Yet another update.


For the backstory on what’s been going on around here, please read the two posts immediately below this one.

So, me again. Yeah, I’m still here. Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. Speaking of lines lifted from old Timex watch commercials, I made the mistake of having the battery replaced in my old Timex watch the other day, and now the little window that told me the day of the week and month doesn’t work. I might be able to fix it if I hadn’t lost the insanely complicated directions ten years ago.

Anyway, the upshot is that I am no longer tethered to your puny Earthling concepts of time, which explains, at least in part, why I have let six months slide by since my last update. Long story short, I’m still undergoing chemotherapy in Columbus, once a week for two weeks, a week off, and then lather, rinse, and try to find a vein that still works.

Actually doing the chemo is the easy part; the real problems begin later that day, and follow a set pattern every week. Right after chemo, I often have problems walking and sometimes fall asleep from the anti-nausea drugs as Kathy drives us home. At some point that evening, however, the IV steroids they give me kick in, and I am often wide awake (albeit in an unpleasant trance-like state) until at least the afternoon of Day 2. Day 3 I’m in a bad mood because I’m exhausted and I can’t walk or see very well. But over the weekend I start to feel somewhat better, just in time to start the whole cycle again.

Something I read last year described being in chemotherapy as “Feeling a profound sense of unwellness,” which is right on the money. You feel like you’ve been poisoned (which, of course, you have), but it’s hard to put your finger on exactly what feels so wrong.

In between the slings and arrows, I watch bad (and occasionally good) TV, usually with a lap full of cats jockeying for position, and read news on my elderly Thinkpad and books on my trusty Nook. P.G. Wodehouse never fails to cheer me up, and a while back I finally got around to reading The Master and Margarita: 50th-Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) by Mikhail Bulgakov, which I first noticed when I worked in a bookstore in the 1970s but had never read. It’s a wonderful book for all sorts of reasons, and the recent 50th Anniversary edition is generally agreed to be the best translation. It also has very helpful explanatory notes. Look, it features an enormous black cat named Behemoth who walks on his hind legs, guzzles vodka and smokes cigars. ‘Nuff said.

Nothing would have made me happier, of course, than to be able to continue writing my columns, but all this cancer and chemotherapy stuff comes with a ding to my cognitive acuity and stamina that makes that impossible.

As to our financial state, I am profoundly grateful to everyone who has contributed over the past year to our ability to stay afloat in a bad situation. Your contributions, and the kind notes that come with them, have been an enormous boost to our morale in a very trying time.

As might be expected, our situation remains precarious. To that end, I’ll take the liberty of repeating my pitch from last time:

The Word Detective website had been supporting itself for years through subscriptions and donations, along with some revenue from ads. With my diagnosis and the financial reversals of last year, that income suddenly played a much larger role in our household budget. Unfortunately, the fact that I am no longer updating the site has reduced that small income at the worst possible time. All of which brings me to ask for your continued support via our page at

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