Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

The Shape of June


On June 10th, I’m going in for major abdominal surgery. I’m not in pain and it’s not life-threatening, but the surgery is necessary and I’ll be much happier once it’s over and I’m on the road to recovery.

I’ve known about the surgery for a month and have taken steps to re-shape my life for it. Because it will take me a few weeks to recover enough for work, and then a few months before I can lift boxes of books again, I resigned from my part-time job at the Lambda Literary Foundation. I had been planning to do it later in the summer, but this timing made it important to do sooner, so that the LLF could get a replacement in as soon as possible.

My plan was to take June “off” for surgery and recovery, then begin life as a full-time freelancer and writer in July. And, in some ways, that’s still the plan. Except…

Last week, after we returned from Wiscon, an incident occurred in the apartment above ours, and our condo was flooded with water for about an hour. We did our best to mitigate the damage, but it was still extensive. Since then, we’ve been fighting with insurance and trying to handle our tiny condo being ripped apart — floors, ceilings, and walls.

The condo is unlivable. Most of it is ripped down, and the industrial dehumidifiers have run the interior temperatures into the 100s. I have taken the three cats and fled to a guest room at my mother’s partner’s house. I’m now about 3 hours away from my doctor’s office and the hospital where I’ll be having the surgery.

Everything is now complicated, frustrating, expensive, and downright difficult. I spent most of last week alternating between trying to take control of the situation and breaking down in tears. Chris and I are both still employed and trying to keep up with our jobs (LLF’s big Lammy Awards Ceremony is tonight!). I’m waiting to hear from the insurance about whether they’ll cover our claim, or if we have to hire a lawyer and make them cover it. And then there’s the process of hiring people to rebuild our condo when the water restoration part is done.

But despite everything — despite my ruined plans for stress-free surgery and a few weeks of quiet recovery where I got to watch TV, read comics, and listen to audiobooks — we have been buoyed by the incredible outpouring of sympathy and support from our friends and family. The number of people who have offered us living space, legal advice, help of all sorts, and even money… it’s been stunning and humbling in the best possible way.

Life is messier than ever, and yet I feel as if I’ve got an army at my back.

About the author

Jenn Reese


  • Oh, Jenn! I had no idea. I am sorry things are so complicated, and glad you have such a great army of friends and family. Number me among them! I would be glad to help in any way I can. I know I am a new friend, but I really, really like you.

  • So sorry for everything you’re going for, Jenn. I hope everything goes well with the surgery, and that the condo situation improves soon. Sending hugs and support your way.

  • Jenn, I just can’t believe what you are up against right now and am sending so, so much love.

  • You DO have an army. We’ve got your back. If there’s anything I can do, anything at all, you know all you have to do is tap me, right? Also, the messy parts of life are when the good things absolutely shine. Sending love and hugs to you, Chris, the cats, your Mom & her partner!

  • Offer still stands if you guys need another place to stay, or anything, actually. Let me know.



  • Ugh ugh ugh. The flooding sounded bad enough without all this on top of it. I’m glad you have some local support and lots of online support, and do let us know if we can do anything to help, like buying books or directing some business your way when you’re up and freelancing! :)

  • Yep, we’re here for you.

    And although it’s hard to see now, there will be a point where this will all be behind you. If there is any work you wanted to do on your condo, now’s the time to consider it. The same thing happened to my mother-in-law about 10 years ago, and she was able to say “Well, if you have to replace the flooring, replace it with [this],” etc.

    It’s good you have a place to stay, that you and Chris and the cats are all healthy. Your surgery will go fine. Take the time you need for recovery. And let us know how we can help, even if it’s a goofy email full of cat gifs to cheer you up!

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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