The C-Word or “C” is for Cancer

I debated whether to write this post. I’m quite a private person, and I’m feeling rather raw and, frankly, terrified right now–not things I like showing to folks. But the writer in me thinks I need to get this out, put my words and emotions on the page. And I’m listening to her, because she’s the only one in my head making any sense right now.

So, I’ve been struggling with blinding headaches for the last several months–since June–that has recently also become persistent sinus congestion and significant loss of hearing in my right ear. I thought originally it was a bad dental crown, since the timing coincided, or possibly TMJ, since the symptoms seemed to point in that direction.

After seeing a dentist, general practitioner, ENT, and oral surgeon; and being prescribed three (now four) courses of antibiotics, steroids, and a variety of narcotics to help alleviate my pain, they took CT scans yesterday.

As it turns out, the culprit is a malignant, fast-growing tumor, around 6cm, in my sinuses and hard and soft palate regions. In short, it’s cancer. They don’t know what kind yet so can’t make a prognosis. The ENT who ordered the CT scan said that surgery–ASAP, immediate, urgent–to remove the tumor is my only treatment alternative at this point. Whether I require chemo afterwards depends on the type of cancer it ends up being.

I have an appointment to see a head-throat oncologist at Emory on Friday morning to go over what happens next, what type of tumor this likely is, all the questions which are boiling over in a deafening cacophony in my head.

I’m fluctuating between tears and numbness, terror and resignation for the battle ahead. And I’m really, really fed up with all the crap my human suit keeps throwing at me.

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92 Responses to The C-Word or “C” is for Cancer

  1. So sorry to hear this.

  2. Kaolin Fire says:

    Shit. Fuck. *HOPE* =/

  3. Keep strong! I’m sending my love!

  4. Beth Rempe says:

    Yes. All of the above.

  5. Oh no. I’m so sorry–sending positive vibes that it’s as minor and easy as possible.

  6. Adam Lipkin says:

    Oh, geez. Thinking of you, Eugie.

  7. Amy Uzarski says:

    Thank you for sharing this Eugie. 20 years ago a friend of my parents had sinus cancer and she had surgery and recovered. She was told she had 6 months to live and she sought a second opinion, she is alive and well today.

  8. Audrey Wells says:

    Holy sh*t. Sorry to hear this news but glad you posted it. Support from others is a big help. Take it one day at a time. Hoping for the best.

  9. (hugs) I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I hope its removable and treatable.

  10. Mia Nutick says:

    Will be thinking the very best thoughts for you.

  11. Tina Grace says:

    I’m so sorry, Eugie. Either of you please feel free to PM (or call) me at any time if it would be of any help. <3

  12. Cassy Gordon says:

    Oh no! If there’s anything at all that you need, you have but to ask. I wish you a very speedy recovery.

  13. Ken Schneyer says:

    Oh, my dear! My thoughts and wishes are with you, and please feel free to e-mail me if you need anything I can give.

  14. Wow. I’m not one for prayer, so I’ll let science go kick this one in the ass for you. Good luck.

  15. Pete Butler says:

    You’re in my thoughts. Here’s hoping.

  16. Best wishes on a speedy recovery!

  17. Rex Bennett says:

    Thank you for sharing. My thoughts are with you during this time and if there is anything at all that I can do for you, let me know. Good luck!

  18. omg… Strength to you. You are sincerely one of my favorite authors. So you fight this! And I am pulling for you all the way. Sending you much love and light…

  19. Mike Rimar says:

    I’m truly sorry to hear this and hope everything works out for you.

  20. Bo Kaier says:

    My thoughts and well wishes.

  21. Richard Parks says:

    Thinking good thoughts for you.

  22. Thank you so much for sharing this. You have all my support.

  23. Keeping you in my thoughts, and hoping for the best in treatment and healing.

  24. Well that absolutely, unequivocally sucks!

    The paralyzing fear that your body is betraying you can be overwhelming. I know that you have lots of people around you who love and support you. Deal with the pieces you can handle, and let them (us) handle whatever you cannot.

