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Thoughts on the Healthy Writer

Health is related to writing. All areas of health. And conversely, today my writing is very specifically related to health. The two, I have found, are closely entwined. I wrote very little when my health was at its worst. I did entertain thoughts of writing when first diagnosed—lots of time during recovery and chemotherapy to write that new novel. Some writers, tougher than me, have used similar circumstances in just that way, I’m sure. Writers with full-time day jobs, perhaps especially. When else is a chunk of time that big going to show up, unplanned for, unasked? The time, and privately, I even thought, the added depth of character this new ordeal was going to provide me with, could be put to good use. Hadn’t I been too overwhelmed with responsibilities to focus on my writing of late?
It all made good sense until the surgery came, and then the six months of chemo. I was on one mode, and it wasn’t writer mode. It way surviving the effects of cancer treatment by laying on the couch mode. I couldn’t even read a book. Well, I did write some CaringBridge blogposts that kept my family and friends informed of my progress and helped me sort out my hopes and fears. But the novel never came. For me, it just didn’t pan out. I had time, but no energy, no ability to concentrate, no creative spark.
Today’s short piece is inspired by that connection, with appreciation and gratitude for the gift of health I am experiencing right now. I took a gorgeous long walk this afternoon past the wooded hills and ready-for-harvesting fields of corn near my cottage. I was stepping pretty lively, sucking in the newly changed chill in the air, and smiling my ass off! And now, as directed (Blogging101), I’m writing.
Tomorrow is Froedtert Day. Froedtert is a hospital/medical center in Milwaukee, WI, USA. It’s pronounced ”fray dirt.” I am new to Wisconsin and Froedtert, but not to the fray. In California, where I used to live, I began my cancer journey. Having a rare form of a rare cancer made me feel uncertain during diagnosis and treatment. Had my doctor ever actually treated this before? This type of cancer isn’t call one of the “orphan diseases” for nothing.
Though I was well taken care of, I always had questions that went nowhere. We are monitoring you closely and believe you have an excellent prognosis. I came to accept this answer, but I never stopped scouring the internet for detailed information. There isn’t much out there, at least not that I was able to find.
Enter Froedtert. With final instructions from my California docs to find an oncologist and get some new tests and scans done when I reached Wisconsin, I began my search. One of my husband’s coworkers suggested Froedtert, as his wife had been successfully treated for cancer there. And it was covered by our insurance. Good enough, I thought. Looking over their website at cancer specialists, I couldn’t believe it. An actual, honest to God Appendiceal cancer specialist was listed on staff.
Fast forward. I got an appointment with this man, this very nice, personable, intellectual giant of a doctor, and in less than forty-five minutes had all three years of my accumulated goblet cell specific questions answered, my tests scheduled and all of them carefully explained. Some done religiously in California weren’t needed at this time; others not done regularly, were.
I go in tomorrow for those tests. One short week later, I’ll see my oncologist again, and he’ll suggest a plan for the future. The future! I am nervous in a whole new way, actually excited to get on with it, believing that a veil has been lifted. I’m several chapters into writing that new book. Out of the fray, and hitting pay dirt.

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