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My journey as a writer began as a child. I wrote poems and short stories which were my way of dealing with various life changing events. I have met many wonderful people, learned a lot about myself, and have a deeper appreciation for life through reading and writing. I have two published books and several articles for journals and websites. Follow me on Twitter @KarenIngalls1, www.facebook.com/KarenIngalls, and you can find my books at www.amazon.com. My first book is about ovarian cancer and received two awards. All proceeds will be donated to funding gynecologic cancer research. My second book is a novel Novy's Son, about one man's attempt to find love and acceptance from his father. This is an all too common problem in our society. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2015.

Friday, January 29, 2016

IF ONLY I....

                       Do you sometimes say to yourself, "If only I...."?


If only I had not worked so much...

   If only I had been a better parent or better child...

      If only I had tried more things (taken risks)...

         If only I had spent more time with loved ones...

            If only I had pursued my dreams...

               If only I had taken better care of myself...

                   If only I had done more to help others...


    As we travel through life how many times have we bypassed opportunities, was not in a kind or generous mood, or abused our health? The more advanced we become in our years these if only's often prey upon our minds.

    So I say to the younger generation:

          Do not be afraid to open doors, at least peek inside or perhaps walk through.

             Look at each moment as an opportunity to do or say something nice or helpful.

                Your body is the only one you will have, so cherish and nurture it. What you do today may
                        well determine your health for tomorrow.

                     People come into your life for a reason, whether family or friend. Learn from them, love
                         them, and let them love and teach you.

                          There are always risks to any decision or action, take the risk and learn from it.


Here are some quotes that can benefit any of us as we travel through life:

  • The hardest thing and the right thing are often the same.
  • We become what we repeatedly do. (Sean Covey)
  • Have enough love to trust love one more time, and always one more time. (Maya Angelou)
  • Life is not about finding yourself. It is about creating yourself. (George B. Shaw)
  • Why not go out on a limb? That is where the fruit is. (Will Rogers)
  • Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. (Paul Boese) 



For those of us that have traveled the path of cancer perhaps are more aware of the "if only's". I write about it in my book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, because it was a large part of my learning to accept and live with cancer.

All proceeds go to ovarian/gynecologic cancer research.
www.outshineovariancancer.com

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

ANIMALS ARE OUR KEEPERS!.

Just as we are the guardians over animals so they are for us. Not only do they provide food, but they also can give us clothing, protection, tools, wisdom, companionship, and healing.


I recently met Mickey Hatcher, professional baseball player now retired. At one point in his long career he played for the Minnesota Twins (yea!). At the Twins Fantasy Camp he was sharing about his pet duck, Daffy. Mickey found the chick barely alive in a pond in front of his house. There was no sign of the chick's mother so he picked it up and took it back to his house. Mickey and his wife fed it a little with an eye dropper, warmed it up, and sent it love from their hearts. Over the next two years Daffy became a member of the household returning to the pond when he chose to, sleeping in the Hatcher kitchen at night, and becoming a friend to all the neighbors. Daffy is their "watch-dog" and companion.


We all know about the wonderful ministries dogs provide as service dogs to so many disabled people.
Did you know that dogs and cats have been shown to "sniff out" cancer? They can smell human urine or breath and react if there is cancer cells present.


Even the small (and pesty) fruit flies have antennas that are sensitive to illnesses, including cancer. In the trials, compounds applied directly to the fruit flies' antenna lit up with the increase of calcium, indicating cancer cells via a fluorescing sensor.  

Rats and honeybees have proven to be effective in detecting explosives hidden underground. Can this skill be used to detect diseases like cancer?

Scientists are working on a robot with the qualities of animals for sniffing out cancer.

(http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2014/07/12/animals-insects-disease-detectives.aspx)

A very important role for the animal and the human is that of companionship. Pets of all kinds provide love, purpose, protection, and health. Our skin is our largest organ and is affected by every other sense (smell, sight, taste, hearing). To me it is the most important sense. The healing that takes place from loving touch is immeasurable. I have witnessed it in nursing homes, hospitals, and homes. When a person strokes a pet endorphins are released in both the animal and the human. Endorphins are the chemicals that decrease anxiety, fear, and pain. They are healing!
When we have a pet it requires us to be involved with them: feeding, bathing, exercising, giving love and attention. But our pets also protect and help us.

