Blogging from the Heart

Blogging from the Heart

Finding the time to blog has been difficult this last year, so it was an opportunity to start fresh when I was asked to join the Blogging from the Heart tour by Kimberly Sentek.  She has a book called Oh Brother! A Nico and Tugger Tale. It is a rhyming children’s book about sibling rivalry told from two different dogs’ perspectives.  And, Kimberly has a second book starring Nico and Tugger in the works. You can read Kimberly’s touching Blogging from the Heart story is about her father’s passing here. Thank you for inviting me on the tour, Kimberly.

Kimberly Sentek Nico and Tugger copy

 What am I working on?

I’m now writing the third book in my children’s book series, The Mystic Princesses and the Volcano. Well, to be truthful, I haven’t worked Volcano much and I need to get busy on that project, as I’d like to get it to the editor before the end of 2014. I need to stay ahead of my fabulous illustrator.

I recently released After “I Do!” A Marriage Map. This book was the surprise outcome of a blog post I  wrote last year for a domestic violence website called End the Silence. My blog post “How I Escaped the Domestic Violence Cycle” garnered a lot of attention according to the website designer, Jenna Brooks. So much so, that Jenna suggested I write more about my successful marriage.  The End the Silence website is currently being updated for a new year of posts, but my original blog can be read here.

I hope you stick with me for this blog, because it is long. But when I tried to shorten it, it cut the heart right out of Blogging from the Heart. For those of you who have read After “I Do!” A Marriage Map, you know that my husband has been battling some viruses for more than a year now. He has four viruses that work similar to the Chicken Pox / Shingles viruses. One is exposed to the viruses as a child and then later as an adult, they may manifest themselves again. His viruses are called:

  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Non-sexually transmitted Herpes also known as HHV6
  • Non-sexually transmitted Chlamydia / pneumonia virus
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia virus

Doctor Symbol-clip art

The symptoms we first noticed were memory loss and a “brain fog” which made him process information noticeably slower than his normal response time. These viruses have been correlated with escalating health issues such as early onset dementia, joint and muscle pain and fibromyalgia. It’s time for a disclaimer here. I’m not a doctor, this is just my understanding and comprehension of what I’ve read and been told by Terry’s doctor. Our doctor says that about 25% of his patients never go off the treatment plan. The other 75% get periods of relief where they aren’t on the medications, but even the 75% will have to be treated periodically throughout the rest of their lives. The treatment plan including antibiotics, anti-viral prescriptions, immune system supplements, etc. create another whole set of issues. Not only is the out-of-pocket cost adding up, many of the drugs cause chronic diarrhea, and by chronic I mean going to the bathroom up to 10 or 11 times a day, migraines and fatigue.

The troubling thing is that I cannot find a support group that Terry can join. When I search on the virus names, I get doctor websites such as the MayoClinic.com or WebMD.com, etc. But I don’t find any sites where people can just talk about their symptoms, their treatment or the lack of comprehension from when we try to explain it to others. So to answer the question, “What am I working on?” I’m considering a blog, Facebook page and/or a short book about Terry’s viruses to hopefully get people talking to each other and to help raise awareness of these viruses.

Apparently, from what our doctor says, most people are exposed to these viruses but if they happen to activate, most people assume their forgetfulness is caused by the natural aging process, i.e. “the memory is the first to go.” But this is quite dangerous, as I mentioned earlier due to the escalating health impacts if left untreated. And this new venture that I might launch would be to let others know they are not alone. I’d want a platform where they can share insights, learn to adapt their lifestyles to live with the situation, console each other and learn to laugh again. I believe laughter will help people get through it.

But before I take on this venture, you as readers, might be able to help me. If you have found websites or books on these viruses, I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment with the links so that I can check them out. I’m looking for support groups, not websites with medical jargon discussing the viruses. If I move forward with some form of a support group it will be a haven where people are free to talk and support each other. It will not be a place where people should go for medical advice instead of visiting their doctors.

I’d like to add, that it’s not that people don’t care or aren’t compassionate. They just don’t understand the viruses, the symptoms, the treatments or the side effects of the treatments. We explain it all but immediately get questions like, “But what are the viruses?” or “He looks okay. Why can’t he work?” This is frustrating to say the least, because we don’t know whether he’ll ever be in “remission.” And frankly, it is hard to understand why people can’t comprehend that migraines and diarrhea cause absenteeism from work. And absenteeism leads to being let go because you can’t get the job done. And I believe if we are experiencing this lack of understanding, so are others.

Questions

How does my work from differ others in its genre?

I have a book series called The Mystic Princesses. My princesses are not the “wait by the phone longing for the prince to call type of girls.” First, I haven’t defined their specific age, so that they can appeal to young girls of all ages. The princesses aren’t old enough to be interested in boys yet. I’m not sure that I will ever let them grow into the dating age. I haven’t fully made my mind up on that yet. The books could be converted into a comic book or graphic novel of super heroes for girls. They solve their own problems and have fun along the way. The princesses care about the people around them and are socially conscious.