    Don’t hesitate to also explore options from places like MD Anderson if you think they will be helpful.

    Also, we’re right next to Emory if you need anything at all.

  25. Allison Stein says:

    We’re here for you. Sending hugs and healing vibes..

  26. Anne O'Connor says:

    Eugie, I am a cancer survivor. The day I was diagnosed, it was literally true that I felt it was happening to someone else. I’m still here. You will be too. It’s the most terrifying word I know, but I’m still here. I am a big chicken with no brave bones in my body. You will be amazed at the support, love and power that will hold you up. It’s okay to be scared out of your mind. If you need to talk, I am here. I’ll pm my numbers. <3 Love to you and Matt.

  27. Oh man, this is heartbreaking. Thinking of you and hoping for the best possible outcome.

  28. Oh, Eugie, I am so sorry to hear this. Wishing you strength and love and courage for the journey ahead. *HUGS*

  29. Janice Clark says:

    This is terrible news, but thank you for sharing it. I’m sending loving thoughts and prayers, for piece of mind as well as healing. I hope the surgery is successful and that it takes care of the problem.

  30. Eric James Stone says:

    Sorry to hear it. You have my best wishes.

  31. Chris Fielitz says:

    Oh dear. This greatly saddens me. I will say a lot of prayers for you and also Matt at this time. Thankfully you have a guy like Matt to be there for you.

  32. Michele Lee says:

    Wow. Sending lots of healing, stabilizing thoughts.

  33. I’m so, so sorry to hear this! I hope they can do something dramatic on your behalf as quickly as possible. All my best wishes for your healing.

  34. Will McIntosh says:

    So sorry to hear this, Eugie. Hoping for the very best news possible!

  35. Sympathies. May you heal and recover quickly.

  36. Anita Allen says:

    Oh Eugie, I am SOO sorry! Honey I know what you are going through. This is common in my adoptive family and I grew up dealing with it. PLEASE lean on me as much as you need. Go for the surgery ASAP. Pray for/focus on clean margins. THAT’S the big biggie. Pray/focus on for no reoccurances 3-5 years out. That’s the other biggie. Visualize the tumor ( look at a scan if you can) and imagine it being cut out. Imagine your blood BURNING it like holy water on a vampire, Imagine it shriveling up into dust, Every time you get cought in a rut thinking about it, Visualize those white blood cells in little armored battle suits lazering the tumor into dust. I know it sounds goofy BUT it works, and it helps you not feel so helpless. Also. can’t hurt. We are your support group honey and we are HERE!!! You are facing this alone in body only. Our hearts, minds and spirits are right there with you, ALWAYS!!!

  37. Shae Connor says:

    I love you and I am so sorry you’re going through this. Please tell me what I can do to help, other than praying hard, because that’s covered. <3

  38. Eugie, my mother had brain cancer 15 years ago. It was located almost in the same region as yours. She got treated and she is fine today – the cancer never returned. My prayers go to you, hoping for the best. This beast can and will be beaten.

  39. Catherine Lundoff says:

    Sorry to hear this! Wishing you an easy provider and a swift, painless recovery.

  40. Martha Linbo-Terhaar says:

    Sorry to hear this, Eugie. I’ll be pulling for you- and I’m pretty certain I’m not alone in that- throughout this and beyond. <3

  41. Jakob Drud says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that! I hope you recover soon.

  42. Mike Brotherton says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this and wish you the best in terms of effective treatment.

  43. Sending good vibes/hope/support!

  44. Positive thoughts and vibes your way, Eugie.

  45. J Mangold says:

    You probably don’t remember me, but I met you twice through A. C. Crispin’s class at Dragon Con.

    Do not despair! My mother-in-law had a similar diagnosis with the loss of hearing in one ear and the pain. hers was in the lower right area of the back of her skull. That was over three years ago and she is alive and healthy with no traces of cancer.

    You can beat this, no problem. Stay fixated on that goal and never doubt it for a minute.

    Know that all of us out here are with you and you will be in our prayers.

