Great News – April 2, 2020

Hi!

I should have posted this yesterday, or at least earlier today. But I’ve been distracted, working on a new tutorial about the Line Tool in Photoshop.

As some of you know, I’ve been battling cancer for the last year. Yesterday, I had a CT scan, blood work, and a video visit with the physician assistant who works with my oncologist.

It’s all good news!

The remaining, very tiny, nodule in my lung is stable. It’s probable that it’s scar tissue, not cancer. My blood work looks great. I have a tiny little bit of anemia left, but that’s all. I’m no longer immunocompromised, and I don’t need any treatment. I’ll have another CT Scan on July 1, because we need to keep an eye on it, but so far, so good!

Which is why I’m working on other things.

It’s taken me longer than I thought to get over the chemo. My hair is starting to grow back, but I still have “chemo-brain.” I forget what I’m doing while I’m doing it, it’s a bit hard to focus my eyes, and I don’t have a lot of stamina. But I’m getting better every day. At least, that’s what I tell myself. (And Michael agrees.)

For those of you who want to know when I can sign cards and things, ummm… not quite yet. I’m still a bit shaky, and autographs (unlike the stuff I’m doing on the computer) don’t have an “undo” function. I don’t want to mess up your cards or books. Thanks for your patience. I hope to be able to do all the things I used to do in another month or so.

Until then, I’m working on things for Second Life, working on tutorials, and yes, Michael and I are being very careful. I’ve only left the house for the tests and Michael is wiping down everything that comes from the grocery store with antiseptic wipes. 

Take care of yourselves, and thanks again for all your kind wishes, love and support.

I love you all!

Cancer Log 20.1.10

More really great news!

On Monday, I had another CT Scan. Yesterday, I had some blood work, and went to my oncologist again.

 I’m still anemic, but the rest of the blood work is pretty much back in the normal range. My immune system and platelets are back on line. Yay!

The nodules have gotten even smaller. (The raw numbers are about the same size as I reported last time, because, as the doctor explained to us, different radiologists estimate the size of things this tiny differently. So they compare the two scans, and note the size (as they see it) for the one in November, and the size of the one this week. The nodules are about half the size they were.)

They are now too tiny for surgery. The surgeon wouldn’t be able to find them. They are so small, my oncologist said, that it’s possible there are no cancer cells left, and what we are seeing is just scar tissue. 

All three are in the upper lobe of my left lung. The one that the original PET scan found in my right lung seems to have vanished, according to the doctor.

So, he told us, we now have two choices. I could have another two sessions of chemo, or I can have a break for a couple of months, and then another CT Scan to see if anything has changed.

I asked which he recommended, and he said the break. Which means that I can recover completely from chemo before anything else has to be done. If anything else has to be done at all.

So that’s what I’m doing! We go back on April 1 (which is the perfect day for it) and if all is well, which I think is what he’s expecting, then we just go back every three months for another CT scan for the rest of my life. In the meantime, I have a five o’clock shadow on my scalp, and my eyebrows are itching, because the hair is growing back in.

As my oncologist left the room, he said, “Congratulations!”

So, with any luck, that’s it for the Cancer Log, at least for a while. We now return you to the regularly scheduled blog, about Second Life and the occasional short story, if anyone is interested in short stories!

Cancer Log – 19.10.25.

I know that some of you have been waiting for me to tell you how the new treatment went. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to write the post. I had the extra two weeks off between sessions, and somehow, in that time, I forgot how bad the chemo makes me feel. 

So, the last session was at the Medical Center at the University of Michigan, October 2, 3, and 4. I went there each day, and came home at night, instead of being admitted to the hospital. It was much nicer to be able to sleep in my own bed, and eat Michael’s cooking, and generally be away from it all every night. 

I was told I’d have a private room, with a private bathroom. That wasn’t strictly true. I had a private room with a private toilet and sink, and a curtain I could draw around them. I could also close the door into the area where all the nurses were working, so it was private enough to be comfortable. 

