Sunday, August 28, 2016


It's a Saturday evening and I'm drafting this blog post while listening to old Hindi songs. And I'm feeling grateful for being able to do so.

Since my diagnosis of breast cancer, I've been through two surgeries, finished months of chemo and several weeks of radiation. Throughout it all, I'd been able to keep writing, walking, listening to music, and enjoying life. True, there had been some bad days, but my husband, my family and friends, and my colleagues made those days bearable. I also started walking daily, and I have to say it was a lifesaver.

Chemo started in the first week of December, not a conducive month to walking outside here in Michigan. So we bought a treadmill, and I'd walk while watching Indian movies or songs, especially ones from my childhood. It made me forget the nausea in the pit of my stomach and the fogginess in my brain.

Then a couple of things happened, writing-wise. One was #DVpit, the twitter pitch event for diverse lit. It gave me the incentive to finish my novel, to sit down and carve out sentences (or at least try to). After that came WCNV. More incentives, especially after my YA thriller made the final selection and I saw the requests. It was an amazing feeling, everything I needed to take my mind off the unpleasantness of cancer therapy. It also helped me deal with the most important side effect of cancer diagnosis - fear. You fight fear with hope and acceptance. I am forever grateful to the organizers of both events and the wonderful writers for providing me with the strength I needed.

Right after WCNV, we had to prepare for our trip to India. Something that should have happened in December and got postponed to August. It was Awesome. The trip to Chennai and Kerala, the food, visiting with my family, the food, watching the sunrise over Marina beach and the sunset off the Arabian Sea, waves lashing the rocks along the coast of South India. And the food.

Now that my current course of treatment is done, I'm back to work, taking care of my patients. Cancer has allowed me a different perspective, a better ability to empathize and not take anything for granted. It also taught me to take time for myself, take care of my health, and not feel guilty - as a wife, as a mom, as a doctor.

So now I have this revision awaiting me. I open up my laptop. I know it's going to be a lot of work, an almost complete rewrite. But I agree with the agent's suggestions and therefore am willing to put in the effort before resubmitting to her. It gives me hope. But along with writing, I'll take the time to walk and eat right and enjoy my family and friends. And my day job. No regrets.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

When Things Happen

I don't post often, as is apparent from my blog. In this case, I felt the need to write it all down. It's possible I'm using my blog as a diary, since writing is therapy for me. This became especially true after I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2015. Cancer is a particularly nasty word and the diagnosis was a shocker, to say the least. I'm not sure I would've been able to deal with it if it weren't for my family and my friends.

My husband immediately took the role of my champion, my motivator. We had to cancel a scheduled trip to India, something we'd been looking forward to. Now he's constantly by my side, researching every detail, reading up on forums. Chemotherapy can drain you, but he made it bearable. I'm still in chemo, with two months to go, but I can do it with him and my kids by my side.

Stress can be an important factor preventing healing, something my colleagues at work understood well. They rallied around me, making sure I could stay home during my treatment, and reassuring me they'd take excellent care of my patients while I was off. I'm truly grateful to them for that.

They say adversity will reveal your true friends. As soon as the news spread, I had friends calling me and offering to bring food, telling me about others who'd survived cancer, offering me hope and positive energy. And I love them for that. Of course, there are people who couldn't look me in the eye, who avoided me. But I had to imagine it's because they didn't know how to word their sympathy.

And, then there's writing. My writing gives me goals, short term goals I set each day. Some days I don't achieve those goals, but that's okay. So far, while in chemo, I've revised my current novel, a YA psychological thriller. Over the next few months, I plan to do a rewrite on a YA contemporary.

So, all in all, I'm living day by day and daring to hope that I can look forward. In this, I have my friends and family by my side to support me.