Monday, August 26, 2013

Exciting News X2

I have exciting news2 and I have the DOC to thank for it. First bit of news is, I have a cello performance scheduled for September 10th at DuPage Medical Group in Glen Ellyn. I'll be sharing my solo cello compositions, and my crazy health adventures, woven together into a one-woman performance called A New Beginning.

I've been performing about my health adventures for several years. My first show was called Weaving: An Inspirational Journey. In Weaving I shared how I was diagnosed with MG, and cancer, and what life is like as a disabled person. During the show I demystified disability through humor, and truth, and music. Between short talks, I played 10 solo cello compositions I composed. Weaving was well received.

Marie Smith is a remarkable woman.  She plays cello artfully.  She composes
evocative music.  And she tells an incredible  story of overcoming two
life-threatening illnesses.  She joins cello, original music, and her story
into a powerful, even mythic performance: Weaving: An Inspirational
... It's a triumph of the human spirit that from which every
person will benefit.

Weaving is more than good, it's extraordinary."

                                   — Rev. Edward Searl, Unitarian Church of Hinsdale

"Weaving" is a culmination of talent, humor, music and living life.  There really is no better combination than that, and Marie brings it out in each of us.

                                 — Hannah Alkire, cellist in Acoustic Eidolon

From the very beginning, I found myself on a visual journey of a life that has walked through the valley and the shadows and survived.  The narration of Marie's journey was so descriptive, moving, and involved that I felt caught up in each moment and felt like I was able to feel every experience personally. ...May the wind always be at your back. Thank you for sharing your life pages with us.

                             — Linda Eastman, Diversity Days in La Grange Illinois Co-Chair

After this morning, I left church wishing that everyone (in the world!) could hear you speak and hear your soulful music.

                                   — Holly Lydigsen

Dear Marie,

I am not a musician.

I am not a concert attendee.

I am not a cello enthusiast....


                                                                  — Milt & Rosalie Honel
Well, I am continuing to share my talents with others, thanks to the DOC. For two years my cello was broken and I tried to save money for repairs, but the chronic illness dragon kept stealing it. I didn't think I would ever play Sir Barclay again, until the DOC reached out and helped me raise enough money to fix my cello. You can read about how I got my cello fixed, and my cello advocacy at

Ever since my cello was repaired, my goal has been to share what I've learned as a person living with diabetes and myasthenia gravis. I want to use music, and humor, and honesty to bring healing and hope to people. Tuesday September 10th I get a chance to be the cello bard again. @Cellobard is not just a twitter handle, but who I am at the core. I love being a bard. I am honored and excited to get another chance to do it again. Consider yourself invited.

For more information email me, thecellochick@gmail(dot)com

OK, that's the first exciting news. The second exciting news is...

My second book, Life Etudes: Studies In Thriving At The University of Catastrophe, is published. It's on sale now at in print and for Kindle. You can also get a copy for your Nook. The iBooks and the audiobook editions are coming soon. 

Life Etudes: Studies In Thriving At The University of Catastrophe is about learning to adjust to life with diabetes and MG. 
etudes /noun/ musical compositions practiced as a study to improve technique

life etudes /noun/ compositions about thriving after a catastrophe through changing perspective, finding meaning, strengthening endurance, reaching for transcendence, and making a difference

Life Etudes is in five parts.

Part 1: Perspective I need to keep stretching my perspective so I am not consumed with anger and bitterness. Stretching a wider perspective reminds me I am not trapped. It reminds me I’m not the only student at the University of Catastrophe. I don’t face my problems alone. Neither does anyone else.

Part 2: Meaning I need to continue to find meaning in my life, so I am not dragged down by hopelessness and despair. On the surface, having both MG and diabetes is a disaster. Fortunately, I can see below the surface. I can find the sweet things in my life and enjoy them. I can share them with other people. Knowing I am making another person’s life sweeter gives my life meaning.

Part 3: Endurance  I need to keep strengthening my endurance because this race has been long and I am not at the end yet.

Part 4: Transcendence Every day I need to build my ability to transcend disability and diabetes. They are not the core of my life. They challenge me and create tasks for me to do, but they are not a place where my thoughts and spirit need to dwell. 

Part 5: Shine I want to use my inner light to make a difference for others. I’m not the most important student at the University of Catastrophe. I’m not the bravest or the smartest. The lessons I’ve learned aren’t for me alone. I want to use them to make life better for my classmates.

In Life Etudes: Studies In Thriving At The University of Catastrophe, I shared my struggles and triumphs in learning how to live a peaceful, joyful, meaningful, life even as a perpetual student at the University of Catastrophe. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Could you help me out and spread the word about my book on Twitter, Facebook, and other groups you belong to like Tu Diabetes and Daily Strength? I would appreciate it a lot. The show A New Beginning is booking now. Have cello, adapted bow, and will travel any where, any time. Please email me here: thecellochick@gmail(dot)com if you would like for me to perform for your group. Sir Barclay the Cello and I would be honored. JOY!


  1. Wow... a big year for you! I'm happy you're getting to do the things that mean the most to you. Best of luck.

  2. So happy to read about the good news X2. I have had a link to your blog from mine( )ever since it started. I watch for updates from you and other blogs that I have listed. Turns out that you are quite tough, aren't you? A lot tougher than you thought when you woke up at Catastrophe University. Continued success on your journey!



I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

If you are enrolled with your own major at the University of Catastrophe, please consult your doctor, therapist, attorney, auto mechanic, veterinarian, plumber, dietician, arborist, acupuncturist, manicurist, mother, local dairy council, shoe shine boy, or other equally qualified professional, for advice and assistance.

If you email me your personal information will not be shared without your permission and your email address will not be sold. I hate spam. Even with eggs.

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