I have debated for quite some time about whether or not to make public a situation that’s recently arisen in my life. As it has begun to effect me more and more, I’ve finally decided to make a simple announcement here.
About a month ago I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
It came, let me tell you, as a total surprise. I didn’t feel sick and I’d never have known if I hadn’t noticed a small, painless lump above my collarbone and gone to the doctor. I thought it was nothing. Turns out it wasn’t.
No cancer diagnosis is ever anything short of steal-your-breath-terrifying, but Hodgkin’s is a very treatable, curable disease. So, in that sense, I am “lucky”. I am seeing an amazing team of doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering (like, seriously, that place is incredible) and they have given me an excellent prognosis, about a 90% chance of full recovery.
I hate gambling and even I’d take those odds!
Treatment is chemotherapy, possibly followed by radiation. I had my first dose of chemo last week and have a couple of months to go. So far it is…kinda unpleasant, but manageable. Probably the less said on this, the better.
During treatment, I have decided (and boy was this an agonizing decision) to take the fall semester off from teaching. Between many doctors appointments, side effects of the chemo, and sense of responsibility I feel to my students, it just boiled down to a big stress sandwich. Still, today would be my first day of classes and I am feeling very sad not to be in that room greeting a new batch of fantastic kids.
I will, of course, continue to write! Whether from my bed, couch, home office, or a co-working space, fiction can be created under even the most difficult circumstances and I’m sure will prove a great escape for me in all this.
It goes without saying, that I will, of course, absolutely SLAY this disease. I will kill it with fire, trample its ashes into tinier ashes, and move on with my life in as fabulous a manner as possible. Getting from Point A to Point B, though, is no doubt going to take grit, humor, and support.
As for that support…many of you are already aware of what’s been going on, and I want to take a moment to express, from the depths of my heart, how much your texts, calls, FB chats, emails, care packages, homemade food, visits, love and support have meant to me. Life throws stuff at us — and at the people we care about — and how we react defines who we are.
So, please know that I see all of you, with your amazing, shining, wonderful hearts, and I’m more grateful to have you in my life than I can ever put into words. I only hope I can one day repay even half the kindness and compassion I’ve received.
Thanks for listening, and for being there.
Oh, and…fuck cancer!