Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Skin Cancer Treatment – Fluorouracil Day 20

Day 20 is finally here. I have still been having a difficult time sleeping. I wake up about every half an hour now with severe itching on my face. Today I have developed several small blisters on both cheeks which confirms for me I am reaching the erosion stage. At least on the bottom half of my face. My forehead is still far behind the rest of my face however and I may need to continue another week just on my forehead.

The itching and burning have still been here for the majority of today although it finally feels a bit more bearable. This third week has been the most intense week out of all in terms of pain but now (fingers crissed) things seem to be slowing down a bit.


During the entire course of this treatment I have had a difficult time doing the work I normally do. The one thing I found I could do every day regardless of my pain and discomfort was to sit and write. I mentioned it in an earlier post that I had decided to undertake the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge where you vow to write every day during the month of November in order to reach 50,000 words towards a novel in just 30 days. If you finish by November 30th then you are declared a “Winner.”

Today I am proud to say I am a winner of NaNoWriMo 2014. So now I have a first draft of my new novel and can begin edits and re-writes during the month of December. In the near future I will begin sharing excerpts on this blog for fun.

Here is the great video you receive from the NaNoWriMo team following validation of your word count. It was the highlight of my day. Correction. The highlight of my year :).

It appears I have been slaying lots of dragons this year (note winner’s graphic above) 👍.

Skin Cancer Treatment – Fluorouracil Days 4 & 5


Yesterday on day 4 of Fluorouracil it was pretty much the same as day 3. Still waiting for Christmas to arrive with the same few acne like spots and the blister appearing on my nose.

Today, day 5, is a different story. My face now feels like it is periodically sitting over a low burning flame. And when it’s not burning it begins to itch and I want to scratch it really bad. I also noticed a few more red spots appearing on my cheeks, nose and forehead and when I wash my face prior to application of the next dosage it feels like my face has a sunburn when I pat it dry with a towel.

Even though my face was extra sensitive today I was still able to concentrate and get a lot accomplished. I made several pieces of jewelry and posted them for sale on my Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/zeninthegarden) **SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION** and I reached 30,028 words written on my novel in the #NaNoWriMo challenge. Go team!


Skin Cancer Treatment – Fluorouracil Day 3

This is day 3 of Fluorouracil treatment. I now have what looks like a mild case of acne, especially on my forehead. I also have a small blister forming on the side of my nose right where my glasses sit. My forehead and cheeks are a light pink and my forehead burns a bit, although so far it’s tolerable.

**I am bravely displaying my naked face below for documentation purposes only in the name of science ;-).**


I feel like a little kid impatiently waiting for Christmas morning to arrive. Although I would much rather receive the pony I’ve always wanted instead of the “gift” I am about to unwrap after applying this chemical to my face two times a day. As I wrote in my first post, I know most people don’t react to the drug until around the sixth day. The waiting is the most difficult part. I don’t like unknowns. I just want the drug to kick in and do its thing so I know what I have to deal with.

The positive part of all this is my sudden sense of urgency to finish up projects before the hard part gets here. Yesterday I hit the halfway point for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I have already written 25,014 words of my novel in 11 days. The goal is to reach 50,000 by the last day in November. At this pace I should reach the goal by November 22nd. This cancer thing has definitely been the impetus for me to keep my nose to the grindstone and write like a Mother_____er (well, you know).


I am also a bit less irritable today because I made a point to set some time aside for a bit of clay play. I love creating jewelry and other goodies with polymer clay. The act of squashing and rolling and mixing and folding the clay in my hands is very therapeutic. Losing myself in the act of creating a design is a great way to forget about the stressors that have recently consumed me.

Today’s design I called “Superstar” for everyone who has to endure the more difficult things in life.


In an hour I will don the glove and spread another dose of the cream all over my face. Maybe tomorrow will be the day. Maybe it won’t. Regardless, I think I will buy myself that pony after all of this is over.

Honoring The Artist Inside


Art has always been an integral part of my life. Through it I can make beauty in the midst of something ugly. Without it, I feel completely lost and void of purpose. With it, I feel at home, as if my purpose for living is tied in somewhere to the act of creating.

For me art takes on multiple iterations. Sometimes the vehicle for expression comes through my writing, sometimes it comes through the capturing of an image with my camera, and lately it has surfaced through working with clay.


No matter which tool my soul chooses, I feel grounded and happy when lost in the moment of creation.

Since my diagnosis and surgeries I have experienced an extra strong desire to focus on my art. In the midst of these past few stressful months I found myself exploring macro photography, delving into play with clay, and most recently I have been drawn back into burying myself in words through the NaNoWriMo challenge. For those of you who aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, here is the description from the website:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.”


I have had two novels simmering in the background for quite some time and 10 days ago I made the commitment to attack one of them by hammering out 50,000 words and the first draft by the end of November. I am already a few thousand words short of halfway on day 10. The accountability of recording my daily word count on the NaNoWriMo website has worked wonders for my writing habit. I have also felt a bit of urgency to write as much as I can to get ahead before I begin my topical chemotherapy today (more about that in my next post).

The majority of my freelance and published work has been in nonfiction. This is definitely my first serious push into the world of fiction. I have to admit, I am enjoying the journey. I believe I am enjoying it so much right now because it provides me a daily escape from reality and I am allowed to construct a world where my characters are free to roam without boundaries.

If I wanted to become all psychoanalytic about it I could probably tie it into my sudden lack of control over my physical body and the need to feel like the Captain of something once again. But meh, let’s not go there today and just say I am having a great time living in an alternate reality for around 2,000 words per day.


I am definitely not a traditionalist. I have always struggled with being confined to an office in a corporate setting. Money never made me happy when I had a lot of it and the stress of the crazy corporate work hours just about did me in.

Of course I never wanted to be a “starving artist” but I have always wanted to make a living with my art. It is what fulfills me the most and definitely what makes me feel the happiest.

So here’s to always honoring the artist inside of you no matter how he/she decides they need to show themselves to the world.