Erik MH:

blog entry

“Walk­ing into Mordor”

original date2017-09-04 22:19 utc
republished2024-06-04 22:38 utc
topicshealth; orig. on PostHope
noteThis post was ori­gin­ally pub­lished at Pos­tHope, where it’s still avail­able, along with sev­er­al pub­lic comments.

In a nut­shell: I’ve been dia­gnosed with eso­pha­geal adeno­car­cinoma. It’s pretty big, but not huge, and oth­er than one lymph there is no sign of it hav­ing meta­thes­ized, so pro­gnos­is is good. Best-prac­tice treat­ment today in both North Amer­ica and Europe is a (prob­ably five-week) course of radi­ation ther­apy with a sup­port­ive batch of chemo-ther­apy which acts syn­er­gist­ic­ally with the radi­ation. This might com­pletely erad­ic­ate the tumor, but wheth­er it does or not, long-term sur­viv­al stat­ist­ics dic­tate that much of the lower eso­phag­us and upper stom­ach then be removed surgically.

I could be eat­ing (gently) again by Thanksgiving.

A few of you will know imme­di­ately why I titled this little site “Walk­ing into Mordor.” 1 I called the Pos­tHope blog Walk­ing into Mordor, and the land­ing page included the fol­low­ing tag-line: 

So I know: Let’s write a story where the “hero” — an unlikely sort of fel­low, fond of his creature com­forts — must travel through a dan­ger­ous land of gloom, dust, and des­pair in order to defeat a power­ful enemy….
Many will prob­ably think you know why — and you won’t be wrong; still, you won’t be entirely right.

There is the obvi­ous par­al­lel, of course, echoed near the top of each page here: over­whelmed every­man hero under­goes des­per­ate hard­ship and (just barely, and miss­ing some body parts) suc­ceeds in van­quish­ing the foe.

But there is anoth­er. Though the dates — espe­cially of my sur­gery and con­com­it­ant con­vales­cence — are not entirely known yet, it looks as if the whole run of chemo- and radi­ation-ther­apy, sur­gery, and con­vales­cence will exactly match the ten weeks or so which I have for research­ing and writ­ing a chapter I’m call­ing “Map­ping Mordor: Examin­ing Tolkien’s World­build­ing Meth­od of ‘Con­struc­tion by Revi­sion,’” slated to be pub­lished next spring by Walk­ing Tree Pub­lish­ers.

I hope to climb both meta­phor­ic­al moun­tains between now and mid-Novem­ber: to erad­ic­ate the can­cer and to research and write my chapter. Chemo­ther­apy will not help me write “Map­ping Mordor,” but “Map­ping Mordor” might help me get through the therapy.