Friday, July 23, 2021

Of Karen and Cancer

Pete Wood asked:

“You told me once that it was Karen’s idea to do an anthology of  my short stories. I imagine she has had a great impact on Stupefying Stories and your writing. You should do a blog on how she affected your writing over the years.”

I don’t know that I can do that. I first met Karen when we were both fourteen. When someone has been a part of your life for more than fifty years, it’s really hard to cook that down to a 500-word blog post. Yes, I’m the “B” of K&B Booksellers. (“The silent partner,” as she has seen fit to remind me from time to time.) Yes, she has been a driving force behind the scenes here at Rampant Loon Press.

Yes, as many of you know, she has been battling metastatic breast cancer for eleven years now. When she was first diagnosed, she was given was two years to live; five years at the outside. She’s stretched that out to more than ten, fighting every inch of the way. 

Yes, this has had a profound and frequently disruptive impact on Stupefying Stories.

But to try to compress all that down to one blog post? How? 

One may as well try to fit the ocean into a one-quart jar. We’ve had half a century together. We’ve had good years and bad; great joys and heart-breaking sorrows; times when we were deliriously in love and times when we couldn’t stand the sight of each other. We’ve had miscarriages and children, and watched those children grow up to become adults and parents themselves. We’ve faced challenges and been shaped by them…

Today, we face one more challenge. As many of you know, a week ago she was admitted to the hospital through the ER. While the hospital staff was able to address and ameliorate the problem that put her in the hospital in the first place, in the process, they discovered something else. This morning she goes under the knife again, as we try to learn what that something else means. 

“How long is the procedure going to last?” 

“We aren’t sure. We’ll know more once we get in there and get a look at it.” 

“What exactly are you going to do?” 

“We aren’t sure. We’ll know more once we get in there and get a look at it.”

“Do you know what it is?”

“We aren’t sure. We’ll know more once we get in there and get a look at it.”

This is not the kind of language one wants to hear from one’s doctors.

So to answer Pete’s question: yes, she has had a profound impact on my writing and Stupefying Stories, but right now I’m a little preoccupied. We’ll know more in a few hours.

Wish us luck.

—Bruce Bethke


Robert said...

I never offer prayers, but today I will.

Kit Yona said...

All of the strength and luck.

Felicia Herman said...

Keeping you both in my thoughts

ray p daley said...

I don't pray, I believe in science. Having said that. May Doctors science the ever-loving shit out of whatever it is.

Meanwhile, back to SF and doing things with teleporters that no other writer has even thought of.

Guerry said...

Prayers here.

Unknown said...

Praying for my dear Packer & Breast Cancer sister. Prayer and God has gotten me through many many things and he will get her through this also.

Lawrence Person said...

Good luck!

Leatherwing said...

Prayers for Karen, for you, and for the doctors. May God guide their hands, eyes, and minds.

Esti Koen said...

What a wonderful picture and tribute to your relationship. Wishing you both continuing strength.

Fred said...

Wishing you both nothing but the very best.

~brb said...

Thanks, everyone, for your concern. She got through the procedure okay and is resting comfortably. The good news is that the initial assessment is that these are not new tumors. Now we just need to wait for the lab results to learn what they are, and what further treatment is required.

Again, thanks.