To everyone who contributed to the fundraiser Megan Fitzpatrick organized on my behalf last winter, sent kind comments, notes of support or handmade gifts, shared garden bounty, good wishes and prayers: Thank you.
After several months I thought it time to express my gratitude with an update. I still have Stage IV pancreatic cancer, per the original diagnosis. But if I hadn’t seen the scan images and read my doctors’ reports, I wouldn’t know it.
Six months of Folfirinox chemotherapy – not something I can recommend if you’re looking for a good time – shrank the primary tumor by two-thirds. Six weeks off chemo, starting at the end of June, gave me a chance to recover strength, energy (and my sense of taste, which was super-bleh due to Folfirinox). I started the alternate chemo regimen, Gemcitabine and Abraxane, in August and have had no side effects to speak of so far.
Most important, I feel better than I have in years. My diet is seriously wholesome, I haven’t been drinking alcohol, I exercise every day and am working with some excellent integrative healthcare practitioners.
Throughout most of this period I have continued to work. I started by writing “Shop Tails,” which is forthcoming from Lost Art Press, then built and installed the cabinetry for the kitchen of a 1920 bungalow (above). I’ve been blogging as usual for the Pros’ Corner at Fine Woodworking and the Little Acorns series of profiles here. Thanks to the success of “Kitchen Think,” I have also had a number of kitchen design commissions, among them a few rivals for Most Challenging Kitchen Layout of My Career. I do love a challenge. This week I will start prepping for a shoot with Anissa Kapsales of the plate rack article we’ve had under contract for longer than I can even remember, between the pandemic and various chemo-related delays on my end. I’m also working on some Voysey two-heart chairs.
I am feeling strong and optimistic. Please don’t ask about medical specifics – not because I am trying to keep any of this a secret (I’m not), but because I honestly feel so great that I’m done with seeing myself as a cancer patient. I am a healthy woodworker, design professional and writer who is living with cancer. Seeing myself this way does not equate to denial. There is no denial going on here. To the contrary, this has been and continues to be a transformative experience, and I wouldn’t want to deny any of it because it has taught me so much. If you’re interested in hearing more, there’s plenty in the first two chapters of “Shop Tails,” as well as in the conclusion.
The outpouring of love and generosity from Lost Art Press readers and editors has been one of the most moving experiences of my life. You have kept me company, shared cancer-related resources and made me laugh, in addition to providing invaluable help with medical expenses, which are significant even for those self-employed people who pay through the nose for the most affordable healthcare coverage. The best way I can show my gratitude is by continuing my efforts to recover from this disease that is widely considered incurable. So that’s what I’m doing.
– Nancy Hiller, author of “Kitchen Think” and “Making Things Work.”
40 thoughts on “Thank You and Good Morning”
Thanks for the update, Nancy! You’ve put a big smile on my face. Keep up the good work. Love, Kathryn
We love you, Nancy! You are in our prayers… as is your bicep (that it may continue to grow)…
We are born out of love. We live in love. We are destined for love.
—Blessed Raymón Llull, The Book of the Lover and the Beloved
“This is a wonderful day I have never seen this one before.” Maya Angelou
Have a wonderful day, Nancy!
Keep on truckin’ !
Great news Nancy Glad to hear it!!
You rock – keep up the great work, and Thank You for Kitchen Think, it is most excellent.
Oh yes, it is!
I will use it for our new kitchen. I fear I bit off more than I can chew, but one grows with the challenges.
Oh, and this is the first time I realised the font on the blog uses ligatures. Weird. I usually spot that.
Good to hear and keep on going! Looking forward to the “Tails”.
This update is a wonderful start to the day. As the spouse of someone with a serious, chronic illness (and a long list of unpronounceable medications and infusions), your refusal to describe yourself as a “cancer patient” rings true to me. I’ve learned a lot from her, but nothing more important than you are as you define yourself. She’s never let her illness stop her for a minute longer than absolutely necessary. To her, life is what you’ve got right now. She suffers no illusions about the shortness of life because she’s never been allowed that luxury, so she refuses to waste what she has. Stay well, Nancy.
Very happy to read this!
Great to hear you’re doing so well! Looking forward to Shop Tails.
Wonderful news, so glad you are doing better.
Not sure whether to be happy for you, or embarrassed for myself that your biceps are bigger than mine :). Love the design and color of the cabinets and plate rack!
Great update, I’m looking forward to Shop Tales and reading all that you produce.
I feel bad for the next piñata that crosses your path, Nancy!
That’s just fantastic news. I’m so happy.
That’s the best news I’ve heard in quite a while. I will continue to pray for your good fortune. Be well, be happy!
You are amazing Nancy. I hope to meet you one day!
Bravisimo! Well said and noted. Love Kitchen Think. I completed my wife’s new kitchen just a few years ago. Wish it had been around beforehand but, it turned out splendid anyway. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.
Thanks for checking in with your fan base (lol). Continue with the recovery!
Nancy, I’m SO GLAD to hear this wonderful news!! “I don’t feel like I have cancer” is the second best thing a cancer patient can say!
I will continue positive feelings and contribute more financially if necessary. Maybe you could help me and say a prayer for one of my best friends, Kara, who is having a rough time with her lunch cancer treatments? It was in remission last year and not even showing up in scans and then all of a sudden a few months ago it came back twice as strong. 🙁 It’s been a rough couple of months.
Love this post, Nancy!. Your muscles! Strong inside and out.
Look at that pipe! Thank you for the update. Stay strong, and keep carrying on. You are making the world so much better every day.
Keep designing, keep building and keep living life. Thanks for sharing your good news.
Wow! that bicep, I have to start doing chin-ups again! Glad to hear you are well and feeling strong. Have a good day!
I think of you often. I’m so happy to hear you’re doing well.
I’m so glad to hear that you are feeling well! I am really looking forward to reading Shop Tails. Thanks for all the wonderful work you keep doing.
Nancy, I’ve never met you (I’m sure I will soon), but I’m still pretty damn sure we’d hit it off. Even if you don’t drink beer anymore. Cheers!
This so great to hear! Thanks for all you do and stay strong!
The best thing I have read all day. Your Bloomington and Woodworking friends are all cheering.
Keep it up. My brother in law died a few years ago at 92. He was a 40+ year survivor of pancreatic cancer. We were all sure its was his huge will to survive.
Best wishes for the continued journey. The mental framework you’ve chosen is something I’ve seen passing reference to. Thanks for sharing it in detail; it makes a lot of sense and sets a great example for the rest of us.
Great news, Have a friend who is going strong eight years out from pancreatic cancer. Living her best life, prayers for continue good results
Awesome news! Absolutely outstanding!!
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