Angoulême Trip Canceled
This morning I was scheduled to get on a flight to France, so that I could attend the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême. I was very much looking forward to meeting some of my French readers and signing copies of the French edition of Basewood, but unfortunately I had to cancel this trip. To explain why, I have to go back a few months. There has been a lot going on...
The day before Thanksgiving Claire was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. It is a very treatable form of cancer and all the doctors reassured us that everything is going to be fine, but this is still pretty horrible news to receive.
If you are a cartoonist, you might be thinking to yourself, "Papillary thyroid cancer? That sounds so familiar..." That's because it is the exact same kind of cancer that Laura Park was diagnosed with last year. She has undergone the treatment (thyroid removal, low iodine diet, then radioactive iodine) and is doing well, which gives us great hope for Claire's treatment.
The night we found out about the cancer, I asked Claire to marry me, and she said yes. This is something we had been talking about for a while now, but it seemed like a good time to make it official. Not only would it vastly simplify all kinds of healthcare concerns, it also gave us something wonderful and joyous to fight back with against the cancer.
After many more doctor's appointments, and some stressful waiting, the surgery was finally set for January 15th. We planned out a very simple marriage ceremony for January 14th. Our parents all came out, Claire's from Santa Fe and mine from Seattle, and our friend Liz Prince came all the way from Boston (she is the whole reason we are together in the first place).
The civil ceremony was short and sweet, and so we were married on Monday morning at 9am in the Oakland Hall of Records! We had a nice brunch with our families, went to Sears for some wedding portraits and later that night ate a delicious ice cream cake from Fenton's. We fully plan on having a bigger celebration later on down the road (in 2014?) with all of our friends and family, but for the time being this did the trick.
The next morning we reported to the hospital at 8am for Claire's surgery. They got her prepped, put the IV in her arm and then I sat with her, next to her hospital bed, waiting for the doctors to come in and wheel her away. The surgery was set to begin at 10am.
At 9:30am one of Claire's surgeons walked into the room wearing his street clothes, and told us that his retina was beginning to detach and that the surgery would have to be rescheduled. This was obviously quite a shock!
Claire's parents were planning on staying a few days after the surgery to help us out, so their flights had to be changed, and Claire and I had basically cleared our work schedules for the next few weeks, so we had to rearrange all of that stuff as well. Worst of all, we were back playing the waiting game again.
Originally, Claire's surgery was on the 15th, which we hoped would allow enough time for her to be pretty much back on her feet by the time I had to leave for Angoulême. Unfortunately her surgery was rescheduled for the 31st, right smack dab in the middle of my trip.
Canceling the trip is an easy call to make, as I obviously need to be here with Claire to make sure she is okay and to help her with her recovery, but I am sad that I won't be going to the festival. I was very much looking forward to going again and meeting some of my French fans. Oh well! Maybe there will be a French festival later in the year that I can attend.
As announced on the L'employé du Moi blog, if you buy a copy of Basewood at Angoulême, make sure to leave your name and address at the table. I will mail you a hand-drawn dedication!
So... it has been a hectic start to 2013 to say the least! We both wanted to wait until Claire was on the road to recovery before publicly sharing all this information, which is why I have been so quiet about this. Now however, it is affecting my professional obligations, so we decided to spill the beans.
Please send good thoughts Claire's way on Thursday. Now that everything is public, I will be posting updates here on the blog about how Claire is doing. It seems like the easiest way to share information with all our friends and family.