Okay, I don’t know how to say this the right way. There probably is no right way, and saying it is never going to be easy. Some of you may have heard, through us being friends on facebook or through the grapevine, but about two months ago I was diagnosed with cancer. Stage four cancer. Not good news……
It has been just over a year since I last posted on this blog, and I now understand the reason my voice has been absent so long: I have been dealing with an illness that stopped me from doing much of what I took for granted, much of what I enjoy doing. For some time I have been thrashed by this thing growing in me, years apparently, and it is only recently that I’ve begun fighting back. The previous 6-7 months have been the worst health in my life. And now we know why.
One sad thing is that I may not get to do pottery anymore. Possibly. We’ll see. I will need chemo for the rest of my days and my immune system may not be so happy subjected to a clay environment. I am hopeful that won’t be the case, that eventually I will regain some vigor and take up my sponge and metal rib, plunge my hands back into a bucket of liquid clay. I have so many things left I want to do! I have so many things left I still need to make!
Since I started treatments I have also been a bit fuzzier than I like, but hopefully that too will improve along with my general health. I enjoy thinking things through, and it hurts to have those skills impaired. I have things I want to talk about. Really! 🙂 I’ve been so grateful that some of what I share here on this blog finds an appreciative audience. I must have written close to a million words! That takes commitment! There are 410 published posts (@ 2,200 words avg) and an amazing 409 that are stuck as drafts. I hope these essays will continue to make a difference long after I’m gone……
So this is my new reality. I don’t really know what the post-diagnosis me is going to face. Too much is unknown. Will I respond to treatments? Will I be able to some day resume making a living as even a part time potter? What I do know is that the steps moving forward are going to be different.
Thankfully I have been surrounded by some really great people, and many of my needs are being taken care of. Folks are bringing me meals or having them delivered. Groceries are getting dropped off at my doorstep. People have organized the clutter in my house, gotten rid of so much unhealthy excess, and even taken control of my languishing garden! I am truly humbled by the caring and generosity that has been shown to me…. I’m amazed and humbled that my friends have all come together and made this transition less filled with dread. It’s just a shame it often takes a tragedy for the wonderful people in our lives to shine their brightest….. I imagine my health will get worse in time, but right now I feel so blessed with the community supporting me ❤
Thus far this blog is a sort of hidden community. I know so many of you reading this will be potters like me, and I will be very glad if you (if everyone) have me in your thoughts. If we have met or communicated here I’d love to hear from you again! If you have not yet introduced yourself I would be interested to meet you! If there are essays that made you think differently or that you find some value in I’d be glad to hear about it. 🙂 It is hard knowing who’s out there. Writing a blog can be a lonely exercise. But it seems worth doing! I’m not giving up yet!
For those with the resources and interest, my friend Carrie set up a Gofundme project that is helping me change my situation into something more manageable and will contribute to paying some of my bills. It is also important that I replace the income from at least one missed pottery sale season. Feeling as sickly as I did to start the year I was never going to be ready for my June sale and the diagnosis made sure I wouldn’t even attempt it. I hope in the next few months I can resume potting to prepare for my Holiday sales, but otherwise my income will be stalled out…. You can donate here (I feel bad for even asking, but some folks will appreciate the chance to do something to help). Thanks everyone!
And a last plea….. Don’t wait too long to get yourself checked out! By the time I realized something was wrong it was already too late…. Be smarter than I was!!!!
All my best,