gwyn: (beaten cap shield)
Man, I think I have to throw in the towel on trying to figure out what people will respond to. I thought for sure, what with Star Wars being a much, much bigger fandom in general than Captain America, that Battleflag would be the Vividcon entry that would do well out there in the world. But it's just sort of sunk into a void, and Chase You Down, which I thought was a weaker vid, is getting more hits and definitely has more notes on Tumblr and comments here. I was actually really happy with how Battleflag turned out, despite the difficulties, and I thought people would like it…

It's cool that people enjoyed Chase You Down, because I didn't think they would (I mean, admittedly I would have loved it if so many people hadn't qualified it with telling me how much they hate Bucky generally), but I just honestly thought Battleflag would be the one people would respond to.

Anyways. Today I went to see the doctor who runs the genetic testing office at my clinic, he's also a breast cancer specialist and surgeon. They were giving me the results from the spit-in-a-tube thing I mentioned a few weeks ago, to see if I had the genetic mutations for ovarian cancer (for those new here, my twin sister died at 45 of ovarian cancer complications, and so there was a concern that they should take out my ovaries during my colon cancer surgery at the end of the month). I've been…pretty much planning since sis_r died for it, that that was what I was gonna die from, or melanoma. So I was really surprised when they told me I don't have the markers, and my risk was not elevated.

There's a whole bunch of other stuff that I won't bore you with--other higher risk factors because of my sister and just my general body--but they asked me what I wanted to do during the surgery, if I'd prefer to keep the tubes and ovaries or meet with an obgyn surgeon and plan to remove them, and I didn't know how to answer. I was just gobsmacked: I've planned for this news for so long that I had no idea how I was supposed to decide. There's not a lot of time to meet with another surgeon, and I don't know if insurance will pay for this considering I don't have the gene markers, so I decided to just focus on the colon surgery and whatever happens after that.

I mean, to be honest, I'd love to take them out, but that's an expense I could absolutely not afford and considering what kind of bills I'm already getting for co-insurances and whatnot, I don't feel really positive about them paying for it, nor do I have the time and spoons to navigate the insurance maze. So I'm just staying the course, I guess. He outlined a bunch of breast health stuff for me, since my risk just based on heredity is higher, and I loathe mammograms but I sort of saw it coming that they were going to want to increase my frequency of them. God I hate them, I always end up bruised everywhere and in so much pain, and I hate being touched like that, ugh. But at least I don't have the genetic cancer mutations. Seriously, if it wasn't major surgery, I'd cut these things off happily.
gwyn: (8ball wizzicons)
Today's my least favorite day once again. The date I lost Miss Olive two years ago, and I'm not over it--I think about her every day, and miss her, especially now. I could really use her soft, soft fur and sweet purrs and funny little voice when she talked to me all the time. And it's the day we lost Sandy, which I'm never gonna be over, either. With Vividcon ending next year it feels even more like losing Sandy all over again.

Basically July 19 is just a terrible horrible no good very bad day.

I'm trying to get things done in anticipation of the surgery and whatnot, but it's really hard. Not only is there a lot to do, the bills are starting to come in, and I'm getting really depressed about it. I haven't had enough work so far this year, but even though I suddenly have a bunch of stuff coming in, it's not going to be paid for a while yet. Even with the ACA still hanging on, this country is majorly fucked up about health care costs, and it's pretty easy to go bankrupt even with insurance.

Last night we went to see the documentary Score, about composing music for films, at this teeeny local theatre that was the first art house in Seattle way back in the '60s. I hadn't known it was still in business--it's run by vounteers now, and the lobby is now a restaurant so the actual theatre is about one-tenth the size it used to be. The movie was great--if you have a chance to watch it, you should: there were some really good reminiscences by directors and other composers about some of the legends, and interviews with all kinds of fascinating film composers, plus a glimpse into the process of recording film scores.

