Margaret Treanor Frey

author . artist . singer

Category: Cancer Update (page 1 of 7)

Shoulders and Starships

Alas Uncanny Magazine did not find this to be a good fit with their Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction issue…


Bodies. When you own a healthy body, it’s invisible to you most of the time. You don’t have to think about grabbing a cup of tea. You desire tea, and find the cup at your lips. Effortlessly. Invisibly.

I lost my left shoulder to cancer, an incredibly rare chondrosarcoma. Through some very talented, innovative, well-nigh unique surgery, I was able to keep the arm and hand. But I now have a (3D printed!) metal hinge in my body (an endoprosthesis!) where the scapula used to be. All the subtle, useful bits, like the rotator cuff and half the clavicle, were removed because they were too close to the tumor. Muscles that remained, going as far down as my waist on that side, were pulled up from their normal places and wrapped around the endoprosthesis like a burrito to attach it firmly to my torso. I can’t use the prosthesis to raise my arm, or extend it, or any other shoulderly things, but it holds my arm on. So, although I had to prop my computer in my lap (because I can’t keep my left arm at table level under its own power), and arrange the pillows just so, I have typed this just fine with two hands. I can still write.

I’ve mostly adapted. It’s been exactly a year since the surgery, and I find I can figure out how to do most things. Although some of them I choose not to do in front of people because they require strange contortions and take three times as long as they used to. Some things are just beyond me. What remains of the left arm isn’t rated for anything heavier than 5 pounds.

I stare wistfully at heavy boxes on high shelves.

(In truth, if no one is looking, I will reach up to the elusive box with my right hand, and inch it off the shelf by wriggling my fingers beneath it. Back and forth. Then, when it’s almost over-balanced off the edge, I’ll tip it down onto my shoulder, holding it steady with my head. Clasped between my head and arm, I’ll bobble it over to a table and bend down until I can shrug it off and push it away.  If it’s not too heavy. Or too fragile. And if I really need it right then, more than I mind the bruises.)

My goal is for my body to be invisible to me again. I’m tired of looking at it all the time, figuring out the angles and logistics of making and drinking that cup of tea. I would rather just do it. Effortlessly. Invisibly.

As a writer, I’ve been watching myself go through this recovery process. The desire for a return to invisibility has given me a good hard look at what I was taking for granted before, and I’ve decided the body is an illusion. A persistent, well-maintained illusion, that the brain uses to interact with the outside world. So really, there are two bodies. The meat one and the virtual one. That’s why, when people lose a limb, they can still feel it. The meat one may have changed, but the virtual one hasn’t.

When I was first able to start moving the arm, six weeks after the reconstruction, I would try to do things with both hands, automatically, and the left arm would just fall or flop or unbalance everything. Or not move at all. I would be surprised and frustrated every single time. The inconsistencies between the meat arm and the virtual arm were a constant source of disappointment.

So I mentally disowned the arm entirely. I couldn’t update the virtual arm, so I deleted it. I mentally amputated the arm so I could start over. I was a one-armed person.  It cut down on the frustration immensely.

Then I started building it back up. If I had a little extra time and energy, I would ‘allow’ the left hand and arm to try to do things. As I found out what it could accomplish, I would slowly build up the new virtual arm and integrate it more into my daily life.

My physical therapist, I think, is fascinated with it. Every time I go in, there is a new, wide-eyed intern following along.

The therspist says to try to lift the arm. I will never lift the arm again, but I still hold out hope of getting more stability, so I try. He holds it a different way and says, okay try to rotate it outward.

And I try. Really hard. I imagine the arm moving, and I’ll have muscles bunching and pulling all over my body that have nothing whatsoever to do with my arm. Like I’m trying to rotate my left arm with my right big toe. And then something will flash or shudder somewhere in my underarm.

Encouraging, the physical therapist says, “There! Did you feel that? Do it again. Imagine reaching out.”

And the freaked out muscle fiber jumps again. We don’t even know which muscle it used to be, everything’s been so rearranged, but after two weeks of trying to activate it, I can get it to contract smoothly and with more control. Who knows what that little fiber will be capable of in another year?

Mechanically speaking, there’s nothing in my shoulder that resembles a shoulder. But there are dribs and drabs, scraps and scars, chunks of meat, that we are trying to repurpose. As I rebuild the virtual arm, my brain is reaching out through abandoned nerves, finding out what they can do, and rewriting them into new movements, new activities. Some of which never existed in the first place. Because the nature of the joint has changed, it can bend frontward and back, in a sort of flapping motion, a little farther than it used to. Is it useful? I don’t know. But it’s already being worked into the virtual model, because I find myself doing it deliberately when I’m getting dressed, without thinking about it ahead of time.

