Mostly, I’ll be glad to have food taste like how food is supposed to taste. I don’t mind so much about the hair being gone really. But, of course, I’ll be glad when that starts to grow back, too. These are my thoughts as I await my next session of chemotherapy. I’m in the homestretch: four out of six cycles DONE!
I write this near the end of October. I’m in between cycles and enjoying a 3-week break, which should have been just a 2-week break, extended due to the Chemo Unit at my hospital being closed on All Saints’ Day – a Tuesday – which is when I have my sessions. To be honest, I’d rather have treatments keep going just so that they’re sooner all done. But I content myself with getting some rest for now and being able to catch up with my writing and artwork.
“Chemotherapy???” Friends and family who were unaware will surely be surprised should they read this since I haven’t been sharing much since May of 2022. It’s a hell of a way to come out of a blogging and social media hiatus, that’s for sure. But more on my health later.
There’s no particular reason for the online silence. In May of this year, I started to stay off social media to avoid depressing news about the 2022 Philippines election results. From there, long after I stopped stressing over the elections, I just fell out of posting things and also found it quite liberating to not be a slave to the endless feed scrolling. Plus, I had other health-related things going on, obviously. So Facebook just stopped being a daily bad habit. Occasionally, I still check in to see what my friends are up to and scan for important news, but my time on the app is, at least for now, considerably less than before.
My art Instagram, on the other hand, is all but abandoned, something reinforced further by these YouTube videos I’ve been watching of artists leaving the platform in favor of other ways of getting their art out there. Like them, I’m not inclined to put myself at the mercy of an algorithm, nor do I have time for it anyway. I tried it for a bit, but it’s just too much work at such a necessarily fast pace that it drains the joy out of creating art. Others might make it work for them, but it’s just not for me. I’d rather slave away at a wordy blog post and spend time editing a longer video in hopes of gaining business.
Speaking of which, it’s exactly for business reasons why I’m here now cleaning up my online presence, fixing my website, and reviving my blog (for the nth time). All part of my larger plan of hopefully creating a stable income source out of my art since I currently can’t take on too much veterinary and dog training work.
Chemotherapy is not cheap, and the current state of the economy is not making things easier. So one must do what one can, and if that means indulging full-time in creating art to earn money, by golly, I will suffer it!
Kidding aside, I’m oddly grateful that this personal health crisis is giving me an excuse to take a step back from veterinary work and allowing me to focus on my art work. My personal history will tell, I’ve not had a good track record of surrendering to the Muse, having been well trained from childhood to believe that art is not a worthy pursuit. But I’ve always wondered what would happen were I brave enough to abandon a stable job and income to give myself entirely to a creative career. I suspect I could do quite well if only I were to stay focused. Maybe now, necessity will be the driving force towards success.
With that in mind, the first goal is to start regularly writing and making art again, and then to put it out there. “Document the process” suggests Austin Kleon in his book Show Your Work. Connections and opportunities will spring from there. Except now, keeping to my website, I decide the pace and format of what I share to avoid being subject to algorithms that have me competing for views, likes and follows. Meanwhile, social media in moderation.
So that’s the plan, and finishing this first blog post after a long absence is a promising step in the right direction.
Next time, I’ll share with you my tale of how I got from diagnosis to chemotherapy.
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I’ll talk to you again soon!