I had the private toilet because they were keeping track of how much fluid was going out, as well as how much they were pumping in. Something they didn’t do in the hospital. 

The doxorubicin was delivered via a pump that lived in a fanny pack. It worked flawlessly. I have it at home now, and I have charged the battery for the next session. 

The other big difference was the delivery of the Neulasta. That’s the very expensive drug that boosts the immune system; pretty much necessary after each session of chemo. 

Before, my former oncologist was having me drive all the way back to Farmington Hills on the Monday after the session ended to get the shot. That meant that I wasn’t getting it until about 50 hours after chemo ended. The recommended timing is 24 hours. 

This time, they stuck a gadget on my arm that delivered the shot 27 hours after they put it in place. So not only was I getting the shot in the recommended time frame, but we didn’t have to make a long trip back to the medical center. 

Which means Michael got to work two full five day weeks, for the first time since April. 

All in all, it was a much better experience than the first three sessions. I’m so glad we switched doctors. 

I go back on Halloween day for the beginning of the next three day session. We’ll be going in that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sometime after that I’ll have another CT scan, and we’ll find out if this set of chemo drugs is working. 

If it is, I’ll have another session. Or maybe two, since I did have that extra two weeks off. If not, the doctor knows what drug cocktail he’ll be trying next. 

So, that’s where we are. Thanks again, everyone, for all your support. I love you all!

Cancer Log – 19.10.4

Yesterday I had an appointment with the new doctor at the University of Michigan.

Unlike other doctors, both he and his assistant (an internist who is planning to become an oncologist) examined me throughly. The bronchitis (or whatever it was) segued into a cold which isn’t quite over, so I was wearing a mask and coughing some. Neither one seemed to think it anything out of the ordinary.

The upshot is; I had a CT scan May 6. Chemo started July 15. The CT scan on September 12 showed a slight increase in two nodules, but because there was no CT scan taken in July there is no way to know when that growth occurred. Or how much growth there was that might have been reduced, for that matter. So it’s impossible to say with any certainty that the chemo isn’t working.

So the U of M doctor (hereinafter known as my oncologist) is going to try the chemo again. It starts next week, and we’ll do two sessions and another CT scan to see what has happened. If it’s working, then we’ll do another session, or perhaps two, and then give me a break, followed by as many sessions (and breaks) as needed.

If it’s not, he knows exactly what drug cocktail he’s going to use next. He even told us the names of the drugs, but I don’t remember what they are. (I’m blaming it on having a head full of mucus.)

He’s also going to consult with a thoracic surgeon to see about the feasibility of surgery to remove them. A lot will depend on how many of the tiny little nodules in my lungs are actually cancer.

It turns out I have dozens of them. I thought all the rest were scar tissue (my poor lungs have been through a lot, starting in my infancy,) since only a couple were bright on the PET scan, but that might not be the case.

My oncologist explained that PET scans work by bonding a radioactive tracer to glucose, and injecting it into your bloodstream. Then they see how much of that glucose various cells have taken up. Things that always take up a lot of glucose, like your liver and brain, are always bright. Lungs aren’t so much, because they don’t use as much glucose. Cancer, of course, does. But tumors that are too small to use enough glucose also don’t show up on a PET scan. So, we know for sure that one of the nodules is cancer, because it was biopsied. We’re assuming the other bright spot is also cancer. But there’s no way to tell for sure about all the spots that didn’t glow. They might be scars, or they might not.

We’ll have to keep an eye on them to see.

But, for now, I’m going back to an infusion center, as an outpatient this time (yay!) Three consecutive days, six to eight hours a day, depending on how well I do with it. I’ll be wearing a doxorubicin pump home, and the Neulasta shot will be one of those packs on my arm (as seen on TV) or a shot I can give myself. So I’ll be sleeping in my own bed, eating my own food, and I won’t have to go all the way back to Ann Arbor for the shot the next day. And there was much rejoicing.

They have to squeeze me in, so we don’t know what days I’ll be going yet. They will be calling (eventually) to tell me.

