About Me

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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 three 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. My third book is about the mistress and model for Augustus Saint-Gaudens, America's premier sculptor from 1880-1910. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2016.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW*

Larry Magnum sang the song "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow" at a birthday party for a dear friend. Listen to it, tap your foot, and let it put a smile on your face. https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=larry+mangum+Hair+today+gone+tomorrow&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Whether it is due to aging, stress, heredity, illness, or chemotherapy, hair loss can be devastating to some.

     It is an expected part of aging so most people accept it for what it is. However one might see more
     toupees, hair pieces, or extensions.

     Yes, stress can cause hair loss among many other health issues. Lower the affects of your stressors
      through relaxation, laughter, exercise, meditation, or sharing with a confidante.

      Heredity is not something with which we have any control. Look at your parents and you can be
      pretty well guaranteed you hair (or lack of) will be pretty close to the same.

     The more serious and long lasting the illness, the more likely there could be some loss of hair or
      damage to the hair. There is a disease called alopecia which causes permanent hair loss.

     Having cancer is bad enough, but losing one's hair to chemotherapy is an added loss that is very
     emotionally painful.


Whatever the reason that our hair is gone today, what is important is how we cope with it.  Do we laugh it off? Cry and hide? Walk with pride and show the baldness off? Wear hats, wigs, or toupees?

OR we can be like this person in the following story:


      There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
      "Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she did and had a wonderful day.
      The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
       "Hm-m-m," she said. "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today." So she did and she had a grand day. 
       The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.
      "Well," she said. "Today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun, fun day. 
       The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there was not a single hair on her head. 
       "Yeah!" she exclaimed. "I don't have to fix my hair today!" 
                                      (Author Unknown)
   http://www.spiritual-short-stories.com/spiritual-short-story-100-Three+Hairs.html





Shelley Smith a SportsCenter reporter has been diagnosed with breast cancer. In an interview she stated, "I’m bald. Yep. Was sitting around one day wondering why the dog, Rosalita Rosario, was shedding so much? Then I realized it wasn’t her. . . it WAS ME!" 

http://www.espnfrontrow.com/2015/02/beautifully-bald-shelley-smith-continues-battle-cancer/






There is beautiful beauty queen pageant Kayla Martell who has alopecia and refuses to let her baldness keep her from following her dream. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1346025/Bald-beautiful-Beauty-queen-suffering-alopecia-Miss-America-hair.html




 Right now I am off of chemo, my hair has grown back, and my scarves and hats are packed away. I donated my wig to the chemotherapy room for anyone to have. I just never wore it and know I will not in the future.
Most of us can make jokes and laugh about our particular stage of baldness. We grieve at first and eventually come to acceptance.
What is not acceptable is the reason why we are bald...illness, alopecia, or cancer are not acceptable reasons. Research is desperately needed for the causes and treatments for these. 

My personal research cause is for gynecologic cancer. For more information as to where to donate contact Ovarian Cancer National Alliance or National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.


*Credit for the title to this blog goes to Larry Magnum, a talented singer, musician, and songwriter.                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnfYIcbJK-A




Monday, April 11, 2016

RAINBOWS AFTER THE STORM

      My thanks to Cindy Helgerson, who was willing to be interviewed for this blog. All too often we are unwilling to discuss the death of someone we love; or to talk about our own mortality. Why we are uncomfortable with this subject is a sad a testament of our society. I believe that through death we learn about living.

When your child dies, how do you cope? How do you keep going day in and day out? How many times do you ask, “Why”?  Is your faith strengthened or weakened?

     Cindy’s son unexpectedly died from fatty metamorphosis of the liver. Zack was only 27 years old with a long and productive life ahead of him. However, he found alcohol as his way to deal with his challenges.
     His mother states, “He was a young man not meant to navigate in this world.” He had dyslexia and reading was his greatest challenge. She continues, "The school system puts all the dyslexic kids in a box and teaches them with all the same methods." Zack’s mother is a retired special education teacher and she now sees her mission is to design teaching programs that can be individualized.

    Cindy states with full conviction, “God decided it was too painful for Zack to continue to live in this world. So, he was taken home to be with God.”

    Zack loved to cook, plan and be a part of any party or holiday. He had a keen sense of the artistic and applied it in several forms. “He was a designer.”

     “My greatest regret is that I was not with him when he died. That is the hardest thing I still struggle with today.” She wipes some tears.


     Zack was also a wonderful friend to his cousin, Taylor. Though they were almost 10 years apart in age, they always had a special connection. Their lives were intertwined, and even in their deaths. Taylor was killed in a head-on collision and was buried just 17 days after her cousin’s funeral.

