In July of 2015 one of my ovaries ruptured, requiring immediate surgery. A few short weeks after the surgery I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. To say my entire world flipped upside down and turned inside out is an understatement.
The surgery was the first slap from reality telling me I needed to take better care of myself. That point was brought to a clear, unquestionable fact with the cancer diagnosis.
What exactly did I need to do to start down the road to taking better care of me? It wasn’t as though I didn’t have an idea. Lord knows my husband told me as often as possible about how unhealthy my habits were. It wasn’t that I was making the worst food choices, though I did eat more sweets than I should.
But I also didn’t exercise regularly and I worked long hours at a day job that had me sitting at a computer or in meetings all day. I also started my days at 5 or 5:30 by writing for an hour or more, then rushing out the door for work. Then I ended my days by sitting at my computer writing for an hour or two.
I was not making time to care for myself. And though I was very productive, pumping out 3-5 books and several short stories in a year, I was not doing right by myself.
After the surgery I took up meditating, which I still do at the start of everyday. I began walking everyday, which was all I could do for exercise for several weeks. Then I promised to eat better and work fewer hours.
Then I got the cancer diagnosis, and shit got serious!
Could I possibly work a full time job and take care of myself, my home, my family, and write without driving myself into an early grave? Um? No. Nope. I could not.
Beyond panicking about how I’d manage all that I started wondering what my purpose in life was. What did God want me to do? Though I’ve not come close to figuring out my purpose, I know for sure he did not intend me to spend my life staring at a computer and working like a dog.
I’ve made considerable changes in the last year. Some have been wonderful– like working part-time at a day job I love and spending more time with my family. Some changes have been a real struggle– like writing less. I miss writing everyday. But at this point I simply cannot spend time at the computer every single day and take care of everything else.
Happily, I’ve learned to set goals and deadlines that are achievable rather than impossible. Admittedly, I still beat myself up for not conquering the world every week. But as with everything I am a work in progress and getting comfortable with change takes time.
But if I don’t change and take better care of myself, I won’t be here to write books. So, change, here I am!
In this last week of September please consider supporting the fight against ovarian cancer by grabbing a copy of A Vampire’s Passion, Novella Three in the Romance in Central City Series. All the proceeds from this book are being donated to the Granulosa Cell Tumor Research Foundation. Granulosa Cell Tumors are a rare form of ovarian cancer, the kind I had.
Thank you for supporting the cause and remember to take good care of yourself!
Don’t forget: registration for the Fall In Love With New England Conference in Manchester, NH closes on September 30th. Don’t miss your chance to come see us! We’re going to have a great time with lots of fun panels, prizes, and events!
Click the pic below to register.