Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Northwest Community Hospital held it’s annual Cancer Survivor get together last Sunday. For the first time, I was an “honored guest.” A survivor. As I walked in the door I felt a little strange calling myself a survivor when my cancer was only discovered in January. I was told, “You’re a survivor from the moment you’re diagnosed,” as they pinned a sunflower corsage on my chest. Other survivors attending included a five-year-old and a woman who has survived over forty years.

There were horror stories, notably from some of the older survivors in the days when treatment was not as fine-tuned as it is today and sometimes left long-term problems. Stories of sores that remained open for years made my already ending bout with gastrointestinal distress – such a clean term—seem inconsequential.

Mostly there was a feeling of success. An old-style D. J. played a name that tune contest, and there was a raffle where every survivor received a prize. And there was more food than my still struggling intestinal tract knew how to handle.

It all helped me remember that cancer doesn’t care. There is no answer to the “Why me” question. If you have an organ you can get cancer in that organ. It can strike anyone anytime. I did learn that if you have to have cancer, uterine is one of the best to have. At my age, the doctors can take out the whole piece of plumbing and toss it. I will spend the next few years living in doctor’s offices. Let’s see – June was the gynecologist and the surgeon. July will be the radiologist. August the internist, and September the surgeon again. You get the picture. If I stay cancer-free for a couple of years the routine will get scaled back. In the meantime, I get to live my life. Unlike a brave woman I never got to meet. Fellow 2010 Golden Heart® Finalist, Donnell Epperson.

She died from Breast Cancer in February, a month before her position as a Golden Heart finalist was announced. I have been praying for her family ever since I heard.

In the meantime, I go on. I know, in spite of the interesting scar revealing the path of the scalpel as they slit me open, and the radiation treatments that left me tired and running for the bathroom, there could still be a few hidden cells. It’s more like a cold than the measles, having cancer once confers no immunity in the future. But I don’t let fear stop me. I have a set of goals for this year, and I’m way behind.

So, I'm rolling up my sleeves and getting back to work. I have one manuscript to edit and another to finish. My characters wait for me to tell their stories.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I'm supposed to be a grownup. Fact is, I've spent more of my life in the so-called adult stage than in any other. In fact, I am rapidly approaching what some people - myself not included - would call my seniority.

But deep down inside me, the kid still lives.

Maybe that's why I had luck writing a YA novel. I want that kid back. Writing PULL gave me the excuse to spend my days deeply immersed as a kid again. No matter what gender, that's the most passionate time of our lives. I loved revisiting the agony and the ecstasy.

So, this Saturday, June 12, I will be crowded between God only knows how many teens and twenty-somethings, at an outdoor concert designed for people less than half my age. (more likely for people close to a third my age) I admit I'll be in disguise. I'm borrowing a friend's daughter to give me an outward excuse for being there. And yes, I will have earplugs, and will spend far more time in my seat than most of the people around me. At least until Ludacris comes on stage. And Taio Cruz. And T-Pain. And Jason Derulo. And...

Okay, maybe i will spend more time on my feet than I should at my time in life. It's the problem with being in my second childhood. Or, as I sometimes suspect, never getting out of my first.