Tuesday Premonitions.

CONTENT NOTE: Graphic image. No, seriously: g-r-a-p-h-i-c. Contains a partial photographic image of an open wound with medical-level detail of a laparoscopic procedure; female frontal nudity.

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Hey, so whatcha doing Tuesday? Nothing nearly as fucking strange as I am, I’ll bet. As I mentioned in my last post, September kicks off Surgery Season here in New York City, and we’re about to kickoff on Tuesday with a laparoscopic exploration under anesthesia (“EUA”). At least two surgeons and possibly three will be having themselves a really close-up look-see at the tissues they would need to construct what radiation has destroyed – namely, a functioning colon as well as a sparkling new vagina. I call this aspiration “Plan A.”

My colorectal ladysurgeon is running the show, along with the gynecological oncology d00d, tho I’m not yet sure whether this mysterious”plastics” person I’ve heard so much about will also be in attendance. Regardless, there will no doubt be biopsies and good times galore. Which, ideally, I will sleep right through.

Back before my first surgery, i.e. the initial colon resection plus bonus ileostomy in February of 2018, I found myself working with my therapist, my original colorectal surgeon and his Physician Assistant to help me visualize exactly what would be done to me. I had started with some Google image searches, but what I found didn’t seem to line up with what had been explained to me. Also, most images I found, whether photos or drawings, were of men, and I was having a hard time relating those bodies to my own. I ended up creating this:

…wherein the dotted line represents the outline of an ostomy pouch, the oval is the stoma itself and the rest of the marks are incisions. It turned out not to be entirely accurate due to various issues and considerations during the operation, but for my “trying to get my head around this shit” purposes, it was close enough. As un-ugly as I could possibly conceive of it, anyway. I remember the night before the surgery lying in bed, running my hands over the soft, smooth, unblemished skin of my belly, and deeply grieving that it would never, ever feel like this again.

So now there’s this fuckin’ EUA on Tuesday. And I’ve had one before, performed by the very same colorectal ladysurgeon back in March when she gave me an(other) ileostomy. I already know what the recovery is like, and it isn’t terrible: it’s like the deep soreness from a couple hard punches to the gut, that gradually fades over a week or so.

Why, then, am I having so. much. anxiety. over this? Lard knows I’ve been through worse – a lot worse. And there is much worse to come, for sure.

Well, I have a theory. I think it’s because I’m terrified of what they will find, or more precisely, of what they will not find. That the radiation damage has kept right on blooming for all these months, and now there is not enough healthy tissue left to re-do a colon resection. That the blood supply to critical areas has deteriorated to the point where successful healing will be practically impossible. That Plan A gets scrapped. There is no Plan B, at least not one discussed in any detail, because Plan A is the only one with any potential for a good outcome. And it has been impressed upon me, many times, that we only have one shot at fixing this.

So I took to drawing again. Only this time I wasn’t trying to create anything approximating medical accuracy, although it would turn out to embody exactly that, at least in part. I made what envisioning this procedure feels like to me – if that even makes any fucking sense. And once again, I made it as un-ugly as I can possibly conceive of it.

Before you proceed, I just want to remind you again of the content note at the top of this post. I mean, this stuff is triggering to me, which is why I’m doing it in the first place: to help me process it in a healthy way.

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CONFESSIONS OF A DEADBEAT BLOGGER.

[CONTENT NOTE: disgusting bodily functions and fluids are discussed and drawn (poorly).]

To my beloved Many Tens of Loyal Readers:

As you may know, in August 2018, our colleague Caine lost her battle with colon cancer. I was and still am devastated to lose my longtime (Pharyngula/SciBlogs-era) friend, FTB comrade-in-arms and sister trauma survivor.

What you probably didn’t know is that Caine and I shared something else in common: the exact same colon cancer diagnosis. She had that bomb dropped on her just a few months after I did. Unlike Caine, however, I am reticent – or chickenshit? take your pick – about exposing much of my personal life online. As much as I admire it, I do not possess even a fraction of the courage Caine did to write so openly about her life and her illness.

By December 2017, after my first four cycles of chemo and 28 doses of radiation, I was still blogging regularly. But cancer treatments had begun to take more (and more important) pieces of my life and myself away from me. Where writing used to “flow” for me, I was now finding myself blinking back at a blinking cursor. Ideas became jumbled, everyday words escaped me, my focus and concentration kept slipping. Writing coherently about anything of substance was (and still is) an often tedious and frustrating process for me. I naturally drifted away from blogging, and from social media too.

