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I’m Back!

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As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been particularly active for some time – my last post was back in February and it took an affront to Captain America to get me to write something. My inactivity had nothing to do with a lack of interest in blogging either generally or on this site, but rather that over the last eight months I’ve been dealing with an ongoing health crisis which limited how much mental energy I had available.

That crisis is now over.

So I’m back, and I have some Views to share:

  • I definitely want to talk about the Senate Dems’ “Better Deal” agenda vis-a-vis the Congressional Democratic agenda in 2006, and why sometimes it’s hip to be square.
  • I absolutely want to talk about why the internal Democratic party debate since 2016 has been so averse to actually talking about policy and why the term “neoliberal” is really meaningful when it comes to talking about the long-term impacts of Third Wayism from the 80s onwards.
  • I definitively want to do a retrospective on the disasterous career of the Republican health bill, which took on an intensively personal meaning for me given the health crisis I was going through.
  • And don’t think I’m going to let anyone forget about the need to re-elect Bill De Blasio to demonstrate that running and governing from the left will be rewarded rather than punished by the electorate.

But first, I feel like I should explain what’s been going on with me and why I haven’t been around.

One Thing After Another

Back in late December of 2016 – that godforsaken year when it seemed like every day brought with it some fresh tragedy to endure – I found out that I had a malignant tumor in my left leg. I had been having problems with pain and mobility in my foot and my leg for a year and a half by this point, and after going through a year with the misdiagnosis of it being a cyst, I now knew that it was instead a synovial sarcoma. Synovial sarcomas are incredibly rare, with about three hundred cases a year in the United States, literally a one-in-a-million chance. I really felt SEK’s absence then, because who else would have grasped the bizarre cosmic irony of the situation? I told relatively few people about my condition, wanting to keep my cards close to the vest until I knew how things would turn out.

Thankfully, synovial sarcoma is a form of cancer that responds quite well to chemotherapy, so from February through April I went into chemo. Out of that peculiar academic’s delusion that researching something gives you control over it, not that different from the magical thinking belief that True Names give you power over spirits or people, I read through Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies before beginning treatment. So I at least had the comforting knowledge that what I was going through was far easier than the punishing regimes of the 1970s and 1980s. Easier or not, it was still a period in which systems in my body would stop working at random, in which having the energy necessary to think and read and write (in other words, to be me) required a constant fight against this horrible undertow of exhaustion.

But at least the chemo worked, shrinking my tumor by well over half and into operable territory. And so after a bunch of scans to remap the tumor from a number of angles, I went into surgery on June 8th. But after nine hours under the knife, the tumor was still in there. Despite all of the chemo, the shrinking tumor had defiantly wrapped itself around the main artery in my leg and so cutting it out would result in a “flail leg,” a motionless piece of meat forever in danger of killing me through some sort of complication from insufficient bloodflow.

And so last Friday we went with the only option I had left: an amputation above the knee, to remove the tumor completely and allow me to walk again on a prosthetic. The surgery went well, I spent about a week in the hospital recovering, and now I’m home.

Grinding the Bastards Down

I’m writing this post in part to explain how I’ve experienced these last eight months, especially as it relates to the Republican health care debacle.

When I heard Republican Congressmen talking about how only people who’ve led “good lives” deserved coverage for pre-existing conditions, I would scream at the monitor that the idea that health is tied to moral virtue is a medieval fantasy, that illnesses like mine could strike anyone at any time for no reason at all. My cancer hadn’t been the result of smoking or poor diet or environmental factors or genetic predispositions; it was just two genes in one cell mis-transcribing themselves next to one another randomly. So for the next sixth months I walked around in a daze knowing that if the Republican plan became law, I would be a health care pariah, forever marked as a cancer survivor.

When the ACHA eliminated the Essential Health Plan I became one of the people whom the Republican caucus was out to kill, because I was on the Essential Health Plan and it was the only plan that allowed me to receieve chemotherapy plus two surgeries without getting hit with deductibles and co-insurance charges I could never have afforded. There are many criticisms I have of the American health care system and of the design of the Affordable Care Act, but I can say without exagerration that this one part of Obamacare saved my life.

