I spent the first half of my career as an Ob/Gyn in the Air Force and then the private sector. Military habits are hard to break. I continued to be a rolling stone.
In 2010, I left Arizona to join a small practice in Northern California near Humboldt State University in the city of Arcata. While I was there, I commuted to Oregon once a month to attend Willamette Writers monthly workshop. I met speakers who eventually became big in the industry, like Ray Rhamey, Larry Brooks, Jessica Morrell, Robert Dugoni, and Ursula K. Le Guin before she passed on.
Arcata's weather was too much like London for my husband's tastes. We moved back to Flagstaff, Arizona in 2017. I soon discovered the large writing group in Arizona had just collapsed. I decided if I wanted a writing group, I was going to have to create one. With two other local writers, I co-founded Flagstaff Writers Connection. We do about two workshops a year to fund the group and offer all our other services for free. No membership dues required. Through the group, I started a Critique Circle and a support group for those trying to publish, the Pub Club.
I did this while I worked 50 hours a week for a local multi-specialty group, and continued to work on my own writing projects.
That’s how things were until 2021 when, by all accounts, I started acting odd. I went from reasonably fit to eating all the sugar I could get my hands on. Pop Tarts became my favorite meal. I shuffled my feet. I developed a tremor in both hands, slurred speech, and complained of exhaustion no matter how much sleep I got.
Obviously those symptoms aren’t conducive to being a surgeon. My employer asked me to take a break. (Hint: Employers of surgeons will do almost anything to keep them from taking a break.) The request was a hard slap in the face. Up until then, despite all my signs and symptoms, I thought I was just fine. “It’s just menopause,” I told myself. Really. I’m not sure how I blew off a bilateral hand tremor, but in my altered state of mind I did just that. My employer's request made me realize this wasn’t just menopause. I needed help.