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Updated: Apr 3

My apologies for the radio silence. Especially if this is the only way you follow me.

I have been writing a lot, though it may be hard to tell from this vantage point, so let me catch you up on all things books and writing.

Blog aside, it's been a busy number of months.

One of the key lessons we are taught as writers is write, write, write.

When you are looking for an agent for one project you should always have others in the works. That project can be another book, an essay, a short or flash piece. It doesn't matter as long as you are continually practicing and perfecting your craft and creative ideas.

For me it translated into this:

I finally found a memoir critique group. A lovely group of lady writers who are so wonderful, talented and astute as readers and critique partners, I am beyond grateful.

After reading my beginning pages they all agreed that while they like my voice it felt to them like I was starting my book in the wrong place. This is an all too common mistake for writers.

Anyway, while I was rereading my own book to find it's new opening I had an idea for an essay. And then another idea popped up for a creative non-fiction flash piece (1000 words or less).

All of which sent me off in a few directions that in the end still equalled some form of reading and writing.

During this same time I was given a couple of opportunities to discuss my work with an agent as well as two different editors. I won't get into the nitty gritty since they all reviewed different projects but the consensus was unanimous: Great voice, great topics, good writing but needs some work. The suggestions on how to elevate my writing were priceless as well encouraging. All I needed to keep moving forward.

I have since found a new beginning for my book with a stamped approval from my critique partners. I have been tweaking the flash piece and essay which at some point I hope to get published...keep your fingers crossed but I'll let you know as soon as it happens. And to add to the chaos (good joyful chaos) I am co-writing a fiction with my daughter. #WritersLife

In case you wanted to know what else was going on in between my idyllic writers life:

School, Homework, Driver's Ed, Karate lessons and tournaments, doctors appointments, PT, family visits, Finally watching Ted Lasso, The whole month of November disappeared because of Covid: we are 2 for 2 against it, not sure how we managed that but I'm proud it didn't get us all. More doctors appointments, Family golf lessons and our first movie in a theatre since 2019.

Life. kinda like yours.

Hope this finds everyone well. Happy New Year, Spring forward is coming and I'll write again soon.


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I know everyone is sick of Covid.

There is nothing more tiresome than to speak of the horrible virus that has wreaked havoc on our lives for the last 2 and half years. It's ripped family members away and left others with long-haul symptoms that echo the lives of autoimmune sufferers everywhere.

At the same time I'd appreciate if you wouldn't paint me as a monster for saying there is a silver lining because for some of us there has, in fact, been a silver lining.

And when I say "us" I mean people like me, people with chronic illness, low immune systems and varies maladies that drag us down at every turn.

Covid allowed for a pause.

It allowed me personally the ability to step back, take a break and to focus squarely on my health.

It allowed me to stay home.

Notice I didn't say it forced me into my house. Quite the opposite. It boldly allowed me to opt out, skip the lines, not participate and not have to show up.

It took away the guilt I felt if I physically wasn't able to attend an event that I knew I was expected to go to. It removed the stigma of having to decline invitations.

It was a pleasure to be able to phone everything in. And I mean everything.

Kids sports and school, Virtual lessons. Family chats, Zoom me in. Writers conference, Zoom me in. Groceries, Instacart delivery. Birthday presents, the internet shops were my oyster. If it could be ordered, shipped or delivered, I did it.

I actually saw more people because I was able to show up on a screen from the ease of my home. I could wear whatever suited me in the moment and I could be sitting in my most comfortable chair that my body cried for and needed. It's been glorious.

As much as I love to travel, and we did often, Covid allowed me to avoid the airport like the plague. I was saved from every seat tray bacteria, every recirculated air virus and every armrest germ that infiltrated my system every time I flew. I skipped over every hotel room slime and car rental crud. My immune system sincerely thanks Covid for giving it a rest.

Oh, and masks. God I love masks. I can't even begin the praise of being able to go to the doctor's office behind the safety of my filtered mask. I'm aware of the arguments out there but the pandemic has normalized wearing masks enough that all my medical appointments require it and that is right inline with my comfort level. It helped me through multiple ER visits and surgery.

If you don't know what it's like to be ill the majority of the time then I can see how you'd be anxious and unhappy to be kept away from whatever you deem normal. I remember those carefree days. But now for the ones like me, it's been a dream to be able to rest more often without argument.

It was tiresome picking up whatever is "going around" every. single. time. just because your system can't fight it off. I've lost count of all the enjoyed events that turned into days of regret and pain.

I know at some point I'll probably end up with Covid.

I'm familiar with an obscene amount of people who've had it once, twice and some who've died.

In a multitude of conversations I've clearly expressed my hopes of being the literal last person on earth to catch it. Not because I'm afraid of being sick but simply because I'm already sick of being sick all the time.

Ironically, with Covid hanging around , this has been the longest amount of time I've gone without additional sickness on top of my normal autoimmune issues and I'm not looking to break my streak anytime soon.

Wish me (us) luck!

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**Trigger Warning - pictures of surgical incisions attached.

Have you ever experienced Deja Vu?

You know, the feeling that at the very moment you are mid motion, mid experience you get a tingling Spidey sense, raised neck hairs, goose bump arms telling you that you've done this exact action, or you've been to that exact place before...even though you have no recollection of date and time?

For me it doesn't happen often.

Though I have one very clear memory when my Deja vu flashed me back to medieval times for a brief second that made all too much sense of the present circumstance but, hey, that’s a weird story for some other time.

This actual Deja vu moment is not quite the textbook definition.

I've spoken in the past about my autoimmune disease and subsequent cancer diagnosis.