After the first surgery, when I saw disabled activists from ADAPT fighting Medicaid cuts by occupying Senate offices, I knew that I would need Medicaid services (which in the People’s Republic of New York City cover visiting nurses, home health aides, and in-home physical therapy) to live a dignified and independent life, that one day I might need to be one of those people getting themselves arrested to protect others for whom Medicaid is their only lifeline.

And when I read this morning that the Republican health care effort went down in flames, I celebrated by taking my regular pain and nerve damage meds. And as I said on Twitter, it’s both good to know how this semester’s lecture on health care policy will end – further emphasis on how its hard to take away benefits once people have them, a nod to the American Political Development school’s concept of path dependency, a comparison of Obamacare’s changing approval ratings to the persistence of Medicaid since the War on Poverty – and that I will have health insurance for the foreseeable future.

To Reiterate: I’m Back

So here’s where things stand: for the next four weeks, I’m getting around via wheelchair and walker and doing physical therapy to prepare me for a prosthetic. I will be doing more blogging than normal to help pass the time until I can get moulded, fitted, and finally equipped with a brand-new leg with a pneumatic knee joint (possibly microprocessor-guided)  and a smart-flex metal foot. (Currently taking suggestions as to what color to spray-paint the leg, btw.)

At which point I will return to my normal schedule of ass-kicking….and this time, it’s going to be cyborg ass-kicking.

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  • Oblios_Cap

    Damn! Glad to hear you’ve come through all that alright.

    • Once I get the leg, I might technically be coming out more powerful than I started.

      • Rob in CT

        Stronger. Better. Faster. We have the technology…

        • MikeEss

          …hopefully it costs a lot less than 6-Million Dollars… :)

          • D. C. Sessions

            By the time it gets to 6 million, 6 million will be affordable.

          • Ryan Denniston

            Luckily, he will have hit his deductible by then.

      • wfrolik

        Ask if you can get some kind of bad-ass cyborg style weapon included!

        • liberalrob
          • Randle Aubrey

            I CANNOT UPVOTE THIS ENOUGH

          • Peter Curtin

            Cool pic. But I can’t help thinking that the recoil would be very painful and nigh impossible to control. A shotgun maybe…

            • BigHank53

              No, most modern assault rifles have very little recoil, as much of it is used to cycle the bolt of the weapon. Shotguns are among the worst, only surpassed by the big-game rifles.

              • Peter Curtin

                Ok. Was having a hard time identifying the weapon from the picture, and didn’t realize it was an assault rifle. And my comment was imprecise. I I wasn’t suggesting that the shot gun would have less recoil. I was more thinking of what kind of weapon might be most useful as a lower leg gun. Most people would have a helluva time firing accurately from that position, much less aiming, firing, moving, aiming and firing again, so I was thinking one blast from a shotgun at close range, the spread could make it useful. But I was obviously overthinking it since I have two paragraphs now on a throwaway thought, instead of just enjoying the picture.

        • How do you fire the rifle?

          • MikeEss

            …don’t axe questions…there’s a zombie apocalypse going on! Rose McGowan and her rifle-leg are the only hope humanity has!…

      • liberalrob
  • Ooogh.

    Does the spray-paint job have to be monochrome?

    • If I can find someone who’s good with spray-paint to do it for me, I’m down with patterns.

      • BigHank53

        Do a bit of research on the plasti-dip coatings people have started using on car wheels, and the vinyl wraps they put on whole vehicles. Either can be easily removed, and there are places that will do full-color prints on the vinyl. (That’s how those advertising cars are done.) Who doesn’t want a Ditko reproduction on their cyborg appendage? Rustoleum makes a peelable primer now as well, so when you get tired of your paint scheme you can peel the whole thing off and put on a new one.

        Also: congratulations on surviving, by the way.

        • Oooooh, that sounds awesome.

          • wfrolik

            Hell maybe you can even get a Game of Thrones detailed pattern!

      • Karen

        Check out the Tom and Lorenzo website for interesting patterns, or just interesting fashion and celebrity time sinks anyway.

