Mary Anne Mohanraj

Journal

March 3 -- 11:26 PM

Cancer log 34.

Several people have commented to me that they've been surprised at how much my normal life has just kept going -- either they expected someone with cancer would just switch over to being someone with cancer, or in some cases, they themselves had cancer (or some other serious illness), and had found that that became the focus. And listen -- you have to do what works for you. There is no inherent virtue to the way I've been doing things.

I found the way one of my colleagues framed it tremendously helpful to me; she said I could either continue working and just take off the days I really needed to take off, or I could go on disability immediately and focus on dealing with the cancer full-on. She'd seen others go through this, and she said that for some people, it seemed helpful having other things to think about, a normal routine and activities to engage with, as much as they were able. And for me, that's so clearly what I'd prefer. But that's not going to work for everyone, and it may not even keep working for me. I'm still in the diagnosis / testing phase -- I have no real idea how the various phases of treatment will affect me.

That said -- I do have a truly terrible cold right now. And it's just a cold, but it has knocked me out (and Kevin too -- he has the same cold). I was feeling exhausted all day today; I barely had the energy to put away a load of laundry; just climbing a flight of stairs wore me out. I have a hacking cough, barely kept in check with regular dosing with cough drops. And I'd agreed to do this thing, months ago -- to go to this play tonight, that started at 7:30, and stay afterwards for a panel discussion. Keep in mind that even when I'm not sick, I'm usually asleep by 10, so you can see that doing this while sick was a stretch for me. All day, I was waffling about it, tempted to call and cancel, back out -- I even came up with a replacement for my spot on the panel, someone I thought they'd be okay with subbing in. (Angeli, you were almost a panelist.)

But...I knew that normally, even when it happens past my bedtime, art energizes me. This has happened before, pre-cancer -- I've had to talk myself into going out for evening events. Experience has made clear that being on a stage, talking about a topic I love, a topic I feel strongly about (in this case, South Asian arts and the politics thereof) is going to a) be tons of fun b) give me a chance to see colleagues I don't get to see often enough, and c) make me feel great both during and afterwards.

So at 5 p.m. I took a solid dose of DayQuil, and then I took a shower, and after both of those, I felt almost human again. Still a little wobbly -- Kevin asked if I was okay to drive when I knocked over a ketchup bottle trying to make myself a hot dog for dinner before I headed out. But I thought I was okay. And, in fact, my energy levels stayed up, even thorough the play, and the panel after was super-fun, and even though I didn't get home 'til 11, I'm still a little buzzed now.

There will likely be days when I just have to cancel, have to beg off prior commitments because I really am too sick to follow through, and I'm going to need to pay more attention to that than I'm used to doing. (I tend to just power through.) But I do think there's so much benefit to still being out there in the world, as much as you can, doing the work you love. At least for me, that's part of staying healthy too.

And now I'm going to eat something and pour myself into bed. G'night, folks. See you in the morning!

P.S. The whole time I was grading papers this weekend, there was a little voice in the back of my head whining -- "But I have *cancer*!

I sternly told it that if I wanted the fun parts of teaching to continue, I didn't get to just opt out of the less fun parts. I knew that New England Puritan work ethic was going to come in handy eventually...

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March 3 -- 1:37 PM

I'll be on a panel discussion after Samsara tonight, if anyone's looking for a play to attend in Chicago on a Tuesday night, as one does...

"Western pop culture is filled with riffs on South Asian stereotypes. But the voices of South Asian leaders in the arts and humanities are among the most under represented in the American cultural and artistic landscape. Some artists turn to culturally-specific institutions to make their voices heard – but how can we further increase visibility and sustainability for South Asian stories? Join a panel of Chicago’s top South Asian artists and community leaders as they navigate cultural bias and fight to be heard in this crucial post-show discussion.

Moderator:
Masum Momaya

Panelists:
Anupy Singla
Behzad Dabu
Kamal Hans
Ramona Gupta
Mary Anne Mohanraj

SAMSARA
Now– March 8, 2015

By Lauren Yee
Directed by Seth

Americans Katie and Craig are having a baby with Suraiya, a surrogate from India. As all three “parents” anxiously await the baby’s due date, Katie and Suraiya are attacked by flights of their imagination: a seductive Frenchman and a sharp-tongued fetus. Originally developed at Victory Gardens’ IGNITION New Play Festival in 2012, this smart world premiere comedy takes us on a hilarious and highly theatrical journey into 21st century parenthood."

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March 3 -- 12:06 PM

Look what came in the mail! How to Live on Other Planets, featuring my story, "Jump Space" (the prequel to The Stars Change). Exploring the immigrant experience in science fiction.

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March 2 -- 9:33 AM

Cancer log 33.

Brief note that they do want to do another set of biopsies, as expected, so I won't be starting chemo this week. I am impatient, but at least the good news is that I won't be immuno-compromised for FogCon, and will be able to give and receive hugs with impunity. Well, except for the fact that I have a cold, so hug at your own risk.

The biopsies are because the MRI found suspicious things, but we already knew about those, and we're hopeful they're just scars from the reduction surgery in 2011. But they're going to poke at me a bunch more to be sure.

Oh, and bone scan and CT scan came back negative, so whee! (As expected, but still.)

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March 2 -- 9:31 AM

Brief note that they do want to do another set of biopsies, as expected, so I won't be starting chemo this week. I am impatient, but at least the good news is that I won't be immuno-compromised for FogCon, and will be able to give and receive hugs with impunity. Well, except for the fact that I have a cold, so hug at your own risk.

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