I’m so glad that I’m now seeing an oncologist who knows what he’s doing. Michael called the other one, and told her I’ve switched doctors, so she won’t wonder what happened, or keep trying to make appointments for me.

And that’s where we stand now. I’ll try to answer questions if any of you have them.

Love you all!

News – Second Life, Writing, and More!

Sorry for vanishing like that! I got sick, and the medicine the doctor put me on made it really hard to focus or do much of anything. But I’m better now!

I have been trying to get some stuff done while I was gone. First off, I got a citronella candle out for Second Life.

Citronella Candle for Second Life
Citronella Candle for Second Life

I’m pretty pleased with it. Like the res of my candles and lamps, it works (either Local Lights or Fulbright.) I don’t really see the point of a light that doesn’t light!

It’s also color changing; there’s a script to change the color of the candle or the bucket, although since it’s copy/mod you can also just change it all manually, if you prefer.

If you would like to know more about it, you can see it in the SL Marketplace.

Café Stool for Second Life
Café Stool for Second Life

I also released a stool to go with the café table and chairs. That was week before last, but I had a story that I blogged that day, so I was going to wait to talk about this, and then I got sick.

It has 12 sit poses, is also copy/mod, and you can find out all about it in The Marketplace as well.

Speaking about SL, there are only two weeks left of The Arcade. As always, when it’s over you’ll be able to keep playing my machine on Livingtree; but you won’t be able to get the special Rewards for playing the machine 50 times ever again. So if you want those, you only have a couple of weeks to get them!

There won’t be a new item out in Second Life this weekend, because the thing I’m working on right now is going to take me longer than that to finish. I think it’ll be worth the wait though.

Test Render - Hammock for SL in Progress
Test Render – Hammock for SL in Progress

It will come in three parts; the hammock itself (I still need to make the pillows but they’re coming,) the stand, and the shade canopy.

That’s so the hammock can swing. Swinging in the hammock is important! It also will mean that if you have trees, you don’t need to use the stand. And if you don’t want the canopy, you can save the LI and not have it.

It will probably wind up tweaked a bit from what you see in the picture, and it needs textures and things, of course. It is, after all, a work in progress. But I thought you might like to see what I’m cooking up.

On the writing front, I’m in the process of editing a book about Wicca that I wrote nearly 10 years ago now, but then Life happened and I forgot to do anything with it. Michael reminded me about it, so now it will see the light of day!

It’s for people who aren’t necessarily interested in joining the religion at all, but who want to know something about it because they have friends, neighbors, or clients that are Wiccan.

With any luck, that will be available in the next month or so.

The next Kip Andrews story will be published here on my blog on Saturday. I hope you like it.

If you liked the last one (Stormy Weather) I’d really appreciate it if you could review it on Amazon. If you want to read it again, you can read it for free if you happen to subscribe to KindleUnlimited. Otherwise, the book is only 99¢.

If you want to read my stories early, you can join my Patreon. I would really appreciate your support.

I’m also starting to work on the redesign of the site, in my copious free time. (Haha.) Since there’s not a whole lot of free time, it might be a while before you can see it, but I’m working on it.

So, that’s what I’m up to at the moment!

Thanks for reading, and if you have a question, comment or suggestion, please let me know.

June Arcade!

The June 2016 round of The Arcade in Second Life is open!

This round, I have a pressed wood dollhouse, complete with all the furnishings!

All the prizes!
All the prizes!

The furniture all comes in at under 1LI per piece. The dollhouse itself is 2 LI (because it has a working door, and all those windows have real glass – or perhaps it’s plastic – in them.)

All the furniture is very detailed, and some of it, like the kitchen table and chairs, is designed to be easy to tint whatever color you like! There’s even a dollhouse to go inside the dollhouse.

The dollhouse itself is carefully textured to show all the parts of the rooms that aren’t removable furniture; things like posters on the walls, a kitty clock in the kitchen, fireplaces, and kitchen cabinets. The outside has a richly landscaped texture, like a real pressed wood or metal dollhouse.

