Two Years...

It seems really weird to me that so much time has passed since my last blog entry. That was on August 22, 2009 and now we’ve already ushered in 2011. Time flies. It really does.

So why am I breaking the long silence? There are a few reasons. The first is that a few months back, a section of When Life Hands You Lymphoma was featured at Janet Huntingdon’s blog, Mugwump Chronicles. If you’re into horses and you like sound advice, common sense and want to read some of the best (and true) horse training stories ever written, you really need to follow Mugwump. The archives are hours of awesome reading. Trust me. I know.

Regardless, the featuring of this blog on Mugwump’s caused some debate and concern over what had ever happened to yours truly. I posted there to let folks know I was still kicking, but it made me feel guilty over other readers who hadn’t heard from me.

The second reason for breaking my metaphorical silence is that today, January 21st, marks the second anniversary of my remission. Yep, two years. That’s pretty cool if I say so myself!

So, why the long hiatus, you might wonder? There were a few reasons for it. Primarily it began with something known as “Chemo Brain.” For reasons undetermined, a lot of cancer patients go through a stage (sometimes prolonged) of confusion, memory deficits, disorganization and…well, heck, in my experience, it was a bit like driving through fog. It’s possible to do, but highly stressful, disorienting and exhausting. Of everything that happened after my diagnosis, I honestly think the Chemo Brain scared me the most.

I knew that the quality of my writing was gradually deteriorating, but I expected to bounce back right away after the chemo and radiation treatments were finished. I didn’t. In fact, for a while it got worse. While I succeeded completing the 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month smack dab in the middle of the chemo regimen in 2008, I floundered in 2009 and couldn’t finish. Heck, I barely managed to start. And that was long after I’d gone back to work! When you’ve always thought of yourself as a pretty good writer, that loss of mental cohesiveness is honestly pretty terrifying.

It took months to get the creativity and drive back, and the process was gradual and frustrating. In some ways, I’m still not quite there. But, I think I’m managing to do a pretty good impersonation of myself.

The other reason I went quiet was that remission and the cessation of treatments meant trying to assimilate back into a life that had been effectively put on hold for seven months. I’m sure this isn’t an unusual experience for cancer survivors, but it was similar to watching a dam break when you live downstream. All the nitty-gritty of the real world…troubles with the kids, entering back into the workforce, explaining to a very surprised delivery man that I wasn’t actually dead, all that neat stuff…came crashing down all at once. I’ve never been a very strong swimmer and treading takes a lot out of you.

But life goes on... Really, it does!

With the advent of getting my brain back (my friends might debate that!) I decided to address something that’s been on my bucket list for decades. To that end, I’m currently working toward an associate’s degree via online courses from Indiana Wesleyan University. It’s a huge, time consuming undertaking, but I’m a 4.0 student, so go me! After a lifelong scholastic inferiority complex it’s pretty nice to know that I can hold my own in matters of academia.

Just as exciting, a historical novel I wrote for the young adult market back before the lymphoma set in was recently accepted for e-book publication by Echelon Press’s Quake division. It’s called Servant To The Wolf and if all goes according to schedule, it should be released in September. If anyone is interested, shoot me a message and I’ll be sure to let ya’ll know more as publishing gets closer. (There’ll be a blog devoted to that, and I’ll link to it from here regardless.)

Getting slightly back on topic, my next CT Scan is on February 16th. I’ve been having those every three months. And yeah, I’m still a really hard stick for blood draws and IV’s. The vampires have their hands full with me!

In a way, it’s interesting to feel so…normal…and to be pursuing life as though there’d been no interruption at all. (In fact, pursuing life with a little more drive and ambition than I had before.) It’s been really nice. And it’s been really tough. As life is supposed to be.

So, is this blog kaput? I mean, it’s been a really long time. Why resurrect it now?

In the words of Tevya from Fiddler On The Roof, “I’ll tell you. I don’t know.”

But there are things I didn’t talk about. There are things that mean a little more now than they did back in the beginning. There are things I’m still learning. There are people I know who've fought their own battles who deserve a moment in even this very small spotlight.

There was my first participation in a Relay For Life survivors' lap. That could be a blog entry all by itself.

So while I don’t see doing this blog as a daily thing, or even weekly, I think I’ll be revisiting it now and again. I think I owe it to the readers; past, present and maybe future.

And hey, if you've stumbled across my little section of the internet here and would like to do a cancer oriented patient, survivor or caregiver guest blog, let me know!

But for now, by the grace of God, it’s been two years.

Two years. :)


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