UPDATE: No further donations or spreading of the word are necessary. This fundraiser has been a success: I’ve raised enough to comfortably cover my mortgage and other expenses for a few months, while I recover my health and get my writing and speaking career revved up again afterwards. Effusive, gushing, heartfelt thanks can be read here. If you just heard about this fundraiser and are moved to make a donation, please make one to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk via the Foundation Beyond Belief, or to Camp Quest. Thanks.
I have some more news of the crappy variety. It’s not as alarming as it’s going to sound: it’s probably going to be fine in the long run, and even in the medium run. So even though your first reaction may be alarm, try to not go there if you can avoid it. But I want to fill you in. And I’m going to ask you for some help.
The bad news is that I was just diagnosed with endometrial cancer. I got the initial biopsy results Saturday, and met with the oncologist Tuesday.
The good news about the bad news: To the degree that there is a “good” kind of cancer, this is the good kind: well-differentiated cells, Class 1, in a body part that I have no great need of and am fine with having removed. But it’s still, you know, cancer. Right now, the oncologist is pretty sure that it’s totally treatable with hysterectomy — “totally treatable” meaning “after the hysterectomy I really won’t have cancer any more” — and he’s pretty sure I won’t need chemotherapy or radiation. There is, however, a slight but not trivial chance that it’s actually Class 2, in which case I would need chemo and/or radiation. They’ll know that for sure after I’ve had the surgery and they’ve analyzed the tumor. I’m having the surgery Wednesday, October 24.
And yes, I am aware of the ridiculously horrible timing of getting this news not even two weeks after my father died. Ingrid is referring to it as “emotional whiplash.” I kind of can’t think about that right now. Right now, at this point I’m mostly just hugely relieved that the cancer isn’t worse, and am just wanting to move forward and take care of business and my health.
The bad news again, and the part where I’m going to ask for help: This situation is going to seriously interfere with my ability to work for a little while. I’m going to be weak and doped up on pain meds for at least a couple of weeks after the surgery — possibly longer — and travel will be inadvisable for six weeks after the surgery. And all that’s assuming the best-case scenario of “no chemo or radiation”… which, again, is the most likely scenario, but not the only one. I’ve had to cancel my appearance at Skepticon, as well as all my other speaking gigs for the next couple of months — and I already had to cancel several speaking gigs when my dad died. Speaking gigs are a significant part of my income, both for the honoraria and the book sales. I also won’t be able to do much writing or other work for a little while, including paid writing gigs, book promotion, work on my next books, etc. This, after my immediate and obvious health concerns, is my biggest worry right now. As regular readers know, I only just a few months ago quit my day job and switched to writing and speaking full-time. I’m fortunate enough to have good insurance — but being self-employed means no sick leave or paid time off, and I haven’t yet had time to build up any sort of financial cushion. My financial plans for switching to full-time freelance writing and speaking did not include being sidelined for several weeks with cancer and a death in the family.
Which brings me to the part where you can help.
If I could not worry about money for the weeks while I’m recovering, it would take a big, big load off my mind. So I’m swallowing my pride, and am doing a fundraiser/ pledge drive. I’d hoped not to do any more of these after my book came out, but these are extraordinary circumstances, and I am sucking it up.
Even small donations would be very much appreciated: they do add up. You can use a credit card if you don’t have a PayPal account, or you can use your PayPal account if you do. And if you don’t want to use the PayPal system at all, you can send a check or money order to:
PO Box 40844
San Francisco, CA 94140-0844
If you can’t or don’t want to donate money, but you still want to help, other helpful things would be:
Help spread the word about this fundraiser: on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, your own blog, any other reasonable means that you have access to.
Buy my book, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and/or encourage other people to buy it and publicize it.
Give me suggestions for books and DVDs to keep me occupied during my recovery. I’m looking for books, movies, and TV shows that are engaging and entertaining, but not heavy or serious, and that don’t take too much brainpower to follow.
Send kind words. They help, more than I can say.
And if you do want to donate or subscribe, here are those numbers again:
Thanks so much. I’ll be back to blogging as soon as I can.