My only complaints were one I shared with feochadn, which was that a guy went on and on about King Kong (the first real movie score) being cheesy and stupid, and that the music was the only thing that helped audiences get over the cheesy and stupid, which is utterly, patently false and doesn't understand the audience dynamic at the time the original King Kong was released. And my second gripe was that as they talked about modern scores and unique or avant garde approaches, they interviewed and spent quite a bit of time following the guy who did the utterly forgettable Age of Ultron score instead of spending any time with Henry Jackman, who did the Winter Soldier score, which most people I know still talk about with a certain amount of awe. Especially because I think it would have dovetailed nicely with talking about the "game-changing" soundtrack for the Social Network by Trent Reznor (I'm not one of the people who think it was game-changing, but whatever), and they did talk to Henry Jackman, but only for a microscopically short time. Plus, they didn't list Winter Soldier in his credits, and that was…weird to me. And it's not my own blind prejudice for anything related to Winter Soldier--I've read so many people talking about the amazing things he did with that score, especially regarding the Soldier himself, and it just seems like a huge missed opportunity in the modern section…and instead we got fucking Ultron. I'd defy anyone to remember anything unique or special about the music in that movie. But I still definitely recommend seeing Score if you can, and stay for the credits and James Cameron's dicussion of James Horner's score for Titanic. (It's in a couple cities right now, and rolling around other parts of the country for the next few months--you can find out where on the web site linked above.)

I wish I knew how you find a therapist. I am very lonely and depressed, and there's no one to talk to here, but I just don't know how you go about finding someone you mesh with, and who's competent, and one you can afford (the importance of either can be switched). I mean, I've met some truly shitty people in RL who I find out later are therapists and it's like O.o so the idea of going into this cold doesn't thrill me.
gwyn: (middleman german film)
::glares at [personal profile] kore for getting Gap Band stuck in my head::

What a weird day today. It started by getting up earlier than I would like, especially since I couldn't sleep last night, to talk to the people who help me out with the ginormous garden that I can no longer manage by myself. Then I had to go off to an appointment with the genetic counseling specialists, who were going to do an intake evaluation before setting up an appointment with the doctor later. I thought it was just going to be me answering questions about my history (my repetitive answer: I don't know, because outside of questions about my sister, I have no idea what my family history is as I'm adopted) but it turned out to involve all this strange stuff.

First they asked me questions and the nurse doing the interview was…odd and not a very effective communicator, and then they told me I'd have to do another blood draw and I was very unhappy about that, because one of the reasons I'd gone in for a blood draw after the CT scan was so they'd be able to run all these tests. It's nearly impossible to get a vein on me and I just finally got rid of the awful bruises from the last one and the CT scan and I'm really sick of them, and she didn't seem to understand it well but there was an alternative that involved spitting a lot, or at least she seemed to think so. We agreed to that (like, I had to tell her three times that yes, I would prefer that test), and then they make you watch this little video from the genetic testing company, and then call the number on the phone there where you'll talk to yet another person about the same sorts of questions.

I was supposed to meet up with someone afterward, and when I finished watching the video I had to send them email saying I wouldn't be there at the appointed time--which, ha ha, turned out to be unnecessary because the little video tablet was an hour off; I'd seen 3:08 and wondered how the hell it had been over an hour when it turned out it had only been about 40 minutes. It's…annoying to have to keep explaining my situation over and over, and then listen to the obligatory sympathy. It's not that I don't appreciate their kind wishes and their condolences about my sister, I do, I really do. It's just that, I don't know, I thought all this paperwork was going through and instead they were asking me why I was there/calling, as though this was satisfying curiosity on my part or something. I had to keep explaining that the surgeon wanted to see if I had genetic markers for ovarian cancer so we could determine what, if anything, should be done while I'm in surgery for the tumor removal.

Anyway, after a lot of fumbling and confusion, they brought me this little kit, and I had to spit into this funnel to a certain line, and then mix it with some kind of liquid. It…is really, really hard to generate that much spit in a short amount of time. So, lesson for using it as lube in slash stories--unless your human is super drooly, they're probably not going to be able to do that (and spit is terrible lube anyway).

She didn't seem to know what she was doing, and so I'm not confident about this, but it goes off to their lab and then supposedly they call me and we move forward. I kept asking about insurance, and no one would really talk to me about it--they said that once they call me, I can decide to go forward or not, but if insurance won't cover this, I know it's very expensive and it's not something I can really think about, considering the costs I'll incur from major surgery. But it was frustrating, because no one was committing to what had to be done re: insurance, and how I find out whether this is covered or not. Since my insurance company is weaseling out of the ACA exchange next year, I have this terrible feeling they'll be a lot less willing to approve things for those of us who get our insurance that way, because they're evil sons of bitches and should all die in a fire.

