Dimensions Report

The Year of Cancer – Thoughts on Surviving 2023 #cancerfree #cancerpatient #gratititude

contemplations on a year of cancer

“You have cancer.”

Those three words started 2023 for me. Closely followed by, “There are 6 months of chemo in your future, and you will lose your hair.”

My thoughts and emotions tumbled, unable to find purchase for months. Overwhelmed doesn’t begin to describe what the newly diagnosed cancer patient feels. I knew I needed help, but didn’t know how to find it. Maybe they keep us partially ignorant on purpose. If I knew the complete truth of what my life was going to be like for the rest of the year, I would have been more overwhelmed.

Losing my hair was one of the least horrible side effects. Effectively, I was systematically poisoned week after week. Yes, some people deal better with chemo than others, but no one gets out of it feeling like they’re ready to mambo.

I shouldn’t have been surprised I ended up in the hospital more than once during the ordeal, but I was continuously horrified at the way cancer took over my life. Angry and affronted is what I felt a lot, and I resisted the barrage of appointments, insisting they work on my schedule, like the stubborn lady I am. I did have to give in to their schedule and give up all control. I guess that was my biggest objection—the loss of control. Not just a little control. All control.

On the plus side, tenacity saw me through the chemo, the surgeries, the side effects, an the radiation. And, in the end, I reached the magical nirvana phase of “No Evidence Detected,” which meant my cancer was dead.

That made chemo worth it. Horrible as it was, if I had to do it again, I would. Why? Because those extra years of life and health are worth the awfulness and the trial. I’m not done living yet.

After chemo, I had two surgeries. After those, I felt like a Frankenstein—mutilated and hacked up. My insomnia issues started in earnest after the second surgery. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of emotions bubbling under my skin I haven’t dealt with yet. That’s something I’ll look into addressing this year.

Radiation wasn’t a picnic either. I still have pain and the discoloration. My irradiated tissue keeps texture, color, shape and size, which makes me feel more mutilated and freakish.

Yes, the battle scars are better than the cancer killing me, but sometimes when I stop to think about it all, I dissolve into jelly. I know there’s a lot in my emotions and psyche I have not dealt with. From the initial diagnosis to now, was a constant whirlwind of tests and doctors and treatments. There wasn’t a lot of time to digest and process.

There were moments when I stood outside of the cancer center and my brain screamed at me to run away. I’d tell myself, “I really don’t want to do this.”

But I’d see the 80-year-olds fighting, and I kept myself focused on the fact that I would be okay in the end. I repeated that over and over and over, and it got me through.

It’s unclear how I got through some days. They were dark and filled with sickness and awfulness and nothing good. Every minute ticked by like a day of agony. Many people were rooting for me. That certainly helped. And, like I said earlier, I can be really stubborn. It’s not in my nature to give up, so I was going to fight and keep fighting.

Small amounts of relief were found through my acupuncturist. Dana was a godsend, and I will continue to see her in the years to come. She introduced me to alternative therapies and essential oils. She certainly made an unbearable six months a little more bearable. She always gives me sound advice and valuable pointers. Most of all, she listens.

Many of the oncology nurses also listened. A lot. Some of them are true angels on Earth. They should be paid better than CEOs.

My writer life helped keep me looking forward, too. I could forget my agony for a bit here and there by drowning my mind in plans for my stories. Books helped too. Thank you, Murderbot and Legends & Lattes.

The toughest people on Earth are those battling cancer. Each warrior adds his or her story and helps the next person. Each person leaves a legacy of their cancer story. I leave a legacy, especially my uncommon reaction to Keytruda.

Anyway, the year ends with cancer defeated and the war won. So, 2023 ends in a good place. It was the hardest fight of my life, and the one I’m most proud of. I endured, I conquered, and I was victorious. After an extremely bumpy and rough patch of road, I get to go on with my life.

