(Tanya Prochazka (cello) couldn’t make the workshop this year but she sent us this letter.)
My cancer returned and was diagnosed at the beginning of April and luckily this recurrence has been caught early once again. So I have begun my third bout of chemotherapy, not a pleasant experience, but the alternative is still a much worse option. It’s a different protocol this time and the side effects so far are much less severe. And it seems to be doing the trick and has stopped the cancer in its tracks. I had to make the hard choice about coming to Sooke or not and decided that since the workshop falls in the period where my immune system is down, then it would not be such a good idea to put myself at risk of infection in a large group of people. Bugs are not very discerning and a simple cold could turn pretty nasty if there is no immune system to fight it off.
To console myself I have made the huge trip to Australia (flying in periods of normal immunity at the beginning and end of the chemo cycle) with my husband Arthur, to take the opportunity to visit each of our ancient and fragile parents who may not see out the year. I am not such a fan of just showing up at the funeral when the star of the show can’t be enjoyed! Crazy plan really, but then, completely in character. The original plan was to come to Australia directly after the workshop.
The year was fabulous with a great sabbatical and then back to the University in January to work once more with my lovely cello students and the orchestra. We were ambitious as always and performed our hearts out in Scheherazade, and other works. We also performed 4 shows of the Opera Xerxes by Handel, a very ambitious project.
My big news is that I am quasi retiring from my fulltime position at the University and taking a half time position for 2 years so that I continue to nurture my cello class, but I have to give up the orchestra, which saddens me hugely. This was another big decision taken heavily at the end of last summer when my cancer once again went into remission with the expectation that it would most certainly return to haunt me at some stage…which it has all too soon! Priorities were shaped into sharp focus and energies carefully apportioned. There are moments when I feel absolutely cut off at the knees, but more moments when life is in exhilaratingly sharp focus and every instant is relished. This retirement will also mean more opportunity to travel and play. Luckily Arthur can work just about anywhere as long as he has his computer and the telephone.
I plan to come to Victoria in September (around 20th) as I will be doing some work with the Lafayette quartet (Schubert 5tet) and will come 2 days earlier to Sooke and visit you all, and even do some coaching if you would like. Norman and Jenny are speaking of a mini workshop????
With all my heartfelt greetings and a big toast to a great and successful workshop,