When the Manure Hits the Blades

Since 2019, our world has changed, and not for the better. It started with the pandemic, then ratcheted up with the 2020 election. What began with fear: fear of losing loved ones, fear of dying, fear of losing our jobs, fear of mRNA, fear of losing our rights, our country . . . has now led to fear of domestic terror, fear for our kids, fear of losing our homes, fear of being nuked, fear of AI, aliens, starvation, a ruined planet . . . I could go on, but I don't need to. You are living it with me. Some of us were treated cruelly by people who were supposed to love us. Relationships were severed, divisions deepened. Many of my author friends have simply given up. It's been too hard to create beautiful things while smothering under the crushing weight of ugliness. Now we have AI to write books for us. Are humans even relevant anymore?

The cure for fear arrived in our home on December 14, 2022, in the form of cancer. Yes, that's right. Cancer.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, when everyone was coming down with yet another "variant," my husband, Maurice, developed a cough that would not go away. I tried all the usual home remedies, but this time, they didn't help.

When Maury, who has never danced to anyone's beat, passed out in the house, he didn't do it in the standard "wilting" way. No, he made sure his fainting was so violent and dramatic that I didn't bother checking his pulse because I legitimately thought he was dead. I just sat down, stupefied, took his hand, and stared.

Then he took a breath.

At that point, I flew into action. Several hours later, sitting alone in a dark waiting room, while an ice storm pelted the hospital, I overheard doctors discussing a "malignant pleural effusion." That's how I found out my rock--the husband I fought FOUR YEARS to bring to the USA--had stage IV cancer.

It would take too many words to describe the next seven months of my life, and they would only be meaningful to me. In April of '23, when things went from bad to worse, and I thought Maury wasn't going to make it through the night, I finally understood the advice of others to give it to God. While praying and sobbing in bed (while Maury lay in the ICU), I relinquished all control, or should I say the illusion of control. I understood in that moment how much energy I'd wasted on things that were completely beyond my control. I also realized that my husband never really belonged to me. He belonged to God, and while I control nothing, God controls everything. I accepted His will for us.

That was the day I stopped being afraid.

We just passed the one-year mark on that ICU stay. Maury still has cancer, but he's doing pretty well at the moment. The treatment (immunotherapy) left him with adrenal insufficiency, which is a difficult condition to manage all by itself, but it also destroyed several of the tumors in his lung. Life is slowly returning to a comfortable routine with periods of peace, so lately, I've felt like returning to the writer's chair.

It's dusty in here, and it's dusty in my brain. When the crap hit the fan in 2019, I left two manuscripts unfinished. The first was a romance in which the hero, a wounded warrior, uses a drone to drop messages on his love interest. After witnessing the horror meted out by swarms of these in Russia and Ukraine, I think we can safely consider that manuscript toast. Which is a shame, because the writing was good.

The second manuscript is a suspense novel. It's dark and twisty, but it definitely needs work. I have high hopes for it, but as you might imagine, I'm out of practice.

My other books remain online, and I'm grateful to Soul Mate Publishing for their diligence in marketing them while I've been battling life's challenges. I'm also thankful for friends and even strangers who propped me up when I had no legs of my own.

I don't know what the future holds, but it's a lot less scary when you put your trust in the One who made you. From where I'm sitting, I think He did a pretty good job. ;-)