I got my surgery date today. I'm going to be having surgery on Monday, which isn't exactly the greatest amount of notice in the world. On the plus side though, there is way less time to be anxious about it, and I have to be focused on getting the things that I need for me done. It's good to have things be driven like that because I'm really good at procrastinating.
Today I freaked out a lot, but I did a good job asking for support from people where I needed it. I'm sure I will freak out again, but I'm feeling calmer right now, starting to have some good conversations about the carrots that I'm dangling for myself at the end of this. There are lots of things that I'm really excited about happening this summer. I've put a lot of work into thinking of ways to make this summer fun for me, so I'm really excited about all of the things that I want to do.
One of the things that came out of all of my conversations today was the idea of creating a zine based on my experiences of this surgery, as well as being in the hospital and having pancreatitis more generally. While I'm probably going to be the one doing most of the content I want my friends and family who are going to be with me while I'm in the hospital to be able to contribute to the zine as well. I know that me having surgery is going to have a big impact on the people around me, and I know it can be really hard when someone you care about is in the hospital. I also think that while it is my experience, I'm also having that experience within a community of people and the people that I have around me reflect who I am too.
I also wanted to take some time now to explain the zine and how it works here while I'm not drugged out of my mind post-surgery. This way I can print this off and people can read it even if I'm asleep or in surgery itself, or if I just don't have the energy to explain it.
So, a zine is like a home made magazine. They can be super fancy or super basic. Since I'll be in the hospital and won't have a ton of access to things like printers, this zine is going back to roots and being primarily a cut and paste zine. Some of the writing can happen on whatever computing equipment there is around and then emailed to someone who has a printer and then brought back. Or people can write in person. My plan is to bring lots of blank printer paper, maybe some drawing paper if I can get my hands on it and all my art supplies. I'm going to be bringing the backlog of magazines that I have with me to read, and they can be cut up too if people want. So there will be lots of mediums for people to play with to create with to be a part of this.
So, what goes into a zine? Really anything. Typically short stories, or anecdotes or short critical pieces. Drawings can go into zines, comics, artwork, photographs, mock ads. Pretty much anything that you want. There is typically some kind of theme that holds things together that things centre around. In this case it would be my surgery and hospital stay. So the things that people make would be things that are somehow connected to me being in the hospital. Maybe it is a note saying "Get well soon" Or maybe you want to write about the experience of sitting next to someone in a hospital bed when they are sleeping. Or, how weird it is to have tubes coming out of places that just should not have tubes in them. There are lots of options. I know I'm going to try to get pictures of my pancreas before they do the surgery and after they do the surgery. This seems to have become really important in the last 24 hours and maybe have those pictures be the covers. I also want to make a mock ad for the surgery kind of modeled after a weight loss ad. Those are the kinds of things that I'm thinking about. It's a space to be creative and express the crapiness that is having surgery and being stuck in the hospital in some kind of way that is more helpful and resilient. I seem to be nothing but a CYC through and through.
Then, after everyone makes things it all gets put together. That is exciting. Glue sticks and scissors and fun backgrounds will be involved. I should go scope out funky scrapbook paper for backgrounds. Then you have a master copy and you do what zinesters do and distribute it. I'm really excited for this. I think it is collaborative and involves people, and it's expressive, and it's something that I can pick up and put down, and that other people can be engaged in when I'm too drugged to do anything. Or we can work together on a page or something. I want people to be involved in my zine. I'm also excited about the things that I want to contribute. There should be an "About Chronic Hereditary Pancreatitis" page. Like an FAQ or something. I'm definitely getting this planned out in my head.
I really hope that other people get as excited and as into this as I am. I think it has the potential to be an absolutely amazing project. It's also making me feel less bad about the horrible hospital stay after having this kind of surgery, so that in and of itself is a good reason to get behind it. It is something that is really important to me, so I hope it will be important to the people who are important to me too. Which is really a covert way of saying something manipulative like "If you really care about me you'll make a zine with me". That's really the message I'm trying to get across here.