The Arcade has a new “thing” this round; if you play the machine more than 50 times, you’ll get a special Reward. It’s only available for this one month. It’s no-transfer, so you won’t be able to buy them anywhere, and we have all agreed not ever to sell them anywhere else.

My Reward is a mailbox and lamppost for the dollhouse.

Working Rewards
Working Rewards

The lamppost lights up, of course, and you can also change the color of the light, make it auto (on at dusk, off at dawn) and all the other things you can do with my lights.

The mailbox has a toggle. The first time you touch it, the flag goes up. The next time, the flag goes down, and the door opens so you can see the tiny little pieces of mail. The third time, the door closes, and it’s back where you started.

As always, I’m pretty excited about The Arcade. There’s a lot of really good stuff in it! You can see all of it (not just mine) at The Arcade June 2016 Shopping Guide.

If you’re an SL Resident, it’s a lot of fun, and a great way to get amazing stuff for very few Lindens!

See you there!

Stormy Weather on Amazon

I got Stormy Weather made into a Kindle book yesterday, and today it’s up for sale on Amazon!

I really should have researched the title before I used it. I had no idea how many other books were also called “Stormy Weather” although I certainly should have. It’s not like it would have been hard to do. Oh well, too late now! It’ll be easier when it’s just the name of the first story in the collected Kip Andrews book. (It’s a very short read – only 13 print pages, so it’s perfect for reading during break.)

If you’re a member of KindleUnlimited you can read it for free. If not, I’m afraid it’ll cost 99¢. Amazon won’t accept a lower price.

I’d like to thank everyone who read it here, and encouraged me. If you liked it, and you can leave a review, that would be great! Good reviews really help.


If you’d like to read any of the 3 stories that are still here, while they’re still free, you can find links to them below.

Beauty and the Beast Retold

A Little Bird Told Me – A Grandnana Story

May Eve

I have a Patreon Page

As planned, I’ve bitten the proverbial bullet, and posted a page on Patreon.

If you’re enjoying my stories, it would be great if you could help support me by becoming one of my Patrons.

In case you’re not familiar with Patreon, it allows people who enjoy the work of various artists to give them donations in support of that work. It’s one of the reasons why many creative people no longer have to have a “day job” and can, instead, use their time to make the wonderful things that people enjoy.

In my case, if you choose to support me, Patreon will bill you once a month, for whatever amount you have pledged.

You can pledge as little as a dollar, because every bit helps. If you do, you’ll be able to interact with me on the special Patreon member page, and you’ll also be able to read the stories the day before I post them here.

If you can pledge $3 or more, you’ll be able to read the story that will be posted on June 4 right now! (It’s another Grandnana one.) You’ll always get the stories 2 weeks early, as my thanks.

For $5 a month or more, you’ll get the Kip Andrews story scheduled for June 18 right away. You’ll always be able to read all the stories a month early.

If you can pledge $15 or more, I’ll be posting some of the backstory for longer stories that won’t ever be posted here. Things like the world building for Kip’s home, which is also the setting for the novel I’m working on. (world building, the way I do it is geography, currency, form or government, technology, fashion, and a whole lot more. The background that the stories are woven from.)

For $25 a month or more, you’ll also get to see what I’ve written each day. I’ll post it, as raw and terrible as it comes out, at the end of the day. (Most days. Some days I don’t write anything, because of Reasons.) Whatever it is will probably change some before it’s printed. It might change beyond recognition, and I might just dump the entire project. It’s also going to be short stories some days, and a couple thousand words from a novel other days. It’ll vary, and it’ll be raw, but that’s the fun of it! I usually don’t show that to anyone but my husband, but if you’re willing to support me at this level, I’m willing to let you look. (You don’t have to read it, if you’d rather not.) You’ll even be able to leave me comments on it!

For $50 a month or more, I’ll put your name in a special Acknowledgements section, on any finished novels or collections of short stories. You’ll also get all the things above, or course.

