Back in the Saddle Again

Hi Everyone!

As you will know if you visit my main site, Christine’s Collection, I started chemo-therapy in April to treat my leukemia. I had my last treatment Sept 9th, almost two months ago. My oncologist is quite pleased at how I responded to the treatment; they feel there are almost no cancerous lymphocytes left and I should have about five years before they build up and become a serious problem again.

So many things fall behind when you aren’t feeling well. then when life starts to return to normal you tray to catch up on the house-cleaning and other pressing stuff. So I’ve left this blog inactive, but it’s time to get back to writing and posting here. Actually I have done a few fiction tales on my main blog and will re-post them here in case you don’t follow Christine’s Collection.

Another thing that’s stimulated my urge to write fiction is sitting in on Jerry Jenkins’ writing classes. Last month my husband joined the Jerry Jenkins Writing Guild and we’ve both been watching the webinars on how to produce quality writing. I’ve learned a lot from his “How to Become A Ferocious Self-Editor” sessions. “Ferocious” is the perfect description as he puts some writer’s first page through his Manuscript Repair and Revision.

Anyway, a few days ago I did an exercise for The Write Practice, then posted it on Christine Composes. You can read it here: Metaphors — Prose & Haiku

Wishing everyone a lovely week. For those of us who live in free countries, let’s not forget on Nov 11th to pause a moment and give thanks for the peace we enjoy and the personal freedoms we have. No, life isn’t perfect, but folks of past generations have sacrificed so much — even their lives — so we can have it this good.

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Closed For Now

Hello, dear Readers.

I appreciate all the LIKES and all my followers and apologize for not posting on this site as I originally intended. Alas, for the time being my story fountain has run dry.

At this point, considering my current struggle with leukemia and the slow downhill slide my health seems to be taking, I’ve decided to go back to one blog for my poetry and fiction. I don’t want to shut this site down completely — who knows what the future may hold? But until further notice this blog and my poetry blog, http://swallowinthewind.wordpress.com, will be inactive.

All my prose and poems — except for haiku — will be posted on my main blog, http://christinegoodnough.com.

For the time being I plan to continue posting haiku occasionally on http://treetophaiku as well.

Bowl of Life Seriously Shattered

A few days ago I posted the poem “Broken” where I likened a bowl that cracked at work last week to the suddenness of a traffic accident. Last week I learned there’s more than one way a dish can suddenly split in half.

On the 13th I came home from my shift at the Villa resolved that I was going to finally have a physical checkup to see why I’ve been so fatigued all winter, why my thinking seems at times so fuzzy, why I get so out of breath and my nerves burn so much. I put in a normal shift at work that day and my upper legs hurt all evening, somewhat like a bad sunburn.

I’ve been telling myself all winter I need to be more active, cut out coffee, etc., but Tuesday I decided these problems stem from something deeper than a sedentary lifestyle. So I phoned and made a doctor’s appointment, fearing MS, fibromyalgia, or some awful thing like that. Thursday I saw the doctor – a new one at our clinic – and he gave me forms for blood tests.

Because we had other things to do that day, I ended up putting the test off until last Tuesday morning. Wednesday before 9am I got a call from my doctor’s office. “The doctor wants to see you about your test results. Can you come in for 11:45am?”

I was surprised he even had the results that fast. “ Could I rather come in tomorrow?”

“He really wants to see you today.”

“Oh, dear.” Do I have an infection? Has he discovered I’m diabetic?  He was going to test my B12 levels. Has he discovered that I’m seriously anaemic? Or is my white blood cell count too high, which would be indicative that my body’s fighting something? Like cancer?

I scolded myself. “Don’t imagine the worst right away.”

My daughter was going to town that day so I caught a ride in with her and looked after her two youngest children while she shopped. And she waited at the doctor’s office with me. The doctor told me my white blood cell count was extremely high. I knew he was looking for tumours when he checked my lymph glands, liver and spleen, but said everything feels normal. He wanted to repeat the blood test for confirmation. He’d ordered one other test done, he said, but he couldn’t find – or didn’t have – the results yet.

Then we went to have dinner and while we were eating he phoned me. I could forget about that repeat blood test; he’d located or gotten the results of the last test. And he told me I have leukemia.

He told me he’d already called a blood doctor and that fellow wanted me to have an ultrasound of my innards to see if there was any sign they were affected. I should come pick up the form at his office.  When I got there the receptionist said the doctor had told her it was “urgent” so she’d booked it for the next morning. (Around here that’s amazing!)

CLL is what he wrote on the requisition form. We’ve read that Chronic lymphocytic leukemia – if that’s what it turns out to be – is a common kind in older people and it progresses very slowly.

So I’m sitting tight and hoping for good news from my doctor tomorrow once he has the test results. Then I’ll likely need to visit this haematologist – and maybe the Cancer Clinic – to find out where to from here.

On Friday I told my husband I feel like I’ve been blown out of the water and landed in a giant marshmallow where everything’s fuzzy and I can’t think about anything yet. But since then I’ve gone from “This isn’t happening” to “No big deal. I could live another 30 years” to “Shriek! I’m dying!” to “So what else is new?” I’m sure the picture will clarify after a few more doctor’s appointments.

So the bowl that holds my sweetness has cracked in half; in one way nothing has changed yet everything has changed. Funny thing, though: the sweetness isn’t lost; God is pouring it into everyday life all around me. The beauty of nature, the affection of my family, the laughter of my grandchildren – each thing tastes sweeter now. When you lose sight of tomorrow, everything you see and feel today can be so precious.

In the midst of this I’m preparing my manuscript; I’ve been giving it a final edit before publication and choosing suitable illustrations. So my posts may be sporadic for awhile but I want you to know your prayers and moral support at this time mean very much to us.

INNOCENCE LOST

When I was a teen my Mom & Dad F owned a café and we sold tobacco products.  Almost every day, among my other jobs, I would refill the wooden rack with the various brands of cigarettes.  When people came in to buy a pack I would hand it over and ring up the sale.

I never thought twice about the right or wrong of it; it was simply part of my job.  I didn’t smoke, thus I had no interest in those packages other than to fill the racks.  I had no craving for what was inside.  On the contrary, I’d seen a few pictures of tar-blackened smokers’ lungs, looking about the colour of the fresh asphalt being spread on the highway outside our door–and I sure didn’t want mine to look like that!

So, even though I was aware of evidence coming forth about cigarettes causing cancer and other diseases, as far as my own personal interest is concerned, I was handling them innocently.  But the time came when my Dad got cancer as a direct result of smoking.  It started in his sinus, erupted in open sores on his face, ate away at his nose bone and eye socket, and spread to his brain.  He looked so awful as the cancer messed up his face!

After that I hated tobacco.  Not the actual product, but what it could do to people’s lives–what it did to my father and so many others.  First of all, all that money going up in smoke.  The years of slavery; innocent babes living in smoke-filled homes, having their lungs damaged every day.  Then the suffering and death, whether from cancer, emphysema, COPD or other diseases.

While I oppose smoking for health reasons and the waste of money, I hate it for what it has done to someone I love.  When I was looking for employment, I refused to work at any jobs where I’d be involved in handling and selling tobacco products.  I can’t claim innocence anymore.