Cancer

A friend who follows this blog asked me why I never mention my battle with cancer. Somehow, it seems irrelevant. But just to set the record straight, here’s the story:

In 2013, I coughed up blood. My doctor at the time said it was nothing to worry about. He diagnosed me with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Early in 2015, I brought up blood again. Since my doctor had told me not to worry about it, I didn’t go see him until time for my regular checkup in May. He sent me for a chest x-ray. I had a large tumor in the upper lobe of my right lung.

I underwent maximum chemotherapy and radiation, and then, in November 2015, a surgeon removed the tumor from my lung. Recovery is continuing. I still have a bad cough, and I lack energy. But the cancer is gone so far as we can tell.

The surgeon and my oncologist were frankly thrilled at my ability to withstand the treatments and the surgery. I was, in every other respect, a pinnacle of health. I was a runner until my right knee gave out in 2013, and I’ve always been a devoted weight lifter. That meant that I had to watch my diet to be sure I stayed healthy enough to run and work out. The end result was that I survived both the cancer and the treatment with flying colors. And I’ve never returned to the physician who failed to diagnose the cancer in 2013.

The other factor that helped me was that I never stopped working. Even on my worst days, I wrote. When the Naval Institute Press (NIP) accepted Last of the Annamese for publication in 2016, I redoubled my efforts. I worked on the proofs of Annamese and struggled through the editing process with a genuinely excellent editor from NIP to get the book ready for publication in March 2017. At the same time, I completed work on The Secretocracy, a novel based on my years in intelligence, and I’m shopping it around to publishers. Now that I’m up to my elbows in promoting Annamese with presentations and still doing readings and book signings of my earlier books, I’m working ten-hour days and loving every minute.

So thanks to devotion to work I love, I’m well on my way to complete recovery. And I’m deeply grateful for my good luck.

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