I drive with one arm now. Sometimes the left hand will help out by stabilizing the steering wheel from where it’s sitting in my lap, but that is all it’s good for. The surprising part about relearning how to drive with just the one arm is its similarity to moving my own body in its new conformation. There were new sequences and pathways that had to be adjusted. Driving used to be effortless. Invisible. It’s becoming so again relatively quickly.

I came to realize that the car was every bit a part of my virtual body as my arm was. I didn’t have to think about the car to drive it. I just had to think about where I wanted to go, and the brain would trigger whatever pathways were necessary to get me there. There’s a virtual car connected to my virtual body.

What else fits that category? The computer keyboard, for one. I don’t think about hitting the keys when I’m typing. I just think about the words I want to have appear on the screen. As I type this, I’m conscious of how my mind has generated that virtual keyboard. I type without looking, because muscle memory tells me that this series of impulses generates an ‘e’, and this series generates an ‘h’. As though each symbol existed in my mind as solidly as my own conception of my limbs and fingers. There are letters attached to my virtual body, right there along with the car.

Maybe, given enough training and expertise, this applies to any tool. When you first start using a new tool, it isn’t a part of you. It’s just your meat body touching things and making them go. But eventually, the virtual body becomes so familiar with the use of the thing, that it incorporates it into itself. The piano. The hammer. The paintbrush. The scalpel. The sword. The fighter plane. The prosthetic leg.

The starship.

Our tool-using monkey brain is so greedy, snatching up new virtual pieces and sticking them to itself our whole lives, a subconscious Katamari Damacy. When we think of it at all, we think of our virtual self as being roughly the shape of our meat self, but the truth of it is that our virtual selves are vast and complex, operating in more than three dimensions, slapped together like Swiss army knives, bristling with skill sets.

I’ve started back at aikido, a martial art. I had trained for about 15 years on and off before the cancer. I find myself back on the mat with very low expectations, and a body much more brittle. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Rather than destroying one’s opponent with brute force, aikido is about instinctively understanding another person’s movement and balance so well that you can manipulate it with minimal interference. Since I can’t wave my left arm in dramatic arcs anymore, I find myself closing the distance, refining my position, and throwing very surprised attackers with a well-timed shrug. (Thankfully I can still shrug. Without a way to physically manifest my natural cynicism and ambivalence, I fear this essay would have been much more of a diatribe.)

In training, we talk about reframing the interaction between attacker and attacked, uke and nage, as a collaboration rather than a conflict. You are not being attacked so much as ‘given energy’ which you can choose to use as you like. In the context of the virtual body, in aikido, I wonder if it’s a matter of the ever-acquisitive mind reaching out and using other people’s meat bodies as its own tools, however briefly.

I had trouble getting around to writing this at first. I’m still very angry about how my once strong, dependable shoulder has turned into this crumpled thing, so I didn’t want to give it credit for giving me this insight. It hasn’t been punished enough yet for such an intimate and unforgivable betrayal. After all, it tried to kill me. But it turns out I can be sincerely furious and grateful and appreciative at the same time. The damage extends to about a sixth of my meat body, but, I’ve come to realize, when compared to my virtual body, it’s almost insignificant.

It has changed the way things look to me. When I watch my friend’s three-month old baby flail, I’m seeing her learn to use her first tool, her own meat body. The first of many tools.

So now, when I think about fictional humans, either with new, strangely articulated bio-engineered limbs, or high-tech prosthetics, or plugged into whole structures or cities, I no longer wonder if it’s possible for the human mind to adapt to such things. I know it is. The brain, in its mysterious and powerful way, will find its way to it, like water flowing downstream. All it needs is a connection, feedback, and purpose. Whether the connection be as direct as a nerve, or ephemeral as a touch, our minds can use it to extend the virtual body. I theorized about it in stories before. Now I’ve watched it happen, from the inside.

It’s what we do as humans.

The irony will be that when we’ve invented and incorporated these new miracles into our virtual bodies, into our very identities, we won’t be able to see them anymore. They’ll be effortless.


Genetic Sequencing and Art

Still cancer free. (Woo.)

I had the scan before I went to World Fantasy Con in San Antonio, but since I was out of town the next day I had to delay my followup meeting with my oncologist, Dr. Hu, until today, two weeks later. I didn’t think about the scan during the conference. I didn’t think about the scan the following week when I was tromping around San Antonio with Jody and Yo. I didn’t think about the scan while I was waiting at the hospital this morning.

