Almost five years ago I sat in a classroom at George Mason University fighting back tears while listening to Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata, figuring that I would not be alive to complete my doctorate and teach the piece to students of my own one day.
Well, I was partly right: I will not be teaching the sonata to anyone, but not because I’m too sick.
As many of you know, my interests shifted when I learned that I had cancer. My passion for music fizzled out, and I eventually left my graduate program in music theory. While my body grew healthier and stronger — despite tumors lingering on some vital organs — my work life stalled. I was too focused on my health to think about work.
Instead, I started writing.
At first I wrote because I had a crazy story to tell and finished a first draft of I Have Cancer. And I’ve Never Felt Better! Then little by little I started writing pieces about my healthcare journey for publications like Balanced Body Pilates COREterly e-newsletter, Physicians News Digest, and KevinMD.com.
I quickly realized that it wasn’t writing about my story that made me happy; it was simply the act of writing anything that did. And so I set out to become a professional freelance writer while also finishing and marketing my book.
The reason I haven’t been blogging very often here, is because I have been extremely busy writing for Washington Post Express and Whole Life Times magazine, in addition to wrapping up edits on the book so that we can launch it as an e-book this summer.
It was five years ago that my doctor wanted to send me back to the hospital for some new pancreas scans to see if he could figure out why I was in so much pain. I was certain the tests would reveal nothing and I’d be sent home with stronger pain killers, and then I’d crack open my musicology book or practice an aria for a voice lesson. Instead I walked into a new world that was at first terrifying but has ironically given me a richer, happier, and healthier new life.
It feels wonderful to be on a career path once again. It also feels wonderful knowing that freelancing allows me the flexibility to continue riding my bike and exercising every day if I want, maintaining my vegetable garden, managing my home, and cooking gobs of healthy plant-based meals.
I was a workaholic before my cancer diagnosis, and then I was stuck in a cancer funk not sure of what I wanted to be if and when I grew up. Now I’m just enjoying a boring, normal, quiet life with Tommie, our cats Briscoe and Curtiss, and our bikes.
So, while we’ve had a bit of a lull on the blog, there’s been a whole lot of work happening behind the scenes. You’ll be the first to know when the book is ready to launch, and I’ll continue to post articles I write, along with interesting articles I read, to Facebook and Twitter.