Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hitting the Five Year Mark Soon!

Welcome, I’m the Priestess of Poop. Bet that got your attention now didn’t it? I actually called myself that for a brief period of time when I was diagnosed with colon cancer back in the fall of 2006. Wasn’t exactly one of the better times in my life, let me tell you.

You see I’d just gotten a raise that was literally double my previous salary, had a new job I loved, sold two romance novels and three short stories and life was looking pretty darn good if I do say so myself. Then…wait for it…you guessed it, my streak of good luck came crashing down around me in leaps and bounds.

I knew something wasn’t right with my body but put it off to stress (the new job), fatigue (burning both ends of the candle with my writing), and not eating properly (no good excuse for that one). But after seeing something that didn’t look right in the porcelain goddess and making a quick call to my family doctor, my worse nightmare quickly became a reality. Had my first colonoscopy two days after my 46th b-day. Woke up to find the doctor, nurse and hubby all staring at me and received the news there was a tumor. Yup, the first tremors of my world coming unglued kicked in. Three weeks later, I took a leave of absence from the job, notified my editor and publisher that I would do everything possible to get my edits done for them and retreated from life for a while for surgery and chemo.

Now if you can imagine this (and gals I know you can) my first day of chemo started off with a bang. I literally got my period, had to quit caffeine (Pepsi is/was my drink of choice) and had my first treatment of chemo. I have to admit there wasn’t a suckier day on the face of this planet for me!!! (LOL) And that would be a false statement because as chemo progressed, the days did suck worse to the point of my mind going to the dark side and I couldn’t find a bright light at the end of the tunnel till about 1/3 of the way through my treatment.

Those of you that know me know I’m a fighter. I’ve never met a challenge I couldn’t nip in the bud until cancer. I’m also a Type A personality (just call me anal to a fault – literally (G)). So I was bound and determined cancer would not win. And since I’m writing this you know that it didn’t beat me, I beat it!

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer. It is also the third leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. If caught earlier, it’s also the most treatable. I was floored when my doctor told me the tumor was probably in my body close to ten years! Can you imagine that? I had no clue. This year alone colorectal cancer is expected to claim the life of 49,830 deaths. But, more than a million people are survivors of this deadly disease as well.

While I don’t physically participate in the Relay for Life that is held in my community each year, I can say that I donate a nice chunk of change to the cause during the auction portion. June 4, 2011 at Friendship Park in Lake Orion was my local Relay for Life survival day event. I reconnected with the nurses who knew when I needed a shoulder to cry on or another bowl of soup (where I had my treatment had free lunch days a lot), and I walked the survivors lap around the park, shared lunch with family and friends, and more importantly know that I have made it through another year. And of course found a lot of great things to bid on and won for the Silent Auction and the out loud one too!

I'm closing in on my 5 year remission point in October and am very happy to say I'm still in remission. So on that happy note; I’ll leave you all for today. Thank you for stopping by and thanks for sharing my story with me. And remember, the Priestess of Poop says “Don’t forget your own colonoscopy.” Think of it this way, you get to lose a lot of water weight with the prep and get a great nap during the procedure. Best part – you know you’ve taken care of your body by scheduling the appt.

My love to all, Patti

* Statistics from The American Cancer Society –

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back in the saddle again

Yup, I'm back. Thought you'd seen the last of me for awhile, didn't you? But I had you all fooled. This year life took on a few new interesting twists and it really put me behind the proverbial eight ball. I've come to terms with everything and ready to plunge ahead.

You know how it is. Everything is going along wonderfully, then all of a sudden life takes a sharp left turn and you find everything is upside down. I had that happen in February when my grandfather unexpected passed away. Once things settled down, I threw myself back into my writing and moved forward.

Good news, requested revisions from Mill and Boon Medicals on Book One. Done and sent. Better news, Book Two done and sent to Mills and Boon Medicals. Headed off to the RWA National Conference in New York at the end of June. Met old friends,made new ones and had fabulous editor appointments. Best news, by the time I came home I had five requests for my new paranormal. And more news,the rights reverted to my former writing partner and I on our historical time travel and we resold it. McCade's Miracle will come out in ebook form on October 15, 2011 from eXtasy Books.

And then life hits you upside the head with a two by four when you aren't looking. Three weeks ago I had to put my best furry four-legged friend of sixteen and a half years to sleep. Cassie had been by my side through thick and thin. Literally. She was my stalwart companion when I was diagnosed with colon cancer. She never left my side when I would arrive home chemo appointments, staying with me like velcro. She took care of me whenever my hubby left the house and even when he was home.

I think that is one of the hardest things I'll ever do in my life is to stand there, cradling my big girl while the life drains out of her eyes and her body. I told my hubby I wasn't going to leave her, I would be there for her til the end and I was. No the house is alittle too quiet, alittle too furless and alittle too empty, even though we have a six year old cat (otherwise known as Annoying Rodent) to keep me company. But it isn't the same.

In time, I'll be open to getting another dog. Or puppy, or dog, not sure what. At this exact moment, I can't fathom the idea of wandering out back at 2:00 a.m. in my pj's with a winter coat thrown over it extoling the virtues of "Hurry up and go potty" in twenty degree weather with snow flying. (I'm sure you all get the picture and are nodding your head at this point)

So instead I've thrown myself back into my writing (and protecting the keyboard from errant kitty paws and undistinguishable symbols on the screen). Be right back, Annoying Rodent has decided it's more important that I hold him rather than chat with you all....

Ok, I'm here again. Cat is content for a minute. Back to writing, that's where we left off. I'm working on a light paranormal (requested at conference) and am diligently heading toward the proverbial finish line (Sept 1st). Then it will go out on submission. After that, I'll start something fresh and new and enjoy the process of creation all over again.

It's a vicious cycle you know. You write, you submit, you either get accepted or rejected. Then do it all over again and again and again. Torture at its best (and worse).

I don't write because it's easy (cause it's not), I don't write because I have to (because I don't), I write because I love what I do. I love to create a heroine and hero that I (and readers) will fall in love with. That's what it's all about. Writing a book that you can't put down, no matter what. One that holds you spellbound, way past your bedtime, or forgetting that you needed to do laundry, start dinner, go to the store. That's my goal.

My other goal is hitting the five year in remission mark come this October 25th. So far I've lost a few more body parts than normal due to complications after surgery along the way. But I'd like to keep the ones I have left. I need them (G). Ok,not the extra pounds that are somehow glued to my hips. Those could go any time and I'd be very happy.

I guess what I'm saying is tough times will knock you down. It's up to you to get back up and get back on that horse. If need be, super glue yourself to it. Tie a rope around your middle and wrap it around the saddle horn. Just don't give up.

Till next time and yes I promise there will be one. Keep on dreaming and keep on believing.