The scan is fine, as I was pretty sure it would be. I didn’t even bother looking at it or taking a picture this time.

Is it possible that I’ve already become that blasé about it?

Dr. Hu asked if I was interested in participating in a study on rare cancers in a project that was part of Joe Biden’s Moonshot initiative. I was very excited about having my tumor sent into space until he explained that no, they just wanted to sequence the genetics of the tumor, then sequence my genetics from a normal tissue sample, and compare the two to isolate any mutations that were associated with the malignancy. The study included a lot of rare tumors, and sounds like a good way of finding targets in cancers that are otherwise too rare on their own to attract much research attention individually.

It also means that there will be a database somewhere with all my genetic info, prime for plundering and abusing in the near dystopian future where our human rights are suborned to actuarial tables of risk and inherent, inescapable fallibilities. This gave me a moment of pause, naturally, until I remembered Mark had recently done 23 & Me and our family was already screwed vis a vis genetic privacy.

Man. How cool would it be to have your tumor on the moon though?

Kristi, the resident working with my oncologist thanked me again for sending the link to the cancer art series I did. She really enjoyed going through it. (As a side note, I also sent the link to my surgeon’s office, but they didn’t even acknowledge that they had received it.) She had emailed me back right away at the time, saying how much she liked it, and did I know they sometimes had patients’ art exhibits in the patient information section in the hospital. She would forward the link to them. Maybe they would be interested in hanging the show.

My visit there today reminded me that I hadn’t heard anything from the office of patient information services, so I asked at the front desk where I might find them, and if anyone was available to talk about my art. Then I whipped out my phone and showed the series to the woman at the front desk.

She got all excited and called the patient information office downstairs, and even walked me down there to introduce me to the woman in charge, Mary, who was a Stage IV breast cancer survivor who never expected to survive, but has been in remission now for five years. She runs the whole thing as a volunteer. They have exhibit space and seating, and a garden outside.

I never knew any of it was there. When I was in the thick of treatment, all my focus was on me, my body. I had to sit just right. I had to breathe just right. I had to concentrate on holding my arm on.

But there it was. It’s kind of nice. We walked in past the current exhibit – small oil paintings, scenes of everyday life, children holding their parents’ hands, guys looking at antique cars, etc.

When I showed Mary my cancer series she said, “Oh. Your work is disease-based. You know it doesn’t have to be. Most of these shows are just the artists’ work. It doesn’t have to be related to your treatment.”

“It is,” I agreed. “Well, it’s kind of a story arc, about the whole treatment experience. The last piece is about me being done with treatment and deciding what kind of person I want to be now.” I showed her Human Again.

“Oh. That’s nice. That’s very powerful.”

“I’m wondering now if you might not want to put it up, though, since, although it’s not graphic per se, it is very focused on the tumor and the treatment. It might be upsetting to people who are still in the middle of it.”

Mary looked thoughtful and said, “You know it’s funny. My mother had breast cancer, too, and because I was next to her through the whole experience, I thought I had the inside track on what patients would like to be exposed to. Then I went through it myself, and I had been completely wrong. No one can tell us what we want to see or think about our own experience. I would like to offer you a show next fall.”

So. It looks like I have a show at Norris Cancer Institute next fall. They have a lot of wall space, so maybe the cancer series will go in one area, and the rest of it will be something else entirely. Like a series of story illustrations. Or a series of illustrated game tiles. Who knows what I’ll have generated in the next ten months?

The thing is, before cancer, I never would have gone downstairs to show them my art. I wouldn’t have wanted to be a bother. Why would I waste some other person’s valuable attention on my stuff?

After cancer, it’s more like, why wouldn’t I? What else were they going to do with that time? Talk about the weather? They might as well look at my art.

Life is short. Whatever hangup I’ve been living with about not wanting to ‘bother’ people – with my art, my music, or my writing, was burned out of me by the chemo. I’m going to create. I’m going to make good things and be unapologetic about them.

And if they turn out not so good on any given attempt, I’m going to be unapologetic about that too.

I’m over it.

Recovery Soundtrack

Cancer party soundtrack should include PF’s Comfortably Numb and CTD’s Afternoons and Coffeespoons. What else?


