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!!!!
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.
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!
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:
Well, this is not the update I wanted to make. Not by a long shot…
The same day we let Sargie go because of colon cancer, I found a lump. It was 3 days before Christmas. Since I live in the desert and have sensitive skin, I put on lotion every day, and know it was not there the day before. Everyone said not to worry, it was probably just a cyst. But I called that day for a doctor’s appointment ASAP. The earliest I could get was after New Years. Since then, my life has been a flurry of medical appointments. It was not just a cyst. I was officially diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer on January 19th. I’m still stage 2A, so it was caught early, but it’s an extremely aggressive and fast-growing monster.
This beast has consumed my life and every resource since I found that damn lump. First of all, when they tell you, you have cancer, it’s terrifying. At first, I didn’t know what to think or feel other than to have a lot of panic attacks. Sometimes I still can’t talk about it out loud, but I’m getting better at that. Then they started peeling off the layers of the onion. It wasn’t a generic, run-of-the-mill cancer, it’s the kind that requires chemo to start the fight. A lot of chemo. Anyway, the blows kept coming. There were a barrage of tests: mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, MRIs (the worst of them all), surgery to have a port installed, cat scan, bone scan, EKG, blood tests, and I’m sure I’m missing a few. There were appointments with surgeons, the radiologist, the oncologist, my regular doctor, follow-ups, and all the diagnostic tests. Trying to keep up with all the appointments was a trial in itself.
Plus, it’s extremely emotionally taxing, and I was trying to keep up with my full-time job at the same time. Because they needed the tests done ASAP, because the chemo had to get started ASAP, I didn’t have any choices as to when the appointments were made. It was when they were first available. The loss of control was hard on me, really hard. And, of course, all this is extremely stressful.
I felt fine and had no pain until they started poking, prodding, and slicing me up. But I still mostly feel okay. I started chemo last Friday, finally. I slept most of the day after, had a headache, and felt a bit wonky stomach-wise. It’ll be a day-by-day thing, and I will lose my hair. This week, actually. Yay! (sarcasm) My first round of chemo drugs is 1x a week for 12 weeks. The second round is 1x every three weeks for 3 months. That’s 6 months. Then I have surgery and then radiation. That takes me nearly to the end of the year in cancer treatment.
So, that throws my life and plans into turmoil. It can’t be helped, and I have to be kind to myself and realistic. My garden plans will have to wait until next year. Playing in dirt is not safe on chemo because of bacteria and mold and stuff. If I get a splinter or cut, it’s a big deal. I can’t volunteer at the observatory this year. I have to isolate and stay away from germ-riddled people. So, I go back into a COVID lockdown type of life. More face masks. I’m trying to find all the ones I had for COVID. Guess I should get some new ones. Maybe in September when chemo is done, I can make it up to PMO for a night under the stars. I’ll dream of it, and I’ll miss it. I haven’t gotten any farther in editing The Afterworlds or making audiobooks. When I wasn’t at doctor’s appointments, I was making up time at work.
Work is important. First, I work in health insurance and have excellent health insurance now. So, I need to keep that. My company is nonprofit so I don’t work for the evil empire. That makes me feel good about what I do. Second, work helps calm me down. It’s nice to keep what bit of normalcy I can. I’ve been at this job for a little over a year and still have no complaints about my company. They fubared my FMLA a bit, but I think we finally straightened that out. Because I needed the time for medical appointments and surgery, I had to put ADA and FMLA in place. Chemo is an all-day thing pretty much. And as chemo goes on, some days are going to be really hard. So, keeping a 40-hour work week has been a challenge and will continue to be. I’m fortunate to be able to do my job fully remote. and that my hours can be extremely flexible. I can work more on days I feel good and move workdays to weekends or later in the evening if that works out better for me. I’m also fortunate to have a wonderful boss that will do whatever she can to get me through this. It’s rare to have a boss like her, and she’s a big part of why I like my job.
What does all this mean for my writing life? Well, I am beginning to divert funds from my business to my medical expenses. Soon I’ll run out of paid time off and will find it harder to meet living expenses and medical expenses, let alone my author business expenses. I’ll do my best to get The Afterworlds done. I’m in the second round of edits, but I have to put my health first. Often, I’m exhausted. If I don’t put my needs and health first, this cancer could kill me. It wants to very badly. Since I found the lump, it’s been growing and trying to spread. That’s why the doctors were moving so fast to get me started. They still wanted me on chemo much earlier, but scheduling all the needed diagnostics didn’t cooperate with what the oncologist wanted.