  46. Sarena says:

    I can relate to how you must be feeling right now. Almost 2 years ago I got similar news – the pain I’d had for years in my abdomen turned out to be stage 3 ovarian cancer. I know you don’t know me but if you ever want to just vent to someone who’s been through it, feel free to contact me. I also blogged about my experience so you can read that as well at I know it’s not easy and it’s super scary. I can tell you it does get better. Just take it day by day right now. Peace and love to you.

  47. Ellen Datlow says:

    Dear Eugie,
    All my best wishes. What a terrifying thing to find out. It’s natural to be scared. Who wouldn’t be? Just be aware that the community is here and will give you whatever support you need. I hope for the best outcome.

  48. Yikes. Good luck hon. It must be terrifying. *hugs*

  49. Dr O says:

    Stay strong. Stay centered. We are all pulling for you. Pm me if you need help with second opinion.

  50. Amy Herring says:

    Hang in there, dear heart. The universe does throw hamsters at us that are beyond tough to juggle, but you are a master of the art and have a great group of family and friends who love and support you. Me, too. Let me know if I can offer an assist. Bear hugs!

  51. Phil Collins says:

    You are stronger than any cancer and I have no doubts that you will beat this. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  52. Seetha says:

    Eugie, I’m very sorry to hear this; I have a little insight into what you must e going through. You probably have other medical persons in your sphere, but feel free to email me if there is something I can help with.
    I also speak from the perspective of seeing a lot of autoimmunity that is sometimes associated with malignancy.
    Hang in there as best you can. Best best wishes.

  53. Hang in there Eugie. I know how difficult it is to get this diagnosis but try to stay positive. I’m sending all my healing thoughts to you. Thank you for sharing.

  54. Arthur Dorrance says:

    Eugie, Janice Clark broke the news to the Critters Litter — sorry to hear of your diagnosis. To echo everyone above, I hope this is easily treated and that you can get a full recovery. You’ll be in our thoughts.

  55. Michael J Winegar says:

    We love you Eugie. You say you’re a private person but you’ve been sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings through your art for years and many of us have benefited greatly from your stories. Thank you. Hopes, prayers, and best wishes.

  56. Lynda Pickett says:

    Eugie, I’m sending lots of healing thoughts and wishes. Thanks for sharing and know if I can help I will.

  57. Dearest Eugie, I’m so sorry to hear your news. Don’t give up hope and heart – getting it early and intervention is the key. My prayers, positive vibes to you.

  58. Doug says:

    Sorry to hear it, Eugie. In case you’ve forgotten, I’m an ENT. General practice, but I may be able to answer some basic questions along the way. Chances are, your ENT is a general practice ENT also. Most general practice ENTs are competent to do the biopsy, but you may need referral to a university ENT specialist before all is said and done. Feel free to email me.

  59. OMG, Eugie. It’s good that you spoke out. You will need tons of support to kick cancer’s ass.

    I have faith in your ability to kick it right in the be-hind!

    Hugs. You have epic waves of Canadian support coming your way.

  60. Marlies Anastasia says:

    And endless amount of good thoughts and energy and support. May your recovery be swift and the cancer vanish.

  61. Eugie — Thank you for telling us. This means we can be with you on your journey and support you. I am so sorry — and I am sending up prayers and good thoughts. Keep us posted and stay strong.

  62. Philip Lees says:

    Hang in there, Eugie. Be brave. You can beat this. Lots of good vibes coming your way.


  63. Oz says:

    It’s good to know that something is there, scary as it is. I’m glad someone had the sense to order a scan. Hang in there. We’re all pulling for you.


  64. Michael Green says:

    Geeze! Met only once, but well know through Suzanne. You have strength of will, strength of character, strength of purpose and strength of spirit. Sharing this took strength – and it was wise.

    You have a world of supposrt, not the least of which from your Canadian posse. Positive thoughts and visualization. You will emerge, battleworn but victorious.

    Thoughts are, and will remain, with you.

  65. Stephen Segal says:

    Eugie, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this; it’s very scary. Know that there are tons of us who admire, respect and support you.

