A friend recently told me: sometimes, all we can do is sit back and be awed by what life has in store. I feel this now as I type these words.

On September 18, I flew home from the first leg of my book tour with a bloated belly that I assumed to be the result of too many enchilada platters while down in Texas. A flurry of tests revealed it to be a basketball-sized tumor instead. On September 27, a surgical team at UNC Hospital drained the tumor of two liters of fluid, pulled it out, and did a thorough biopsy that has since revealed Stage I, Grade II of a rare strand of mucinous ovarian cancer. I will be starting chemotherapy in two weeks (and shopping for wigs in the interim).

Meanwhile, I must cancel my entire fall book tour, including the Texas Book Festival, University of North Park, University of Texas at San Antonio, University of Houston (for a second time, aye!), University of North Carolina, University of San Diego, and Wild Detectives in Dallas. It is my every hope to rebook some events in 2018, once I’ve regained strength and steam.

As you can imagine, this has been a rollercoaster like no other. However, twenty-plus years of researching/reporting other people’s stories has helped me understand at a very deep level that we all have our tragedies. It seems I have met my own. It is awe-inspiring indeed to behold life at such an elemental state. I am gearing up for the fight ahead, and will send updates now and then.

But first, querido readers, I want to extend gratitude to all of you. One of my first sensations upon receiving this diagnosis was existential relief that All the Agents and Saints was already out in the world. It means everything to me that my work has somehow found its way to you. Thank you for receiving my stories with the love with which they were offered.