Got My Date

Kage Baker, despite everything we could do, slipped right off the official radar once her cancer was diagnosed. I’ve never been able to get a logical explanation for why – her own theory was that, at the most inconvenient time of her life, she had finally achieved invisibility.

Everything took longer than anticipated. We called it the Cinder Cone Problem, because it was like trying to climb a slope of volcanic ash. For every 13 inches we climbed, we slid back a foot. And the lava was coming …

What it meant, practically, was that radiation and chemo didn’t start for 4 months after her diagnosis. Surgery was not for 6 months afterwards. Had they been sooner – ah,  but that way lies madness, and my making the evening news with an assault rifle in my hands.

But I learned important lessons, fighting for Kage. I learned ways to get things done. And by using them, today I got my surgery date – January 16th. At 1:15 in the afternoon – which means a check-in a few hours earlier, and then a few days in Cedars Sinai. I shall be sleeping with the fishes, he he he, since that place is thick with aquaria.

It’s an enormous relief to have the date. I wish it were sooner. The delays caused by Medi-Cal meant that a lot of other people – who were probably putting their own surgeries off until the New Year – got in before me. But they all need their surgeries, too, and I am grateful that this has, actually, gone so relatively smoothly and quickly. As I’ve learned, it doesn’t have to be that way.

In Kage’s case, her two main surgeons had similar names – and at least twice, her insurance got them confused with one another; surgery was delayed while they argued over who was really assigned to her case. Both doctors went on vacation at the same time – and instead of re-scheduling Kage’s surgery, they cancelled it. The chemo and radiation therapies were very effective, but it took so long to get them going that her original cancer metastasized. Time, time, time was the problem; and the wasting of it was what killed her.

One of the few complaints Kage ever made was to abjure me to never, ever let this shit happen again to anyone we knew. And I haven’t. Mind you, I didn’t expect it to be me – even my imagination is not that macabre – but the caution was valid, and I have heeded it.

So now I can start making lists. I’ll over-pack, of course; I always do. But you just don’t know what you might need on any trip, and Kimberly can always read the books on my Kindle while I am dreaming with the friendly morphine pump.

And of course I will send out on the spot updates to all of you, Dear Readers. They ought to be fairly hilarious. I see some very odd things coming out of anesthesia – my anesthesiologist for my first stent implants was a 6-foot tall raccoon, and my recovery room has a chorus of elderly monkeys in it. And the doctor who did my second stent implant last year was apparently Captain Nemo. So God knows what I’ll see this time. Something to do with fish, probably.

Anyway, spare me some thought on the 16th, if you can. In the meantime, I am going to relax and play at packing and start knitting a hat.

Oh, and start marking off days on the calendar.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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20 Responses to Got My Date

  1. Carol G. says:

    I always see things related to the desert & high altitude mountains… I wonder if someone would give a grant to study why we see what we see on the edge of our subconscious? Marking my calendar also to keep the healing energy focused for you m’dear.


    • Kate says:

      Carol – now there’s an interesting idea. Is there a theme to what anyone sees, and why? Man, our brains get up to some weird things when the brakes come off!


  2. Neassa says:

    Yes!!! Less than two weeks, that’s not *too* bad. Tomorrow, of course, would have been better…

    Plenty of time to pack and re-pack and decide which books you’re taking along not to read. (I didn’t read for days after my surgery – just watched disaster reality shows and the videos Carol & Jeanette sent down with Mom.)


    • Kate says:

      Neassa – oooh, videos: hadn’t thought of that. I have a DVD drive that can be attached to my Buke; and I have 13 days to find where I put it … movies I can manage!


  3. Lynn Downward says:

    Calendar is marked, readings for you to the medical and health gods will be planned and listed between now and then. Good thoughts fly down Highway 5 to you from Northern California. Jan 16 is MLK Jr Day; perhaps you’ll dream of busses and peaceful marches ending in success. All our best wishes go to you as always.


  4. Kate says:

    Thank you, Lynn – it hadn’t connected in my mind, that the 16th was MLK Jr Day. Must be a good omen! So many people are rooting for me, I am sure my luck will be splendid.


  5. Cyril P says:

    I have begun reading your blog only a few weeks ago but I look forward to many more years of “Kage Baker…” posts. I am sending a good thought in your general direction.


  6. Carol Light says:

    Congratulations on getting your date. You should spend some of it patting yourself on the back and issuing “attagirls” to yourself on a regular basis. You are truly a do-it-yourself woman! More power and long may you wave!




  7. Jane says:

    Oh how glad I am that you have won the day! And I agree with Neassa: “Less than two weeks, that’s not *too* bad. Tomorrow, of course, would have been better… ” Please remember that I live blocks away and can deliver burritos / fuzzy socks / bird food / chocolate, you name it. Am calendaring Jan 16th now (all day, but especially 1:15) for intense white light thoughts!


  8. Kate says:

    Thank you, Jane – that’s what I need. I am a firm believer in the power of the group mind.


  9. Widdershins says:

    Ten surgeries to put my knee back together after a motorbike accident, and I would wake up from each one with the thought, “Funny, it doesn’t hurt!” Of course, that could’ve been the opiates they were pumping into my bloodstream …


  10. Elizabeth says:

    So glad you got a date finally. The Pruyn/Howell household is already sending good packing thoughts your way & will be there in hugs on the 16th.


  11. Kate says:

    Widdershins – I was told there would be morphine pumps … I do have that advantage of the often-operated-upon, though: I’m sort of used to it. You get into the rhythm, you know?


  12. Oh thank goodness! Reiterating the thought that while tomorrow would have been best, two weeks is almost miraculous–and you’re the miracle worker. I’m breathing more easily just knowing that.


  13. Kate says:

    Maggie – it’s an incredible relief, knowing I have a date. I can count off the days and feel smug.


  14. PJ says:

    Thanks to the Universe and your own persistence for the date! It’s maddening to hear the mess insurance has made of medical practice, but I’m glad you’ve learned to work it. Godspeed!


  15. alina says:

    Kate, I found your blog 2 days ago when I started rereading the Company series and looked on Kage’s page for the book list. Just wanted to wish you the best luck with surgery. Sending you good vibes!!


  16. Michael Young says:

    I am glad you have the date. I will make note and keep you in my prayers that day.


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