I hate cancer. It’s an insidious, horrible disease. And if you’re human, you either have or will lose someone when their body starts turning on itself. I lost my grandfather to bone cancer. My husband lost his aunt to the same. So it’s a topic I feel very strongly about. Which is why when I heard about fellow indie author Ryn Cricket, I was really touched.
Here she is, in her own words:
About a week ago, I was handed a life sentence. Not a death sentence, I’m not going to die. But I do have a prison, my body, that will forever change me. I got diagnosed with cancer. I’m 41, and my health has been my primary focus for most of my life. I was a vegetarian for 14 years, a vegan for most of that. I read labels religiously, nothing processed, no chemicals, no fast food –for 11 years, no soda for as long, I’m a yoga/qi gong instructor, I take my vitamins, and all I keep thinking is why was I so obsessive about all this? It didn’t matter. The doctors kept telling me it wasn’t my fault, but really, it doesn’t make you feel any better about it.
I was sick for like the whole month of August. –sick enough to ask Osa to come help me take care of the girls, and he did. And then I got better. I thought I was fine. Then I found a lump on my neck below my right ear. At first, it was like a little marble that rolled around, but in a week it quickly grew to the size of a teaspoon. I went to the doctor and he sent me for a CATscan. He thought it might be an infected lymph node and sent me an ENT specialist who did a biopsy right in his office. All of these tests seemed inconclusive enough, that he wanted to do what’s called an open biopsy. By this time another little marble lump had appeared more to the back of my neck.
The morning of the out-patient, 30 minute, open biopsy, I couldn’t find the little one again. My surgeon didn’t want to leave a big scar on my neck, but he said he just didn’t have a good feeling about it all, and wanted to do the big lump. Well, it turned into a four-hour surgery removing four tumors and a tonsil. Yes, I’m probably the only person in the world with one tonsil. They were all cancerous. I have about a 3-inch scar on my neck with no stitches, it was all cauterized.
It took me a while to recover from that surgery. My throat and mouth hurt a lot, but I could talk mostly. It hurt to eat or swallow anything for about 8 days. Then I could at least eat soft things, baby food, popsicles, ice cream. My mom made me really good baby food –especially the mashed spaghetti!
It’s been 12 days since the surgery and 10 days since the sentence. Today I ate soft vegetables and tofu, and pancakes for breakfast, so swallowing is almost restored, though I’m still on pain-killers. But food feels good.
Friday, I went for a PETscan and another CTscan to see if there is anymore cancer or tumors in me. There could possibly be another surgery if they find more tumors, but my surgeon is pretty confident that he removed everything that “looked suspicious,” as he said. I had to lay still and not move for about 2 hours, and the technicians told me to think about my “happy place.” All I could think of was cuddling on the couch with Rumi and Raine. That really told me a lot.
Monday is the big day. I have my set-up for my radiation and chemo therapies and I find out about the results of the PETscan. They will make a mask for my face to protect it from the radiation, and I will be told everything to expect. I will have to go everyday for 7 weeks, but other than that, I don’t really know the process yet. If all goes well, it should start the week before or the week of Thanksgiving.
Before any of this can start, I have to go to the dentist because if I have any cavities or bad teeth they have to be taken care of before the radiation starts. But I couldn’t go to the dentist until I could open my mouth, so that appointment is Monday also.
The things I do know about the future, the real sentence so to speak is, I will lose my hair—probably right in time for Christmas. I will have dry mouth for the rest of my life because radiation will affect my salivary glands. BUT, by doing all this, this type of cancer should never return, and I can see my little girls grow up.
Things have gotten worse since then. And I and others wanted to do something to help. Now, we can’t do a thing to help her through chemotherapy, radiation, or any of the stress of the endless doctor’s appointments. But maybe you can help us temporarily lighten her load and distract her by donating books. As a fellow indie she’s a huge reader and passionate about the indie cause, so we’re looking for other indies to donate their book, ebook or print. Contact Carrie Clevenger (@texistential) or shadowsinstone (at) gmail (dot) com about donations or email your book directly to Ryn at Katherynpeace (at) gmail (dot) com. Come on out and donate for this worthy cause.
Cancer sucks! There’s just nothing else to say about it. Not only does it take good people out of commission as they go through treatment, hospitalization, etc. but it discombobulates family members as well. I was so sorry to read this and wish I were an indie writer so I could help. I actually received good news today, I get to pick my husband up from the James Cancer Hospital (Columbus,OH) today after 52 days of hospitalization for treatment of Acute Leukemia which developed sometime between his annual physical in July and in late September. So he will be home for Thanksgiving and a few weeks more until he gets readmitted for stem cell transplant. But he’s a lucky one. He has a stem cell match, his older brother. Many do not. The irony of it all is the only thing my husband ever signed up for in his life besides the US Marines was to be a donor on the National Bone Marrow Registry. It upset him to know I had to call them to have him removed as a possible donor for someone who needed stem cells. He had been in the Registry for nearly 25 years.
And not to suddenly become religious in this reply, my husband had many many people praying for him, sending him “good vibes” and the like and it helped tremendously. He has lost 30 lbs but still looks like himself minus the beard. So although I can’t send Ryn any books, I can send her some “good vibes” from my family. And prayers too.
Email sent. Thanks for the post/reminder!
This is always so sad. My best friend went through surgery, chemo, surgery, then radiation after being diagnosed with breast cancer, so all this hits close to home.
I wonder what format she would prefer for ebooks.
Oh good point. I should have mentioned that. I don’t believe she has an ereader, so PDF or something she can easily read on her laptop is best.
What’s the author protocol on this? Should we ask permission from the author who we bought or were given the book from or just do it? I’d love to send some that I have.
Well I was appealing to the authors themselves. I would not recommend sharing books without permission from the author.
Hey guys, sorry I’m late to the party. Mobiles have GOT to get easier for commenting, either that or I need a training session. Thank you so much Kait for featuring this touching story. Ryn Cricket is found on Facebook also: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000497983838
She needs our affirmation that she’s not alone. This is a strong woman folks, an outstanding independent writer that is fighting for her life in the blink of an eye. If you are an author, consider a donated copy of your eBook or hard copy just to help her while away the time she has to spend off work. Also, feel free to friend her on Facebook and let her know she is loved.
You guys rock.
A moving post Kait. One that hits horribly close to home, I lost my cousin to cancer two weeks ago, he was 47. I don’t have any books to send but will definitely send her and her family positive thoughts.
.PDF sent and reposted on FB.
I lost my momma to inflammatory breast cancer two years ago. This is the least I could do, in her memory and with all good thoughts that things will get better for Ryn.
Thanks so much!
Hi Kait, just read your post, was referred by Andrew Mocete’s blog. I don’t have a book to donate as I’m pre-published, but when my book comes out in January, I will be sure to send a copy.
More importantly, I wanted to share with Ryn that I’m a cancer survivor, diagnosed at 35. It took a year out of my life—chemo, radiation, shaved head, the whole nine yards, and yet here I am to talk about it—ten years later. She has the right attitude when she says cancer is not a death sentence. Everyday our bodies change and decay in one form or another, but the fact that Ryn was so healthy prior to cancer can only help with her recovery.
I would be more than happy to connect with Ryn if she’d like. We may be strangers, but sometimes the connection of disease makes for fast friends. I also crochet some great hats that will keep her head warm for the winter.
Well that is just lovely and inspiring.