Angoulême Trip Canceled

Tue 1/29/2013

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.

30 comments on this entry

Gosh! All kinds of emotions here. Congratulations and good luck, and much love to you both.

There's an amazing festival called Quai des Bulles in October if your publisher is going to be there...I think you'd love it. Honeymoon, maybe? :)

Raina Jan29

Thanks for the tip, Raina! I'll check with them to see if that would work. I hope you and Dave are doing well.

Alec Jan29

Wows, Alec.

My thoughts are with Claire and you in the coming days. Thanks for sharing this with the rest of us. Good thoughts are indeed being sent your way.

...and of course, many warm wishes regarding your new nuptuals!!! Very happy for you both.

Finally, we may not be France, but I direct a great, albeit modest, comic show here called the Michigan State University Comics Forum. Let me know when you're ready to accept a free table. It happens every winter.

Take care,

Y'all must be juggling so many emotions. Congrats on your wedding, y'all are an awesome, craft-comics couple! I hope that everything goes well with the surgery and that Claire's recovery is swift.

Hugs hugs hugs, wish you both well on the road of matrimony and Claire's recovery. You two look adorable and I know Selma and Patti would have been amazing ring bearer bunnies, if they weren't so shy.

Look forward to seeing you at future shows.

Thanks everyone for your supportive comments!

@ Ryan - Thanks for the offer! I'll let you know. I'd love to make it out there one of these days. I want to play that Whirlwind too! ;)

@ Jen - Claire made little dresses for them once, but they hated wearing them, so they would have been under-dressed anyway! I hope you and Ryan are doing well in Seattle. I'll definitely drop you guys a line next time I come to town.

Alec Jan29

Oh man -- first of all, congratulations on getting married! I'm very happy for you both!

Second, good luck with Claire's surgery and recovery. My partner Colleen's mother had thyroid cancer a few years ago and does well as long as she follows the doctor's instructions -- which isn't always!

Oh man, that's a whole lot of life happening all at once!

Congrats on the wedding and best, best, best of luck to Claire and you with the surgery.

Adam Staffaroni Jan29

Holy smokes! Huge congratulations to both of you - I'm so sorry to hear that Claire is dealing with scary and complicated health problems but, so happy to know that her support system is so strong! I'm sending all my good vibes your way and I'm sure I speak for everyone in saying, if there's anything you guys need, just ask!

Nomi Jan29

Angoulême can wait. Wishing swift recovery.

Joe Decie Jan29

I raise a glass of vin rouge in my apartment in Angouleme this moment to both you and Claire.

Bon Chance!


@ John - Yeah, I think if she sticks with the medication (which she will!) Claire should make a full recovery.

@ Nomi - Thanks Nomi! Yeah, our support system has been amazing. I feel blessed to have such wonderful friends and family in our corner.

@ Paul - I'm jealous. Have a great time at the show!

Alec Jan29

Congratulations on the wedding! And best wishes for a complete and full recovery. Hope we can get a big group of well-wishers together in the Bay Area soon.

Andrew Farago Jan29

100% pure love and good thoughts and congratulations heading your way, from me. Sending you two some mail soon!

Wow, what a roller coaster! Congrats on the wedding - being married is really, really awesome and I wish you nothing but happiness.

We have another friend battling thyroid cancer right now, so I will include you and Claire in our thoughts and good wishes! Having not been through it personally, I won't pretend to know how you feel right now, but I will say that it really, really sucks that this is happening to you guys and I hope Claire is feeling better as soon as possible.

Laura Farrell-Wortman Jan30

@ Andrew - Thanks! Hopefully once the dust settles, I'll finally make it out to another art night.

@ Robyn - I'll keep an eye on the mailbox!

@ Laura - It's strange how many people we have been hearing about who have also had thyroid cancer. I guess it's more common than it should be! :(

Alec Jan30

Oh my god Alec, congratulations. I am so happy for you two. Here's hoping all goes well and you have many happy years together.

Bonesteel Jan30

Alec congratulations to you and Claire! Married life is a treat. Mandy and I wish you two many happy years together!

Our thoughts and prayers will be with you both in the coming months. We will be praying for a speedy recovery and we wish you both all the best.

What a month for you guys. All I can say is congratulations on gettin' hitched and I hope Claire's recovery goes smoothly! Don't worry, Alec, I was supposed to attend Angouleme this year as well--but it didn't work out--but I'll be there next year. Take care--my thoughts are with you both.

Rich Tommaso Jan30

Congrats, and good luck with the recovery, you two!

Hey Alec! Congratulations and "eek" all at the same time! My best wishes to both of you...

Thanks guys!

@ Rich - Yeah, all the cool kids are staying home from Angoulême this year, right? Uh...right? (sob!) See you there next year for sure. ;)

Alec Jan30

congrats on getting married! From the way you have written about her on your blog and such, you two seem to make each other very happy. I'm sending positive thoughts your way that everything works out with the operation!

on a funny sidenote i will always remember when your wedding aniversery is because it's the same day as my birthday.

Today is the day. I hope the surgery of Claire was all right and that she is on a good way to recovery.
Big congratulations for you wedding ! it is such a beautiful moment in the life of someone, I am sure it gave you all the happiness and strength you need to face this strange 2013 year.
Thinking of you both and crossing my fingers very hard so everything will be fine ! (Your french readers will still love you, despite of your cancelation of Angoulême, don't worry !)

Florence Jan31

Congratulations on getting married and hoping that Claire has a quick recovery from her surgery today!!! :-D

A co-worker's mom has this same kind of cancer and has done very well for many, many years so this is just one of those blips that life has thrown you...

I was wondering when you were going to pop the question :)

stephanie wu Jan31

Alec - first of all, congratulations on getting married! I'm so happy for you.

Good luck with Claire's surgery and recovery. Kim actually had thyroid cancer as well and made a complete recovery. Wishing you both the best.

Heidi S Feb01

Wow! My deepest and sincerest Congratulations on getting married!! And wishing you both a swift full recovery for Claire!!

I've said it before, I'll say it again, you never fail to astound me.

Rad work on keeping it real and getting Basewood finished. CAN'T WAIT TO READ IT!!

Cheers to you both!

Patrick Feb01

And here I was wondering why you weren't in Angoulême. You certainly had a good reason. I wish Claire a speedy recovery and…


Alec: You and Clarie are so adorable. And you are an amazing teacher.

Marie Feb27

I've been a fan for a while, and so I'm offering my belated congratulations, and I hope Claire is better.

Brigham Aug28

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