For $100 a month or more, first, are you sure? That’s a lot of money. I deeply appreciate it, though. So very much that I’ll use your name in one of the stories. If you’d rather not have your name in a book, I’ll use whatever name you like, as long as I like it too. (Sorry, you can’t name a character Evil McEvilface and have me use it. Unless I decide to write a piece of farce, and you never know!)

So that’s that. The stories are up, and ready to be read this minute. There’s not a video intro (yet) but all my prospective Patrons are readers, so you’re not afraid to read, right?

The rewards and goals are on the right side, when you go to the page. I really hope that you decide to become one of my Patrons; but if you don’t, I fully understand. The short stories will continue to be posted here, every other Saturday, as usual.

Thanks!

Getting Ready for Arcade in SL

I’m spending most of my time getting ready for The Arcade in Second Life at the moment, so I don’t have the time I’d like to work on other things. (I’ll have Sneak Peeks of the things I’m making soon!)

That’s why I haven’t posted in a few days, and probably won’t post again for a few more. In a way, it’s frustrating, because there’s a lot of other stuff I’d like to do, too. But for now, the Arcade has to be my main focus.

Once that’s out of the way, the first thing on the docket is to get Stormy Weather up on Kindle. That’s the short story that I posted on April 9, with the notice that it would only be there for a month. Since it’s been a month, it’s gone now. I had planned to have it up on Kindle before I took it down, but it didn’t quite work out that way. With any luck, it’ll be there in a couple of weeks.

After that, I’m planning to get my Patreon page off the ground. It’s really just waiting for the videos that are required. The script for them is written, but the recording hasn’t been done, mostly because I was sick for a few weeks there and my voice wasn’t… umm… shall we say “recording quality.” It’s fine now, but Arcade.

I also need to learn a bit more about some animation apps before I can have the film I want, so that might hold it up a little, but shouldn’t be too long.

The story that will be posted in two weeks is written, and so are the first few stories that I’m going to have as part of my Patreon Rewards, so at least that’s not going to have to wait. There will be a new story on May 21 for sure!

So that’s where I am right now! I thought I’d let you guys know, so you’re not wondering if I’ve given up on keeping a blog, or doing the other things.

Thanks again for your patience, and for reading!

Hugs all around!


Image made using Canva and Photoshop.

Plans and Things

Hey! More of a News blog this time.

I’ve had a couple of people ask me about the Beauty and the Beast story that I posted on Saturday; saying they liked it, but wondering why I hadn’t veered more from the traditional story.

There are a couple of reasons.

The first is that I wrote it in several years ago for a friend who had no idea what the traditional story was. He was only familiar with the Disney version, and thought the whole story arc with Gaston, Beauty’s father being an inventor, and the talking furnishings was part of the traditional tale. When I said it wasn’t, he said he would like to hear the traditional version, so I wrote it.

The second is that sometimes, we need comfort food. An old, familiar story is comfort food for the soul. I did change it slightly; the sisters are good people, in my version, because I’m tired of stories that tell us to be wary of our sisters. Most people aren’t trying to hurt us, and the sooner we stop assuming that they are, the fewer communication errors there are going to be. But that’s a whole other blog post, and not the one I’m writing now.

The reason that I posted that story on Saturday is that The Plan is to post a new story every other week, on Saturday. I had a brand spanking new one written, but I’ve been sick. (Nothing serious, just the grunge, but it’s left me feverish and not able to focus very well.) That being the case, I didn’t want to put a new story out until I’d at least read it while healthy. My three test-readers assured me it was fine, but still. So, assuming that I get over this bug, you’ll be able to read that one Saturday after next.

And yes, this does mean new short stories every couple of weeks. I hope that’s good news!

So, that’s where we are right now. I’m working on stuff for Second Life, and continuing to write; I’m about half way through the first draft of a novel, and have a handful of new short stories in various stages of editing and test-reading. If you’re interested in being among those who get the stories first, I’m also putting together a Patreon page. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

Until then, stay well if you possibly can, and I’ll post more tomorrow!


Image made using Canva and Photoshop.