11 September 2018

Spend Some Time with “A Cat in Time”

In 10th-century Japan there was a cat named Myobu. She really lived. My new novel tells the story of this special cat – a cat who lived a very special life.

It all starts out on one dark and stormy night – really. A creature struggles against the storm to find some safe haven; for the time is drawing near when she will bring new life into this world. She has eaten nothing in such a long time, and has had little to quench her unending thirst. And then, to her great surprise and immense relief, she sees a light, and a door and maybe, just maybe, the safety she seeks.

Come along with me on a journey I call A Cat in Time. In it, we follow the adventures of Myobu, the very first cat in Japan whose name has come down through the ages to us.

But, be warned: some say the story you are about to read cannot be true, that no such events happened; but I assure you they are true, they are real and that Myobu really lived. After all, her name is still known, to this day, in the land of the setting sun, the great land of Japan, where the name Myobu is spoken with a hushed reverence befitting one of such greatness.

I had so much fun writing this fantasy story, but I can’t tell you why because that would be what is conventionally known as a “spoiler.” But I can say this novel contains action, adventure, drama and comedy – and yes, kittens. Lots of kittens.

Read more about A Cat in Time by clicking on the link to your right under "My Books."

07 August 2018

Like Diamonds, Chemo is Forever

When I tell people I have cancer and am undergoing chemo, they always ask the same follow-up question: “How long do you have to do chemo?”

It’s a natural question, made even more understandable because of the number of cancers that can be cured. You often hear people talk about finishing chemo, celebrating being cancer free, or having survived cancer.

For me, though, it’s a reminder that not all cancers are curable, that some chemo is forever, that not all patients can look forward to celebrating a life free of cancer. My cancer (myeloma), while manageable, is not curable. At all. I will take drugs the rest of my life to keep it in check with my fingers crossed that they will never stop working, or that the cancer will not somehow mutate into something resistant to them (or that I will not lose my health insurance). My cancer will always get worse, never better. The rate of progress might be slowed by drugs, but the movement will always be forward. Inexorably, inevitably, irreversibly forward.

I don’t think of this as a problem – well, not a huge problem. A lot of cancers are much more virulent than mine, many people are diagnosed too late to even take advantage of chemo and, for some, their cancers require multiple, painful, often-unsuccessful surgeries. I am lucky to be able to avoid that – for now, at least.

What does my cancer future hold for me? Well, lots of chemo for one thing, a possible bone-marrow transplant down the line, and maybe even a kidney transplant at some point. But, right now, I’m managing my cancer, like (as one doctor put it) a chronic disease, akin to diabetes. Not fabulous, but not horrible. At least I don’t have to inject myself with insulin all the time.

31 July 2018

That Time I had a Drug Problem

This is a painful memory.

I had a friend who was a little younger than me. We met because of a mutual physical attraction. That part did not last long, but we did manage to forge a friendship that lasted several years.

Along the way, he got into body building, the kind where you build your body to (what I consider obscene) levels of muscle that would be virtually impossible to achieve naturally. He had protein drinks for breakfast and lunch, each including a dozen raw eggs. He ate actual food for dinner, but mostly steaks and other proteins. He ate an insane amount of calories each day. (I don’t remember the actual amount he told me, but I do remember being shocked at how high the number was.)

I found out he was using steroids to bulk up. This is not good. I’ve always been against taking any drugs I don’t need (recreational or otherwise) and it really bothered me that he was injecting himself with (get ready) HORSE steroids, the kind you give to a horse. He would go down to Mexico and get them.

I pondered how to react to this revelation. He was a very close friend and I loved him and wanted him to be happy BUT drugs? Horse steroids? No.

We had a long, intense, very personal conversation about how much this bothered me. It scared me. I feared for his life and safety. We both cried. I don’t think he really understood the ramifications of his choices. He promised me he would stop.

Several months later, I went to his house. We spent time together. I left. I realized I had forgotten something so I went back to his house. I went in and there, on the coffee table, laid out neatly, was a huge syringe and vials of (what I assumed were) horse steroids. He realized he’d been caught in a lie. I turned to leave. He tried to stop me. I kept going, shattered by the betrayal. I wrote him a letter telling him that either the drugs stopped or our friendship stopped. It was too painful for me to see him treat his body so poorly with such potentially devastating consequences. (Not to mention the fact he lied to me.) It was time for him to make his choice.

He picked steroids over me.