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 am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club. Follow me on Twitter @KIngallsAuthor www.facebook.com/KarenIngalls, and you can find my books at www.amazon.com. My first book is Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir which received two awards. All proceeds are donated to 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, Davida: Model and Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is about the love affair between this great American sculptor and his model. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2017.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Resolutions

The tradition of making resolutions began with the ancient Babylonians some 4000 years ago. Every spring in March they returned borrowed farm tools and promised to pay off debts. The Romans adopted this tradition with their mythical king, Janus, in 150 B.C., who was head of their calendar. Janus had two faces, one that looked back to the past and the other looked forward. The people made promises to Janus to be better and thereby hoped to be granted good fortune for the next year. When the Gregorian calendar was created, these acts were celebrated in January at the start of the new year.
Just as in ancient times, for me January is a time of reflection and hopes of improvement. For many years before I got cancer, I wrote down my resolutions for each new year in a special little notebook I carried in my purse. For some years I was able to cross out one or two accomplishments whether it was the typical resolutions to lose weight or exercise more. I still believe in weight control and exercise, but cancer taught me to look at myself more deeply; to be more of a light to others. Many of us need to receive love, caring and information especially when we are gripped with fear from hearing the word "cancer."
My main goal for the past three years has been to reach as many people as possible about ovarian cancer. I use every opportunity to share, educate and inspire women to be aware of the symptoms as well as be their own advocates.
I am in the final steps of getting my book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, published. It should be available within the next two months. I found a publishing house (Beaver's Pond Press) where everyone has been supportive, encouraging and have worked closely with me. They have been my guiding light as I try to be the same for others through my book and blog.
I wish for each of you a most blessed and healthy new year in 2012.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas Message

Sometimes we think kindness and friendliness do not exist in the world anymore. We cynically say to ourselves, "Who would help me?" Has the message of Christmas been lost? Is there a Santa Claus? But I  still believe in the story of love that Jesus's birth brought. I believe in the beauty of giving that our magical and mythical Santa brings. And I am confident there are more good samaritans in the world today than we hear about. All too often the media emphasizes the sad and bad things of the world.

A dear friend and neighbor, Harry, at the age of 92 years young fell in his garden at his rural farmhouse. He could not get up on his own so he was crawling towards a swing in the yard hoping he would be able to lift himself up. His wife was in the house and had no idea of what had happened. She did not hear his calls through the closed kitchen window.

A stranger driving down the road happened to see Harry struggling to make it across the yard. The driver pulled his car to a stop and ran over to help Harry to stand and walk to the house.  Harry has lived on that farm for over 70 years and said he did not know who the young man was. "I did not think to ask his name at the time I thanked him for his help."

The good samaritan did his good deed without any requirement for recognition or payment. He simply did it because another person needed help and he was there to lend the helping hand. He gave a gift: kindness (just like Santa Claus) and did it with love, which is the message of Christmas.

I wish you each a blessed Christmas and that the year 2012 will be full of happiness, peace, and health. Share your stories of Christmas and Santa Claus.


Friday, December 16, 2011

To Chemo or Not to Chemo

Some people have been surprised that I chose to receive chemotherapy after my cancer diagnosis. Others have asked if I regret that decision. There was a time in my life when I did not think I would ever let such a poison into my body. However, after discussing it with my oncologist, husband, and my own research, I knew I "wanted" and needed chemotherapy.

I was fortunate that my side effects from the Taxol and Carboplantin were relatively tolerable. Hair loss and weakness were the worst. While I received these toxic medications, and afterwards while I meditated, I visualized the medication's molecules acting like a "Pac-man" destroying the cancer cells; I visualized my healthy cells being strong and surrounded by a white light; and I used my breath to move healing energy through every part of my body. I follow the practice of daily meditation even today while I celebrate my third year of remission. I also believe that good nutrition, loving support, and humor were also important factors in helping my body defend itself from the cancer.

I respect and support the decision each person makes regarding to choose chemotherapy or not. There are many studies which provide data to help a person to make their decision. There are many success stories of those people who chose the natural, holistic, or non-chemo path. What may be right for one person, may not be right for another.

I welcome you to share your thoughts and experiences regarding the choice to chemo or not to chemo.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Days of Infamy

Yesterday we honored the memories of those who perished at Pearl Harbor. More flags were displayed in homes, parks, and memorial sites. There were some speeches and brief recognition by the news media. History and time have brought healing to most Americans. Since December 7, 1941, as a nation we have learned more about Japan's history, culture and religions. Some of us have come to understand how the pattern of aggression, greed and jealousy can lead to such attacks. Yet we do not condone the attack.

Basic physics teaches that for every action, there is a reaction. An unknown factor or action caused the reaction of my cells to become disorganized and multiply rapidly forming a tumor. Through research, information from my doctors and nurses, the experiences of other cancer patients, I have come to an understanding of cancer. I still do not like what happened, but I am at a certain level of peace.

Perhaps we can use the remembrance of Pearl Harbor and the memories of our own day of infamy (the day of our diagnosis) as times to grow and learn; to be more aware of another nation's characteristics and behaviors; to be more in tune with our own bodies' symptoms or changes; and to be more nurturing to nations, to each other, and to ourselves.