So I finally got out of there with very dry mouth, and traffic both ways had been kinda hellacious so my back was really screaming a lot, but I couldn't meet up with my friends, and just went home. I'm trying to get rid of stuff lately, purging a lot of things, and I had this very expensive thing up on Craigslist for a good price, and this woman kept jerking me around about coming to see it, but finally she showed up at 8 and then proceeded to push me into a corner on the price and I felt just tired and bad enough that I went, fine, whatever. I took an instant dislike of her, and she wanted to know about this nearby restaurant but I was thinking, ugh, go away, take the damn thing and stop talking to me about how cute my neighborhood is and how you want to move to West Seattle and what a hard day you're having.

All I could think was "bitch, I have cancer" and that made me want to laugh. So that's my new mantra, and I'm combining it with something a friend told me to do, which is start making a list of, like, all the dog breeds you can name in your head when people are talking about things you don't want to hear, which they are doing A LOT of lately. I'd forgotten, since it's been a while, how much everyone loves to tell you what to think/feel/do when you get sick.
gwyn: (bucky confusedface)
Keep meaning to post, but haven't had the spoons. I saw the surgeon on Thursday, and she seems pretty cool, as doctors go. My own regular doctor is so amazing she hasn't taken new patients in years, because none of us will leave her and we bond in the waiting area about how afraid we are of when she finally retires, so she's a hard person to live up to, and I'm not fond of going to doctors anyway.

It'll be a lot more invasive than I thought--I'll be in the hospital for 3-5 days. She said she has patients who live alone all the time, but that it's just helpful to have someone to do things like cat care or take me to appointments or just go get me a sandwich, because I won't be able to drive for a few weeks. There are tons of risks, of course, and that's mostly all I can think about, even though everyone keeps telling me about their relative or friend who had colon cancer and is fine now. Your mind just gets into a loop. She was interested in sending my information to the genetics lab there to see if they thought I should consider getting my ovaries yanked; the fact that my twin sister died of ovarian cancer at 45 was of interest to her and she said it's only just extra time in surgery to remove them, nothing else.

Apparently they can't stage the cancer till it's out, so no, I don't know what stage it's at and won't till after the end of August. And she was fine with me going to Vividcon; with the genetic workup it'd be a few weeks anyway before they would do surgery and that wouldn't allow me enough recovery time to go to the con, and she said she's had patients who were taking around the world cruises and things, so it wasn't an unreasonable request. If I was angling for three months, then she'd get worried, but I feel like I'm pushing it with two months. Her vacation schedule and mine overlapped, and the next available appointment after she got back wasn't till August 30, because all the surgery days were booked. Who knew colorectal surgery was such a booming business.

It's just…very weird to know you're walking around with cancer growing inside yourself for two months. All of a sudden everything my body does seems terrifying and suspicious and potentially deadly. People kept telling me the other night that there are all these people who can come help out around the house after I get home, but then five minutes later were talking about their trips that are happening at the same time, so that's something I still have to work out. All I have is a couch to sleep on, there's no real room for any kind of mattress, it's just not an ideal situation here. Not to mention it's all just so gross and horrible.

OTOH I now know more than I ever wanted to about the systems down there. And my god, the prep for surgery is so freaking complicated. Special drinks, special soap and showers to take, all this stuff to think about. I have to start calling around and finding out about insurance, too, after the holiday--I'm sure that'll be super fun. There are so many little things to think about--I have to elevate the bed, and fix the windows so that they're easier to open and close (it'll be hot out and we don't have AC much here) and probably make it more accessible to feed Blues on the counter. And I remember after the gall bladder removal how I had no appetite for weeks, and how slow it felt to get back to normal.

In the meantime there is work to do, and fic for different things. I'm going to add a tag so that if you don't want to read see these updates on your dash you can filter out "the cancer" and not read them. Last weekend was especially lonely and depressing, but I imagine there'll be more, I'm feeling extremely alone and hopeless, and I can't promise I won't write about that, so feel free to filter.

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