I saw my actual oncologist on 5 June. Dr. McCormack was all smiles again. She’s impressed with how terrifically well I’m doing (unquote). I’m stable and although the side effects from the hormones can be uncomfortable, they aren’t unbearable.
This is not how it usually goes for women my age with recurrent uterine cancer. I feel like I should start carrying around some kind of evidence that recurrent uterine cancer really is inoperable, incurable, and terminal.
And yet it’s been a sad couple of years.
I’m still trying to adjust to life in a world without—among others—Susan Casper, Gardner Dozois, and Earl Cooley III. And Harlan Ellison.
When I was diagnosed, I called Gardner and Susan to tell them about it before I posted the news publicly. Neither of them was critically ill when I got the Diagnosis of Doom. Nor was Earl or Geri or Georgina or most of the other friends I’ve lost since the time I was originally scheduled to shuffle off this mortal coil and now.
The wise and insightful Michael Swanwick told me we don’t get the people we love for free—the price we pay for the privilege of having them in our lives is the pain of losing them. I’d say we also get a world with rougher surfaces and sharper edges.
All of them are worth it.
The art of living is to do justice to the privilege of being alive, no matter how disheartening life can sometimes be.