So get tested and screened for any cancer they test and screen for. The earlier it’s found, the more likely you are to survive. Early detection is the best weapon in any arsenol, and so many people do survive. The survival stories aren’t heard enough, but you need to seek them out. Read them. Hear them. There are millions and millions of survivors. WE ARE HERE.

 

 

A Month to Celebrate Bravery and Survival. Go Pink and Fight for the Girls!

breast cancer awarenesss

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when people worldwide come together to raise awareness about breast cancer and promote early detection and treatment. Breast cancer is a disease that affects millions of lives every year. It affected my life this year, and I met so many others in the same fight. If you feel something wonky, go to a doctor immediately. Get your mammogram! The earlier you know, the more likely you are to win the battle and go on with your life.

So many women went before me and were so brave. Their experiences made mine a little easier and made my survival more likely. I am forever grateful to them. Let’s take a moment and think of them and their sacrifices. Take a moment to think of the women currently suffering through chemo and other treatments, and of the men. Breast cancer affects men as well as women. Lend them your strength. Lend them some kindness.

 

The Most Common Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, with over 2 million new cases diagnosed annually. The incidence rate varies by region, with higher rates in developed countries. Early detection and improved treatments have led to a decline in breast cancer mortality rates in recent years. Yay! Go warriors!

Facts About Breast Cancer

1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. In 2023, an estimated 297,790 women and 2,800 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Chances are, you know at least one person who has been personally affected by breast cancer. If you’re reading this, you know me.

There are currently over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

An estimated 43,700 U.S. women will die from breast cancer in 2023. Bless their souls.

Risk of breast cancer recurrence depends on the type and staging of the initial breast cancer. Typically, the highest risk of recurrence is during the first few years after treatment and decreases over time.

On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.

Signs and Symptoms

Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area

A change in the skin texture or an enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast  (some describe this as similar to an orange peel’s texture)

A lump in the breast. Not all lumps are cancerous, but you need to get it checked out.

I had no pain or tenderness, but I did have a lump. It showed up all of a sudden. I didn’t delay medical intervention. That’s really important. I had a fast growing, evil beast trying to kill me. Don’t give it a chance to kill you.

Treatment and Hope

Treatment regimens depend on what kind of cancer you have. Most start with surgery and then have radiation treatments. If hormones are a factor, treatments to counteract the hormones will be given. Some get oral chemo or a few rounds of chemo. I had the unlucky kind, which is less common, triple-negative breast cancer. That involved chemo, surgery, and radiation in that order. I’m about to start my radiation treatments. No matter the type of breast cancer, many warriors have gone before you. The treatments work, especially if the cancer is caught early.

Yeah, it’s been a rough year and chemo was no picnic, but the outcome has been the best. I had a total response to treatment, which means I no longer have evidence of cancer, which means the cancer is dead. Because I had a life-threatening reaction to one of the drugs for one of my chemo regimens, I couldn’t complete all of my chemo rounds. Yet, I still had a positive outcome.

So Get Your Mammogram!

Early detection means everything. Aggressive cancers can show up betweem mammograms, like mine. So even if you have a great mammogram and find something funky later, see a doctor. The ealier the cancer is found, the less likely it is to have infiltrated the lymph nodes and other parts of your body. The less body parts involved, the easier surgery and radiation will be. Don’t think you can’t afford a mammogram or treatment. There are tons of programs out there to help. Reach out. You’re not alone. There are currently over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. And we’ll all tell you the same thing, you’re going to be fine. Most cancer centers have social workers with the means to get you what you need to win the fight. Hell yes, it’s scary, and it’s daunting, but millions of us did it. So can you!

Survivors and Victors!

Breast cancer survivors are living proof that early detection, advanced treatments, and unwavering support can lead to successful outcomes. Here I am. I’m your proof. I didn’t do it alone. I had so much support, and there are all the women and men who went before us so that we can have successful outcomes. There are constant clinical trials to improve treatments and there are standardized regimens for every type of breast cancer. Even if you end up with the uncommon, more difficult kind like I did, you’re going to be okay. Just be brave and see a doctor!

