Friday, March 08, 2019

Friday, February 08, 2019

Health update with good news

I met with my oncologist today, and the verdict is that chemo is not necessary for my breast cancer treatment. I also do not need radiation. The cancer I have is not especially aggressive, according to the genomic test results, and my lymph nodes were found to be clear during the surgery--meaning it didn't spread beyond the breast. I will be taking a drug called tamoxifen for the foreseeable future, and it has some unpleasant (and potentially dangerous but preventable) side effects, but it is certainly easier to deal with than the alternative. With tamoxifen, I'm told the likelihood of recurrence in 9 years is 5%. I don't know how they can determine this, but I'll take it.

At the moment, I don't feel as relieved or overjoyed as I thought I might--more like tired and wary about what's next. It's been a ride, which is not quite over yet. But things could certainly be a lot worse. I'm grateful for all the wonderful support and care I've received.

I need a nap and a drink, in either order.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Some health news

I've been debating whether to share this news on my blog and social media, but it seems like it's going to be part of my life for at least a little while longer, so here goes.

In early December I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Last Monday, I had a mastectomy, and was told the lymph nodes were clear, meaning the cancer hasn't spread to other organs--the official stage is 2, which is usually very good news in breast cancer world. The margins were also clear. My oncologist told me this is a "very curable" cancer. We are still considering chemo or radiation; because I am (relatively) young and healthy, we have the opportunity (let's call it an opportunity) to try some more aggressive treatments as added protection. We will learn more next week.

I feel extremely lucky to have good health insurance, good care, and very supportive friends, family, and colleagues. I am going to get through this.

I will also try to write something more enlightening about this experience, perhaps after I have some distance on it. What I can say now is the usual: Don't skip your mammograms. If you have risk factors, try to mitigate the ones you can. Reduce your stress. And don't be afraid. There's been huge progress on this front in just the last few years, and treatments can be very targeted.

Also, I'm still me. I'm still writing and working. At the moment I'm a little more tired and short-tempered, though you might not even notice a difference there, and wearing button-down shirts for the first time in decades. But otherwise I'm the same as I ever was, and will continue to be.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Thursday, August 09, 2018

You Can Be a Winning Writer

I have a little piece on commitment in this new book. It's full of short inspirational and educational pieces that can give you a boost when you need it.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

New flash up... 100WordStory (actually a 100-word essay).

Monday, January 22, 2018

Maybe it should feel like work

After a predictably rough holiday season, with more personal and political gloom in the air, I've started writing a new story. For the past several weeks it's seemed like I didn't know what I wanted to read or write, so this feels like a breakthrough of sorts. We were driving past a house that had a widow's walk on the roof, and that made me think of "The Turn of the Screw," though a brief search of the text suggests the strange man in the story appears atop a tower, not on a widow's walk as such. Anyway, that, in turn, made me think of the framed narrative, in which the narrator recounts a story someone else told him. It's also a device H. G. Wells and other old-school science fiction authors often use, and I decided I wanted to try it to tell a ghost-type story.

Also, checking my records, I saw that I had received some rejections recently that included invitations to submit something else. I used to get so excited about those; now I sort of think, "meh, maybe, if I get around to it." But today I responded to a few of those. (It also depends on whether I have something to send, but in this case, I did.)

My point here is that I do not feel particularly inspired or energized by any of this. It feels like something I have to do, or ought to do, because I'm a writer.

But maybe that's how it's supposed to feel. I should know by now that inspiration and joy and energy are only sometimes part of the writing experience. Just as often it feels like going to the dentist. And maybe that's how you know that you've truly taken on this vocation.Whether you're rewarded or not, you do it, because that's what you do.  

It's a new morning...meh.