You’re going to miss the hell out of me this summer
My life has been updated recently and the update includes a few glitches. Fixing those glitches will cause some downtime and users of my life will experience issues with connectivity.
Trying to figure out the easiest way to tell you where I will be and where I won’t be this year includes some explanations of what is going on with me. I won’t be around much, but when you do see me, you’re probably going to notice some major changes which you may or may not care about, but they’re a big deal to me, so humor me.
First: Where I’ll be:
SkeptiCalCon: April 21, Berkeley, CA This was a con that was feeling like it was far too legitimate and fancy with all their smart doctors and stuff talking. So to make it less marketable as a serious skeptical conference, they invited me to speak. So I’ll be there. Probably wearing a pink wig because I’m trying to grow my hair back and I look ridiculous… and kind of thuggish. A pink wig will look ridiculous but less thuggish, which is a good thing, I think.
SkepticampOhio: May 26, Columbus, OH I was invited by the organizers of Skepticamp Ohio to give a talk for their event. I can only assume this decision was made in a bar on a dare and includes some kind of embarrassing bet. Pink wig may or may not be worn based on its success in California. Vaccines will be discussed based on their success as a life saving device.
Dragon*Con: I’ll be there and I’ll be on my worst behavior. If I don’t shame all of skepticism with my presence in Atlanta, it will only be because skepticism has no shame.
You may notice that TAM and Skepchick Con are missing from the list. That’s because I won’t be there.
A few weeks ago, I learned that I have a 3cm carcinoid tumor in my stomach. Carcinoid tumors are a rare, slow growing cancer that often goes undetected because it doesn’t really have any symptoms until late and it’s usually located in places you can’t usually check for cancer (like the inside of your stomach.) Fortunately, mine was detected. It hasn’t spread.
Unfortunately, this is also a cancer that doesn’t respond to chemotherapy or radiation treatments. So the only way to get rid of it is to cut the fucker out. Which I will be doing in early May… well, I’m not cutting it out. I’m hiring someone to do that.
The good news is that we discovered the tumor while I was looking into having gastric bypass surgery. I was considering having the surgery in the late summer or early fall. But now, I’m having it in May. Maybe I shouldn’t call it “good” news, but rather “convenient” news. To remove the tumor, the surgeon has to remove a small part of my stomach. To have a GBP, the surgeon will remove almost all of my stomach. Since I’m having a bunch of it removed anyway*, it seemed practical to go with one surgery instead of removing a little part then going back a few months later and removing the rest, including the part that I already had removed. I mean, you could if you’re a big fan of abdominal surgery. But I am not. I am only a fan of the pills they give you afterward.
I hadn’t planned on publicly discussing the GBP (because, really, who cares?), but now that it’s cancer and it’s interfering with the work I planned on doing during Skepchick’s and the WTF’s busiest time of year, I wanted to address it. And I felt it was disingenuous to tell everyone I had stomach cancer then lose 100 lbs and attribute it to a surgery for a small tumor. That’s not fair to people who care about me; that’s not fair to my credibility; and that’s not fair to other people who may be diagnosed with carcinoid or similar conditions. They shouldn’t have to be concerned about losing half their body weight from surgery that wouldn’t cause that kind of weight loss.
The short version of what will happen is that most of my stomach will be removed including the portion with the tumor, leaving a small “pouch” and my intestines with be rerouted. Then I lose weight and am cured of cancer and become immortal.
But this means that from the day I get home from SkeptiCal until after Memorial day, I will be unable to eat solid foods. I will basically be living on protein shakes. (Like the Jersey Shore cast… but without the orange skin, alcohol, and date rape.) When I get to eat solid foods again, I will have a lot of adjusting to do. I will have to eat tiny portions of food in tiny bites every four hours and will spend a good amount of time trying to figure out what kinds of foods will make me violently ill if I eat them. And I can’t drink alcohol for several months.
Given the major life adjustment, spending two weeks partying in July while traveling around the country is probably not in my best interest. So I won’t be doing that. I’m going to stay home and heal and figure out whether cottage cheese gives me horrific diarrhea. Which, I’m sure is just as fun as a 4 day long Skepchick-FreethoughtBlogs party.
But my plan is to have this shit sorted out by September and be ready to wreck the fuck out of Atlanta… dressed in my every day costume: El Mofo, immortal supermodel.
So, for those of you in Ohio, you will be seeing a very sober and smaller version of me, hanging out at the MuscleMilk bar.
And now you should all go now and buy your tickets to SkeptiCal. Because I said so and I have cancer so you pretty much have to.
In the meantime, I’ll be around the internets, mostly complaining about how much I hate Texas.
Featured mage courtesy me, drunk, before Skepchick Con 2011.
(ETA: When I wrote this post, I indicated that GBP surgery typically involves the removal of the unused portion of the stomach. It does not. That portion is disconnected and bypassed but left in place.)