Hi guys! I’m not dead! Yay!
My insides sort of wish I was, but that’s another issue entirely…
The surgery seems to have gone well, on a technical level anyways. The doctor didn’t have anything abnormal to report and was able to successfully remove the piece we intended in one whole chunk (which is much better for testing purposes but incredibly hard to do). I was in surgery for a smidgen less than an hour. Thanks to the magic of medicine (and anesthesia that feels like general but somehow actually isn’t) I was in the car to head home about 40 minutes after being rolled out of the OR.
Minus a small freak out triggered once the IV went in (thank you massive irrational fear of needles), I did alright on a personal level. The nurse was super nice, and in an effort to help pull me back to more stable emotional state was super great about getting the IV port covered as much as possible so it didn’t continue to make me panic. Bonus: they were going to give me something to make me “not care” about what was going on about 10 minutes before going into the OR, sooo since I was starting to go “oh God there’s needles oh God I’m getting surgery fuck it’s cancer damn it damn it damn it” they sort of gave it to me early. So that helped!
Whatever it was they did with the anesthesia was crazy. I’m not usually a hold out as far as going under goes, but I have zero memory of the first few minutes before it was even administered. We got to the OR, they asked me to move to the table and make sure my butt was situated in this conveniently placed gap. I remember them saying “yeah right there is good” and then suddenly I was in the Phase 1 recovery area waving at the “nice nurse ladies”.
Waking up with an oxygen tube was super weird. I remember bits and pieces of the Phase 1 area. I asked if I could go to the bathroom, and the nurse asked me if I would like a bed pan. I said “if you think I need a bed pan instead of an actual bathroom I am willing to defer to your judgement and swallow my dignity”. She laughed and said “those are mighty fancy words for someone still on drugs.” I said “hey, I said from the start of this I was going to let this impact my life as little as possible, fancy words and all”. She cracked up and high-fived me, and then let me use an actual bathroom.
I’m stubborn, and was convinced I didn’t need the pain meds that were prescribed since the doc said some people end up not needing it and I’m convinced I’m a special snowflake and would be in that group. Turns out I was wrong. I sat up once and went “NOPE, THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK”. Geoff was awesome and ran out to get that filled so I could not be quite so aware of my insides. Sneezing is less than pleasant, and I have to be careful how I sit up/lean, but overall things aren’t awful. Not good, but not awful. I’m on an activity restriction until my check-up (can’t lift anything more than 10 pounds, no working out), and apparently I can expect active bleeding for the ridiculous time period of 6 whole freaking weeks.
Check-up is in 3 weeks, and at that point I should get the margin results so we can form a plan for the future, one way or another. In the mean time, I’m going to try to take it easy and just try to resume life as normal. I have some painting projects lined up as a thank you to some people who have been extra supportive in the Rooster Teeth community, and I have another costume idea lined up that I’m working on getting planned out and started. We’ll see how things go I guess!
I had my first oncologist appointment Wednesday morning. I love my doctor. Turns out she’s one of the top gynecological oncologists in the nation, so that’s a massive win. She gave me a run down of how it is she views the results, which is actually a better prognosis than what the first doctor gave me. It still requires surgery, but she is pretty confident we can get it all out with a procedure that will have me home in a few hours and should have minimal impact on my ability to have children in the future. They’re going to take out one large chunk, but it’s in a more controlled manner so it shouldn’t cause any structural issues and will be easier to check for clear margins.
That said, we’re not playing around. We’ve set a date of August 8 for the surgery, and I’m the first case of the day. I go in at 6 AM, and I should be home by lunch. Drugged up, but home. I can’t work out or lift anything heavier than the dog for about 2 weeks, but other than that I can function as normal. At the 2 week mark I go back in for them to check on everything and get me the results of the margin check on the chunk they took out. If the margins come back clear, then we call it good and have a party. If the margins aren’t clear, then we’ll bump our attack up a notch. And if I get to have a party the entire internet is invited. No joke. Every single one of you can show up to my house.
