Thank you to everyone who has been purchasing Bedbug #1! I appreciate you supporting my stories about the single-father superhero! But there's one story that wasn't told in the comic. How I couldn't have completed it if I hadn't gotten cancer.
I had always wanted to create a Bedbug comic since 2005 when Shooting Star Comics Anthology wrapped up (in fact, the origin story in Bedbug #1 was originally intended for Shooting Star #7) but for one reason or another, I didn't start writing the main story "Invitation" until 2010. I started drawing the pages right around when I changed jobs. Because of the demands of the new job and its sometimes unusual hours, the comic remained half-finished through 2011 and 2012.
In late fall of 2012 I fell very ill and in early 2013 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma - a cancer that attacks the lymph nodes and lymph producing organs. I was hospitalized for 10 days and after I was released I was told that I had to look forward to disability and six months of treatment.
Chemotherapy, while effective, really wears down your immune system. I received treatment every two weeks and spent one week dealing with the side-effects of chemo while the other week getting my stamina back up to snuff so I could (literally) survive the next week's treatment. It sounds easy - letting your body recover on it's own, but for some reason my body was slow to recover. It got a little scary when I spent a day in the hospital as a result of getting a toe infection.
However, I didn't want to spend my treatment time doing "nothing." (OK, I was recovering but when you're lying there recovering you don't feel like you're doing anything.) Unfortunately my brain was too addled from chemicals to consistently write and my hand would get too unsteady to consistently draw, but I could tackle the project in small dose - a page drawn here, a page electronically colored there, a bit of character bio typed out. Thankfully, I also had many friends and family contributing in their own ways to help reduce the work load.
I have now reached the end of my treatment. I go in for testing in a few weeks to see how effective the 12 sessions of chemotherapy have been. (Fingers crossed) and if I will be able to return to work later this summer. Getting cancer is hard but I can honestly say that I wouldn't have been able to finish Bedbug #1 without it. And for that, I am thankful for cancer.
If you'd like to contribute to Hodgkin's Lymphoma research, please click to donate HERE.