        For your prosthesis, I vote for paisley or polka dots in a bright, cheerful color.

      • Jon Hendry

        Go for an Iron Man leg.

        Also: Critical miss tables are a bitch, aren’t they.

        • Tricky, since I’m very much TeamCap.

          • Jon Hendry

            Maybe a Winter Soldier leg?

          • Stephen Reineccius

            Captain America/Iron Man is totally a thing. Superhusbands Civil War fix-it leg

      • DrS

        If it were me, I’d definitely start here for inspirations

        http://tinyurl.com/airbrushedvans

  • Rob in CT

    Holy. Fucking. Shit.
    That’s a serious ordeal. Sorry to hear it, though I’m glad you’re on the mend. Fucking cancer, man.

  • Orphos

    Congratulations on making it through all that – what an ordeal! – and damn to hell all the Republicans trying to cut our health care. We keep fighting.

  • Holy crap. I’m glad you’re back, and I’m glad you’re well. But holy crap nevertheless.

    Do we need to give you presents and books? I feel like we should be giving you presents and books.

    • I am very well set for presents and books, thanks. But soon I might ask you to buy my book…

      • Bufflars

        ASOIAF related?

        • Both that and my academic book…more on that in a bit.

          • Fats Durston

            Saw a UK academic mention an annual royalty of 28p the other day…

            And glad I bought Race for the Iron Throne a while back on Kindle.

            • Thankfully my ASOIAF royalties are not on academic publisher terms…

  • N__B

    I’m glad you’re back, Steve Austin.

  • Tyto

    Very glad to hear you’re back and recovering well, and I hope you find a kick-ass airbrush artist…

    • Thom

      Maybe it could say, “This machine kicks fascists.”

      Best wishes.

      • That particular slogan is reserved for the shoulder tattoo I’m getting, but it’s the right wavelength.

  • Linnaeus

    Wow….that’s intense. I’m very glad to hear that your recovery is going well so far and I hope it continues. Glad to have you back and looking forward to your posts.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    Don’t spray paint the whole leg. Just make a stencil and spray paint through it.

    Label it OBAMALEG.

    OR:
    You should see the whale.

  • C.P.

    Welcome back!

  • Denverite

    So who is the third head of the dragon? Also, is the Mad Queen the Big Bad in the end?

    • The three heads are Dany, Jon, and Tyrion.

      No, the Big Bad is the Great Other who dwells in the Heart of Winter.

      • Denverite

        I think you’re probably right in the show. I’m not so sure in the books. Having Dany flip and go mad would be a great plot twist.

        • Well, I’m always happy to take a wager on ASOIAF…

          • Murc

            Can we start taking side bets on how many wagers you’ll win and/or lose? Create an entire debt market around this concept?

            • I have so many bets. Most nervous about my bet on Euron vs. the Redwynes…

              • Murc

                You shouldn’t have tried to predict the Crow’s Eyes actions, Steven.

                Now Euron big trouble.

        • medrawt

          Martin’s penchant for plot twists is greatly overstated.

      • kvs

        So did Varys offer a sincere explanation of his motives to Dany? Or is there still room for doubt like when he offered the same to Kevan?

        • Denverite

          And if the latter, did he tip off Euron?

      • John F

        I think a major fakeout would be Cersei and Jaime, NOT Tyrion turning out to be the mad king’s bastards (Tyrion is Tywin’s son through and through)- Jaime become the third head after breaking with Cersei…

        Ok, naaah.

        • rm

          I got no idea what the show is doing. In the books, we last saw Jaime in a cliffhanger where Brienne was leading him away, presumably to an encounter with Lady Stoneheart, who I hear is not in the show.

          Jaime could come out of that any which way, is what I’m saying, from dead to Third Head to any random place in between.

  • West

    Damn, that’s a nasty series of events. Glad you pulled through.
    My spouse had to fight through some surgery related nerve damage pain, so I understand you’re still slogging on a tough road. Hang in there!! Use those meds without trace of shame when you need them, but … watch your reaction to them like a hawk. I’m sure you already know this, so I’m saying this in a spirit of support, not lecturing or hectoring: those meds giveth mightily in the short run, but they can taketh horribly in the long run. Take care of your head along with your body, and best of luck with the road ahead.

