Early Monday morning and I’m sitting on a deck, looking out at Lake George, stunned by its beauty. I’m working on my new novel, which is a suspense novel. Something different for me, and I’m very excited about it. My mind is humming along. Except that, there’s a part of my mind that’s somewhere else because I know that next week this time I’ll be starting chemo.

Next Monday morning, I’ll be sitting in a hospital, feeling anxious. Probably not feeling inspired to write, or more to the point, unable to write because I’ll have an IV in my arm.

The good news is that the cancer I have is highly treatable. Really it’s more that I have some cancer cells than that I have cancer, and the doctors and surgeons keep telling me how lucky I am that they even found it. I do feel lucky and grateful, though I also keep thinking of that Marx brothers movie when someone asks Groucho Marx if he had any luck with the train and he says, “Yes, it didn’t hit me.”

I’ve also been through chemo twice before, so if it’s possible to be a professional, I am.

But it’s all still a monumental distraction. (I note that every time I write the word distraction, I accidentally write the word destruction. That shows you where my mind’s at.) How are you supposed to move forward when your mind is moving sideways? I don’t know the answer, but that’s what I’d like to write about this week, and if you have any thoughts, please chime in!


  1. Well, Susan, you’ve done the healthiest thing you could do in the circumstances: you’ve shared your story with others. Now all those who care about you will walk beside you on the path. Lake George! What a gorgeous place to write. Chemo will be a distraction, for sure. But maybe also a direction. When this is all over, I’d like to hear how this season deepened your life and writing. Will be praying for you daily.

  2. Susan, I hope you take lots of photos of the lake so you can return to this place of peace when you are feeling anxious. May I suggest that you purchase a small fountain to put near the spot where you read and write so that the sound of water can soothe and heal you. You are very brave and generous to share this with us all, but particularly for those who are traveling the same path as you and may not be able to find the words.

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