Most likely this cancer won’t kill me. Because I didn’t wait to go to the doctor. If you find wonky shit on your body, don’t wait. Waiting will kill you. Cancer is not the death sentence it once was, but you have to get treatment and get it as soon as possible.
The regimen I’m on is proven to be highly effective at killing the strange-hybrid monster cancer I have. But, the fear remains in my face. What if it isn’t effective? What if it comes back? What if? What if? What if? The beginning of a cancer battle is incredibly overwhelming, so I need grace and patience from all of you waiting on the next book.
One thing I did was change the Not of This Earth Bookshop back to Payhip. Woocommerce was just too temperamental and unreliable. It broke about every 6 weeks, and I don’t have the energy to deal with it at this time. Payhip never failed, so the store went back to Payhip. Same books, same prices, same guarantee.
If you want to stay updated on my battle, I’ll post once in a while here. But I’m more vocal about it on Instagram and FB. It’s harder on Twitter because you can’t say much in a post there.
In the end, I’ll be okay. Losing is not an option, and I have so many stories to write and series to finish. So, this is just a very hard bump in the road. It is not the end of the road. If you’d like to help me keep the office lights on here, think about buying some books or donate. That would really help a lot. If you want to spread the word, I wouldn’t mind that either. Thank you for listening and wishing you great health.
Why’d I do that? So that I can offer you print and audiobooks in the Not of this Earth Bookshop.
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So, yeah, I’ve been really busy making this new site. What else am I up to? I naively bought a laser for my cats, and now that’s all they want to do… play laser. Two squirrels have been ravaging my garden, so it’s been combat in the backyard. I think maybe straight-on cayenne pepper sprinkled liberally on everything made a difference. For now. I won’t hold my breath.
The audibooks of The Rifters and The Initiate are now done. I’m working on The Reader. The paperback and large print editions of The Backworlds are done. I’m working on the hardcover and Stopover.
Edits for The Afterworlds are going into the computer. There’s a lot of writing/rewriting to be done, so the edits won’t be quick. With the website done, my focus will go here.
June was a busy month and a rainy one. Cool and rainy every weekend, it was a challenge to get my garden in. I finally did. Many things are growing very well. There are things I still need to learn to do better, though.
The first round of edits on The Afterworlds is still in progress. I’m past the halfway point. The bones are good so far. My notes are mostly about fleshing things out more. That’s a positive.
Besides working on the next release, I’ve been busy researching how to expand. I’ll be venturing back into print and will be offering it direct through my Not of this Earth Bookshop as well as other outlets. On this site, I’ll be offering options for regular print, large print, and special editions not available anywhere else.
I also decided to go ahead and offer my books in audio through digital narration. I started with The Rifters and have the first one almost done. I’ll be putting my full catalog into digital narration except for The Backworlds, Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge, and The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. Those three titles are still under contract with ACX. I hope to extricate them in the near future.
These expansions mean a renovation of the Not of this Earth Bookshop. I have so much to do, but I’m happy with these decisions and the large heaping of projects on my plate. They’re exciting projects, so stay tuned!
And once The Backworlds series is completed, I will be at work finishing up The Rifters series, then the Hetty Locklear series and Squad 51. After those, I’m already cooking up new stories… my favorite part of the writing process.
I did see Jurassic World: Dominion this month too. I know the critics really didn’t like it much, but I did. I always think more people could have been eaten by the dinosaurs, but that’s always my opinion.
The husband unit liked it too. To me, it had more of a plot than the previous movies, and the references back to movie one were awesome. The addition of the original cast was great too. The major disappointment was the theater had no Cheetos popcorn. I had to get the regular stuff. Yikes!
It was our first trip to the theater since COVID shut everything down, and it was really different. For one, not so many snacks. For two, not much staff. And, the signs outside the theaters telling you which movie was in which theater weren’t working.
But the 3D dino action was fantastic. It was a fun movie, which is all I expect from a movie with dinos running amok. I would rank this as my second favorite movie of the franchise. In order: 1, 6, 4 and 5, 3… 2 is the movie I don’t like to talk about. That one was a sad, sad disappointment.
Hope you had a good June. I’ll check in again at the end of July!