  • TheBrett

    It’s great to have you back.

    Holy shit, that sucks. A super-rare cancer, a complication requiring an amputation – Jesus. I’m glad you survived and are in recovery, and that you’re getting one of those good new prosthetic legs. Definitely spray-paint it either red or green, with a white circle containing the Blue Eagle and “We Do Our Part” on it.

  • Abigail Nussbaum

    So sorry to hear that you’ve been going through this. But also very glad that your recovery seems to be going well, and that you sound in good spirits. Good luck going forward!

    (And yes, agreed very much on how stories like yours offer yet another argument for the necessity of affordable healthcare. I often wonder what sheltered lives the people who oppose Obamacare must lead, that they’ve never encountered anyone who, like you, had a sudden health crisis descend upon them out of nowhere that could have spelled their death or complete loss of quality of life if they didn’t have insurance. Or maybe they just don’t care.)

  • MikeEss

    …I had chemotherapy for a different type of cancer 14-years ago. No one who hasn’t watched the life being drained out of themselves in the effort to (ironically) stay alive could ever really understand. Besides staying alive, the only upside of my experience was my daughter was so traumatized by seeing her father incapacitated that she decided on a career in medicine. I was lucky I had good health insurance through my employer. If I hadn’t, I would probably be dead by now.

    Good luck Mr. Attewell, and I hope things work out well for you. I’m sad to hear you lost a leg, but at least you had the medical you needed to deal with a very nasty situation. Too bad in this country we don’t think all Americans deserve such care…

  • Turkle

    Wow. Wishing you all the best. I’m the one from this site that sat in on your “U.S Social and Economic Policy” class a while back, which was just a great experience.

    Your return to blogging is extremely great news, and I’m very much looking forward to reading your insights.

    Best of luck and health going forward! Keep kicking all the ass!

    • Hey man, good to hear from you again! That was a real fun class, despite the less than ideal classroom setup.

  • West

    As for what to spray paint the leg. Back when I rode bicycles in a more urban environment than I do currently, I always had my bike spray painted to look like it had been through the wars and the twisters and the fall of civilization, so that it would have the least appeal to thieves. Also, I liked that Mad Max aesthetic back in my youth (still do, somewhat, though I’ve partly grown out of it). It wasn’t any one color, more like a chaos of haphazard colors, to which I would add on a whim now and then. The bike never did get stolen, so while I can’t prove the tactic worked, it at least didn’t fail! Though it did finally rust into actual oblivion to match its appearance.
    I don’t know why, but my first reaction to your request for suggestions was to think that if I ever found myself with a prosthetic leg, I’d want it to look like that. Sort of doesn’t make sense, as I wouldn’t be locking it up to parking meters when going in buildings. And in my current life (work in an office) that aesthetic would not go over well. But that’s what came to mind.
    This might badly mis-match your preferred sense of aesthetics.

  • proportionwheel

    I am very glad you’ve survived this ordeal, cognizant of the trauma losing a leg entails, and glad you can face all this in apparent good spirits. I have to say I got a little moist around the eyes reading this on the day after that cruel and stupid legislation died. It brought me from glee at the vote’s failure to a renewed somber realization of the critical importance of the ACA, and of the pressing need to improve it, not destroy it.

  • Murc

    Good god, Steven. I had no idea. I’d just thought that your professional career as an academic and your bordering-on-professional career as an ASOIAF commentator was weighing you down such that you didn’t have much time for us objectively despicables anymore.

    It’s very impressive you managed to maintain the level of activity you did on that score, by the way. Every week you collate the best of your tumblr asks, and you’ve been cranking out some difficult and important CBC analyses. I can’t even imagine where you found the energy to fight off cancer and also do something like complete the writeup for Catelyn II. I’m perfectly healthy and I barely had the energy to THINK about Catelyn II!

    You hid it well while appearing not just functional, but entirely vigorous, is what I’m saying. Jon Connington could take some lessons.

