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, June 26, 2014

COURAGE & SURVIVAL

     How does one define courage?  "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to do what is right despite fear."  Kathryn Chastain Treat is today's guest blogger and she writes that these words were from my doctor as I faced an upcoming hysterectomy and the very real possibility I had ovarian cancer.  He finished his note to me by saying, “You are a courageous woman.” 

          Karen Ingalls is the epitome of courage as she battles her second fight with cancer.

     I would need to find courage deep from within myself to survive and continue to fight.


     When I decided to return to work after a 17year hiatus from raising my daughters, I had no idea the direction my life would take.

      I battled one debilitating illness after another and stared cancer in the face.  I battled depression that came from chronic illness and the isolation from being a virtual prisoner of my own home due to multiple chemical sensitivity (also known as MCS) and mold allergies from a mold exposure in my work place.

       I was a victim.  I didn’t know anyone else like me.  I was angry!  Soon I discovered that I was not alone; there were many more like me.  Yet despite our numbers, MCS remains a much misunderstood illness in the general population, the medical community and the legal community.

       MCS is the inability to tolerate trace amounts of chemicals without developing horrific symptoms.  The difficulty is that those of us who suffer are not alike.  The amounts of chemicals that can make us sick and the way we react vary:  

                + I may tolerate newsprint ink without any symptoms.
                 +Another person may develop headaches, blurred vision or respiratory symptoms when handling a book or printed material.  
                 +My symptoms for chemical exposure range from losing my voice and having brain fog to coughing violently and developing neurological symptoms.
                  +I am no longer able to wear my contacts or color my hair, use make-up or scented products. 

      May is MCS Awareness month.  While I speak and use my voice for all who suffer daily, May is dedicated to our message.  I was a victim for far too long.  I allowed myself to stay in the victim role.  I wanted to tell my story, I wanted to yell at my workplace for making me sick and I wanted to yell at myself for returning to work when I didn’t really have to work.  One morning I decided that I needed to tell my story (and that of many others).  To do this, I had to become a survivor.  Yes, I am a victim of my work environment and all the chemicals the industry is putting into our everyday lives.  But, I am also a survivor!  I have survived by learning to live in a less toxic environment and not allowing toxins to come into my home.

       As a survivor, my message is to take a look at what you are exposing your body to on a daily basis.  How many layers of fragrance are going into your skin?  There are the chemicals in your:

                                                          **bath soap,
                                                          **lotion,
                                                          **shampoo and conditioner,
                                                          **laundry soap,
                                                          **perfumes
                                                          **air fresheners. 

       Think about what you are inadvertently doing to the person sitting next to you on the bus or standing in line at the grocery store who may have sensitivity to those chemicals.

         Kathryn’s story of self-doubt, loss of identity, and the pain of skepticism – from the medical and legal profession – is a heart-wrenching journey of endurance, hope, and hard-won triumph.  Her experience with mold exposure gives her a unique perspective on the physical and emotional effects of mold exposure.  Read her story and learn how she was able to overcome these many obstacles to become an advocate for her own health.


My book, Allergic to Life:  My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope.

Available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  

Signed copies and links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble are available on my website http://kathryntreat.com/

You may also follow me on my blog http://allergictolifemybattle.wordpress.com





"I read Kathryn's book with some skepticism because I was not sure that chemical sensitivity was as prevalent or true as I soon learned. I have become more conscious of any perfume, lotion, or hairspray I use when I am going to be out in the public. 
I encourage you each to read her book and follow her blog. You will learn a lot and most importantly, you will be helping those with MCS."    (Karen Ingalls)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ANIMALS: WONDERFUL GIFTS FROM GOD

                          "UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, 
                                A PART OF ONE'S SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED" 
                                                             (Anatole France, poet, novelist, journalist)




Saint Francis of Assisi is one of the most beloved and recognized saints. He proclaimed it was the duty of man to protect and enjoy the beauty of nature and animals. According to folklore he stopped along a road to preach to the birds perched in the trees and that they surrounded him and listened to his words. He is always shown in paintings and statutes as having a bird on his hand.




Science is learning more every day about the gift certain dogs, cats, and some birds in detecting cancer or the onset of a seizure. It is by some instinct or sense which we do not yet fully understand. Read this most interesting article: http://pets.webmd.com/features/pets-amazing-abilities




We as humans have been blessed with the help certain animals have given to the sick, blind, or paralyzed.  Studies have shown the powerful healing that can occur when someone is engaged with an animal. The stimulation just from touch can relax muscles, increase blood flow, lower blood pressure, alleviate depression, and pain is often relieved.






