Monday: writing for me, spitting for science.

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The writing is going well. I’m not sure what the wordcount on the novel is right now, but I’m still make good and steady progress on it. And I was able to get a couple of short stories tidied up and sent out on Saturday.

The publicity from the Women Destroy Science Fiction story is beginning to wind down, but a few students told me today they’d read the story or were planning to — it brought such a smile to my face. Admittedly, my secret double life is exposed: mild-mannered academic advisor by day, sci-fi writer by early morning, noon, and night.

Meanwhile? I was selected for the second phase of a massive, 30-year study I signed up for:


Spitting for science? I can totally do that.

The Tomorrow Project is signing up 50,000 Albertans between the ages of 35 and 69 who have never been diagnosed with cancer for an enormous longitudinal study on cancer rates and health in the province. I’ve taken part in research studies before, but they’ve all been fairly short-term. This one will continue on for decades, and the data collected will help to give better information on who develops cancer, who doesn’t, who is at risk, and what roles environment and genetics might play.

I signed up in memory of Alyson Woloshyn, a coworker who was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme in 2009. She survived an astonishing three years, putting everything she had into enjoying her life. The Tomorrow Project is totally the kind of thing she would have signed up for. I can just see her now — going around the office, chivvying people into filling out questionnaires, putting up lunchroom posters, arranging a spit sample contest. Yup. Alyson, I’m in it for you.

The first step for the project is a survey — about forty pages of questions on your medical history, including family histories. This second phase is a saliva sample to start a genetic profile. Not very hard at all. I didn’t sign up for the blood tests (it was too close to my surgery, and I was told that some of my values would have been kind of screwy while I was still healing). If they want blood later, I’ll give it.

That’s my Monday. The writing is for me, the spitting was for science. Easy-peasy.

5 thoughts on “Monday: writing for me, spitting for science.

  1. 40 pages of questions? Yikes…but guess if it’s for a good cause/that long-term and massive a study…

    As for protecting an exposed secret double life, there’s the classic Superman methods of protecting it: some sort of trickery using superpowers; a shape-shifting friend; someone disguised as you; or the use of a lookalike Heather Robot. ;-)

  2. Alyson sounds kind of amazing and great of you to carry on a smart and logical thing in memory of her.

    Also, you’re female, destroying science fiction, writing a novel, and have a bio-hazard bag. Pretty much a super hero.

    Have you decided on the logo/icon that will be on your chest when you’re in tights and a cape yet? Hmmmm?

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