    I absolutely want to talk about why the internal Democratic party debate
    since 2016 has been so averse to actually talking about policy and why
    the term “neoliberal” is really meaningful when it comes to talking
    about the long-term impacts of Third Wayism from the 80s onwards.

    You and Erik can form a tag-team wrestling duo to promote the meaningfulness of this term!

    I’m actually very glad you’re back because… you’ve no doubt noticed Erik has been on fire lately with his labor blogging. That’s great! It’s why we love Erik. But you never want just one viewpoint. I’m super glad we’ll now have TWO guys on the blog with an explicit focus on labor issues, especially as they intersect with the broader social struggles of the New Gilded Age.

    Also too, more posts on pop culture. I need to have some more arguments about whether Marvel is outright pandering to the alt-right or is merely spectacularly tone-dead, and you’re just the fellow to instigate them!

    (My dream post would be for you and Abigail Nussbaum to team up to write like five thousand words, or have a dialogue, about the monstrous creative, tonal, and moral disconnect between Marvel’s marquee titles and huge events, and their enormously excellent stable of female-helmed or female-centered books such as Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Unstoppable Wasp, Thor, etc. It’s almost like there’s two Marvel comics universes at this point.)

    (Currently taking suggestions as to what color to spray-paint the leg, btw.)

    How hard is Emmett Booth lobbying for the red, yellow, and black of the One True King? Be honest. :)

    Incidentally, really looking forward to the chance to buy your book in the near future. I do love your pretty words, Steven, and I desperately want to read about how Petyr Baelish stole Westeros, but I don’t love them enough to enter the kindle ecosystem.

    • Hey Murc!

      Now imagine that I was also doing final manuscript edits as well as the ASOIAF writing during all of this…

      And yes, I’ll have some news about the physical ASOIAF books in a couple of weeks.

  • Bri2k

    Best wishes for your continued recovery. I’m happy to see you’re back. For a while there I wondered if you’d absconded with Joe from Lowell.

    • sibusisodan

      Seconded!

    • HAH!

    • Murc

      I’d just like to note that nobody has ever seen joe and Steven together at the same time.

      It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

      • Full disclosure: I have in fact been to Lowell a couple of times.

        • Murc

          Been to… OR ARE FROM?

          Wake up, sheeple!

      • Peter Curtin

        A lot of people have been asking about that…

  • wfrolik

    Sorry to hear about all your health problems Steve. My best wishes for your recovery.

  • timb117

    What can I add, but that is compelling. Congrats on making it through to the other side

  • D. C. Sessions

    Congratulation and best wishes.

    As to the color scheme — why limit yourself to just one? There are plenty of coatings that can be applied and then peeled off, so by all means express yourself! Accessorize!

    • If we can get the color print onto vinyl, I like the idea of different wraps for different occasions.

      • D. C. Sessions

        I wonder if you could get custom-print hose? (I’m stuck with compression stockings, and those suckers will stay put on anything.)

  • deptfordx

    Adding my thoughts to those wishing you all the best Steve.

    I couldn’t help but notice you left out the most important part of your list of what you wanted to discuss however.

    Namely how is ‘Masks of Nyarlathotep’ going?

    • Masks sort of petered out, although we’ve been doing lots of boardgames in the mean time.

      However, my new D&D game will be starting up on Monday, and this time I’ll be a player rather than a DM so less effort on my part.

  • petesh

    Welcome back, great to hear you sounding like kicking the world’s ass.

  • medrawt

    Another voice in the chorus: I’m so sorry to read about what you’ve gone through, and so happy to read that you’re going to be ok.

  • biztheclown

    Whoa. I am sorry to hear of this and glad to hear you are coming through it. I appreciate how you connect this experience to the political moment.

  • Stephen Reineccius

    So glad to hear that you are doing well, Steven. And that you are physically doing better. I can’t wait to see all that cyborg ass kicking! I finally started actually reading ASOIAF with the GoT season back on, so I’ve been more than busy enough reading your back archive on Race for the Iron to supplement my book reading.

  • That sucks about your leg, but I’m glad you’re OK.

