2013 is almost done, and though I’m not one to wish away time, I’m getting anxious to greet the new year. A solid draft of novel number three, The Witches of New York is well in hand, and I’ve also started scribbling notes on a few new book shaped ideas as well as setting up a blog called Mutant Me.
The latter is a project that’s grown from a CBC radio documentary I wrote and co-produced a few years ago called “Daughter of Family G.” While the documentary recorded my initial steps towards undergoing genetic testing for Lynch Syndrome (a genetic mutation that predisposes carriers to colorectal, endometrial and various related cancers,) Mutant Me discusses the ins and outs of living with the results.
Although I’ve been writing through this journey on my own for over a decade, I’ve hesitated bringing much of that part of my voice/life into a public forum for a few different reasons. First, it’s taken me quite a long while to process everything that came with my test results. Second, I didn’t want to elicit fear, worry, pity or feelings of TMI in anyone – family, friends, readers or strangers. Last, but not least, the writing that’s come from this journey is a similar, yet different animal than my fiction. It’s come easy (and messy) on the page, but often with a heavy toll on my heart. It’s honest and raw- a strange collage of family history and medical statistics, nightmares and magical thinking. In a way, I suppose all the wandering around I’ve done in my head in the name of fiction has helped to shake this project loose. Now that it’s here, I’m not sure what will come of it. The blog is only the start, my leap off the edge. (And by taking that leap, I hope to help others find a few connections and answers of their own along the way.)
We’re living in a world of “new normals” when it comes to how we approach well-being and health. Genetic testing can open doors to preventative health care and screenings, but it can also be a Pandora’s Box filled with emotion, worry and what ifs. Still, through it all one thing remains constant, our need to put the bits and pieces of our lives (be they memories, words, medical stats, strands of dna, or even facebook statuses) into a fetching, natural, compelling order so that we might look back on them with wonder, understanding and hope.
Mutant Me is my way of doing just that. If you’d like to check out the blog, the first few posts can be found via the following links:
Mutant Me – the homepage for the site, including more background on the project.
Daughter of Family G. – the story of how a 19th century seamstress’s story led to a 20th century medical breakthrough (plus a podcast about genetic testing)
Insides Out – preventative hysterectomy, how does one decide?
TWITs - “This week in tweets,” helpful health links, including a link to forms you can use to record your family medical history.
As always, my sincerest thanks for stumbling into my corner of cyberspace and for taking the time to read my words.
May your 2014 be filled with love, enlightenment, happiness and health!