It is probably obvious that I have been struggling with blogging over the last few years.
Near full-time teaching (up until last June), combined with my own and family illnesses, a son’s near fatal injury, and my father’s death finally culminated in a diagnosis of Follicular Lymphoma last spring, March 2018.
Bad News, Good News
Of course the bad news of having cancer was that I have cancer.
However, the good news was that follicular lymphoma is one of the most survivable forms of cancer and, with treatment, most patients die of other causes.
The other good news was that my husband and I agreed it was time for me to retire from full-time work. Those of you who know me well, know I have been writing novels and short stories my entire adult life; I even got a few stories published with Cricket Magazine and a few other publishers of short works. Now, I thought, I can finish my novels and embark on an expanded writing career.
Crash! Through the late summer, fall, and winter, sinus infection followed sinus infection, cold followed cold, and asthma attack followed asthma attack. I felt so tired and discouraged, I both lacked the energy and didn’t trust myself to write a word of fiction, my first love.
Reading, Writing, & Counseling Changed My Life
Fortunately, our health plan covers counseling as part of its cancer treatment program. I cried and cried and cried through the first few appointments. I will spare you the gory details.
I talked about my life ranging from when I was a very small child to the present. Exasperated with myself for not just focusing on the cancer and how it was impacting my life here and now, I asked my wonderful counselor is this was normal. Do cancer patients often talk about their whole lives? It turns out we often do. Facing mortality, heck, just facing the big C stirs up a lot of stuff.
My counselor encouraged me to keep a hand-written journal (something I haven’t done in a very long time; I switched to digital journaling about the time I started this blog), so I did as instructed.
I researched articles about what I was feeling and experiencing, in an effort to understand myself—who I was and who I am becoming. Slowly the all the bits and pieces of my struggles started to fit into place.
Through this process I am beginning to reconnect to the creative person I have always been, but who has felt buried by the “slings and arrows of life” and my very own coping strategies for dealing with them.
I have been thinking about how these changes will impact Literate Lives. I confess, I have seriously considered shuttering it completely. However, as I heal both emotionally and physically I find I do not want to.
What I do want to do is connect more authentically and less “professionally.” Being a professional teacher has dominated my life for twenty years, and I am realizing, now I am retired from teaching, that this no longer needs to be so.
Yes, I will still blog on Reading and Language Arts topics. I am passionate about helping parents and teachers to nurturing young people’s love of reading and writing. However, it is likely these will share more of the stage with posts on the creative, inspiring, and fulfilling aspects of a reading, writing, and journaling life. (You will find the same mix on my Facebook page: Debby Zigenis-Lowery, Author.)
And, oh yes, I have finally got back to work on that novel I was trying to complete in the fall. I finished drafting the last chapter last month. Now, on to revision and editing.
My blog posts may not flow as regularly as they once did, but even when I’m not posting, I am thinking about you, my readers, making notes, and dreaming of where I will take us in the future.
Thank you for not giving up on me!
Reading and writing, creativity and inspiration will always be critical parts of my literate lifestyle. In the comment box below, please consider sharing the role they play in your life. Is this role evolving? How? Let’s encourage one another!