I’m really embarrassed at how infrequently I’ve been blogging. I’m well, but my attention has been focused on other things—mainly trying to develop a regular routine again. I’m working about 2/3 time, exercising regularly, marketing The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, trying to get my garden in, and researching the new book. Blogging always seems to be the last thing on the list.
The good news is that, judging from how much exercise I am able to do, I seem to have built my stamina up to my pre-cancer levels. However, that’s still not all it could be because, during the six months before the diagnosis, I was working too much and not taking care of myself. Hopefully, my energy levels will continue to improve if I stick to my program of healthy eating, regular exercise, and slow, very gradual weight loss. But I don’t want to minimize this milestone. Even though I still have a long way to go to meet my end goals, I’ve achieved something important in getting back to where I was before the cancer.
I’m not going to make any promises about when I’ll be back to regular blogging, but I’ll try not to go a month between posts. Hope you are all well!
I have decided that in gratitude for surviving breast cancer, from now till Easter, I will donate 1/4 of the proceeds from my Amazon paperback sales of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte to the Cancer Wellness Center in Northbrook, Illinois. They provide much-needed services—counseling, wellness services, classes, seminars—free to cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. They’ve been a godsend to me. You can link to my Amazon page here.
Child of the Cold War,
trained to see mushroom clouds
as the avatar of devastation,
entertained by movies
about Day-After desolation
and gamma-ray mutation,
I now, to preserve my life,
must submit to
Is it any wonder
that my primary reaction
is cogntive dissonance
and bemused mystification?
Not sure if I’m going to be doing a whole series of cancer poems or if these are just a temporary product of adjusting to my new state. At any rate, I found myself writing this in my head in the middle of the night as I lay unable to sleep. I’m still too close to it to judge whether it’s any good, but I decided to post it anyway.
Lying upon unyielding plastic,
I stretch out my arms,
not to the side like
but above my head
in the age-old sign of surrender.
In the next room,
a technician flips a switch,
sliding me into
a whirring, clicking tunnel,
so a machine can scan my contours
and locate the exact spot
from which a surgeon excavated—
not buried treasure—
but life-threatening malignancy.
That task done,
the tech tattoos three indigo dots,
on my sternum and
each side of my ribcage,
a trinity of blue freckles
to serve as a map for future treatment
and the guiding stars
of my voyage to survival.
Wrote my first poem of 2014 this morning:
Since the moment I learned that
an enemy agent had infiltrated my breast
and would need to be dislodged
with an assassin’s knife,
my life has been filled with
strategy sessions and
controlled by specialized generals,
rather than myself.
Accustomed as I am
to storing my hours in a measuring cup
and doling them out meticulously
according to the red lines on the side,
I now see my days run away from me
like carelessly spilled water
escaping through the nearest crack.
The other day I mentioned that I recently had another biopsy. The results came in yesterday. My lymph nodes are clear, so we caught the cancer at the earliest stage before it has spread at all. I still need preventive treatment to reduce the risk of its coming back, but it shouldn’t be too bad. This was the best possible news at this stage, and I’m very grateful.
New Year’s Day is traditionally considered a time of new beginnings. This year, that construct has a totally different meaning for me.
I thought December 31, 2013, would be the New Year’s Eve that I looked back over the year with great joy because I’d finally published my first novel. Well, life had other plans for that particular date in my life. About mid-day on New Year’s Eve, I received a phone call telling me that I have breast cancer.
The tumor was small, we caught it early, and at this point the prognosis is good. I have another procedure next week to remove a lymph node and biopsy it, and the results of that procedure might change the diagnosis considerably. But for now, I’m assuming that my outlook is good and that we’ll be able to lick this thing with minimally unpleasant treatment.
That said, I don’t really know what’s ahead of me. I plan to keep blogging, but it will probably be less often. I assume my energy levels will flag as I undergo whatever treatment regimen my doctors recommend, and it’s more important to work on my next novel than to post here five times a week.
I do not intend to turn this into a cancer blog. It will still focus on my writing, but I may mention my health as it relates to my life as an author.
And I guess that’s all I really have to say about this right now.