I live on a mountaintop with my husband and two cats and am an adventure seeker who travels near and far to find it. (This picture was taken in New Zealand while on a self-contained bicycle tour.)
In February of 2011, my journey took a detour through a different kind of adventure. I was diagnosed with advanced stage inoperable pancreatic cancer. In April 2011 I was told I had 3-4 months to live. Yet, after months of chemotherapy and weeks of radiation, I finally made it to surgery. On August 2, 2011, I underwent a Whipple procedure at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. The surgery went well, but my recovery didn’t. I remained in the hospital for over two months.
During that year I sent emails to loved ones when I had the energy. They were usually written in a humorous style and many friends suggested I write a book. They were my loved ones, so OF COURSE they wanted to read my story. But it wasn’t until Liz, a chemo nurse in SF, made a comment that I felt it was time to write my book–especially if I didn’t have long to live.
Liz said, “Gayle, you’re a gifted writer. Your words inspire others.”
What could I say but, “Thank you, Liz.”
As my husband and I left the treatment room, I asked Mike if he had told Liz that I am a writer. He told me no.
“I didn’t either,” I said. “She doesn’t know I write.”
Okay, I get it! I thought to myself. It’s time to write.
I don’t know about the gifted writer part, but my writing began. First, with a manuscript of my year-long journey. Second, the blog which you are reading. My desire for each post is to connect with readers through the joy life has to offer and through the suffering we all share. I want it to be a reminder that this precious life is to be lived! And I like hearing from readers.
Thank you for joining me as we trek together through The Sweet Life: La Dolce Vita.