Off to Iceland!

I am hoping I will actually write more posts at this point.

On as personal level, it has now been over a year and a half since the bone marrow transplant and I feel I am such a lucky person. I am essentially well! I do not have my complete strength I had before, or endurance, but not bad. I just returned from a four-day backpack in the Cascade Mountains here in Washington State, something I thought I would never be able to do. I am now in touch with my donor, a remarkable man, who is now 23, who donated because his college professor said he would give extra credit for any of his students who did. The professor, of whom I am very impressed (I never did that as a professor), then told his students, “Oh, it is very unlikely you will ever be selected for this anyway.”

Four months later—the bone marrow people contacted my donor. One very strange thing, my hair has always been naturally blonde, very fine and very straight. But after chemo (once they’d cut off all the gray fuzzy ‘chemo hair’), it has come back dark brown, thick and with body! And here is the strange part—it is exactly the same kind and color of my donor. The doctors say they are not sure about any genetic connection on that, but I am thinking, well, they are not sure. And the match is pretty exact.

I am off to Iceland in a few days to do research for another book—more details later as I figure out myself how it will shape up. I wrote a grant to National Geographic several months after the transplant, while I could not even do the simplest crossword because of chemo brain—and amazingly I received the grant! So now I am doing the fieldwork it funded.

In addition, I have now finished the rough draft of a novel!! In the acknowledgements of the novel, once it gets published, I will thank the book itself. For over a year after the transplant, I was not really able to go out too much into crowds, having to live a bit like a monk. I felt weak but not too bad. So, I thought, what can I do? Write a novel! It was such a positive thing to do, looking to the future. It is now with an editor, who is making excellent comments and says she loves it—a good sign. Next I will start looking for an agent and publisher. We shall see how that goes.

Best to anyone who actually reads this blog. Hope you had a good summer.


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