What Next?

What Next?

I often ponder this question with respect to my own life just about every day if not several times a day! Sure, there are some things I am planning for – like recording my next CD and doing research and interviews for my next book – and for those, I know what I’m planning to happen next, but other things are completely out of my control and may occur out of the blue as complete surprises.

One of the “what next” surprises in my life occurred almost five years ago when I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. I was having some symptoms and suspected something was wrong so in a way the diagnosis wasn’t a complete surprise, but anytime you hear from your doctor that “Yes, it is malignant. Yes, it is bad. And, yes it is in a bad place,” the news stops you in your tracks and gets your undivided attention.

There’s a lot I know now that I didn’t know then. I didn’t know then about the full resources available from the American Cancer Society – resources that could have helped me decipher, understand and make sense out of the mound of invoices and insurance documentation that made my eyes glaze over for months after my diagnosis and initial treatment; resources that would have been just a phone call away to say “I went through what you are going through. I really do understand. Here’s how I can help you.”

I recently discovered a relatively new resource online called WhatNext.com. This website is free to anyone diagnosed with or caring for someone with cancer and matches the person up with other cancer survivors with a similar diagnosis. You can post information about your own experience and what you went through (types of treatments, side effects, celebrations, “oh no’s,” etc.), questions to ask others, and answers to questions you may have to offer others. It is an exchange of experiences and helpful information from those in the trenches like yourself who are living with or recovering from the same type of cancer you have.

Nifty!

I wish I would have found this three years ago when it was first created, but I’m grateful nonetheless that I’ve found it now. I have already posted some of the major milestones for my cancer journey, responded to some questions/problems others have posted and asked a few questions of my own about what I’m currently experiencing. I was initially overwhelmed by the positive and uplifting messages others posted to my page to welcome me to this online community of cancer survivors the same day I registered. It was a huge heart-warming welcome hug of love, connection and support.

For anyone reading my blog who has a family member of friend in the midst of the cancer fight, please share this website with them: http://www.WhatNext.com. There is also a wealth of information and resources from the American Cancer Society website, which is http://www.cancer.org. I also recommend visiting the National Cancer Institute (NCI) website within the National Institute of Health website provided by our federal government – http://www.nih.gov. I found the NCI website provided helpful list of questions to ask your doctor when you’re so shell-shocked by the initial diagnosis that you don’t know what to ask because you don’t know what you’re dealing with and just don’t know what you don’t know. The NCI website has a wealth of information to get you started.

None of us truly know what’s next, but there is help available to us for whatever surprises come along our life’s path. We just need to ask and/or look for the help. It’s there!

I hope you find these resources helpful. Take care & God bless!

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Been Too Busy to Write My Blog!

I’m getting closer to launching my new book The Path – Songs and Stories to Quiet the Mind, Calm the Heart & Inspire the Soul. (See new cover photo above!) You may have been wondering what the heck I’ve been doing this past two months since my first shipment of books arrived and I became the happy “mom” of my new delivery! I have been ever so silent on my blog! Well, here’s why:

For starters I’ve been booking, planning and rehearsing for St. Patrick’s Day related music gigs and have a full schedule of appearances across the next two weeks. My “March Music Madness” started this past weekend where I performed with my friend and musician/guitarist John Burleson at the North Texas Irish Festival in Dallas. We had a great time at the festival with song sessions, music sessions and time with friends old and new. 

This week, my schedule begins with hosting the Irish Song Session at Dugan’s Irish Pub on Thursday, March 7 from 7-9 p.m. and performing at the Historic Arkansas Museum for their new exhibit as part of 2nd Friday Art Night on Friday, March 8 from 5-8 p.m.

You may see my compete schedule of upcoming performances on my website, www.CellaDawnMusic.com.

Speaking of the website, I’ve been busy writing fresh content for my NEWLY designed website, (designed by the wonderfully skilled and creative Marcella Wiggins, my webmaster) which is about to debut SOON! By “SOON” we (and I do mean “we” as this is a team effort of Marcella and me) are shooting for the end of this coming weekend, March 10th (God willing and the creek don’t rise!).

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Next, I’ve also been working hard to promote the 14th Annual 2013 Rock to North Little Rock St. Patrick’s Day Parade that is happening on Saturday, March 16th at 1:00 p.m. The Parade starts at 3rd & Rock in Little Rock, travels through River Market, crosses the Main Street Bridge into the Argenta Historic District, ending at 5th and Main in North Little Rock. Our Parade permit allows us to go to 6th and Main so if you want to watch the parade in that last block, that’s cool with us! We love having spectators line the entire parade route from start to finish. I sure hope you come out and bring your kids, families and friends as the Parade Committee has worked extremely hard this year to make the Parade the best yet! For more information about the Parade, visit the Irish Cultural Society of Arkansas website: www.IrishArkansas.org.

Note: 2012 Parade Photo of Peg singing from the Shamrock Lawncare Float Courtesy of Jason Crader Photography

Next is the planning of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Mass on Sunday, March 17th at 9 am at St. Edward Catholic Church located at 9th and Sherman in downtown Little Rock. The Mass celebrates the Patron Saint of Ireland and includes various aspects of Irish culture – Irish language, songs, music and dancing. There is a reception in the church cafeteria after Mass with includes a short program of Irish dance from the McCafferty School of Irish Dance and the O’Donovan School of Irish Dance.

If you don’t think I have been busy enough to be neglectful of my blog, there have been a few other things I’m working on in addition to the above which I’ll talk about when the time comes.

For now, suffice to say that I’m gearing up for a fun and successful celebration of all things Irish across the month of March and I hope you will join me for some or all of it!

I’ll tell you more about the book launch AFTER St. Patrick’s Day!

Oh, and remember to wear your green!