After “I Do!” A Marriage Map is different from other self-help books because of its tone. I wanted to create an atmosphere where I talk about our marriage as though the reader is right there in the room having a conversation with me. I’ve filled it with real life experiences, both good and bad, from our marriage along with the communication advice that we learned along the way. I didn’t want the book to sound like it came from psychologists who want to analyze your marriage under a spotlight. I shared our experiences and what we learned from them. Does that mean our advice will work for the readers? I don’t know, but I hope so.

Why do I write/create what I do?

I write children’s books because I had an unstable childhood as the child of an abusive alcoholic father. I escaped in books by shutting out the world around me. I would love for other children to find an adventure, but not necessarily an escape when they read The Mystic Princesses series. Along the way, I hope to pass on some child safety tips and some environmental consciousness to the readers.

I hope After “I Do!” A Marriage Map can help couples make a success of their marriages. I’d love to hear comments from couples that they learned something from reading it. It is about successful communication and learning not to hurt your partner during arguments. One can disagree on subjects. But it’s how one disagrees that can build or tear apart relationships.

How does my writing/creating process work?

With all of my writing, I tend to have an external prompt, for the princesses, it is travel and the environment. I will admit that I am not disciplined with my writing. When I feel like writing, I write. And I’ll probably write continually for several days until I’m happy with what I’ve written.  I don’t set daily word count goals, and probably won’t, until I am able to retire from my day job, and maybe not even then. I don’t put that kind of pressure on my writing because I write as a hobby to relax when I’m away from my day job. And the primary reason that I don’t write more regularly is that family is more important to me than writing. If you ask me whether I’m driven to write, I’d have to answer that with a “sometimes.” I have different goals than publishing the next great novel. I do get obsessed with projects. But I just don’t spend every waking moment on my projects rather than spending time with my husband.

Thank you for reading my Blogging from the Heart story. Now, I’d like to introduce my three victims, err, friends who’ve agreed to join me on this tour.

I’d love for you to drop by their blogs and meet some wonderful new friends who will always stand by your side and be there if you need to talk. I feel blessed to call all three of these people my friend.

 Stephanie Neighbour

Stephanie Chip and Auturmn4

I met Stephanie over a year ago and I’ve read many of her blog posts. Stephanie is a loving and caring person who has been beside me throughout my husband’s health issues and several other trying times this past year. That she stayed with me, and periodically reached out to check how I was doing, means more to me than she probably knows.

Stephanie loves life with her two dachshunds, Chip and Autumn, riding her Harley and writing her blog and books. Stephanie has a huge heart and an amazing talent to write about everyday life events that may be hilarious, painful, or philosophical. Stephanie is writing two books about her life, with the first book in the editing stage. And she is writing a book about caring for Autumn, who has intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). You can read Stephanie’s blog hereand check out her IVDD Facebook page here.

Sherry Rentschler

Sherry Rentschler and Paper Bones2

I met Sherry through the End the Silence domestic violence event held last fall. We instantly formed a mutual respect society between us for having escaped the domestic violence in each of our lives. Sherry is one of the lucky ones who healed from her experiences and is enjoying life with her current husband. Sherry’s favorite color may be blue, as you can see in her streaked hair, but she is a bright shining star filled with light and fun. She is a retired US Air Force veteran, which I love, because soldiers hold a special place in my heart.

Sherry writes a cross-section of poetry that can be fun, edgy or downright gritty with the truth that reaches out and smacks you when you least expect it. When I read her book, Paper Bones, I was happy to see such a variety in her poetry because life is a mixture of good times and bad times, and inspiration can be found in both. Actually, cross your fingers and toes, because out of 1900 poetry books entered into the 2014 Reader’s Favorite Book Awards, Paper Bones is one of six finalists. She finds out early in September whether she won. Please drop by Sherry’s blog, Between the Lines, and get to know her.

Teddy O’Malley

Teddy OMalley book covers4

Teddy and I got to know each other through a Facebook page group called Fun-Tastic Children’s Books (Slugs Welcome) within the last year. Odd name, I know. That wasn’t my doing. This group is decidedly anti-spam and is not a drive-by slam in your book link and then leave page. By banning the spamming, we actually talk to each other, research and share promotional sites and review each other’s work and have become an on-line family.

Earlier this year, Teddy was involved in a near-fatal car crash. And that is when I really got to know her better. The group rallied around her and began to share her books on Facebook and Twitter because she wasn’t in any condition to promote them. Through that, I’ve read and reviewed nearly all of Teddy’s books, which she both writes and illustrates. You can find them on her Amazon page. Like me, Teddy is going to use the Blogging from the Heart tour to restart her blog posts. Teddy would love for you to drop by her blog for a visit. She told me she plans to write about her car crash and experiences afterward.

Note: Clip art courtesy of Microsoft Word.

Originally posted August 17, 2014 on www.Words-With-Women.com

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