The BEST kind of update

So, an update.

The long and short of it is, after a bunch of tests – A BUNCH OF TESTS – and all signs – ALL SIGNS – pointing to lymphoma, it turns out that, wonder of wonders (seriously), I do not actually have lymphoma.

My neck dissection happened a little over a week ago. Then there was all this waiting while everything hovered in the balance. My doctor said he’d talk to me about chemo after the surgery. I mean, we were all sooooooooooo sure I had lymphoma. My parents were planning on coming up to help with the kids while I was going through it, maybe renting a house and all that. I mean, it was pretty much a done deal. Then, I go in for my post-surgery appointment and the biopsies and all that came back and… I DON’T HAVE CANCER.

After the shock settled and my heart stopped skipping beats and I pinched myself a few times to make sure I was really awake and this was actually happening, it was explained that somehow the sinus infection I had clear back in November (which ended up being treated by antibiotics for like three months, ended up eating through my sinuses, and causing bleeding that nearly resulted in a blood transfusion, and ultimately surgery in April) got into my lymph nodes and caused them to mutate in such a way that mimicked lymphoma. There’s apparently some really long, weird name for it, and it’s kind of rare, but I had all the signs. It looked like lymphoma. It acted like lymphoma. I even had some of the symptoms (exhaustion, night sweats, etc), but it was not lymphoma.

Now that the mutated nodes are out of my neck, I’m already starting to feel better. The downside is that now that I’ve had this, there’s every reason to think I’ll get more, but now at least we’re aware, and if I get them again, we’ll know how to take care of them, and to remove them ASAP.

So, no cancer. Another weird thing, but no cancer.

Now, after a few months of circling the drain, and feeling like everything – EVERYTHING – was up in the air and dire, I’m coming back to myself. It’s slow. I’ve been really sick for about eight months now, and I really do feel like I’m waking up for the first time after a very long slumber. It’s a bit of a shock to my system.

However, I am coming back.

And things are happening. First, I’ve entered Seraphina’s Lament into the SPFBO. (To be completely candid, I live with low expectations, so this is pretty much as much as I’m anticipating to happen with my book in that contest.) It’s kind of an interesting experience being on this side of things after being a judge for so many years. Luckily, my cover made the semi-finals for the cover art contest, which is really cool. My cover artist is Pen Astridge, and she deserves all the props. The woman is crazy talented.

Secondly, the second book in the series, An Elegy for Hope, is in the works. I’m about 40k words into it. The world is expanding, and I’m really liking some of the new characters I’ve created. I’ve been doing a lot of research and… more on this in a bit.

Third, I’m open for editing again, which is good because I’ve got some serious medical bills.

Fourth, I’m thinking of doing a series of blog posts, here or somewhere else if someone wants them, about the historical research I’ve done, and am doing for this series. People ask me about my research ALL THE TIME, and how I fit it into my books. I also get really excited about the things I learn, and dropping a post about it whenever I feel the inclination would give me a way to pretend that someone else cares. Some topics, for example, would be:

  • The tenth century Slavic slave trade, and how I used it for the basis of slavery in the Bloodlands
  • World War II front-line Russian poets
  • Anna Akhmatova
  • Collective farming in Russia in the 1920’s and how I took that and made polyamorous family units from it
  • Various aspects of the Holodomor, and how/why I used them in my world
  • Bacha Posh (a huge plot point in An Elegy for Hope)
  • The Kushan Empire (circa 30ad – 375ad, think Silk Road)

And really so much more. So… really, expect random articles about this stuff to pop up as I do research for my series.

Also, a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time ago I changed my focus from traditionally published books to more small press and self-published books. People sent me books. I haven’t forgotten you, I’ve just been so sick. Seriously, people, I don’t think you understand how sick I’ve been these past few months. I’m back on the horse, however, reading books and enjoying them, and when I get my life a bit more sorted out, I will start reviewing them. I also got some wicked two month Kindle Unlimited deal, so if you’ve got a book on KU or you’ve read a book on KU and you think “Hey, Sarah should read this,” let me know what it is and I’ll load it on up. ‘

So, there you go. Life, the universe, and everything.

And holy shit, I DON’T HAVE CANCER. Talk about dodging a bullet.