Carla’s Cancer Stage & Ideas for a Career

Well, I’m a little embarrassed, but mostly excited to share with you the news I received today. The cancer that was cut out of me a couple weeks ago was actually at stage IA. Iowa! Hah! Anyway, yes, it was IA, and not– as I previously believed– stage II or possibly III. I was confusing the cancer’s “stage” for its “grade,” which turned out to actually be 3. The stage and grade both come in degrees up to four, which I’m sure is why I got them confused. I have no idea why one uses Roman numerals and the other doesn’t. Anyway, the grade of the tumor being 3 means that it’s a fast-growing motherfucker. The stage being IA means that it was ready to spread, but we caught it before it did. Again, thanks to Rosie O’Donnell. And Dr. Lizarraga.

I know I complain about all the waiting, but I’ll be honest, I’m actually coming to really enjoy the slowdown. I’ve lived kind of a fast-paced life–– definitely attention-deficit–– so being forced to stay put and be patient has been a real change-of-pace. And it feels good!

Anyway, the thing I’m waiting on currently is my Oncotype DX test results, which will show how likely the cancer is to develop again, and therefore/somehow how impactful chemotherapy would be to my sad lump of a body. They’re thinking that because it’s a grade 3 tumor, I would probably benefit from chemo in the long run, but I’ll find out for sure in a couple weeks.

In the meantime, I’ll be getting my booballoon filled with saline next week, so hopefully it’ll hang proper and stop acting like an Egyptian pyramid. I’ll get my drain taken out in the next few days, assuming the drainage keeps decreasing. And then hopefully I’ll be able to get in for reconstruction before too long. I’m going to beg for it to happen as soon as possible, because I need to be healed up from it in order to start chemo, and they’re telling me that the best results from chemo happen if they start within 12 weeks of their surgery. Fingers crossed.

Well, I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Years! Our Christmas Day was filled with good cheer. We Zoomed with all the families, then went over to our podfamily’s house and watched 2-year-old Margo be excited about presents (necessary Christmas experience!), and then capped off the evening with our other podfriends coming over and watching “The Thin Man,” which is a new favorite and definitely a new Christmas tradition. Oh and just by the way, the movie “The Holly and the Ivy” is another new Christmas tradition. So good.

Adam got me a little proofing press (is what I’m calling it), his parents got him a circular saw, and we both got really good and thoughtful gifts from lots of people–– but I won’t be obnoxious and tell you about them all, who has time for that. We had a light New Years celebration with our podfriend, Emily. Tarot was laid, champagne was drank, and all was well with the world.

Well, actually–– grumble-grumble–– my New Years tarot spreads (I did three) seem to indicate I’m in for another shitty year! Dangit! I know, I know, not to expect it, just because tarot said so, but being a little prepared never hurt anybody. In fact, that was the other thing that all three spreads had in common–– the suggestion to be prepared, and to plan ahead. I’ve never been much of a planner, and I’m not sure why, because I actually enjoy doing it, when I’m in a position where I have to.

So, since I’m homebound, feeling pretty good, and have a beautiful view of the blizzard going on outside, I think I’ll do a little plotting and planning right now! You who aren’t interested can leave, it’s only going to get much more boring from here, I promise. Everyone:

K Bye GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

All right! Things that need planning:
1. Work/Career
2. Permanent Address
3. Spirituality
4. Art
5. Schedule
6. Keeping in Touch with Individuals
7. Social Media

Yikes, that is a very scary list, no wonder I haven’t addressed any of it yet . . . grrrrroooan . . . HOOA! [self face slap] I can DO this! Okay, here we go. This will be the “initial thoughts” phase of the planning process. I’ll talk about . . .
1. The issue that needs planning,
2. Personal desires/opinions,
3. The possible options I can think of right now,
4. What I have to work with,
5. Obstacles that will/could come up,
6. Variables I will/may encounter,
7. Next steps.
Sound good? Okay, onward––

Work/Career

I’m 33. I need some long-term financial security, especially since I’m probably going to die of an expensive disease over a long period of time. Love dropping that dark humor, hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Anyway, I’ve always assumed, since I didn’t go to college, I wouldn’t be able to find a real career (outside of screen-printing, I guess). I never really wanted one anyway, but . . .

I’ve been stuck in that ellipsis for several minutes, asking myself, “Is that true?” And the answer is absolutely not! I wanted to be a mail carrier when I was super young, I wanted to illustrate manga in Middle school, in high school, I was actually very certain that I wanted a career in animation, and I’ve been trying to make art my career for the past fifteen years. I do want a career!

I think the reasons I haven’t “succeeded” yet, are that–– yes, I’m uneducated–– but I’m also picky, distractible, and prone to long seasons of depression and self-sabotage. And I really don’t like working for people! Being managed–– especially being micro-managed is one of my top five hates, can I get an amen. I know managing is hard work (I’ve done it), so I’m not bitter at any of my past employers, but I really would love to find a situation where I have autonomy. So what kind of a career would I or could I enjoy? Here’s what’s bouncing around in my brain:

