(Oooo, new WP. Let’s see how this goes.)
2018 was my first full year in a tenure-track job. I think I’ve finally gotten out of the job search mindset, though I’m going to MLA again this year to give a paper, so maybe not so much as I should.
A huge number of things happened this year, most of them positive. But the biggest thing wasn’t about me. And it generally wasn’t positive. In late November 2017 my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and given two to three months to live. In January she started chemotherapy and an experimental drug trial. At Thanksgiving 2018, we “celebrated” a year since her diagnosis. The drugs are working in that they’re keeping her alive and shrinking the tumors. Going with her to her weekly chemo sessions has taught me a few things. First is that the people who work in oncology are pretty much endlessly compassionate in the care they provide. And the second is that chemotherapy sucks. Really sucks. Those Monday chemo sessions and my mom’s reaction to her treatment have been the most significant thing in my life this year and have been the lens through which I experience everything else. I’ve appreciated every hour I’ve had with her and my dad. The best thing about my job (which has a hell of a lot of best things) is that it’s in Los Angeles and affords me the flexibility to be there for her doctor appointments and infusions. This is a privilege that neither my brother or sister have and I am super grateful. As you read the rest of this, assuming you do, I hope you’ll keep my mom in your mind. I don’t write about her here, partly because this is her illness, her experience, I’m just one of her supports. But as I said, being with her and my dad has been the lens I’ve seen the world through.