I realize that when I started writing this blog, Marilyn's Byline, I had a "hidden agenda." I wanted to promote my book, which at the time was a work in progress. It was suggested to me by a wonderfully talented young woman by the name of Sultana Ali that I start this blog. First, she had to tell what a "blog" was. I had no idea. Then, I had to find someone to help me get stated. That artistically talented individual was Thomas Thorspecken, better known as Thor. He helped me get into Blogspot.com and the rest, as they say, is history. Oh, and I did get some additional help (artistically) from a well-known graphic designer, Edward Feldman. He took my original concept and made it look -- well, much more exciting as well as professional. I wanted to thank all three of these incredible people for their help, especially at a time when I was still coming out of my "fog."
Marilyn's Byline started out as a way to let people know I was writing -- something I had stopped doing for way too many years. The years between 2002 - 2007 were downright horrible, physically and mentally. I could barely function on a daily basis let alone attempt anything remotely resembling a piece of writing. (Or anything that made sense.) I was a mess. My brain was overcome by chemo brain, a real dysfunction from which I still continue to suffer -- although I am better able to handle those moments.
In late 2007, Brian Feldman (aka: my son) helped me apply for a literature grant from United Arts of Central Florida. I wrote on my application that I would write a play about cancer survivors and take that piece to a public play reading, all within a year's time. Talk about impossible! Even the judging panel who were there to determine if I would get the grant noted that this project was "impossible" even for professionals like themselves. But I was in la-la land and told them: "I'm a cancer survivor. I can do anything." I said that line three times. I knew I wasn't going to get the grant -- but, I did! Of course, as you may already know, I finished the project in March 2010 -- two years after I started. Chemonologues became a reality when it was read by a group of professional actors on the stage at Theatre Downtown in Orlando. I was "mentored" by Julia Gagne, formerly with Valencia Community College. She also directed the play reading.
Now, I have completed my book "High Maintenance." I am still deciding how to publish my memoir. The exciting thing is -- I completed the book. I did it. I spent three years writing -- but it's done. For me, that's a "giant" accomplishment. There was a time (between 2002 and 2007) where my brain could not have done this work. I could not even write two words in a sentence that made any sense. I was a totally dysfunctional person -- I could barely do anything physical. I had to learn how to "walk," again, twice. (2005 and 2008 after breaking my femurs) I spent plenty of time in hospitals and rehab centers. I endured surgeries, including the loss of the upper lobe of my left lung. (My breast cancer journey began to resemble a lung cancer survivor's journey.) Mentally, emotionally -- I was a wreck! I needed to get off the "roller-coaster, merry-go-round" I was on.
Today, I am writing this new post with a whole different attitude. I feel great! I exercise on a regular basis. I enjoy exercising because I can see and feel the difference it has made. I do "crazy things" such as Zumba, water fitness, basic spinning and Tai Chi. I have tried many other classes along the way. I also enjoy working my muscles -- working at each session to gain better muscle tone and strength. It has become a passion for me.
Thus, my new "blog" is about how my life has improved since I became whole again. What a feeling it is to know that each day I am truly "getting better and stronger." I just celebrated another year on August 9. I love it! I have a whole year to expand my horizons. To learn new things and accomplish goals. (Such as publishing my book) It doesn't get much better than that. So, join me on this incredible journey -- my adventure into year 61. You are invited to encourage me, join me, (which means you need to get off the sofa and start moving) and most importantly, support me. I cannot do this myself. I realized my limitations in 2002 and since then, I have depended upon family and friends for physical, emotional and spiritual support. I will have an awesome year. I cannot wait to see all the amazing things that will happen as each week and each month over the coming 61st year of my life as Marilyn Susan Wattman-Feldman unfolds.
Here's to the next chapter in my life!