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.” 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.