Mary Anne Mohanraj


March 26 -- 6:53 PM

Tomorrow I go to AnomalyCon (schedule below), a steampunk / alternate history convention in Denver. Apparently, there is a fair bit of cosplay. I will pack my goggles and my spice belt and boots, but I admit, I am a little sad that my port is under my skin, and will not be visible to the crowd. I would feel very clockwork steampunk! Very Rupetta! (

Saturday 10: Overcoming Barriers
Brilliant authors talk about breaking out of the stereotypes to be successful in art and fiction.

Saturday 12: Writing Characters of Impact
Women. QUILTBAG. People of color. They all have a common trend throughout fiction: The person who gets rescued or killed at the whim of the hero or villain. We're here to change that. It's not just about strength.

Saturday 1: Author Free-For-All
Don't miss this wild answer to every question you never thought to ask your favorite authors! Twitter meets steroids.

Saturday 2: Women Are Ruining Science Fiction
Mary Shelly invented the Science Fiction genre. But we've heard that female writers are ruining science fiction. These amazing and wildly successful science fiction authors are here to put your suspicions where they belong--back in the middle ages.

Sunday 12: Social Linguistics
A discussion on the evolution of the meaning of words through their social use, as well as the development of colloquiallism.

Sunday 2: Becoming Uncomfortable
Difficult Conversations to expand our understanding of community. Being willing to ask--and answer--the hard questions.

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March 26 -- 5:05 PM

Cancer log 57: Port placement. So, everyone with any experience swore to me that getting a port would make the next several months immeasurably easier. A port is a small disc that sits just under the skin, right below my right collarbone in this case. A soft, thin catheter tube connects the port to a large vein, and my chemotherapy medicines are given through a special needle that fits into the port. You also can have blood drawn through the port. So port = far fewer needle sticks. I have already been stuck enough times in this process that the process of getting fewer sticks was immensely appealing. So I agreed to go in for this minor outpatient procedure.

I was anxious despite it being minor, and had Kevin come with me. You don't need to have someone with you for the procedure, but you do need someone to drive you home. He couldn't do much, but it was nice to have him to hand-hold while waiting for things to start and during recovery.

Then it was undress from the waist up and change into a robe, lie down in a room with big science fictional-looking machines, warm blankets (take the warm blankets if offered, or ask for them, as they are comforting!), a quick needle stick for the IV, then the doctor explains the procedure, which will involve what he called 'twilight sedation' -- it makes you calmer and a bit sleepy but doesn't actually knock you out (but this is why you can't drive for 24 hours afterwards; it's not legal because you're considered impaired).

Then tiny lidocaine anesthetic needle prick + brief burning (which I am getting very used to at this point, though I can't call it fun) at neck and under the collarbone. And after that, the actual procedure, which just feels like weird pressure -- literally like he's shoving something around on / in your skin, and then presumably sewing you up again (he was discussing it in detail with the nurse, who I think may be considering becoming a doctor, given their conversation), for about half an hour. Then wheel to recovery, remove IV. They apologetically drew blood from me with another needle stick, which is not typical -- I think the doc managed to prick himself accidentally during the procedure, and so they needed to check to make sure I wasn't carrying anything that would put him in danger. (Pretty sure I'm not!) Dress and go home, about 3.5 hours, start to finish.

I started feeling sore not long after, took some Advil, sent Kevin out to get me lunch, and after eating it and drinking tea, went upstairs to watch tv. I fell asleep about an hour into some sit-coms, and slept for an hour very solidly. Still a bit drowsy; I guess there'll be sedative in my system for a while. Kevin is making me rice and vindaloo for dinner, and I am going to stay tucked up in my bed and let him deal with the kids and everything. They can come play video games in here if they like.

I really love the x-ray (that was the big machine) of my chest, showing the placement of the port. How cool is that? I wouldn't bother with the photo of the dressing (which will be changed to a less huge dressing shortly), except to note that it did kind of freak Kavi out when she came home, and we had a slightly longer conversation than previous about all this.

She asked if I was going to be going to the doctor a lot, and I said yes, and she asked what disease I had, and I said it was called cancer, and asked if she'd heard of it. And she said yes, and that didn't some people die from cancer? And I said yes, but I wasn't going to, so she shouldn't worry. There is, of course, a chance that I will, but it's a) not likely at all, and b) not going to happen anytime soon, so we can cross that bridge if circumstances change.

I asked if she was worried, and she said yes, and I told her not to worry, and then I tapped the dressing a few times to show that it wasn't a big deal, and she asked if she could, and I said sure, and she tapped it very gently and grinned, and then told me all about her field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry today, which involved driving past a lot of graffiti'd houses, so then we talked about graffiti for a while and looked at lots of pictures of street art online, and then she went off to do her homework, so I think we're okay there.

And that's that. Today's socks -- constellations. In high school, I loved this quote: "When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won't come up with a handful of mud either." -- Leo Burnett

Sleeping now. Reaching for stars later. :-)

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March 26 -- 12:13 PM

Procedure went fine, port placed, home now, more later.

Plan for the rest of the day: rest, watch tv. I have sent Kevin to go get me a Subway meatball sub with cheese and jalapeņos, because apparently, that is the only thing that sounds good right now.

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March 26 -- 7:05 AM

Making Kavi's breakfast oatmeal, with a gallon of milk sitting right in front of me. Am impressed with own willpower -- see how I am not making myself my morning tea (which always has milk and sugar)? See how the milk is just sitting right there, and the tea bags, and the sugar, and yet, I am not reaching for a mug? I am a superhero.


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March 25 -- 8:48 PM

Cancer log 56: Started crying abruptly because Anand and Kevin were arguing over Minecraft. Apparently, hearing long and detailed list of what to expect over the next six months (at chemo class) was a bit disheartening. Only cried for a few minutes, and am curled up with Kev in bed now, kids in bed ditto, and am going to watch silly tv, so should be okay. But wanted to note that sometimes this thing is just overwhelming.

There's a reason the medical folks don't give you a detailed explanation of everything at once; it's not them being secretive or even paternalistic. It's just a LOT to absorb. Best to take it in small bites.

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