Still Transitioning After All These Years

Dear Heart,

It's been just over three months since my robotic lung surgery. Doc
removed the top third of my right lung. Last Thursday, I got the
results of a new PET CT.

The good news is they got all the lung cancer tumor. There's no cancer
growing in my lungs. The not so good news is that a couple of cancer
cells found their way into my lymphatic system, and they're spreading
out from the site of the original tumor, more quickly than any of the
docs are happy with. I'll be meeting with radiologists and oncologists
and naturopaths and psychics this week, and then I'll know more about
my treatment options.

Ever since my diagnosis back in September and surgery in October, I've
had to examine the very real possibility of the great big goodbye.
Every time I've looked hard at it, I've come up with the same
conclusion: I'd rather stay alive. To this day, that's still the truth of it.

I'm not saying that what I'm going through now is the great big final
cattle chute to the grave, but I need to treat it like it is—if only
for rehearsal's sake. All my life, I've been curious about Death to the
point of establishing a pretty good relationship with Her Ladyship.
Now, it's time to establish that kind of a relationship with Life. My
pal, Caitlin Sullivan, came up with that equation.

If you've read any of my books, you probably ran across one of my
favorite Zen koans:

    The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

In other words, I can look at everything I do in my life through the
lens of "this is just a rehearsal for everything else I have to do in
life." I look at gender that way. There's a meta in gender that can be
applied to other cultural binaries like race, age, class, and
citizenship, among others. I wonder how much of what I've learned in
postmodern gender theory will apply to the binary of life & death.

Whether I'm dying now or later isn't what's important. That I'm in the
middle of yet another transition is what's important. And it doesn't matter
whether or not I initiated this transition. What matters is how
conscious I am, as this transition is moving forward.

So… my thoughts and life focus are switching gears. Again. And since
you read my stuff, I thought it safe enough to tell you what's going on
with my cancer, the same way I've been telling you what's going on with
my gender. More of my focus might be on the binary of life-and-death.

I'm not giving up or giving in. I'm going to see to it to the best of
my ability that the cancer is gone. I'm going to do the best I can to
carry on with life. That said, I'm booking touring engagements for this
winter, spring, and summer. My landlord needs his rent, and I tend to
feel most alive when I'm engaged with scholars, activists, and artists.
So… please do book me if you can. Here's a copy of my new catalogue:
Download KB Tours 2013-14 I thought about using the tag line,
"Bring Kate to Your Campus Before She Dies,"
but I decided against it. Heh.
I CAN tell you that I'm seriously considering writing a mini-memoir
about this time of my life. I've already got the title: Be Careful What
You Wish For: confessions of a failed suicide. Great, huh? OK… that's
enough for now. I'll post more when I know more. Meantime, I've got a
FaceBook page! Come visit! And thanks so much for sticking with me. I'm
grateful for your company on this journey of mine. 

kiss kiss

Auntie Kate


  1. Dear Aunt Stormy
    I understand the devastating nature of cancer. My grandmother succesfully battled breast cancer, but recently my mother lost a dear friend whom she cared for in his last years of his life. I want you to know that my heart, soul, mind, and all the energies of my being are vibrating for you and your health. You are a rare light in this world, a borealis of experiences that cannot be extinguished. I know that you are a kick ass heroine, so just do what you do miss thang. Love you and all that you are.

  2. Dear Kate,
    I love you.
    I hate cancer.
    An über mini-memoir

  3. Love, respect, and everything good, right now, regardless of outcome. 🙂

  4. May the long time sun shine on you, all love surround you;
    And the pure light within you, guide your way on.
    –Incredible String Band

  5. Dearest auntie Kate,
    You have no idea how far the inspiration and beauty you spread travels.
    Cancer cells have no chance against you. They’ll just leave on their own. You won’t even have to be mean to them.
    I carry your get out of hell free card in my wallet.
    I love you so very much.
    Sending you strength and good vibes from Istanbul,

  6. Love, respect, and everything good, right now, regardless of outcome. 🙂

  7. It’s been so long, Kate, since you stayed with us in Davenport CA when you performed your show in Santa Cruz. Sending love. Miss you Auntie Kate. Sending love. Come visit soon.

  8. I agree completely with everything you have said could understand the first part of what you were saying but I got a bit lost towards the end. This is a difficult subject to understand

  9. Kate,
    You continue to amaze me. You’re my queer heroine.
    Love you!

  10. Dear Kate,
    Long-time fan & gender outlaw here. I was just having brunch with a friend and we ended up talking about A Queer and Pleasant Danger (which is riveting), and she mentioned your health issues, so I found myself checking for updates.
    I’m glad they got the lung cancer and sad about the lymphatic cancer. Since you’re in yet another phase of transition, I wonder if you’ve considered switching to a plant-based diet? I recently watched the old documentary “Eating” (similar to “Forks Over Knives” which I saw last year), where they extoll the health and emotional benefits of a plant-based diet, especially in terms of antioxidants and helping to keep our cells under control (i.e., fighting cancer).
    In case you have interest, you can research online for “vegan + cancer” (or check out “The China Study”). My site has lots of tips about eating vegan:
    Regardless of your choices, I hope your body and medicine help you get better fast.
    In case anyone hasn’t seen it, donations to help Kate can go here:
    All my love and support,

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