    • Origami Isopod

      Same.

      Also, fuck cancer.

  • John F

    Re DeBlasio- there were a few articles out about a year or so ago saying that Bill was unpopular and was basically a dead man walking politically… I don’t live in NYC (but I work there) and quite frankly I couldn’t fathom why his respective support/opposition would be any different than when he was elected- if not better.

    I couldn’t see any reason for those who voted for him in 2013 to oppose him, and all those vocally opposed to him in 2015/16 were those who opposed him in 2013 anyway.

    So now they’ve started polling in the run up to election an lo and behold his approval is up around 60%- and the pundits tasked with writing about those polls are almost visibly scratching their heads and saying “wtf”- THEY don’t like him, they assume others don’t like him either, the polling is giving these guys no small level of cognitive dissonance.

    • Well that’s excellent news!

    • EliHawk

      He was never really a ‘dead man walking’ but he did have mediocre approvals for a Democrat in New York for a while. Even now, it’s hard to take seriously the “His success proves leftism is popular!”when Andrew Fucking Cuomo of all people has higher approval ratings than DeBlasio among New York City residents AND New York City Democrats. He’s sort of in a weird position where he’s just popular enough among Democrats and just popular enough among New Yorkers that nobody’s going to make a losing challenge, but it doesn’t feel like 2005 or 1981: Years where the Mayor was so darn popular absolutely nobody was going to bother to challenge them.

      With DeBlasio it also seems a weird disconnect between how his camp (and lefty pundits) perceive him and his actual governing. NYC under Blas, with the exception of police issues (which hurt his approvals for a while but seem to have tailed off), doesn’t seem that much different than it was under Bloomberg. He’s had a drip drip drip of corruption stuff, but it’s campaign finance so despite a few bad headlines in the Tabs it hasn’t really stuck (it probably helped him that Preet was fired though). His big ticket program was a push for universal pre-k: Nice, but also the kind of soft education investment favored by such Leftist diehards as Zell Miller. He fights Trump a lot, but again on standard Democratic arguments not that different from Cuomo’s “I’m an Immigrant, Deport Me” schtick and also with the eye on the fact Trump is as popular as chlymadia in New York City. Like: He goes around the country positioning himself as a great leftist hero, but the response to that part around New York seems to mostly be a shrug, mixed with mild annoyance at stunts like his trip to the G-20. His uncontested reelect seems mostly to be an endorsement of his mild competence at governing the city, not any particular flaming ideological challenge.

  • Chieroscuro

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/images.hitfix.com/assets/7833/Iron_Leg.jpg
    Except, instead of the Iron Man paint scheme, do it in Winter Soldier Arm chrome, and instead of the arc reactor or the red star, the hip joint has Cap’s shield…..

  • elm

    Glad everything worked out in the end (both for you and the ACA) and glad you’re back with us. Cyborg kick the hell out of the Republicans once the leg is fitted!

  • Randle Aubrey

    I figure there’s gotta be a way to mount this…

    http://willkrause.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/img_2517.jpg

    • Randle Aubrey

      To use on Mitch McConnell, of course. ;)

  • drdick52

    Holy shit! That is grim, but glad that you are back and in good fighting spirits again.

  • dr_fancypants

    Holy shitsnacks. Glad you survived to tell us the story!

    • mds

      I suspect Dr. Attewell might prefer “By Grabthar’s Hammer, you live to tell the tale.”

  • kcrvpn

    I don’t have any clever ideas for the new leg’s paint job, I am just very relieved to hear you pulled through.

  • Disclaimer

    I’m so relieved to hear you’re all right, Maester Steven! Reading your health crisis, my mind flashed to SEK — I couldn’t bear losing two of my favorite bloggers, especially as I’ve been following your CBC Analyses and your GoT episode breakdowns with SEK almost since their beginnings.

    Also happy to hear you’ll be offering your political insights again here! They’ve been sorely missed, amid such insanity.

    P.S. You’ll need a proper name for your Valyrian Steel leg.

    • Ooh, good point. I’ll run a naming contest once I get the leg. That way, if the august name ends up being Leggy McLegface I’ll have other people to blame.

