The Cancer Thing

Here’s the deal: Just Got home from the hospital after major surgery for a tumor. Why didn’t I say anything about this surgery/cancer thing earlier? Well… Frankly, the Internet has a tendency to be invasive, hysterical, and overly “helpful” and that was the last thing I could deal with after the totally out-of-the-blue news that I had a cancer. So I didn’t discuss this in public until now.

What I had: a neuroendocrine tumor of the ileum. Basically a rare tumor in my intestine, found on a routine medical test in mid September–right after DragonCon. It was a slow-growing cancer with a very low-impact which, initially, looked like no big deal. Later it looked much worse, then not so bad, then maybe not so good… so you understand why I didn’t make this public–there was so little that was really easy to understand or explain. Also, after a lot of tests and discussion, it looked as it the whole thing could be resolved with a fairly aggressive surgery and lightweight follow up. Which still appears to be the case.

That doesn’t mean I’m not still a cancer patient–I am. This is something that, even on the best case scenario, will have to be kept an eye on for life. But it’s not going to shorten my life terribly. Survival stats for this form of Neuroendocrine cancer are in decades, not months or years, so when my doctors and I talk, it’s about what may be coming up in 10-20 years and since I’m already 50, this isn’t going to affect me a lot more in the future. I’m pretty much done with the hard part, now that the surgery is over and I’ll be around for a good, long time. There will be follow up, there may be specialized treatment which has a very low impact and isn’t traditional chemo (since this stuff doesn’t respond to traditional methods worth a hoot.) Also, there’s no genetic link or causal trigger for this form of cancer, so it’s not something other people in my family or those I’ve worked with in specific circumstances or lived near have to fear–it’s not caused by radiation or chemicals or weird genetic experiments by clandestine government labs. It just happens. And NEC in all forms makes up only 2% of all cancers diagnosed in the US–of which my particular subtype is slightly less than half, or about 3,600-4,000 total patients in the US right now. There is a more aggressive form of NEC skin cancer that’s pretty terrible and mostly strikes people over 70, but that’s not what I have. I have the very boring, “indolent” variety that lurks about thinking bad thoughts and not doing much about it–like the world’s laziest supervillain.

The only reason this situation became a major surgery was that “Tumore´,” as I like to call it, had been quietly supervillaining away for a while and had sent some troops off to visit my liver, which meant the surgeon had to do some serious combat there and it’ll be a while before I’m really back on my feet. But it appears that we’ve won the major battle. So now I’m going back to take some pain pills, drink a lot of water, and get a nap.

Be well–and see your doctor regularly!

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About Kat Richardson

Writer, editor, eccentric pain in the tail, bestselling author of the Greywalker novels.
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10 Responses to The Cancer Thing

  1. I heart you and I’m glad you’re home. 😀

  2. rae2412ae says:

    I am very pleased your surgery went well. I look forward to another 20 years of stories.

  3. I’ll do my best. 🙂

  4. Mark says:

    Really glad to hear that you have decided to stick around for a few more decades. Mostly cause it means you kicked the big C’s a$$ but also because I so look forward to your imagination taking me on many more rides.

  5. redharparts says:

    That was a frightening post title but, if it had to be cancer, than this sounds like one of the ones to have had. I hope all goes well with your recovery. I am so glad it seems to have turned out not so badly!

  6. Aimee says:

    So glad that you are back home safely! I’m sure the puppies and Mr. Kat are happy that you are back.

  7. zabethmarsh says:

    Kat:
    We haven’t talked in a while seems like since we met at RT Conference in Columbus. I’ve been quiet because I’m fighting a similar battle. Chronic Myloid Leukemia. I expect to live decades but face little battles and medicine side effects. If you need to chat I’m here to listen. I’m glad to hear surgery is over. Naps are good.

  8. Steve Harris says:

    Glad things are going well do you can share your imagination with us for decades. You seem to have a good attitude to deal well with docs. I don’t mean going all Jenny McCarthy on them but just asking ‘Why’ and ‘What are the alternatives and odds’ since once this happens you’ll always be looking at it. I had a slow cancer diagnosis a few years ago and let them do all sorts of expensive stuff. It is totally gone but so are other parts of me. Good luck and thanks for autographing Revenant so quickly.

  9. So glad you’re on the mend! Happily looking forward to decades more of your story worlds. Get well!

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