My mom flew up here to see me for a few days because of all this craziness. It was a bit chaotic, but it was really nice to see her. Even with all the love and support I’ve gotten from friends and the Rooster Teeth community (and that is an entirely different story for another time), sometimes you just need a hug from your mom.
So, yeah, that’s kind of where everything is now. Still sucks, but sucks less than we expected, so that’s good. It’s all about silver linings!
I missed two weeks, but it’s okay! It’s because I was in Austin having the most epic of epic weeks! IT WAS RTX TIME!
Okay I sort of lied. The first Monday I wasn’t technically in Texas yet, but I was flying out super duper early the next morning and was still packing like a crazy person, so my brain was in Austin.
I was there for a full week, Tuesday to Tuesday, and it was so awesome. Like super awesome. Super exhausting and draining, but so worth it. I got to meet so many awesome people, and had so many people recognize me from my work in the community. It was weird to have people walk up to me who I had never met before say “oh, you must be Zelda! It’s so great to meet you! You’re a huge inspiration to me!”
I spent the week as a Guardian, which is what they call the volunteers for the event. I was put on the PA team, which means I was responsible for keeping staff on schedule, fed, hydrated, and not-mobbed by groups of adoring fans. It was surprisingly busy, and I spent most of the convention up and moving (with a decent amount of straight up running). It was a lot of fun though. It was really cool to see the staff behind the characters they play in all their videos.
Probably the coolest part of the week was the final day of the convention after close. The Guardian team was working on clearing stuff out and we kept hearing a commotion out in the hall. When I finally left, I found out what it was: about 300 convention attendees had stayed behind and were cheering for all the volunteers as they exited the building. After spending the weekend literally having the job of crushing hopes and dreams when people wanted to meet staff while we were trying to get them somewhere, having that kind of reaction was phenomenal.
As exhausted and sore and totally drained as I was by the time I got home, I’m already super pumped to do it again next year. It sounds like I made a good enough impression that I will be invited back, so that’s exciting! It also sounds like the staff member I was assigned to really liked me, so I may luck out and get to revisit the same role. It’s a super competitive job, so the fact that I not only got to do it for my first year but may have secured it for the future is just amazing.
When I showed off my sewing projects, I mentioned I had two painting projects I was trying to cram in before RTX. I’m waiting on the last bit of supplies for one, but at this exact moment I’m actually as done as I can be with everything, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out!
1) Mass Effect Shoes
Since I’m working RTX I have a specific shirt I have to wear that labels me as staff. This means no nerdy t-shirts for me. I still wanted to find a way to express my nerdiness, so I decided to try my hand at something I’ve seen a lot of other people do: paint canvas shoes, using the Mass Effect series as my inspiration. I picked up a pair of slip on canvas shoes for about $6, searched the bowels of the internet for images of my favorite characters that looked like I may be able to reasonably paint, bought some blue transfer paper, and essentially created my own paint by numbers scheme. Here’s what I used at my templates:
I picked a few other emblems that were relevant to the series to fill in some of the dead space, agonized over colors, and end up with this:
Not bad at all for someone who doesn’t really paint if I do say so myself!
2) Schedule Wristbands
I’m one of the personal assistant (PA) Guardians, meaning I am assigned to a particular staff member and am responsible for making sure they stay on schedule and don’t suffocate in a mob of fans. In the past, the PAs have just had to keep a version of the schedule folded up in their pocket or bag, and by the end of the weekend it could get hard to read. Someone suggested this year we get some of those wristbands that football quarter backs use, which was totally brilliant. Some of us decided we wanted to give it a shot, me being one of them. I made a comment that I’d probably paint something on mine, which then prompted almost everyone who was ordering a wristband to ask me to do the same for them. So now I have this:
I’m still waiting on 2 more wristbands to show up so I can paint those, but I’m done with all the ones I have!
And I leave in a week! Yay!!