Get Involved!

If you’re lucky enough to have never danced with the beast, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is still an opportunity to get involved and make a difference. You can participate in fundraising events, support organizations that provide vital services to patients and families, and promote breast cancer awareness on social media. Or support someone you know going through it.

I’ll be donating all proceeds from the sales of any of my poster packs, especially the cancer poster pack, to Sara’s Project, which promotes women’s health through education, provides outreach, funds research, and finances breast cancer support services.

Posters for Charity

 

Fight like a girl! Pink is powerful!

Stats taken from BreastCancer.org

 

 

My Cancer is Dead! #cancer #cancersurvivor #MPaxDimension

The best news ever! My cancer is dead!

cancer news

I had my surgery last Thursday and am recovering quite well. I’m still sore, but otherwise okay. The surgeon called this morning to say that the pathology shows no residual cancer. That means chemo did its job and killed it. Yaaaay!! Thank the universe I didn’t go through the torment of chemo for nothing!

I know, there are lots of exclamation points in this post. When else am I to use them? Certainly finding out my cancer is dead is a reason to use thousands of them!!!

I still have radiation and have to get the port removed, but it’s a relief to know there’s no longer cancer inside me trying to kill me. My long, dark, and overwhelming tunnel has a light at the end of it. Woo hoo!!!!

MY CANCER IS DEAD!!! MY CANCER IS DEAD!!!

 

 

 

Determination, Survival, and Resilience

Since January of this year, I’ve found out what I’m made of, and I’m tougher than I thought. The toughest people on Earth are those who battle cancer because chemo is not for the faint of heart nor for anyone without a fighting spirit.

cancer survivor

A Message of Early Detection

My battle against cancer started with early detection, and I cannot stress enough how vital it is to be proactive about your health. If you notice anything unusual or alarming on your body, seek medical attention promptly. Early detection can make a significant difference in the success of treatment. Huge strides have been made in the treatment of many cancers, and it’s not the death sentence it once was. Not if you suck down some courage and go to the doctor. Is it easy to find out you have cancer? No. But not knowing will kill you. Knowing can save your life.

A Tough Road

My cancer diagnosis shook my world. Until the end of June, I endured grueling and brutal chemotherapy. The side effects were relentless, leaving me feeling sick and drained most of the time. There were days when all I could do was exist, and each day felt like a never-ending struggle. I ended up in the hospital twice with life-threatening side effects, and I really don’t like the hospital. For one, it’s really boring. For two, they don’t let you sleep. For three, it’s really boring. Despite the hardships, I kept in mind that I would be okay in the end. I have always been tenacious and stubborn and those traits served me well over the last seven months.

Seeking Comfort and Healing

Amidst the challenges of chemotherapy, I discovered Reiki treatment, a comforting and soothing practice that provided much-needed solace. Chemo sometimes had me feeling so awful I didn’t know what to do. I was willing to try anything for a modicum of comfort. Anything. So, I tried acupuncture too. Acupuncture became an essential part of my healing journey, helping me sleep better, alleviating discomfort, nausea, and curing hives. If you never tried it, you should. Besides being great for healing, I also find it very relaxing. Many health insurances will cover acupuncture. Check with your healthcare provider.

Embracing Progress and Hope

Thankfully, chemotherapy is behind me, and I’m gradually regaining my strength and energy. The next chapter in my fight against cancer is surgery, which is just a few days away. I am hopeful for clear margins and positive pathology results, which will allow me to avoid oral chemo.  NO MORE CHEMO! Then next in the fight is radiation, another step toward complete healing.

