I know I’ve been pretty quiet on the social media lately, and I’ve decided that I owe you, and myself, an explanation. It’s intensely personal, and I’ve always been a socially outgoing, but essentially rather private person, especially when the chips are down.

But things are looking up lately, so I decided today it was a good time to “come clean” with all of you who follow my blog, and my Facebook notes, and Twitter. I enjoy the social media, and lately I haven’t had the energy for much of it. Some of you may have been wondering why.

I have cancer. I started having symptoms last year, and my doctors spent several months searching for the small, but aggressive, tumor that was causing them. In early November, my surgeon removed my left kidney, and in he went back in and removed cancer that had spread to my bladder. I was lucky. I still have my bladder.

I had many tests run, both before and after these procedures, and at first it seemed that I was lucky, that the cancer was confined to the kidney, ureter and bladder. But my doctors were very cautious, and I was tested again just before Christmas, 2011. Bad news…the cancer had spread. I would need aggressive chemotherapy to treat the aggressive carcinoma, and I had about a 50% chance that the most successful chemo “cocktail” would be effective.

I started chemo in early January of this year, and have been undergoing it ever since. It didn’t help matters that I developed a painful injury in my left shoulder right about the same time, and was having to undergo two kinds of physical therapy — one for the shoulder injury, the other to help me recover from the nephrectomy. But I have a great physical therapist. The shoulder injury is just about healed. And I’ve managed to keep up some of my strength, even while undergoing the chemo.

A few weeks ago, I underwent extensive tests to see how the chemo was affecting the “hot spots” the doctors had seen in my PET scan. The results were most encouraging. My bladder is also still clear of tumors. But not all of those “hot spots” were gone, though many had “resolved” i.e., vanished. I’m now undergoing my second course of chemo to get rid of the remaining ones.

Chemo, as most people know, can be pretty debilitating. Sometimes I feel mostly okay, other times I’m pretty sick. The one constant is feeling tired all the time. I just don’t have the energy to keep up with social media much. When I can, I will. But my physical therapy, doctor visits, etc., have to come first. It’s like having a part-time job, going to all my medical appointments.

When I have the energy to write, and proofread, I’ve been working on getting the StarBridge series released as e-books. It’s taken much longer than I thought it would, but only two books left to go! StarBridge will be my only source of income this year, so it has to be my No.1 priority. Thank goodness for my collaborators. They have all helped out tremendously.

When I can manage it, I’ve also been working on Winds of Vengeance, sequel to Storms of Destiny.

I’m blessed with a wonderful, supportive husband. I have an excellent medical team at a top hospital in the Washington area. We have health insurance, thank God. And the support of my close friends has helped keep me going. I hope to make it to Shore Leave this summer. We’ll see. This weekend I’ll be attending the SFWA meeting and Nebula Awards on Saturday. We’re getting a room, so I’ll have someplace to rest when I need it.

I hope soon to be able to be back to my former self, posting writing tips, recipes, and things from my life. This second course of chemo will take up much of my summer, but now that I know it’s working, it’s much easier to bear. Any spare good wishes, positive vibes, or prayers are appreciated.

Thanks for reading this.

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