  66. Luc Reid says:

    I’m really sorry to hear about this, Eugie. I’d be having a terrible time if it were me. Hope they get every bit of it and that you can close the books on this before too long.

  67. Lee Hallison says:

    Eugie, I am so sorry to hear this news. Wishing you the speediest recovery from surgery – chemo is scary but if you need it, it is more manageable than ever. And it’s ok to ask for help, even with the little things. Glad you are with good doctors. You are in my thoughts.

  68. Doug Smith says:

    Eugie, I’m so sorry to hear this. Hang in there and fight the fight. You’ll beat this.

  69. Gwen Veazey says:

    Oh, Eugie, so sorry! Sending prayers and light and hope for successful treatment.

  70. All my thoughts and best wishes for you, although I wish I could do more. Lots of us out here quietly appreciating you as a writer, and hoping only the best for you.

  71. ::sending prayers for a successful course of treatment::

  72. Erin Hoffman says:

    Eugie, saw this yesterday and didn’t know what to say. Still don’t. You are strong and loved by many. Hang in there, and best wishes for your path ahead.

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  74. Ty Johnston says:

    Eugie, sorry to hear about this for you. I realize you have a tough time ahead, but what you might not realize is that, believe it or not, there can be hope. I don’t want to get all gooshy or spiritual on you, and I don’t want to give a “buck up” or false hope hurrah, but people do survive. My wife has Stage IV breast cancer, was diagnosed in January of this year, and she is still with me today and doing quite well, all things considered.

  75. Love, hope, and STRENGTH to you!

  76. E Krock says:

    Eugie – Really sorry to hear this. I will pray for a complete recovery. And I won’t be complaining about my chronic sinusitis anymore!

  77. Eugie,

    Read a blog post from John Scalzi, which informed me of your situation here.

    You WILL get through this, I get that you might be scared from reading your post here, but one of the most important parts of doing so is to keep telling your “inner self” positive thoughts.

    Keep a positive outlook, keep your chin up, and I’m pulling for you as well (and looking into one of your books).

  78. I am so sorry to hear this. You are in my thoughts.

  79. Julia says:

    Just bought “Returning my sisters face …”. Thank you for publishing your work through a webshop that will actually sell it to me and let me read it (i.e. smashwords). No, that’s not a joke – many ebook-sellers have restrictions to whom they will sell (e.g. not outside the US and Canada, like Barnes&Noble) or have DRM on their ebooks or require you to install a programme (not available for linux) to download their stuff (Amazon). Good luck with your surgery.

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  81. So sorry to hear this, Eugie! Sending many hugs and good wishes.

  82. Dennis Keim says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about you diagnosis and wish nothing but the best of outcomes for you. Sounds like you have good medical advice. That’s a very good starting place.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer this spring and have gone through my surgery and chemo. One thing I read early on that helped me was the reminder that dealing with cancer is a marathon more than a sprint. That being said, it does feel like a whirlwind early on.

    I know I’m a stranger but if I can be of any help, do feel free to contact me as things sort out. Feelings of solidarity from here.

  83. Eugie,


    I lost my brother 15-months ago to the “C-word”. He had a rare form of cancer, similar to colon cancer, but not quite the same and not quite treatable. The oncologist said, they’ve seen the cancer go into “remission”, but only for up to 18-months, then it comes back twice as hard and aggressive.

    He went through 3-rounds of surgery, several rounds of chemo and kept his spirits high the entire time.

    If it weren’t for him grabbing at his stomach, or guarding it when the kids were playing, you’d never knew he was suffering.

    While his cancer did get him, never let it GET his spirit and determination to FIGHT!

    It has to be unnerving for you, but let your spirits rise and go kick the C-word’s ass.

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  85. Jaya L says:

    Well, that’s really SH&T.
    Will be thinking of you.

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  87. Jacob C says:

    Eugie, thanks for sharing.

    I’m shocked, sad, and pissed off! This suck. Really, really sucks. Positive thoughts to you, all that I can muster.


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  89. Karen says:

    Well wishes and kind thoughts

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