                             Animals are used by law enforcement and rescue agencies.

In the Bible we are compared to sheep because we sometimes easily follow others, are harassed, helpless, get lost, or have the innocence and vulnerability of a lamb. Jesus is called The Good Shepherd. Be thankful for God's gift of animals. We need to treat animals and each other with love and kindness.

For many of us there is just the pure joy of petting, playing with, or being responsible for an animal. There is a certain discipline children learn early on when they have pets...to feed, care for, and love.



I always have had pets except for the last ten years when retirement, allergies, and illness has changed my lifestyle such that there are no pets in my life now. I have great memories of my several Siamese cats, St. Bernard dog, a few mutts, gerbils, guinea pigs, horses, and even a white rat. One year I tried to "potty train" one of the cats to use the toilet...that was a miserable failure. My Husky loved to run...but he ran too far and we got phone calls about her found miles away at a neighboring farm. The gerbil got out and we heard him running along the pipes. The white rat was a lab rat on which I did a vasectomy for the biology lab in college. We called him "Charlie Rich."

What animals have touched your life in a special way? Share your stories about your pets.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

FATHERS AND SONS


     Sunday, June 15th, Father's Day is celebrated here in the United States. It is a day that often involves neck ties, shirts, and other such gifts for the man of the house. The family often will gather out on the deck or patio while Dad barbecues brats, hot dogs, or hamburgers. It is a happy day when the kids tell their dad how much they love and appreciate him.

                                                     Or is it?


         How many American homes have a father or male role model in them?
                Fathers, do you pass on the "Iron John" to your sons?
                        Did you learn about being a man, a father, a husband from your dad?

 


    In the early 1990's, Robert Bly wrote the book Iron John, where he writes about "a new vision of what it is to be a man." He expresses concern about the absence of men in the family unit, and the loss of male initiation rituals into manhood. He talks about the eight stages of male growth, and that masculinity is both protective and centered, emotionally. This is a book I recommend for everyone, male and female, to read.





 
Another book I recommend for a lighter, funnier look at fatherhood is:

Bill Geist and his son Willie have written a wonderful book with humor and deep insight about their father-son relationship titled,  Good Talk, Dad. I encourage you to take a look at it.


 


 In my recently published book, Novy's Son, The Selfish Genius, I present the main character as a man searching for the "Iron John" by getting love and acceptance from his father. It is a compilation of men I have known in my life from fathers, grandfathers, sons, and husbands, and the men that I counseled over the twenty years I worked as a nurse therapist.

www.amazon.com
www.outshineovariancancer.com

                 This Father's Day I send special good wishes and love to five fathers:

        **To my husband, Jim, who is a wonderful father to his son, 2 daughters, and
                  three stepsons.

        **To my three sons and stepson, who know the true importance of fatherhood.

                          Happy Father's Day to every father out there.

                           Your role is very important and appreciated.



Thursday, June 5, 2014

HEALTHY BONES: KEEPING THE BODY ERECT



Osteoporosis occurs when bones become brittle and weak. It is caused when new bones being formed are not keeping up with the replacement of old bones. 



                        No symptoms in early stages. However, once advanced the symptoms are:
                                                                    Back pain
                                                                    Decrease in height
                                                                    Stooped posture
                                                                    A fracture that occurs too easily

                                                                   Risk Factors:
                                                            White and Asian women 
                                                            Age...the older you get, the greater risk
                                                            Family history 
                                                            Decrease in estrogen
                                                            Sedentary lifestyle
                                                            Low calcium intake
                                                            Tobacco & alcohol intake
                                                             Small-framed people

                                                                   Prevention:
                                                          Exercise, especially weight-bearing
                                                          Adequate calcium & vitamin D intake
                                                          Do not smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.

I have had osteopenia for several years which is a precursor to osteoporosis. I have experienced a significant decrease in my height and now at 73years I am at greater risk for developing osteoporosis. I take calcium and Vitamin D supplements, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and exercise.

My thanks to Dr. Mario Trucillo of The American Recall Center, and Mayo Clinic for their information.

                This is your only body...cannot exchange it nor buy a new one...so take good care of it.
                              It is the vessel in which the soul resides, keep it strong and healthy.