  • David Hunt

    Steven. I had known that you were having some sort of health issue. It’s about as serious as my imaginings. I’m glad that matters seem to have resolved with you surviving this and sad to read of the extreme measures that were necessary. Best wishes to you and the family.

    As to what to paint the leg…well I’m sure people in the comments (I haven’t read them yet) will come up with better ideas than me, but given your championship us characters whose intelligence or morals are under assault my first thoughts are either the Stark dire wolf, or a Captain America evoking star & stripes design. I’ll now go down and read the better suggestions.

  • David Hunt

    Steven. I had known that you were having some sort of health issue. It’s about as serious as my imaginings. I’m glad that matters seem to have resolved with you surviving this and sad to read of the extreme measures that were necessary. Best wishes to you and the family.

    As to what to paint the leg…well I’m sure people in the comments (I haven’t read them yet) will come up with better ideas than me, but given your championship us characters whose intelligence or morals are under assault my first thoughts are either the Stark dire wolf, or a Captain America evoking star & stripes design. I’ll now go down and read the better suggestions.

    • I’m thinking of going with Beric Dondarrion instead of the Stark colors – the purple lightning motif is a bit more colorful.

      And yeah, a Cap themed one for national holidays would be nicely festive.

  • I’m so sorry for your difficult time and very happy that you’ve survived and on the road to recovery!

  • MrSenator

    Sorry about the leg, but glad to hear you are going to be okay. I too was branded with the scarlet C during the 2016 dumpster fire of a year at the ripe old age of 36. Thankfully no chemo (not effective against renal tumors) but lost a kidney over it. I’m lucky enough to have great employer provided coverage, but removing protections for pre-existing conditions and lifetime limits would likely put me in the poor house just the same.

    It was caught early enough that in all likely-hood I will live a full life. Bi-annual MRIs plus annual CT scans and a smattering of xrays and blood/urine tests is more than 99% of people can afford out of pocket, especially for 40+ years of them.

  • pbfriedman

    Hey, good luck and keep on keeping on!

  • Koolhand21

    Stick with the rehab, it’ll pay off in the future. Take good care of the stump, I pay close attention to my skin condition (I’m lucky to have a BK, easier to relearn to walk but….) and ask the doctors about phantom limb pain early. I wish you all the best, it was hard to accept at first and you sound like you’re over that one but stay with the exercises after you get the prosthetic. Best of health, lad. I’ll be thinking of you.

    • I now have an in-home physical therapist scheduled, and I’m planning to build the rehab exercises into my normal exercise routine. And I’ve got plenty of meds to help with the phantom limb pain.

      But thanks very much!

  • witlesschum

    Glad you dodged the Stranger, man. Really appreciate your writing here and the other blog. And occasional podcast appearances.

  • Bruce Baugh

    Yeesh, Steven. Welcome home, and best wishes for mending and dealing with stuff.

    So, um, don’t rush to read Clive Barker’s “The Body Politic”. :)

  • Procopius

    Congratulations on surviving. I really, really look forward to your Views on Third Wayism, since I’m currently plugging away at Al From’s The NEW Democrats and the Return to Power. The more I read the more I dislike those people.

  • one of the blue

    So sorry to hear this and very glad you are going to be back to opinionating and such for us all, Steven. So sorry about the leg, but at least it appears you are in good spirits. Re finding out all you can about what ails one is no mere fantasy, Ser. It allows one to override credibly one’s physician’s recommendations. And in my own (much less onerous than yours) cancer situation, if I had followed my oncologist’s initial advice, I’d be pretty close to dead by now, instead of almost certainly well-recovered. So there’s that.

  • Ethan

    So sorry to hear this Steven, but at least robotic limbs are cool as hell.

  • Welcome back, and congrats on your health.

  • Ariel Vittori

    Have been lurking, reading Race for the Iron Throne faithfully for a little over a year, spent my last summer digging through the archives. Just wanted to say I really appreciate your work, all the way from Italy, and that I’m glad you made it through this!
    You’ll make an excellent cyborg.

    (Team Cap always)

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