When Caine first wrote about her cancer, I reached out to her immediately and shared with her what was going on with me. We stayed tightly connected (privately). When we lost her, I lost my source of so much comfort and strength from the only person in my life who truly understood what I was going through. (I hope that I gave her some strength and comfort, too. I know I made her laugh at least once or twice.)

As the 1-year anniversary of her death is upon us, I find I would like to start blogging again. Not so much “in Caine’s honor,” but more like…in her footsteps? I mean that I would like to be more open about my health and my life. And yes, this is waaaaay out of my comfort zone.

To be honest, these new blogging endeavors of mine may turn out to be a total bust: nothing more than a bunch of cutting-&-pasting items of interest I find on the ‘net, maybe calling attention to worthy candidates, causes and clicktivism, perhaps keeping readers informed of nefarious squirrel activities. Or, you know, I might fizzle out completely (again). Like many things about my future, I don’t really know. I do know that I miss being a part of this community, and I would like to contribute again to the extent I am able.

So I then I got to thinking: what better way to tell the story of the past two years of my life than…a webcomic! Yes! Having never done one before, indeed having rarely even read one unless PZ or someone posts one? PERFECT.

Enjoy?

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I don’t understand their objection to “shithole countries.”

Trump attacks protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries in Oval Office meeting

President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they floated restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to two people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to African countries and Haiti. He then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met yesterday.

…and whose population is overwhelmingly Nordic/North German white?

Naaaaaaah. A US President could never mean something that so blatantly disqualifies him from holding public office, amirite?

Anyway, I really don’t understand how Republicans could possibly object to “shithole countries,” when they are so very committed and determined to turning the country into one.

Let’s see: destroying the safety net at every opportunity, unleashing Big Polluters on our air and water, increasing maternal and infant mortality rates, increasing the devastating effects of the climate crisis, militarizing police forces, increasing extreme wealth inequality, squeezing the poor and middle class to fund tax cuts for their benefactors, running prisons for profit, eviscerating health care access for millions of people, undermining quality public education [I could go on all day but I already have a fucking headache]… Seriously, the only conclusion that can be drawn from their actions is that Republicans fucking LOVE “shithole counties” so much that they are eagerly remaking the US into one.

What are you, my mom?

First, I get an email from The Nation with the subject line “you DID NOT sign to impeach Donald Trump (WHY NOT?).”

From this alone we can conclude that The Nation must have sent out a mass email survey of some sort recently – one among many similar missives I receive daily from various organs of the Democratic party. Apparently readers were asked to “sign to impeach Donald Trump.” Because that’s how impeachment works: a particular number of readers of a pretentious neoliberal magazine must click “YES” to an email poll.

However, when I tragically failed to timely respond to this embarrassing bid for attention in the guise of an impeachment vehicle, The Nation suddenly got all shouty at me and demanded to know WHY NOT.

Explain yourself, woman!! Do you even read our magazine?! Do you secretly looooove Donald Trump?! How could you???

Because FUCK YOU, The Nation. How’s that?

Moving on.

This morning I get an email from my illustrious Senator Chuck Schumer (D-Wall $treet), presently serving tirelessly as the de facto head of the Democratic party. His subject line is “Yesterday? That was just the start.”

As you might expect, Chuckie is trumpeting Doug Jones beating Roy Moore for the Senate seat abandoned by Jeff Sessions, after Mr. Sessions decided that he could do a lot more damage to peoples’ lives as Trump’s Attorney General than he ever could as Senator from Alabama.

So of course Chuck lays on the usual banal accolades and then he says this:

Now, look, you are welcome to celebrate for a moment. You’ve earned it. This win is thanks to Doug Jones, his incredible team, and you — your calls, your donations, your Facebook posts, your emails to friends. Thank you.

But that moment to celebrate is over. Now it’s time to get back to work.

You had your fun missy, but all that’s over!

Can we just pause for a minute to appreciate how generous it is of Chuckie to allow everyone a brief moment to celebrate a hard-won victory in Alabama?

BZZZT! Show’s over! NOW GET THE FUCK BACK TO WORK!

