Stage III, inoperable. Median survival prognosis: One year after diagnosis.

Which is, as it turns out, the reason I haven’t been accomplishing much, including posting here and making progress on the sequel to Temporary Duty. The details are complicated, and I don’t have the energy to fully explain.

Medical insurance? Of course not. My doctor says it doesn’t matter much. Going full-bag on treatment, chemo and radiation and all that, for this particular cancer might, on average, add six months to the survival time at massive expense — and the quality of life for that additional half year would be miserable.

The only thing I could really ask for is an oxygen machine. I’m continually short of breath, and my blood oxygen hovers at the low end of the “satisfactory” scale, around 91 or 92. That means I don’t think or react as clearly or as quickly as I did, which makes it difficult to accomplish intellectual tasks like writing. There are also a couple of things on my “bucket list” that I’d really rather not do without, and one of them is one last visit to my brother’s grave — which is at 12,000 ft. MSL, more or less. At my current ability to breathe, that’s just plain out of the question.

The machine I think I want is the Sequal Eclipse, a relatively new model of portable that does both pulse delivery (for when the user is active during the daytime) and continuous delivery (for sleeping). List price is $4K or so; they’re available discounted and/or used for around half that. And because I’m a suspicious sort who was into servicing electronic and electromechanical equipment for a long time, I’d also like to have a home-type (non portable) machine — I think it highly likely that the portable would be lightly enough built that using the heavier-duty fixed one would be advisable when I’m not out and about. Good used ones of those can be had for $500 or less.

Money needed… because Temporary Duty sold so well, the IRS took a nice chunk (and wants another $1,555 before July 15th) and Social Security came along behind to inform me that they’re taking back $10K by simply not sending checks, starting in September. I have stuff around the place I can sell, not to mention the place itself, so I won’t starve, but there’s gonna be a lot fewer luxuries for a while.

The sequel to Temporary Duty (well, sorta; same world, different characters) is called Service Call, and it’s somewhere between half and two-thirds done. I can’t guarantee I’ll finish it; what I can guarantee is that at my current mental capacity, it won’t get finished. Think of it as a sort of Kickstarter. If I have enough tipjar hits to get the oxygen machine, it might get done.