    To lose two young and vibrant people in such a short period of time is a tragedy that few of us will experience. The strength of Zack and Taylor’s families is remarkable and inspirational. In memory of them the family has started a program called: Rainbows After The Storm. 
              
       Duane and Candis Fancher (aunt and uncle of Zach and Taylor) were a part of a 75 member medical mission team who spent ten days in Tacloban after a November 2013 typhoon struck and devastated the city.

     "On the evenings of both their memorial services, storms struck, and clearing skies produced 
       rainbows. Rainbows After The Storm seeks to honor their lives by providing hope, health, and 
       happiness to the people of the Philippines."

    They collect crutches, canes, wheelchairs, walkers, eyeglasses, body washes, and loofah sponges.

     The family is strengthened by their faith in God, themselves, and a sense of hope. “Every morning the first thing I do is give thanks for this day. I pray for God to fill me with inner peace," Cynthia says. "Since my son and niece’s deaths I am more attuned to other people and more readily reach out to them.”

                                                 
           

  Her final message is for each of us:
                               Live each day.
                              Bring every day to the Lord.
                              Thank and trust God will help you.
                              Don’t dwell on deaths.
                              Carry on and try to do positive things.





               This song was played at Zac’s funeral. I invite you to please listen to it:
                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fahr069-fzE

Beloved Israel "Iz" Ka'ano'i Kamakawiwo'Ole sings his renowned medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World." Israel was among the most celebrated of Hawaiian performers with a kind and gentle spirit that is evident in his touching voice. He tragically died in 1997 of a heart attack at an early age (38) and has been sorely missed by his many adoring fans.



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

BUT YOU DON'T LOOK SICK

       Over the last 8 years people have said, "But you don't look sick." Even when I was in the depths of chemo and recovering from surgery, these were the words I heard.
                       
                                                           I then ask myself...

                                     Were they said from an honest observation?
                                     Were they meant to make me feel better?
                                     Or, what did these words really mean?

     Growing up I heard frightening descriptions of horrible pain, surgeries, and eventual deaths of relatives who had cancer. "Chemotherapy is toxic and will kill you." "There are no medications that can take away the pain from cancer." "People lose their hair and spend their whole time sick in the bed."

              ** Such descriptions are not healthy to hear at any time.
              **When I was told that I had ovarian cancer, these negative words came to mind.
              **Yet I was determined that I would face the chemo, pain, and hair loss with positivity.

    How does one live each day knowing they have or had cancer? I LIVE IT THE SAME AS BEFORE!
               **Except I live each moment to its fullest with gratefulness.
               **Now I appreciate the little things far more than I did before.
               **I am more assertive in making God a part of every thought, word, or action.

     Many of us with a serious illness do not look sick, while others do. Attitude and where we are in our treatment schedule has a lot to do with it.


     I read an article about how one young lady explained to her friends what it was like having lupus. Here is the link: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/


                              A lesson for those who are living a life of wellness:
  • Treat those with an illness the same as you did when they were healthy.
  • It is okay to ask questions such as "What is it like to have cancer, lupus, or other such disease?"
  • We do NOT need or want pity...that is destructive to everyone.
  • Laugh with us. It is the best medicine.
  • Cry with us. As tears flow out, love flows in.
  • Be honest and say, "I don't know what to say."
  • Be open and offer, "I am here if you want to talk about it."
  • "Let me know how I can help." 


THE POWER OF LOVING TOUCH IS IMMEASURABLE. PLEASE GIVE US HUGS, HOLD OUR HANDS, WRAP AN ARM AROUND OUR SHOULDER, PUT YOUR FACE NEXT TO OURS. 



Friday, March 18, 2016

WHO PACKS YOUR PARACHUTE?



     I have never parachuted from a plane...nor do I want to. Sky jumping or diving is not on my bucket list. However, there is a deep message from the question,

                "Who packs your parachute?"


     Did you know that there is an exact and precise way to store the parachute? One step done incorrectly could mean the parachute will not open or will do incorrectly. This is a life or death matter.

     So who or what brings a sense of safety or peace into your life? Who or what protects you? Who or what do you rely on?

     There was a time in my life when I was a teenager, I relied on my dad for safety and protection. Though I did not live with him I knew he was only a phone call away.
And, one day at 17 years old I made the phone call and he got a traffic ticket when speeding to get to me.

     During my junior year of high school while living with my dad, two people began to pack my parachute. One was a classmate named Judie, who introduced me to God by inviting me to the youth group at her church. She was always with me talking about God and listening to my fears. I chose to be baptized one year later.

     The second person was Arleigh Castle, a neighbor and my role model. I adopted her as my "aunt" which she still is today at the age of 92. She listened to me and carefully advised me helping me to pack my parachute correctly.