Gratitude for Supportive Fans

Throughout this health struggle, I have been overwhelmed by the love, generosity, and patience of my fans. Their unwavering support and kindness have been a source of strength and inspiration. As a token of my appreciation, I’m working on a special novella featuring the beloved characters, Talos and Lepsi. This novella will be exclusively available through my newsletter, as a heartfelt thank you to all who have stood by me during this challenging time. So if you want to read the story and haven’t joined the M. Pax Dimension yet, get to it! JOIN

The battle against cancer has been daunting, but I remain optimistic and determined. I still have quite a road ahead of me, but I know I’ll be okay in the end. My perspective has been forever changed, and maybe that’s what the Universe decided I needed to know. I don’t believe anything is random. When I decided to look for a new job, I ran into someone I used to work with who told me about my current employer. I got the job and great health insurance. A year later, when I was eligible for protected leave, I found out I had cancer. It wasn’t random I ran into Alex that day. Fate knew I needed better health insurance and a better job. So where will this lead? It’s too early to tell. But I certainly gained wisdom and appreciation for days when I don’t feel sick.

So if you’re in a tough place, have faith that things will work out and that the bumpy road will lead somewhere better. Wishing you good health! Peace out!

 

 

Books for a Cause: Purchase My Work and Help me Battle Cancer! #ebooks #Donate #support #WritingCommunity #ScienceFiction #scifi

 

My life took an enormous turn. Recently, I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. In the end, I’m going to be all right, but it’s a bumpy road getting there, and it’s harder than I believed it would be. My entire life has become doctors’ appointments, chemo treatments, and dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy. What I thought would be a nuisance has become all-consuming.

I can’t think straight. My eyes have trouble focusing. My tongue is numb and my hands cramp. I’m jittery and can’t sleep. I can’t sit. I can’t lay down. I can’t do much of anything. I manage to work my full-time job three and a half days a week, but it wears me to the bone.

My author business is definitely taking a hit during all this. Not only does cancer rob me of time and energy and thinking, it’s taking all my financial resources, too. My business funds have been diverted to pay medical bills, and I still can’t keep up.

The 9th book in the Backworlds series is mostly written, but needs a few more edits to be at its best. I want to continue putting my books into audio and making them available in print. I want to finish the Rifters series, the Squad 51 series, and the Hetty series. I want to write new stuff. I don’t just want to, I need to. I have so, so, so many ideas that want to come pouring out. And, I’ll get them written. In time.

I escape by creating original stories for you. You escape by reading them. Our world is better off with creativity and imagination. Without it, it’s just cancer and treatment and work, which is really, really boring and exhausting.

I write what I love — outer space and secret worlds within our world with quirky characters. My characters have the odds stacked against them and they go out and kick the galaxy’s ass. Those are the characters I want to read about and root for — the average person who finds a way to matter. We all need to matter, and we’re all heroes. That’s what I want you to feel when you read my books.

My treatment is a long one. Currently, I’m in chemotherapy. There’s a total of 16 weeks of it. The first drug regimen is 1x a week for 12 weeks. The second regimen is 1x every 3 weeks for 3 months. Then there’s surgery and radiation before I’m done. The chemo is brutally hard. I’m not getting anything done, and I’ve been unable to work a full week. My job is important. It pays my living expenses and gives me medical insurance. But I’m not earning a full paycheck anymore. Which is where my author business is stepping in. I can’t support myself and the business at the same time. I need a certain amount each month to maintain my business expenses.

Soon, I’ll have to let things go, which will make it harder to come back to publishing, and will then take longer to publish the next book in the Backworlds series and finish the Rifters series. I could use help with keeping the website going, my store, the book distribution, and the mailing list. It costs me about $80 a month to run my business. You certainly could help. Here’s how!

Buy some books. Or, if you already have the books, buy them as gifts for someone else. Or you could also make a straight donation.

You can buy my ebooks at all retailers, but I make more if you buy direct from me. Here are the links:

DONATE          BUY BOOKS

Any support will get me back to publishing faster. And, I will be back. This will not kill me, but losing my dream of being an author might. Thanks for whatever you’re willing to give.

 

 

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