AC/DC Back in Black comes to mind

 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds? A little trippy to go along with your pain patch trip.
The Firm – Radioactive
Green Day’s “Do You Know Your Enemy”
 gloria gaynor”s ‘i will survive’
rachel platten ‘this is my fight song
‘Hit Me with Your Best Shot”,, Rocky theme song,
Hotel California of course
 “Beat It” by MJ
the Beatles ‘Here Comes the Sun’
Invincible – Pat Benetar
Take the Skinheads Bowling
Beer (the one by Real Big Phish)
I’ll get by with a little help from my friends
Burning Down the House
Hit me w ith your best shot, I’m a survivor, we are the champions


I sometimes wonder if I had had a female surgeon, if she would have cut my clavicle right where a bra strap would go, as is the case. I feel like she would have had the sense to cut it back further or pull the whole thing out. Besides having a pointy, sensitive spot right in the middle of the top of my shoulder, hanging anything on it fatigues it. And despite the fact that July 11 has come and gone, I’m still having trouble with bra straps under my left arm, where the chemical burn was the worst. For every day that I wear a bra I have to go two days without.

The thing is, if I want to return to my normal active life, I’m going to need support (other than the usual excellent friends and neighbors, but thanks).

Strapless bras are nigh useless, constantly sliding down. Corsets, on the other hand, have rigid struts in them, boning, which extend far enough down to provide support from the hips. So I visited Mr. Hoss of Hoss International in the fashion district. I had emailed him about my situation, and he wanted to see me right away, before he left for Paris for a month for his fashion show (OMG LA you guys). We tried on a couple sizes, and I learned some surprising things.

1) I could breathe fine. The corsets that have the bad rap for making people faint are extreme examples.
2) Holy crap, it evened out my shoulders. My left shoulder sags. A lot. I can sort of even them out by pulling my shoulder blades way back and letting my right arm hang down, but I can only do it for about 5 minutes. Carrying your own arm around all the time is exhausting. But the corset comfortably supported the shoulder blade from underneath, making it even with the other one with no added effort on my part. It was a miracle.
3) When the surgeon told me they were taking the lattisimus on my left side to wrap the endoprosthesis, he claimed I wouldn’t miss it. This was yet another in a series of bad pieces of information. I hella miss it. The lower back fatigue on the left is substantial. But guess what? With the corset, it disappears!

I spoke with Mr. Hoss at length while wearing one of his corsets and nearly forgot it was on. When I took it off, it was like somebody had switched gravity back on. The shoulder sagged, the back slumped, and everything was awful.

In conclusion, they are not underwear. They are necessary prosthetic devices. I neeeed them.

They are also a serious investment and difficult to wash, which is why I decided to use them as outerwear. Rather than frilly or lacy, imagine a feminine waistcoat sort of look. Knowing of my friend Robin’s experience in making custom clothes, I asked if she was interested in designing a corset with me and she was!

Unfortunately, corsets are difficult to get into, mostly lacing in the back. So we’re looking at designs that I can manage myself, maybe even one that laces in the front.

Since we’re designing this puppy from scratch, I’ve been thinking about the fabric. This is an opportunity to express my new commitment to writing and illustrating, so I drew the paisley dragon as part of a fabric design that will include stylized spaceships too. I’m going to wear it to scifi/fantasy writing conferences.

I might also need to start wearing boots. Because corsets.

Clean Scan

Who has two thumbs and a clean scan? This girl.

Schroedinger’s a Jerk

I have another scan tomorrow. Realizing it was so close, I had considered waiting to see the results before scheduling the return-to-the-living party. Then I realized that way lies madness. There will always be another scan.

So I wrote song lyrics about it. I do this to torture Mark. It should be read in a fast, cheery tone.

Schroedinger’s a Jerk

Am I going to live or die?
The scan will tell me my oh my.
Guess it’s neither that nor this
Neither hit and neither miss
Til someone checks to see.

I’ve got things to do now
Places to be
So I can’t wait and won’t, you’ll see
Cause Schroedinger, he don’t own me.

Hey kitty kitty kitty
Kitty kitty kitty kitty
Hey kitty kitty kitty
C’mon out of that box.

Am I going to rise or fall?
Don’t know yet, well damn it all.
You should tell that isotope
Don’t mess around with people’s hope.
Won’t someone check and see?

I’ve got things to do now
Places to be
Friends that I’m expecting to see
Tell Schroedinger to let me be.

Hey kitty kitty kitty
Kitty kitty kitty kitty
Hey kitty kitty kitty
Let’s burn down the box.

-Treanor Frey

(Just trying it out.)

Shoulder Closed

Cancer changes you in ways you don’t expect. For example, I take road signs so much more personally.


