Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let me pick for you. The good news: My fifth picture book ALWAYS REMEMBER is due out in just a few days. I am excited for a number of reasons. This is my first serious book, and while all my books have a serious point, this one has a serious goal. To comfort those suffering loss. It was written when my dad was dying of Parkinson's plus Lewy body dementia. He pass away in April 2015. I am already getting e-mails from people thanking me for writing on such a difficult subject (death). I have been thanked by families that are in the process of healing from loss and found comfort in this book. I am immensely grateful my book is making a difference.

For those who have read my earlier blog posts, you may remember I was a care provider to my disabled mother-in-law for eleven years. She had suffered a stroke when my son was five weeks old, then went in to congestive heart failure six months later. She died in 2011.

The marathon of caring for the elders started June 2000. It has been quite a journey, and aside from the challenge of trying to keep those around me alive and happy and comfortable, old and young alike, I found great satisfaction in the moments. You know, reading books to my kids in bed, baking cookies on rainy days, spending sunny days at track meets and soccer games, watching my kids laugh at my silliness, listening to my son play a beautiful Mozart clarinet concerto for my father who was in hospice and didn't have long to live, listening to my daughter gush about a great book she just read, watching Jeopardy with the family and realizing my kids are smarter than me. Those moments. Precious moments.

So, the bad news. I have pancreatic cancer. I won't lie. I'm a little pissed. Maybe more than a little. I was diagnosed August 2015 and I am undergoing treatment. So far, so good. I've had successful surgery, but this is a sneaky cancer that is extremely resilient. I am determined to be more resilient.