I remember with happy memories I had from earliest childhood up to ten years ago: dogs, cats, horses, a white rat, birds, goldfish, and horses. They each brought me great joy (even the white rat!) and I hope I brought equal joy to each of them.

                                 GOD BLESS THE ANIMALS!


Saturday, January 9, 2016

MOUNTAINS & VALLEYS

          You cannot have mountains without valleys nor will valleys exist without mountains.

      When I am in the mountains or see one from a distance, I feel strong, protected, and peaceful.


   

The times of joy, peace, laughter, happy thoughts and just simply "warm and fuzzy" were the result of coming out of a valley or desert.
                           "I see no evidence of cancer," said the doctor.
                           "You have a healthy baby boy," said the doctor three times!
                           "I love you," by so many people and it is so special when my husband says it.
                           "Congratulations, your book won first prize."
                           

There are three women friends who have been special people in my life for over 20 years. When the four of us get together there is LOTS of laughter, GREAT talks, and UNBELIEVABLE talks about anything and everything. Though one of us might be walking in the desert the other three are able to bring her up to the mountain step by step. There is trust, honesty, and compassion.



 As a teenager I spent many weekends in the desert because my dad loved to go rock-hunting there. For me the landscape was barren, unfriendly, and unwelcoming. I felt vulnerable and lonely. But, those also were years of great challenges, troubles, and fears.

What can we do for ourselves when we are out in the desert?
             1. Meditation or deep prayer is a powerful way to release fears and find peace.
             2. Exercise helps to move blood around, clear the mind, get endorphins flowing.
             3. Eating right. Turning to alcohol, sweets, and junk food only harm the body. During
                 times of stress the body needs foods that are high in vitamins/minerals, fiber, and 
                 protein.
             4. Share why you are in the valley. Often just saying the words out loud is enough to ease
                 the pain. True friends will be there to listen and only give well placed advice.
             5. Laughter is one of the best natural healers. When I was diagnosed with cancer and after
                 my surgery I watched "Laurel & Hardy," "Carol Burnett," and such shows. I avoided
                 negative people, television shows, and news articles.
              6. Don't forget to hug yourself! Go to a mirror and look deep into your eyes and smile at
                  the beautiful soul that is there.

From the times in the desert or low times of life we can learn from whatever challenge we are facing. It is an opportunity to take steps towards the mountain for a healthier and more fulfilling life.

My prayers are for those dear "cancer sisters" I have met and come to love and appreciate. May they have a lot more mountains than valleys in their lives. 

                      May you be on more mountaintops than valleys for the year 2016. 


Friday, January 1, 2016

FAREWELL 2015, WELCOME 2016

Remembering the highlights of 2015:

                 Monthly lunches with Women for Hospice; raising money for Cornerstone Hospice.

               

Ovarian cancer lunches offering support, education, and fund raising at Teal Magnolia Lunch, Lunch-Bunch, and Waterman Hospital Gynecologic Cancer Support Group.      

               



                         Visits from Minnesota friends & family; laughter, tears, great talks.

                                Weekly golf outings...good exercise and great friends.


 
 Promoting Novy's Son at Barrel of Books & Games, Mt. Dora. A book about a man seeking acceptance and love from his father; however, uses unhealthy behaviors to do so. A rather common problem among men which I discovered while I was seeing clients as a nurse therapist.
               
   

Educating: Pharmacy students of U. of Fl., Am. Cancer Society, Survivorship Seminar, BlogRadio, Articles for Hormones Matter, Oncology Times, etc.

                        Weekly blog providing information, support and inspiration.  