This is not an update. I was thinking of something that happened weeks ago, and thought it deserved documentation.

It was shortly after the reconstruction. The endoprosthesis was installed in the shoulder, but the only thing holding it to my body was a bunch of very freshly stitched raw meat. The healed tissue and scars that were going to do the job later didn’t exist. The arrangement was very fragile.

The sling had to come off, temporarily – to adjust it, to clean off, to replace the soft fabrics around the arm that were keeping it from wearing holes in my elbow. Drains twisted over and under everything. I couldn’t let my arm be unsupported for even a moment. To complicate matters, the sling itself needed to be reshaped. The under-arm pillow was attached to the underside of the sling via a long piece of velcro. Unfortunately the fabric of the sling wasn’t attached straight, and the velcro was holding the wrinkles in place. The resulting ridges had begun to wear holes in my forearm.
So, lots of things needed to be done, and it was more than a mere three hands could accomplish, between Mark and myself. I decided it finally had to be dealt with when our friend Paige was over for dinner.

(In fairness, I waited until after dinner.)

But Paige was up for it. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate that she jumped right in. I was thinking about it from the point of view of the person who just had to get it done. There are moments in your life when you are beyond caring about what state you’re in, like when you’re giving birth. The last thing you’re worried about in the room full of strangers is that you have no clothes on.

So I was busy directing traffic. (Hold this here and don’t let it move. Hand me that washcloth.) I wasn’t remotely self-conscious about being shirtless and oozing bodily fluids (although see above for what a great sport Paige is).

And then Paige said to me, “You have such nice skin.”

When I was in graduate school with Mark in Buffalo, his mom got a rare liver cancer. They told us that only oriental men get this cancer, so they didn’t know what a white lady in Michigan City, IN was doing with it, but she only had a few months to live.

She lived three years. (So there.) They were a good three years for the most part. The last few months were hard. Mark and I put our studies on hold for a little bit and came out to be with her and Mark’s sister Jennifer, who was her full-time caretaker in the little ranch house they had both grown up in.

Toward the end, Ann stopped being able to speak. We knew she was still in there. There were small looks and gestures. She would tell us things and ask us things with her expression and we would answer her back and get what she needed. We weren’t sure how much clarity she had, but she knew she was surrounded by family and that we were doing everything we could to make her comfortable. For the most part she was very calm.

Until the one day we had a hospice worker there to check on her meds, undress her, and give her a sponge bath. This girl was young, less experienced than other people who had been there before.

I don’t know who started it, but they began fighting. Since Ann couldn’t speak, it took the form of a stubborn resistance when the girl tried to move her limbs to perform the bath. Maybe all she knew was that she was naked and some stranger was putting hands on her. The girl in turn would push harder, and eventually became rough, exasperated. Ann became more stubborn, brows furrowed with irritation, and, increasingly, fear.

I was watching this from the end of the bed. We didn’t want to leave Ann alone with strangers. So there I was. Guarding.

But how to stop this bizarre, nonverbal altercation? Do I yell at the hospice worker? It didn’t seem like a way to get her to perform her task with a little more empathy. Would I have to send her away? Do I tell the nonverbal cancer patient to relax and stop being so troublesome? As calm and proper a person as Ann was in life, she would still have figured out how to sign ‘Screw you’ with her eyebrows, I’m sure.

What I did, was stretch out my hand to Ann’s leg and stroke her ankle, gently. “Ann. You have such beautiful skin,” I said, appreciatively, breaking the tense silence.

Patient and caregiver froze, hostility suspended.

Then Ann relaxed into her bed and let the girl have her arm. The girl, for her part, resumed her ministrations, but this time her movements were more respectful and sympathetic.

I’m not sure why I did that, specifically. But it worked so much better than any lecture on ‘Hey now, we’re all just humans trying to get through this’ would have.

You have such nice skin.

A split second and twenty years later, I replied to Paige, “Thanks.”

Feel the Burn

This is not a scary or painful thing, more of a medical curiosity.

Along with the nasty chemical burns under my arms, the backs of my shoulders burst out in spots. Not so much red ones, like you would expect from a rash. These were pigmented, freckly. They started on my right shoulder, and over the course of a week, advanced all the way across to my left.

The dermatologist called this ‘radiation recall’. Also rare, it’s when the chemo recalls/reenacts/activates radiation damage in a location where it happened previously. The chemo was breaking out in a flaky, pigmented rash across my shoulders because that’s where I had previous UV damage.

