Before I talk about anything personal on a public forum, I have two questions I usually ask myself:
1.) Does everyone need to know?
My parents use to preach at me that not everybody needed to know everything. My dad used to take it a step further and say that not everyone deserved to know everything. When I was younger, I operated under that whole, “I’m an open book” philosophy. As I’ve gotten older, it’s shifted into a long squint, a thoughtful expression, before, more often than not, determining, “There’s no reason for you to know this.”
2.) Do I care if people know?
Sometimes I do and I don’t know why. Sometimes it’s just simply a sense of, “This is mine and I don’t want to share it.” I never try to talk myself out of feeling that way. If I care, for whatever reason, I keep it close to my chest.
Having said all that, I don’t really want to talk about what I’m about to. Talking about it makes it all feel more real somehow, and right now we’re at a point where it might not be. But as it very likely is going to affect Kingdom Come‘s release, since it’s already affecting my work on it, as well as whether or not I do any conventions or other public appearances this year, I reckon it’s one of those times maybe people do need to know.
(Let’s be honest. In the year since I debuted, it isn’t like I’ve earned a reputation for doing public appearances or going to conventions. Before that, I basically came out of the woods in a cloak and everyone was like, “who is this bitch, though?” But, man. I had plans and you know what they say about the best laid ones.)
I’m rambling. Anyway. About a month ago, I found a lump in my left breast.
It was an accidental thing. I was stretching and, for whatever reason, I felt the side of my boob. They’re boobs and they’re nice and sometimes I like to feel them, I don’t know. Like, “hey. Check this out, Me. I’m an awesome girl with awesome boobs and that’s pretty effing sweet.” It’s this weird form of vanity, maybe. “Hey, these are mine and I like having them.” And that weird vanity turned out to be a blessing because as I was copping a feel on myself for no real reason, I felt a lump that shouldn’t be there.
This is the point I stop, make eye contact, and tell you that I’m a 29-year-old female who, yes, has some history of breast cancer in her family, but it’s not dripping with it. There was an aunt, maybe a cousin as well, but, as far as I know, that’s it. I’m about at the age where I should start doing yearly mammograms, but had I not found this by accident, I probably wouldn’t have. There’s no particular reason that I wouldn’t have, but I know me and I know how I let things slide, and I just probably wouldn’t have done it. Don’t be like me, is what I’m saying here. Don’t let things slide or think that you’re too young to at least check yourself or it’s really not that important. Don’t assume you’re not at a risk.
I waited about a week and told no one aside from Betty. Another week slipped by. I checked it a few more times and it was still there. There was a grim acceptance as I made the appointment, and the doctor I saw confirmed that he felt it too, and, hey, we really should get further testing on it. The good news is he’s hoping to the point of believing that it’s just a cyst. The bad news is, he doesn’t believe that so much that he hasn’t ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound at the radiology center. From there, depending on what they find, I’ll have a biopsy. I don’t think much about what could be beyond that. I don’t speculate. I said very early on, hell, I’ve said it since before this was a possibility, that if I was ever faced with the decision, I’d do a mastectomy right off. I like my boobs, absolutely. After all, I feel myself up on a regular basis. But I don’t like them so much that I’d keep them if they are ticking time bombs. I’ll get a new pair. One that, hopefully, doesn’t want to kill me.
Either way it goes, I found it really early, which even in the worst case scenario is only gonna benefit me. So I’m not exactly worried about it, but it’s all a thing that sits in the back of my head like, “Hey. Here’s a thing that’s happening” and that’s played hell on getting any kind of real work done.
In addition to that, I’ve had some other health issues that’s popped up in the last few weeks. It started off as a kidney stone, a small one, a pain and annoying, but nothing I couldn’t manage. That turned into a weird, ongoing saga of, “Hey why is everything still hurting so much, why is it worse, what is even happening?” The current theories are it’s either some kind of tear somewhere or maybe a monster of an ulcer, or, possibly, my gallbladder. More upcoming appointments, sprinkled with trips to the ER, as well as painkillers to manage pain that’s hard to think around. Basically, my calendar is full of tests, my head is filled with questions, and my productivity is nearly non-existent.
So that’s about it. As of right now, I won’t be at anything this year. I’ve quietly erased any plans I did have, and haven’t committed to anymore lest I have to cancel. I didn’t have a solid release date for Kingdom Come, but I was playing with the idea of June, and now I’m thinking it’ll probably be late summer. I am hoping to release a collection of (free!) short stories from the Lane somewhere in between now and KC’s release, and I’ll update more about that later.
That’s about it, kids. Have the proposed cover for the short story collection, designed by my bestie, Rachel, a photographer who serves all around Jackson, Missouri. And who you should totally call if you’re local because she’s one of the very best: