So many people over the decades have volunteered to slash my neck for free, but I’ve decided to have a professional do it.
stalkers followers have probably noticed my declining output. In 2016 I released six big books. Last year, two. This year, I’m pushing hard to get three, and I probably won’t succeed.
I’ve been plagued by weird, seemingly unrelated health problems. I’ll spare you the tedious details, but the real problem is that my writing speed hasn’t been where it needs to be.
I’ve been going to quite a few doctors trying to figure out the root problem. Thought it was anemia. Got that patched over, sort of, but there’s other symptoms. Also, what caused the anemia?
On 10 December, they’re cutting me open to yank out the right side of my thyroid and the accompanying 22-centimeter cyst. At least, that’s the plan. The surgeon might open me up and realize that the whole thing has to go, as some problems aren’t visible until you lay eyes on them. MRIs and ultrasounds are miraculous, but nothing replaces the squishy cameras mounted at the front of your head.
Part of me hopes they take it all. It’s hard to say how long the thyroid’s been bad; “constantly feeling vaguely unwell” is a common side effect of a career in systems administration. The thyroid is your master gland and controls your whole body. It’s also a tricky bugger to diagnose, at least until it starts swelling.
I don’t know that my thyroid is the true root cause, but the list of standard thyroid symptoms includes most all of my non-personality problems.
What will happen next? Dunno. Maybe I’ll come out just fine. Maybe I’ll need hormone replacement therapy. The more extensive the surgery, the longer it’ll take to recover–perhaps as long as three months. If they take half, there’s a 30% chance they’ll go back a couple weeks later and take the other half. I do know that this is a common surgery (except for the whole twenty-two centimeter thing), and that it’s completely routine for everyone but me.
So, I’m doing the following.
- All public appearances are canceled until further notice. I’ll still be at semibug, but I’m not talking at any more user groups or cons until I’m well. I’m not even doing any more bookstore readings. The people involved already know.
- I’m not accepting any invitations for conferences until this is resolved. I usually get a flurry of invites at year end, but I’m deferring decisions until I’m stable.
- Even if I come through this perfectly I’m planning to stay home afterwords, put my head down, and write some damn books. That’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted as a career. I’m ridiculously lucky in that people will buy almost anything I write. If I want to keep this career, I have to produce.
So, chances are I’ll turn down your con invite anyway. But hopefully it won’t be because I don’t feel well enough to travel; it’ll be because I feel finally healthy enough to disgorge the millions of words trapped in my brainstem.
I’m also looking forward to being able to routinely turn my head to the right without blacking myself out. That’ll be nice.
Also, if this leaves a big scar? Two words: zipper tattoo!