As many of you already know, I was hospitalized in early March for digestive troubles that turned out to be caused by a blockage in my colon. The blockage was surgicallly removed while I was in hospital, I’m recovering well from the surgery, and my digestive system seems to be back online. Food, and the ability to eat it, is delightful!

Selfie at the BIDMC clinical center.

Now that I have clearer information about the underlying cause of the blockage in my colon, and a treatment plan, I feel comfortable sharing a bit more with all of you. I have been diagnosed with colon cancer. The bad news is that the cancerous cells they removed had advanced pretty intensively into the colon tissue and surrounding lymph nodes. The good news is that I have no family history of, or DNA markers for, colon cancer. The doctors have also found no evidence of spread to other organs. I am young for this type of cancer, and otherwise healthy, so the doctors are encouraging. The next step will be a roughly six-month course of chemotherapy meant to stop any remaining cancer cells from getting fancy ideas. I have an appointment with a medical oncologist next week, when I expect to learn in more detail what that course of treatment entails. 

Beeswax votive.

Obviously this isn’t fun news. In fact it’s fucking shitty news. I had hopes — even some tentative plans! – for 2021. None of them involved being diagnosed with cancer and coping with treatment. This is more like 2021 rudely decided to try and out-suck the dumpster fire that was 2020. Really, 2021? Really?!

2021: “Hey 2020! Hold my beer!”

However, I am extremely fortunate to have access to excellent health care — geographically accessible and well-insured — and to have all of you in my community of care. I’m currently on medical leave from work and have hit pause on all of my professional and volunteer activities until further notice. That means that I can focus on all the necessary medical stuff; on being at home with Hanna, and our cats Teazle and Christopher; on feeding myself and resting; on being in communication with close family and friends; and on doing activities that bring me pleasure and support my overall wellness. Knowing that I can put down work, work-related, and other life responsibilities right now has been a huge relief and I’m grateful to everyone who has stepped in to handle aspects of what I do while I am focused on survival.

Violet cocuses.

I may not respond individually to every message or photo you Tweet, DM, text, email, etc. in the coming months but please know I am seeing your messages and it means a lot to Hanna and I that you are out there thinking of us and expressing care. I plan to give occasional updates here, as well as using the hashtag I established during my hospital stay for relevant social media commentary: #FuckNNM2021 (for “Fuck New New March 2021”). I also still have my monthly newsletter that will include either updates or links to updates here.

In the meantime, we’ll keep on breathing.