The details and harrowing experience are fleshed out in my upcoming memoir, but this experience is more along the lines of surgery adjacent.

You see, when I had my thyroid removed four years ago the surgery itself was met with celebration, in my mind. Regardless of the scar across my neck, the discomfort I would feel, the healing process, difficulty with my voice and swallowing food, none of that mattered because cancer was being removed.

What I thought would be a highlight and epiphany moment of my life answering age old struggles turned out to be a larger leap into a further education of our complicated medical system.

All of that aside, I had an amazing surgeon. He was highly praised for being not only extremely experienced in his field but the elite of seamstress's, one that left behind something that looked like a hint of a scar.

As I healed, people were in awe. My scar was a non-scar. It was nearly transparent, and people couldn't believe I had major surgery.

I smiled with pride.

And then I didn't.

Several months later a small bump appeared.

It looked like the little bump I had before the surgery, about the size of a zit. It had been nothing major in my life for a million years and I had assume, joyfully, in the process of surgery it was removed.

"The little Engine that could and did"

This little dot began to grow. It wasn't an overnight process; it was over years.

It went from being the size of a pin head to the size of a pencil eraser.

Doctors glanced at it, touched it but never suggested nor guessed at its origin.

It grew from an small eraser to a large nail head.

Still nothing from my doctors.

Over the years and its growth, it has been spoken of and labeled as "just a cyst" ... landing in an unfortunate place.

I recently visited a new Endocrinologist who attempted to touch my throat and thyroid area only to be met dead on with my cyst, that was now attempting to outsize a dime. She expressed concern and said quite frankly that I should make an appointment with my surgeon and get it looked at because it was impeding upon her ability to properly examine me.

I did as I was told and promptly called my surgeons office.

“Hey, it’s me, I know it’s been a while, but it seems that I have a large cyst growing right in the middle of my thyroid incision”

They seemed confused, maybe concerned and I was asked a million questions about pain and discomfort and then given an appointment within days.

I naively thought he would brush me off to a dermatologist or that this was something that could be done in the office. You know, like local numbing, a quick slice, a couple of stiches an sent on my way. Easy peasy.

No such luck.

The discussion went from zero to surgery within minutes.

He spoke about all the ways to remove it and from which angle. He had me stand in front of a mirror as he stood behind me describing and drawing with his fingers how he could use the incision I have by lengthening it leaving me with still one scar compared to going in just below it and leaving 2 scars, like an equal sign, or cutting down across the middle and leaving what would look like a cross or plus sign.

The complication was not that it was a cyst but where it was located.

Out of all the real estate my body has to offer my cyst picked the center of my neck amongst nerves and scar tissue.

Yippee! <eye roll>

Heavy sigh.

I scheduled the surgery.

The day before I followed all the Pre-op instructions. Shower with the special soap. Stop eating by midnight. Don’t use certain meds. Whatever the restrictions stated I followed.

The morning of surgery I was awake just after 4am. We needed to be there by 6am and the hospital is 45 minutes away.

As my husband drove the déjà vu began.

We parked in almost the same place in the parking structure.

Walked in through the doors to check in, register and wait in the same waiting room.

When the nurse came to get me and take me back for prep this was the first time I registered with high blood pressure before a procedure.

I thought I was mentally prepared for this. It’s a minor procedure. The surgery itself shouldn’t be more than 40 minutes and once awake I should be home by lunch.

I should have had a clue when my body began expressing its anxiety. I went to the bathroom five times in the span of three hours. My system was grumbly and gassy and was acting highly disturbed.

I attempted to talk myself down. Surround myself in white light. Breath.

I spoke in relaxed and friendly tones with the nurses and medical staff.

When my surgeon came in, he greeted us and proceeded to grab his sharpie to draw on my neck just as he had four years prior.

The surgery staff was not the same and my team was smaller compared to before, but one nurse came in and I recognized her name. It was a common name with an unusual spelling. She spoke and it was Déjà vu.

When the time came to roll me to the OR I told my husband that I loved him, and I would see him on the other side. One of the staff laughed and said, “You mean post-op, not like the other “other” side” We all chuckled. And I assured him that I was only here to remove a cyst and have a free nap, nothing more.

When I woke up, I asked what time it was.

I did this last time and I have no idea if this is common or not. Somewhere inside my head I need to know how much time had passed.

If you do this, let me know in the comments or drop into my social media. I’m curious.

I woke with an ice pack across my neck. Just like before.

When I was coherent enough, I was rolled into the recovery post-op. As my waking became more frequent and my dozing off became less, they called my husband back to be with me.

I was given some applesauce and a cup of ice for the ginger ale I brought from home.

If you’ve been following me, you understand I have diet restrictions. If you’re new to my blog, surprise, due to Hashimotos I have diet restrictions. I’m accustomed to bringing my own food stuff everywhere.

Once I was fully awake and able to check off the boxes of acceptable actions I was discharged and sent on my way.

I rarely take photos of myself in a doctor’s office or hospital setting. So much so that I did not have one photo on my phone from my surgery four years ago. I looked for a picture of me to see if I had one mid healing or anything of my scar and couldn’t find one.

I honestly thought it was a one and done.

I think that if that cyst was anywhere else on my body, I would have been fine.

But when I look in the mirror today, I am transported back to when I had my cancer surgery.

It could be a scent, a song or simply walking the same steps over the same path to relive something you thought you put to rest.

Trauma sits within us in different ways.

For all the progress I have made over the last four years this minor surgery through me for a loop. The same hospital, with the same surgeon, with the same scar.

Déjà vu is bizarre…. And not as much fun as it used to be.


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