     God has never left my side nor have I left His. I completely put my trust in Him as He guides who I choose to be a part of my life. Whose advice will I listen to? Who can I confide in? Who do I trust? If I keep God as the Master Packer of my parachute, then those helping Him will guarantee that my parachute will open and I will land on earth safely.


Here is a true story that you might have heard or read before. But it is a powerful one and well worth hearing/reading again.
                             
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqtUlMA3Jqo
                                                                     http://speaker.charlieplumb.com/about-plumb/parachute-story/

Just as in my journey with cancer, I have trusted Dr. Matthew Boente and Dr. Robert Holloway to "pack my parachute" with the best medical care. Their nurses and staff have been phenomenal.

My newer journey as an author has been guided by some very remarkable people: Amy Quale, Dara Beevas, Jay Monroe, Ruth Fisher, and those at Beaver's Pond Press. All of them have put encouragement, support, and help in my parachute. I have landed on both feet safely with the publication of three books. See my new author website: www.kareningallsbooks.com  All books are available on www.amazon.com


.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

KNOW, LISTEN, ACT

KNOW YOUR BODY...

                  LISTEN TO YOUR BODY...

                                   ACT ON WHAT YOUR BODY SAYS TO YOU...



THE FOLLOWING ARE REAL STATEMENTS BY WOMEN
JUST LIKE YOU AND ME:
"I was probably sick for two years, but I brushed it off---and that's what bothers me most," says survivor J.S. now 50, who was diagnosed in 2007 at age 41."I had become very aware of my own body," she explains. "That's what drove me to press for a diagnosis."

M.S. then 62 felt bloating and other symptoms slowly take shape this past winter. She initially dismissed them. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer at a late stage.


I was 68 and my only symptoms was loading. Diagnosed Stage IIC in 2008. The first doctor ordered
an ultrasound and CT Scan.  

"In Aug. of 2012 I went to ER and saw DR. He did not order any type of scans...next time I was in ER Jan. 1, 2013, they did a cat scan and found a 10b tumor that was malignant" K.B.

From K.L. "My OBGYN had misdiagnosed me for seven months until I demanded a transvaginal ultrasound when a six cm tumor was found."



                        


This mother lost her daughter to ovarian cancer. Visit http://www.thinkoflaura.org

And even an 8 year old was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

A two year old also was diagnosed.


                          
                             PAP smears do NOT detect ovarian cancer. Only cervical.
                              All women should get pelvic and rectal exams every year.



         Why are we hesitant to talk about the area below our waist? 
           We women need to speak out and advocate for our bodies. 

  DEMAND a CA125 and a transvaginal ultrasound BEFORE going from doctor to doctor. 

            Let's rule out ovarian cancer first...then consider 
                         other diseases or disorders. 

                        LEARN FROM GILDA RADNER!"

At a recent conference in West Palm Beach I met some outstanding women. Many of them shared how many years they had been survivors. I heard responses like  "I AM:

  • Just a few months
  • Three months
  • Two years
  • Six years
  • Twenty-nine years
  • Thirty-seven years
  • Forty-eight years
                    Congratulations to all who are survivors for however long it has been.

And congratulations to those women who seek out medical intervention as soon as they recognize    some symptoms and act on them.

Some of us need encouragement to go to the doctor from our spouses, partners, family member 
or friends. Listen to them and go see the doctor. What can it hurt?! It might save your life

Saturday, February 27, 2016

NONNIE JULES INTERVIEW

This week I am offering a different type of blog. It is an interview with author, Nonnie Jules who is a successful author and president of the Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC). She is the author of:





               The Good Mommie's Guide

               Daydream's Daughter, Nightmare's Friend                    

               If Only There Was Music





 Her books cover health/wellness, relationships, and spirituality in direct and indirect ways so I encourage you to read her responses to my questions. Then read her books to learn more about life, love, and relationships.



“100 Things We All Wonder About Nonnie Jules” Blog Tour


It is truly my pleasure and honor to present Rave Reviews Book Club president Nonnie Jules here on my blog today! It’s all yours, Nonnie…
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ULTIMATE PRIZE GIVEAWAY #1:
Anyone who purchases a copy of “THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE…” “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND” or “IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC” and send to me a copy of the purchase receipt to nonniejules@gmail.com, and also leave a comment along the tour, will get their name entered into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card!  One entry for each book that is purchased, whether in e-book or paperback format.  Purchases must take place between 2/14/16 – 2/29/16.  If you’ve already purchased all of my books, then feel free to gift a friend, just for the chance to win!!!  Spend a little, and you could win a lot!!!
ULTIMATE PRIZE GIVEAWAY #2:Anyone who reads and posts a review of “THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE…” “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND” or “IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC” and sends the link to their review to nonniejules@gmail.com, will get their name entered into a drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card!  One entry for each book read and reviewed.  Reviews must be posted between 2/16/16 – 3/15/16 to be placed into the drawing.