I am sure you are now wondering how we might toil to best please the honorable Senator? Funny you should ask! Why, it turns out Chuckie wants all of us to give a single dollar to each of the eight most conservative Democratic incumbents running for reelection in the US Senate:

If you’re fired up, the single most important thing you can do to help us seize this moment is to let Democrats across the country know that you have their back.

Baldwin, Brown, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin, McCaskill, Nelson, Tester — those eight Senators are on the frontlines of the fight for the middle class. They’re in the fight of their lives. And they need your support — celebrate last night by splitting $8 between them!

Uh no, sorry Chuck. That is not how I celebrate election victories. I’d prefer to spend my eight bucks – more, even – on a lefty primary challenger for your Senate seat.

Any takers?

No…?

Hello…?

FANTASTIC NEWS for anti-choice d00ds!

All you misogynist motherfuckers can now live out your shitty convictions with your very own bodies!

[D]octors at Baylor University say a woman born without a uterus has delivered a baby after a successful transplant, the first time the surgery has worked outside of the Swedish hospital that pioneered the procedure.

That’s right: no uterus? No problem! Anti-choice d00ds, now you can save the preshuss baybeez in your own implanted uterus!

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IRIS ♥︎ Danica.

“Identity politics!” is not just a weaponized shibboleth conservatives deploy against lefties; the very mainest of mainstream media tosses around the phrase without a trace of critical analysis, never mind introspection. The standard blather usually goes something like: “Democrats made a strategic decision to play identity politics while Republicans focused their party’s campaign on [family values/bootstraps/abortions/tax cuts/whatever shit they happen to be slinging that day].”

But what has long been obvious to me, despite the Democrats’ typical weak-sauce response to the terrible accusation of “playing identity politics” is this: white cis het male is a fucking identity. IT’S TRUE! (I know, right?!) And of course it is the one identity whose supreme position in the socio-political hierarchy it is that conservatives wish to conserve, at all costs, and at the expense of literally everyone else.

Women. People of color. LGBTQ people. Muslims. Immigrants.

Why Democratic leaders (and “journalists”) do not point out this simple, irrefutable fact at every conceivable opportunity is perhaps a topic for another day. (Believe me I have my theories, not least of which is the problem that so many in Democratic leadership positions are themselves white cis het males, as are the money men of Wall Street they serve and upon whom they rely for campaign funds.) But today, I want to highlight a Democrat who calls out this identity politics bullshit brilliantly: Danica Roem.

What’s so awesome about Danica Roem? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS.

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Et tu, Macy’s?

New Yorkers never go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (at least not more than once – and even then, only if they have VIP access). My own tradition on the anniversary of the kickoff of a genocidal land grab against Native Americans is to sleep off a hangover late, sip some breakfast wine coffee and listen with half-interest to the parade on TV whilst screwing around on my laptop in my pajamas. Once in a while I’ll glance up when something of interest drops from the mouths of the chucklefuck hosts. “Patti LaBelle,” for instance. Or “SpongeBob.” And anything, really, that just seems too hilarious or bizarre to miss. (<-While I was typing that sentence, I glanced up to see – I shit you not – some d00d in a cowboy hat crooning a country song from atop an enormous bucket of KFC fried chicken. WTF?)

But what really got my attention this morning was one word.

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What a shocker! Part 65,395,341

OMG YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT?? The Texas northern California shooter had a history of domestic violence!

Police said in the hours leading up to that moment, he had killed his wife and hidden her body before beginning a bloody rampage across this community about 135 miles north of Sacramento.

Authorities were looking for Neal’s wife, who has not been publicly named, concerned that something had happened to her. They found her body hidden under the floor of their home…Police believe Neal shot her several times on Monday.

During the investigation, neighbors told police they believed “there was a domestic violence incident” at the home on Monday…This episode was not reported to police at the time, he said, adding that such incidents were “a very common thing with this couple.”

This has never happened before! It’s just a shame that virtually every mass shooter in recent times doesn’t fit a profile like, say, “violent entitled men who abuse women and children” or something. Then it might be easier to do something to address it? We could maybe ensure such exemplars of American masculinity never have access to guns? Too bad, so sad that they’re each a Lone Wolf living in a cultural vacuum without any common behavior in their backgrounds to trigger an intervention.

Well. At least we have an endless supply of thoughts-n-prayers to offer the victims and their families.