                                       
                        
 Trip of a Lifetime: In France as close to Mona Lisa as I could get; visiting Monet's home and gardens; seeing where my great-grandfather lived, schooled, and his exhibits; the house where my great-great grandfather was born and lived; on to the beautiful city of Barcelona and meeting Theresa Zanatta an ovarian cancer sister and professor; and then crossing the Atlantic on a cruise ship seeing the Rock of Gibraltar at night.


                        I am blessed to be alive 7 years after my diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
    My prayers for 2016 are to be blessed with good health and doing more educating about this too often deadly disease. 

                 I will soon be launching a new website and blog about being an author. It will support authors, favorite books, and views of readers. My second novel will be published in Feb. 2016. More news about this coming soon.

             As always I thank you for following my blog and supporting me. Thank you to my guest bloggers: Caroline Eudy, Dr. Michelle Bengston, Hayley Dubin, Ely Jacobs, Dr. MJ Logan, Karen Carlson, Janice Spina, Robin Maupin, and Elizabeth Scala. The ten countries that most visited my site are U.S.A., Russia, France, Ukraine, Germany, U.K., Canada, Australia, China, and Turkey.

Monday, December 14, 2015

FIVE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS


I love the Christmas season for many reasons. I love the music, sights of decorations, smells of baking, and so much more. One thing I do not like is the song The Twelve Days of Christmas!! So today I am going to share my Five Gifts of Christmas.

One: the gift of smell. Did you know that people can detect at least ten trillion scents of smell? Our scent cells regenerate every 30-60 days. We can smell fear, it is the oldest sense we have, and women have a stronger and more accurate sense of smell. Yet health wise, a decreased sense of smell is an early sign of Parkinsons and Alzeihmers.
I love the smell of pine, pumpkin and pecan pies, and our balsam/cedar candles.

Two: to have one's eyesight is a blessing beyond measure. When I learned I had early stage Macular Degeneration I cried dreading the loss of the ability to drive, write my books and articles, and to knit. Those people who are totally blind from birth cannot see the beautiful lights, trees, and other decorations plus the faces of their loved ones.

Three: my Master's thesis was Loving Touch: One Path to Health. Our skin is our largest organ and affects or influences all our other senses. Touch is the third gift because I can give and receive love through hugs, kisses, held hands and arms around shoulders. As we visit family and friends there are lots of gifts of touch.

Four: there have been wonderful advancements in treating hearing loss. I shed tears of praise and joy when I see the face of a person hearing something for the first time. How blessed I am to hear the many beautiful songs of Christmas. My favorites are:
               
          The First Noel
          Ave Maria
          O Holy Night
          It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
          O Come, O Come Emmanuel 




Five: I can taste the French Christmas cookie galette that Grandma Crislip used to make in her waffle iron; my mouth is watering for the rich taste of Cousin Edwin's fudge; and the delicious varieties of cookies (Russian teacakes, gingerbread, biscotti, white chocolate macaroons), and the decadent candies (almond bark, English toffee, divinity).





The real gift of Christmas is that of the birth of Jesus. He is a gift that is here for us everyday, forever. 


My thanks to Everyday Health for important facts about our five senses.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

NAT'L OVARIAN CANCER COALITION


    The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition has grown from a grass roots organization to a thriving non-profit making great strides and lasting impact in the lives of so many over the last 25 years. 
  
     The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition 
     *works hard year round to raise awareness on the early signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. 
     * chapters across the nation engage in a variety of community outreach outlets to promote education in order to increase early detection and survival rates. 
     *Tens of thousands participate in Run/Walks to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer, dress and decorate in TEAL (the color for ovarian cancer awareness, also standing for Take Early Action & Live), and help the NOCC to spread education.  



     The mission of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition is to save lives by fighting tirelessly to prevent and cure ovarian cancer, and to improve the quality of life for survivors. The coalition supports their mission by distributing unlimited educational literature to hospitals, doctors’ offices, and a variety of community centers. 

     Through their Faces of Hope Program, we provide support to newly diagnosed women in over 250 hospitals across the country.

     Since collaborating with Stand Up 2 Cancer last year, the NOCC is now investing much more into leading-edge research for the cure, along with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund to support our RESEARCH-IN-ACTION Initiative.