Q:  What do you consider to be the three most important roles a parent has?
A:  The three most important roles of any parent is to love, teach and let go.

Q:  A marriage to be successful must be a relationship and a partnership.  How do you and your husband work together as parents?  Or, where do you differ?
A:  We are an awesome parenting team.  He is the calm one and I’m not.  He’s the good cop and I’m not.  He teaches with stories from his childhood, and well, I’m the Mom.  Take a look at what my daughters think of me… Need I say more?

Q:  If you were a parent of a seriously ill or terminal child, how do you see your role when interacting with the other siblings?
A:  Seriously ill and terminally ill children need so much attention, and, I can imagine, that being hard on the siblings of that child.  As a parent, I’d ensure that I spent enough time with each of my kids so they’d know that they weren’t forgotten. I Thank God I don’t have this worry.

Q:  How would you complete the following statement:  “Religion/spirituality is or is not an important factor in raising children because…”
A:  Religion is a very important factor in raising children because we all, no matter our ages, need a moral compass to follow.  Most often, it begins at home, and in my home, my children were strictly guided by a set of rules that were not set forth by man.

Q:  What was the most fearful or saddest event you experienced while raising your children?  How did you cope?
A:  I’m going to have to say the saddest event we’ve ever experienced was when my daughters lost their grandmother, my mother-in-law.  We coped by knowing that she was better off and no longer in pain.  That really got us through that time.  And although it’s been about 10 years, we still talk about her a lot…that’s how we keep her alive for them.



CONTACT NONNIE VIA:

TRAILERS:
“THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS,”  https://youtu.be/zg15rptFN2g

“DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND,”

“SUGARCOATIN’ IS FOR CANDY & PACIFYIN’ IS FOR KIDS,” https://youtu.be/fQBnt0wix88

“IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC,” https://youtu.be/g2gNns8ZVFI

(In honor of full disclosure, I presented this full Q&A to Karen.  These are her questions and my answers).


CONTACT NONNIE VIA:
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/nonniejules
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BooksByNonnie
Blogs:  www.nonniewrites.wordpress.com , www.BooksByNonnie.wordpress.com & www.AskTheGoodMommy.wordpress.com
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NJ Cover Design-1
1If Only There Was Music book cover

Thursday, February 18, 2016

FINDING YOUR INNER PEACE


This blog is an adaptation from a presentation from one of the Chaplains at              Cornerstone Hospice, Tavares, Florida.


No matter what our circumstances might be...health, financial, personal, socially...we need to find our inner peace. How do we do it? Here are some suggestions:

     **By denying the reality of our circumstance we are only creating an unhealthy way to approach the situation. We need to face head on that yes we have cancer, or we lost our job, or that we are trapped in an unhappy marriage, etc.
         Accepting the reality helps our whole self to learn and grow from it; it to become a stronger and better person.

     **Meditation or deep prayer opens our ears to God's words and His guidance. Though God knows what is in our hearts, it helps us to verbalize to Him; it brings more clarity.

    **Music can open up our very being to peace, happiness, or change in our thinking. Our taste in music differs from person to person. I like classical, my husband likes alternative rock. I like ragtime, he likes classic rock.

    **Spending time with nature is one very important way I find inner peace. Working with my flowers, watching the changing mood of the lake, marveling at the wildlife around our home, or a walk on a beach. Nature brings a healthier and calmer perspective so I see my circumstances with a sense of renewal. I learn from nature...to take things in stride...go with the flow.

    **Never lose hope. We must always believe that there is a rainbow at the end of the storm. For me, that means I will always dance in the rain no matter how bad the storm. I will not let cancer rule my life, but I will outshine it by rising above it.

    **Learn to forgive others: I believe this is one of the most important and valuable lessons any of us can learn. I forgave my step-father for his abuse with me. It took me several years to come to this, but once I did I lifted a large ugly cloud hanging around me. A new light began to radiate around me and life had become beautiful and meaningful. I did not forget...I forgave.

Other things we can do to bring inner peace are to smile, care about the feelings of others, embrace your beliefs, never think you know it all, live in the present, and do things you enjoy.

No matter what challenge you are facing, I encourage you to incorporate these suggestions into your life. Take one at a time and build from there. They often will fall into place automatically. 

                                                      


 OUTSHINE YOUR CHALLENGES:                 
www.amazon.com                                                                              
All proceeds go to ovarian/gynecologic cancer research