Anybody who knows me at all knows that the sun and I have been lifelong enemies. My last sunburn was thirty years ago.

So high school friends! Remember that white water rafting we did on a Calasanctius field trip? Some of you might also remember I got the worst sunburn.

Well, it just started to peel.


I was supposed to get my last chemo today, but I told them no. I had my blood drawn, like a good little cancer patient, and waited for my meeting with my oncologist, to which he didn’t show. Whatever. The conversation with his PA went like this:
Me: I’m thinking of foregoing the last round of chemo.
Kristi: Well, it looks like today would be the last of three. If the side effects are too bad right now, we can lower the next dose, or delay it a week.
Me: Hm. Let me be clearer. I have been thinking about it, and have finished thinking about it, and have DECIDED not to have any more chemo.
Kristi: …. Ok.

There is reasoning. First, I was already off-script because I was beyond the magical, mysterious 84 days from tumor removal. Second, this chondrosarcoma is so rare, there is simply no information about which chemo might have any effect whatsoever. Doxil was chosen nigh at random because it was supposedly better tolerated than the stuff they first put me on that almost killed me. Third, while the first round of Doxil had 0 side effects, I fell apart rather spectacularly in the second round.

I have a list of about 11 things that are wrong with me right now, but the most outrageous is that the skin in my underarms has started to fall off. And when I say underarm, I mean the skin from my elbow to halfway down my chest. See, they tell you to be careful with your hands and feet. No heat (I’ve had 6 weeks of tepid baths and testing temperatures with my elbows). No friction (I’ve been wearing two pairs of socks, really loose shoes, and walking really slowly). But what they don’t tell you is that you can get hand/foot syndrome that much closer to the body. Because it’s crazy rare. They didn’t even bother putting it in the pamphlet under ‘rare’ symptoms because it’s rarer than those. Because of course. I emailed a picture of what was happening to my pits to the oncologist and they threw up their hands and told me to OMG see a dermatologist right away. They didn’t even know what was going on.

The only dermatologist who could see me in less than 2-6 weeks was in Beverly Hills, so I spent 3 hours driving around so he could tell me it was toxic erythema of chemotherapy. He stuck little tags on me and took pictures it was that interesting. Then he gave me a prescription for lots and lots of steroid cream and admonished me again not to allow any friction to any part of me (no walking, no harsh soaps, no WASHCLOTHS), and no heat exposure, in fact I should exchange those tepid baths for very brief tepid showers.

Luckily we have excellent neighbors who were able to pick Sarah up for her last few days of school (thanks Scott), so I didn’t have to worry about that.

Oh right. And for my next round of chemo, I should try putting ice packs under my arms to prevent the Doxil from migrating there and making the condition worse.

You’ll just have to picture the raised eyebrow with your mind’s eye..

I won’t terrorize you with the picture I sent to my oncologist, but my underarms look and feel like someone applied a hot iron. Several hot irons. In rows.

The dermatologist thought this was probably the worst it was going to get, since the last chemo was three weeks ago, and I have my handy steroid cream now, BUT, you know, if it continues to spread, which it shouldn’t, but, in rare cases it could get really, really… Well. Just keep an eye on it and keep him updated. And that mottled red line on my left arm connecting my elbow to my wrist, that is probably nothing.

He never did spit out exactly what truly horrific thing this could turn into in the rare of already rare cases. Let’s hope it’s moot. I don’t really need to spend all my time as a case study.

Not as much of a non sequitur as it seems, we’ve been watching Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. It started out gratuitously gory, but we stuck with it through a couple of episodes and are liking it. So, spoiler alert, there’s a scene where the protagonist’s wife comes back from the dead. She injures her arm, and it falls off. She tries to sew it back on, but it’s not until some kindly undertakers fashion a metal rod to attach her humerus to the rest of her torso that it really takes. And I’m thinking, okay, what do they think that metal rod is anchoring into when they just jam it in there like that? That would never work, but look at her stitches, they’re just like mine. And there’s a scene later when she takes a hot bath so she’ll have a warm body temperature and feel alive to the touch, and some jerk reminds her that she is in fact still dead, and that hot bath will just make her rot that much faster. And then I think, I’m pretty sure this isn’t what people mean when they talk about representation in media, but I feel ya dead wife.

I feel ya.

Anyhow. I’m done with chemo. And if my last chemo was May 11, then by July 11, I will again be as normal a human as can be expected, free to take hot baths and leisurely walks any time I want. It’s a Tuesday. Look forward to it.

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