      The ACS estimates that over 21,000 women in the U.S. alone will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. That’s 1 in 75. Early Detection is key to survival. When diagnosed early, the 5-year survival rate is over 90%.

     Over the past 2 years the overall survival rate has risen from 37%-45%. This can be attributed to raising more awareness and education on ovarian cancer, investing more into cutting-edge research, and the development of more successful treatments and clinical trials.

     The Pap Test does not detect ovarian cancer. It only detects cervical cancer. 

     Risk factors include undesired infertility, increasing age, a family history of breast, ovarian, or colon cancer.

     Recto-vaginal exams should always be given at an annual in order to detect abnormalities, but a transvaginal ultrasound can be given for a more in depth screening to women who are at a higher risk, or who are exhibiting early warning signs, for ovarian cancer.

      The signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer whisper and can be vague, and therefore are often ignored or misdiagnosed. 
                                      1.  bloating
                                      2.  trouble eating or feeling full quickly
                                      3.  pelvic or abdominal pain
                                      4.  feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
                                      5.  fatigue
                                      6.  upset stomach or heartburn
                                      7.  back pain
                                      8.  pain during sex
                                      9.  constipation
                                    10. menstrual changes

It is important to note that these signs should be taken seriously if they are NEW to you and have been persisting for 2 weeks or more.

     All of the NOCC’s chapters are supported by local volunteers who assist in events coordination, community education, fundraising, and a variety of other awareness activities. If you are interested in finding a local chapter to help support the mission of the NOCC, promote life saving education, and have a little fun while doing it, you may visit www.ovarian.org. You can also download mini awareness posters to distribute within your community, read more about statistics, and new research.

    

                     Together We Will Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer  


My thanks to Caroline Eudy of the Connecticut Chapter National Ovarian Cancer Coalition for writing this most informative blog. Please support this organization with your donations. www.ovarian.org





For the month of December Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir will be at reduced prices on www.amazon.com What better gift than that of health information? 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

PRAYERS, PRAYERS, & MORE PRAYERS

People of the past liked to express their love of religion and beauty with objects carved from wood...they were tiny enough to look like walnuts.

        *In the 16th century they were produced mainly in northern Europe.
        *Only the wealthy could afford them.
        *They were a symbol of faith and a person's status.
Opnamedatum: 2012-04-27prayernut1AlbertKunsthistorischesMuseum



There are those who use prayer beads to count the number of prayers that have been said. In early years people used stones or knots in a rope.
 

Whatever is used or not used the importance of prayer cannot be ignored. It is my way to commune with God. To tell Him what are my needs, fear, worries, and to listen to His answers. When I pray I often use various images to stay focused because too often my mind can wander or be distracted.


My prayer list is long...for my sister recently diagnosed with breast cancer, for a dear friend who recently had a stroke, for my ovarian cancer sisters, for my dear friend's daughter who just gave birth to her first child AND diagnosed with breast cancer, and I pray for my own health to be free of cancer, plus many many more. There is so much suffering and need.
Some of us pray with our hands folded, others arms outstretched above their heads, some kneel while others stand, some of us close our eyes and some of us look upward, there are those who have designated times of the day they pray, while others pray when they feel the need or desire.

I believe in the power of prayer because it provides healing, guidance, forgiveness, and help. I know I am alive today because of the prayers that were heard and responded to with a yes. God is far wiser than me and sometimes he says no to my prayers while offering me comfort.



I believe in prayers of thanks...each morning I give thanks for the day, thank God for my husband and family, thanks for my health and safety, and  thanks for the beauty of the world. 

Thanksgiving Day is a federal holiday in the United States ...For us in the United States, this Thursday is a time of giving thanks. We celebrate through food, gatherings of family and friends, and gratitude. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year. The act of gratitude is too often overlooked or taken for granted. It is a day for me to most humbly give thanks to my Creator, my God, for all that I have been blessed with.

        I wish you each the most blessed Thanksgiving. I am grateful that each of you are in my life.