This week marks my 12/12 chemo treatment. This is a huge milestone for me. My major symptoms are a mild case of neuropathy, lowered platelet count, potassium that's a bit out of whack, and a lot of tiredness. Overall I'm OK, but I'm feeling slightly burned out. This is in part because my enthusiasm for my projects waxes and wanes an awful lot. One day I'll want to do all the things, and the next I'll have the energy of a hamster that ran a marathon on it's tiny wheel. I've been working on recognizing these patterns, but it's been a challenge because of it's unpredictability. I'll have the greatest of intentions in the morning and by the afternoon I'll be sapped and ready for long naps. (I don't envy anyone that deals with this constantly. You have my eternal sympathy.)
August is going to be my down month from chemo to find out what comes back and what will need attention. I'll also need to schedule a PET scan to figure out what the little beasties inside of me are doing and check back in with my liver doctor to determine next actions about my liver. My hope is that they can pew pew anything that's remaining. My fear is that they're going to take part of my liver. I'm a pretty simple man and would like to leave this world with as much original equipment as I came in so the thought of having part of me removed (even if it is defective) is frankly terrifying. But that seems to be the route my life has been taking: I've been practicing with Fearlessness now for several years, and I'm sure I'll be practicing for many more years.
What's unclear is what happens in September. Will I have to go in for surgery to remove things? Dr. Jaiyesimi (my oncologist) is giving off a vibe that this may be maintenance mode. That could read two ways. The first is that we'll be plotting a "steady as she goes" plan of care, which will mean lower doses and the hopes that the cancer just evaporates in its own. That's the optimistic spin. The other is that this will be something that I'll be dealing with for the rest of my life and I'll be getting treatments to stave off whatever damage these little beasties are doing, but that's it: no cure, just countermeasures. That also could be a road to cure, but it feels a little more permanent.
I'm working through the fear that this will be an ongoing process. I've been through situations like this (my most recent unemployment spell where I couldn't get a job for love or money and other family-related events) but this one lands a little closer to home. Will this thing suddenly go out-of-control? What will the future bring? Will there be pie? Will I be in pain? Will the pie be one that I like? All of these questions swirl around in my head (and apparently I've developed a sweet tooth) so it's fertile practice ground for dealing with fear. I know I can't predict the future (nobody with any credibility can) but sometimes I still wonder what it holds.
Project-wise I'm struggling with LaTeX and the fears around that. Not only is it the mechanics of learning LaTeX (which I'm finding easier each time I play with it) but also learning about good layout design and how to replicate designs I'm finding in LaTeX. I'm checking out Overleaf for some worked design ideas. I know a lot of RPG designers use Scribus or InDesign but LaTeX has proven itself as a viable platform that doesn't have a lot of issues with backward compatibility. I've used it with Pandoc to create my book so I know it can be beautiful. The question is how much I want to endure to make it beautiful. I'm letting the perfect get in the way of the good-enough, and there's always revised versions of any work (God bless St. George Lucas for showing us the way, even if his revised versions leave much to be desired, save for the creation of the de-specialized editions, but I digress). Though I think I have an idea of what I want to do, it's just getting there and getting undaunted with it that's the trick.
It's going to be a journey in the next month and the months to come. Will do my best to keep this updated with news as I have it. But for now it's time to look fear in the eye and welcome it to a cup of coffee.