  1. Independent Artist
    I really really really really want this to work, but–– as I said–– I’m uneducated, distractible, and never know when I’m going to check out for three months. After years of hard, hard work, I’ve learned a lot about what I don’t want my art career to look like, but haven’t invested enough time in planning out what it could be. I did give “Mrs Carla Bryant” a good go, but I think ultimately, it was too focused on things I wanted to do, and not what I could do. Maybe the trick is just doing what I can. Who knows.
  2. Art Office Show-Runner
    I hope that this takes off, and I can incorporate it into my art practice. I really think it could work, in non-Covid times especially. If you don’t know what I’m talking about: www.artofficestudios.com
  3. Dental Hygienist
    So, apparently, you just need a 2-year degree from a community college to be a dental hygienist. I’ve always loved going to the dentist, and I have a good steady hand, so I could definitely do this. Would it be fulfilling though, at the end of the day? I don’t know. Probably not.
  4. Blick Manager
    I could go back to Blick and move through the ranks, maybe work a desk job in Galesburg. Blick was my favorite job. It was usually fun and inspiring, and basically gave me an art school education. I might be able to do a Blick career. But I’d always be under somebody, and also I just fucking despise the salesman mentality. And they kind of require that of their employees, so . . .
  5. Therapist
    I’d have to get a degree (or two?) for this one too. I think I would really enjoy that part. I think I would probably also really enjoy the work. But it would be many years probably of a lot of hard work. And I’m not sure how much longer I have to live. Juuust kidding, hahahah ☠️
  6. Masseuse
    I’m actually not sure what the requirements for becoming a masseuse are, but if my friend Cheals could do it, I bet I could too. I wonder what the job market is like for Masseuses. I imagine it’s not very good. But my imagination has been wrong before.
  7. Services Coordinator
    This is a field that my therapist told me about. It’s a position in just about every University system that basically requires a smart head (like mine), and the rest is just common-sense work. Universities are stable, usually, and the job is apparently easy. I guess my only concern would be dying of boredom.

Okay, well, in the interest of time, I’m just going to pick one career path to dissect for this blog post, and that–– of course–– is Independent Artist. So, what do I have to work with? Everything. I have literally everything I need to make original art, post and sell it online and in shops, and make a million dollars. I have the creative skills, the equipment and tools, the marketing and selling experience, the connections, the ability, the time, and the good credit just in case I need to buy anything big. My career in art, it seems, is ripe for the picking!

What are current obstacles to achieving this daydream of a life? Well, cancer, obviously, and all the strings attached to it–– known and unknown. Also my “all-or-nothing” mentality. I’ve been working on a 52-card deck of oracle cards that sucks up all of my time, when I could be making one nice print to sell, every three days. And I guess nerves. Although I feel pretty chill about it at the moment.

What obstacles do I foresee? Well, even though I technically do have a resale license, and an accountant that does our taxes, I really think I’m not doing it right in the financial department. I want to talk to someone who’s been doing this [right] for a long time, so I can learn for once and for all what tHe HELL NUMBERS EVEN ARE!! How is this still such an issue for me? Omg, anybody else my age or above suck at number things? Am I alone?

Anyway, that’s an issue, and there’s also the sneaky, sneaky Blanket of Depression that comes so unexpectedly and wraps me up tight in its warm loathing and slowly smothers all of my dreams and desires of being a normal person ever again. Shudder. I’m so glad I’m not there right now! (:D But it can’t be gone forever–– so yeah, I definitely need to plan on it showing back up at some point.

I guess–– speaking of mental health–– I should also plan for bouts of mania. Though they are usually when I get the most and best work done, they’re also usually when I make impulsive decisions that can really get me into trouble. I think I’m on some good meds right now, that seem like they’ve stabilized those swings, and may be why I haven’t been deeply depressed lately too. Hooray for drugs? I don’t want to assume that 30 years of manic behavior is just suddenly gone though. While I’m in a steady state, I ought to prepare for those situations, just in case.

Always be prepared - Meme on Imgur

Variables I’m likely to encounter: Again, cancer stuff. There’s no telling what could happen there, and I’m not sure how to go about planning for it, but I suppose I should try. I think planning in the offense is a good idea–– focusing on my overall health. We may move again soon too. Not sure how that would effect my work exactly, but I guess it’s something worth thinking about.

I guess Art Office is a variable that has the potential to jam or lube up the works. I hope it would only increase my productivity, but I have been known to over-apply myself to projects that don’t need ketchup, when I should be working on something else . . . In other words, I fear getting so into Art Office that I no longer have time for my own art. And boy, that would be stupid, since that’s the reason I created it in the first place. The following meme should NOT be read into. I certainly haven’t.

Again in the interest of time (this post is getting long!), let’s move on to what the Next Steps would be:

  1. Find a person who’s successfully run their own art business and pay them for council,
  2. Write up a business plan. A legit, beginning-to-end business plan, and maybe share it for feedback,
  3. Schedule, schedule, schedule. There should be a time for everything, but not just any time–– this girl needs specificity or she will float away on ideas,
  4. Get backstock online (Etsy),
  5. Make some new stuff,
  6. Put up a dumb website, I guess get back on Instagram, and
  7. Change my last name to Baudrons already. Nobody trusts an “artist name,” and besides, can you imagine the check-writing fiasco?? I’m just kidding, I know nobody writes checks anymore.

Jk (it was funny though, wasn’t it?). I’ve received a few checks this season of my life, and they have changed my life, no kidding. Anyway, this all sounds very good. But I’ve only just written it. I think I’ll consider it more, and the other options too, and report back later what I’ve decided.

4 thoughts on “Carla’s Cancer Stage & Ideas for a Career”

  1. Yay! Okay, I am going to mail you a copy of the deck I use. I think of all people you will appreciate it. It follows the general iconography from RW so it is not crazy to interpret and should be easy to read with that knowledge. It does add two Major Arcana cards which are explained by the artist with the deck. Hopefully it will work for you, if not feel free to pass it along. I am glad everything went well and look for a little package in the mail next week ❤️

  2. Out of all of the random topics to pull out of this incredibly insightful and introspective post… forgive me… but I didn’t know that you read tarot! What deck do you use? I might have something to send your way :)

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