I’ve mentioned before that I would talk about the All Series and why it means so much to me. I’ve put it off until I was ready to start the last book in the series. (Maybe the last book…because there is always the possibility of another book in this series down the road)
I started All About You last week and I’m flying through it. I mean really flying through it, like twenty thousand words in five days. I want to keep going, it’s flowing so well, but I know that taking breaks and letting it fester in my mind will give me a better results.
So here we go from the beginning. Back in October 2014, prior to my first book, Road to Recovery being released, I was resting (by resting I mean breathing deeply in and out through my mouth so I didn’t have a panic attack) face down, my arms strapped at my sides and getting ready for my first biopsy. There I was, trying to calm my racing heart while Ben and Presley’s story, All or Nothing, started taking shape.
Just to give you a bit of personal history, there is a lot of breast cancer on both sides of my family. My mother lost her brave seventeen-year battle with cancer at the age of 48. She was preceded by her mother and sister who both died much earlier than they should have. Being who I am; I wanted to know my genetic make-up early on. I found out that I have the BRCA1 gene. That being said, I am monitored more closely than other’s who don’t have this gene.
Years go by (I mean my child is now a teenager!) with no issues until September 2014. That day, I get the call… the call that I’ve been dreading, but knew in the back of my mind, may come one day. They found something and want to take a closer look. Nothing major they said, just a tissue change. Fast forward to the results… woo hoo dodged a bullet; it’s negative. They give me the full results, and say, “See you in six months for a follow-up MRI.” I walk out the door and continue with life, not thinking about this anymore… well at least for the next six months.
December 2014 comes and I release Road to Recovery and Road to Redemption. I’m on cloud nine, I’ve done it, I’ve published not just my first book, but my second. January 2015, Road to Reality comes out and life is great. Road to Reason is at the editor’s and All or Nothing’s first draft is complete and I’m already thinking about All of Me. As you can tell, these books are coming out quickly….the stories just don’t stop dancing in my head.
As you know from the fact that I blinked and my child is now a teenager, six months has passed and it’s time for my MRI. I’m nervous considering everything, but I know it needs to be done so I put my big-girl pants on and go. This time, after the call, I know in my heart that it’s not good. Another spot, another biopsy scheduled.
Four days later, I get the call on 4/14/15 (I’ll never forget this date) that it’s breast cancer, but it’s good news. How is breast cancer good news, you ask? Well it’s the best news of the bad news you can get. It’s stage zero DCIS. (which later was changed to Stage 1 DCIS after pathology results came back) I’m sitting at my desk at work, a haze blurring my sight, the ringing in my ears loud, and though my doctor was wonderful on the phone, I was trying to focus on his words—lumpectomy, radiation, no chemo. Or another option, mastectomy/reconstruction and no treatment. I told him right then, mastectomy, both sides, it’s time now. I’ve looked into it for years as a preventive measure (Note the Angelina Jolie effect. She made the headlines, but there have been plenty of us living this life long before her.) He was thrilled and told me he was glad he didn’t have to convince me as it was the best decision in his eyes with my risk level.
Ten days later, while recovering from surgery, I remember pulling out my iPad and checking on Road to Reason. You see, I had just released this newest book and even in my drug-induced mind, I knew I had to escape for a little while. Between all the doctors’ appointments, the tests, the stress, the decisions…. I needed a break from being a cancer patient; I needed to be an author once again. Road to Reason was there, at the right time.
I was out of work for a month recovering, going through physical therapy and so many more things. I never turned my TV on once though. Nope. I read, and I dreamed and I envisioned the rest of the All Series. And when my mind was clear enough, I wrote and I didn’t stop.
I’ve had two more surgeries since April 2015, and I still have at least one more to go. Each time I’m out of work, I write and I edit. I fly through these books. My escape from the ‘cancer patient’, which I’m not anymore. I’m cancer free and hope to stay that way. But the All Series, well that series and those books, they helped get me through. Get me through another cancer diagnosis in that time too. Did I mention my plastic surgeon saw a mole he didn’t like and removed? That came back stage 0 melanoma. So yeah, how lucky am I, two cancers in 4 months. But it’s all good, it was removed and back to being cancer free.
This is the longest blog post I’ve ever written and the most personal. It’s hard for me to put myself out there like this, and believe me when I say this is only scratching the surface of what has been going on in the last year. I’ll write more books, and I’ll write more series and with any luck they will each get more successful, but the All Series is always going to have a place in my heart. One of my escapes that helped during a very difficult period of time in my life.