IRIS IS BACK! And cancer sucks.

It’s been a rough couple of years for two of our bloggers at FtB. They had colon cancer. Caine at Affinity was open about her experience, and had a public cancer journal. Iris at Death to Squirrels kept it quiet, and only a few of us knew about it — she also maintained a private account of her travails, sent by email to a few friends. The experiences of both were harrowing, both approaches were valid, although I’ve got to say even getting second-hand accounts of their treatment was terrifying, and I can’t imagine what it was like to go through it personally.

The good news is that Iris’s cancer is gone, although as you’ll discover, the second-hand effects are going to be with her for years. She’s dealing with it by explaining everything in a webcomic. It’s very good. It will make you uncomfortable. It’s art. You really should read it.

As for Caine, she gets a significant mention. I miss her, and I’ve missed Iris.

Meanwhile, here at Skepticon, the first talk of the morning is going to be from Miri Mogilevsky, who is also a cancer survivor.


  1. cartomancer says

    Ouch, that does not sound pleasant in any way, shape or form. Wishing as speedy a recovery as possible, obviously.

  2. F.O. says

    My father died last week in an accident.
    My five-months old son won’t have a grandfather any more. They met only twice. But at least they met.
    I try to think that my dad died well, doing something he liked and quickly, instead than slowly being consumed by old age or disease, but I’m still struggling to find a secular, compassionate perspective.

  3. feministhomemaker says

    Caine knew I existed, but only because, as a Pharyngula reader, I knew about Caine and PZ let me know about her willingness to comfort with her knowledge other people with cancer when I told PZ about my own diagnosis. I was trying to pass along to him the wisdom of checking inside your own butt for a hard spot since many people, especially women, don’t get regular exams after menopause age and, like me, get diagnosed in later stages of anal cancer. Caine shared with me her experiences with chemo, alerting me to things to do and things not to be concerned about with my port that was surgically implanted to receive the chemo–a frightening experience to me. She calmed me so much and gave me the fortitude to face the unbearable. Later, when she had to face radiation I could share with her my experiences and alert her to the necessity of having no cream or salve on the area to be radiated because it could change the beam direction and intensity. I was devastated to learn she had died. She helped me so much and made the scariest thing I ever endured possible, and now, I am cancer free from stage three anal cancer and I have an intact sphincter that can more or less hold my poop in. It is somewhat scarred and damaged, not as flexible, so I have minor incontinence issues if I eat cauliflower and broccoli, LOL! I almost stopped treatment in my last week when my butt was so burned but my daughter in law insisted I continue and Caine had shown me the way forward with courage and I completed my treatment. One year out now and all is well with me. I said to by hubby yesterday, Can you believe I am still alive?! Thank you, Caine!!!!!

  4. feministhomemaker says

    Also, if you know anyone young, boys and girls, press them to get the HPV vaccine! It would have saved me from my cancer and the awful treatment I endured. My cancer was associated with one of the strains of virus the vaccine protects against.

  5. nomdeplume says

    The side effects of chemotherapy are very widespread and with you mostly for life. I have about ten ailments I didn’t have before, all of which have affected quality of life severely, one way and another. All you can say is that they are better than the alternative. I had a cancer that was, eventually, cured, a friend with an untreatable cancer died horribly.

  6. stroppy says

    Damn! I knew colon cancer was bad but now I’m thinking it has to be the worst. Makes my bouts with cancer seem like a walk in the park.

    BTW, I think that’s a cheetah, which is ok since cheetahs are way cooler than leopards any day of the week.