Right before my sister, Renee, and I went to Ireland, I discovered the Golden Crown Literary Society and discovered that they were having their annual conference in New Orleans a few days after we were scheduled to return. I debated whether to go; after all, it would be a valuable networking experience for my writing life and it was in New Orleans.
Ultimately, I didn't go. Instead, I opted to take my time and really plan my first GCLS conference experience. Looking back, I'm glad that I didn't go--it would have been to impulsive.
What I did gain almost immediately was a new friend--Sandra Moran. She responded to my call to the local LGBT group, Like Me Lighthouse, that we consider applying to have the conference in KC. She is on the board for LML and we soon became Facebook friends. I looked forward to meeting her and followed her adventures on FB.
We have a lot in common, Sandra and I. She works a day job as a contingent faculty member while making space for her writing life. I was excited that she was local and that she was gearing up to do a podcast about writing soon.
Unfortunately, all of that ground to a halt a little over a week ago. Sandra was having back pain and went in to find out what was going on; it turns out she has a tumor that caused a compression fracture on her spine. Scans showed that the cancer had spread to her organs and she has mets in her bones. Within a week, the aggressive cancer has doubled the tumors in her liver and spread even further. Plans had been made to treat with chemo and radiation (there is no cure, but there was hope they could halt progress of the disease). Upon her second round of tests, three doctors have given her three months to live.
I know that I only know her from her work, but it is incomprehensible to think about the parallels in our lives. She's the same age I am. I just keep thinking about how I would handle what little time I have left if I were in her shoes. I wonder, selfishly, what will happen to the project she's started involving the Harvey Girls. I pray that she has good health insurance and fear that she might not given that she's an adjunct.
I'm writing this here rather than in my main blog (although I'll post a link there, as well) mainly because I want to explain why I am likely to be a bit distracted and absent from this blog for a bit. It's difficult to whine about a process that will lead to my family having so much and having so many opportunities in the face of such a tragedy.
Want to help? Buy Sandra's books. Tell your friends about them. Write reviews of them. And hug your spouse; Sandra had only six months with her wife (they married in May) before her diagnosis. Residency is temporary.
This blog is written from the perspective of an older medical spouse who happens to be childless by choice. I hope that husbands, older spouses, those childless by choice, and others will find this entertaining and occasionally useful.