watchword, at least until the not-chemo effects dissipate. All right, then.

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May 22 -- 5:35 PM

New book day! Picked up one of my editor copies of WisCon Chronicles vol. 9: Intersections and Alliances. Woohoo!!!

It should be order-able online shortly, but I think right now you might have to be at Wiscon to get your hands on a copy. :-) #wc39

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May 22 -- 10:13 AM

Thursday recap -- arrived on time, didn't get lost trying to find the hotel (after nineteen years of coming to Wiscon​, I have finally figured out how to navigate Madison's streets. I think). Made it to Guest of Honor readings with Kim Stanley Robinson and Alaya Johnson​ -- both of them are funny! Am looking forward to when Alaya's new book is available in paperback (because I am cheap, sorry, friend!). But if the idea of a plague in D.C. is appealing to you, you should go check out _Love is the Drug_. Sharms Murraj​, maybe for you? Too close to home?)

Afterwards, spicy dinner at Vientiane Palace, where I've decided the roast duck in red curry sauce is my new favorite. Met someone new, always fun, Ajit George. (And yes, I'm still excited every time I meet a new person of South Asian descent who is into SF/F.) Afterwards, walked back by the light of a splendid crescent moon (and many streetlights), under dramatic clouds. It looked like it ought to be a book cover. A quick drink with Kristin Livdahl​ (I got a spiked chai, pretty yummy, chai spices, cream, and vodka), and then I toddled off to an early bed. And that was #wc39 day 1.

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May 20 -- 12:18 PM

Feeling annoyed. Checked in at 10:30 for chemo, and it is now 12:15 and we're still waiting for the lab to get my meds ready. I think it's better to be scheduled earlier, because everything slows down more and more as the day goes on. I have things to do, people, and it is hard to concentrate when the guy next to me is watching tv and my headphones are apparently broken. :-(

Minor annoyances, but still.

12:52 update: Chemo has finally started (two hours late), and guy next to me has turned off loud tv, thankfully, but now his girlfriend has returned from picking up her lunch and she is eating a delicious-smelling Asian noodle soup which a) is rude when I can't go pick some up for myself, trapped as I am two feet away from him, and b) is explicitly against the chemo ward guidelines; we were told not to bring any smelly food because so many people here are fighting nausea. I mean, I have naan and saag and vindaloo at home, but did I bring it to the chemo ward? No; I ate their terrible (provided) ham sandwich on white bread instead, because it is innocuous and inoffensive in the scent department.

I'm sorry, I don't usually kvetch like this, but I am cranky. Am trying to practice forgiveness, esp. since they both look very young, in their 30s, which is awful for someone to have cancer that young. But now I want hot spicy gingery chicken-noodle soup, dammit. Very distracting.

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May 20 -- 8:11 AM

Cancer log 79: Going in today for the third round of not-really-chemo. (I'll explain that properly sometime soon, I promise.) It'll be a blood draw, a conversation with my oncologist (probably brief), and then a three-hour sitting in a chair getting an infusion; I'm going to try to get some work done, but the internet is spotty at Loyola, so I'll be mostly offline. My cell phone completely doesn't work in the chemo ward, so I can't phone people either. Ah well. Will bring a book or two.

After that, I expect to feel fine the rest of the day, and hope to get some gardening done -- my yard is sorely neglected and the weeds are starting to take over. I leave tomorrow for WisCon (am mostly packed already, yay, me), which I expect to be a rather weird convention for me, as I haven't signed up for any programming (usually I'm on 3+ panels / day). I do have one joint reading with Aqueduct, but that's it! I'll probably read the opening chapter from Flight.

In terms of not-chemo side effects, I'm expecting to be somewhat queasy and extra-tired for the next 3-7 days. (It was three days the first round, five days the second round -- not sure if that's an increasing cumulative effect, or more random). For any other convention, I'd probably just skip it, but WisCon is special, and the only time each year that I get to see a lot of dear friends, and I would rather be sick at WisCon than sick at home this weekend. Will hide in my room if I need to, but am expecting there will be stretches when I feel just fine and will be out and about. Will remember to pack the good anti-nausea meds, and huzzah for modern medicine and its wonders!

Onward!

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