My first month of chemo (of three) ends in a couple days. I’ve taken a little time to think about how different my life is right now compared to this time last year when I was recovering from my open-heart surgery.
Some of the changes include the ongoing swelling in my feet -- so bad that I’ve had to invest in new shoes of a larger size. That sucks. There is also the fatigue, the here-today gone-tomorrow sense of taste, and the occasional trembling in my hands.
The biggest change, however, is that I have not done any serious writing since August of 2015. I’ve been a journalist most of my life. I quit my full-time corporate job in 2012 to allow myself the luxury of focusing on my long-form writing (novels). I used that time well, publishing nine novels and a collection of short stories. But I noticed in the summer of 2015 that I was struggling to finish my most recent novel. Struggling not because of writer’s block, but because of fading energy. This was a few months before I started the path that led to my cancer diagnosis. I didn’t understand at the time why it was so hard to write; I understand now.
Since then, I’ve written nothing new. I’ve had to turn down freelance writing projects and put my own writing aside. I’ve gone from writing four or five or six hours a day to nothing. I spend most of that time now resting with reading or napping. It totally sucks. Not only do I not have the actual strength to write, I also am lacking the mental strength to concentrate on writing. It’s amazing how much energy that takes, and how little of that energy I have.
Keeping in mind that my cancer can only be treated but not cured, my hope is that the treatment will eventually allow me to return to something like a normal life; but I wonder if that will happen. I hope it’s a case of the night being darkest before the dawn, but I’m not confident. I sometimes wonder if my writing career is pretty much over and that this will become my new normal.