About Me

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Ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in 1 of 72 women; 14,000 will die. Please know the symptoms and risk factors: read Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. Books at www.amazon.com. ALL PROCEEDS GO TO GYNECOLOGIC CANCER RESEARCH. I am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writer's International Society of Authors, and Patient Leadership Council for Tesaro, Inc. I WILL NOT USE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE THAN CONTACTING YOU DIRECTLY. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2018.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


                 MEMORIAL DAY is a special day and my favorite holiday.

              My most humble thanks to all who served, wounded or died so I might have

                                                 FREEDOM OF SPEECH

                                                 FREEDOM OF RELIGION

                                                 FREEDOM TO VOTE

                                                 FREEDOM TO BE ME!

These videos say it all: 



My uncle was killed in World War II.
       Another uncle served in the Merchant Marines during World War II
              My brother-in-law was killed during the Viet Nam war
                     Another brother-in-law served in the Korean War
                           My son served as a Marine.

               GO TO THE BEACH,
                      HAVE FRIENDS OVER,
                              OR JUST RELAX AT HOME...

                                                              AND EVERYDAY

                                     BECAUSE THEY HAVE KEPT US FREE.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Have you ever revisited the home you grew up in?

      What are your favorite memories of your home?

            Does it seem smaller than you remember it being?

                   Did you share a bedroom with a sibling?

                        What did your bedroom look like? Posters? Books or toys?

Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel had a most interesting and nostalgic article when he revisited the home in which he grew up. His parents were downsizing and they were moving. The kids came home for one last night to sleep there.
He talked about the kitchen table "where my mother always insisted all five of us gather for dinner." He remembered every step that would creak when he was trying to sneak in after curfew.
           "My parents are older. Downsizing is simply an inevitable, if emotional, chapter in the book of life we all write for ourselves."

Jim and I downsized when we sold our St Paul, MN home to take up permanent residence in Florida. It was an emotional and exhausting move, but it was time to make such a change. I remember every detail of that home we lived in for twenty years.

My memories of my childhood home from 9 to 16 years old are clear and real. About 15 years ago my sister and I revisited that home and I could not get over how much the front yard had shrunk! Truth be told, it did not shrink, I just grew up.

Mr. Maxwell concludes his article with a wonderful tribute to his parents, both of whom were positive and caring people. The kind of role models every boy or girl should have. "But if that final night taught me anything, it was to strengthen my resolve as a father and husband myself. So that when I finally leave my own house, I might also leave behind a legacy for which my children will be as grateful as I am for the one my parents left us."

The message in my book, Novy's Son is about passing the Iron John concept on to our children. This theory was popularized by Robert Bly in the 1970's from his book, Iron John.  Murray who is Novy's son searches for love and acceptance from his father. It is based on my father's life and other men who I had counseled when I worked as a nurse therapist.

Yes, a home is more than it's size, number of bedrooms, or how much the staircase creaked. It is about the people in it. Home Sweet Home should be more than a structure where people only exist, but a place of peace, harmony and love.

My thanks to Scott Maxwell (maxwell@orlandosentinel.com

Novy's Son is available in Kindle or paperback at Amazon. (www.amazon.com/Novys-Son-Selfish-Genius

Book of the Month winner through Rave Reviews Book Club

Saturday, May 7, 2016


                                        May 8th is World Ovarian Cancer Day.
                                       May 8 is Mother's Day in the United States.
           Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir is Rave Reviews Book Club "Push Week" book.
                  I was named the winner for this story How I Can Create A Better Me.

The lights from the recovery room were very bright as I drowsily awoke from the anesthesia. I peered through my half-open eyes and saw my surgeon standing next to my bed. He reached over and took my hand. Just then my eyes quickly searched for the clock on the wall. “Oh, no,” I groaned. The clock read 4:35 pm. I had been in surgery far longer than the two to three hours I had hoped to be. I knew that the longer the surgery, the greater was the chance that I had cancer.

Dr. Boente squeezed my hand and gently said, “I am sorry but your tumor was cancerous.” Tears began to flood my eyes as he went on to say, “However I feel confident we got it all.”

Thus began a new life. No longer a healthy sixty-seven year old who only took one prescription medication, which was for insomnia. I was a retired nurse enjoying life living in Minnesota part time, then spending the winters in Florida.

From that day forward in June 2008 I would be living with ovarian cancer as my constant companion. Twice I would lose my hair and go through chemotherapy for three months and then again for two years. Many were the visits with physicians, numerous blood tests, and scans. I live with side effects and monitor everything about my health.

I read several books and many articles about this lesser known cancer. I was a Registered Nurse and had no knowledge about ovarian cancer. The only thing I did know was that there were very few survivors.

During the early weeks of this new life I began to ask God some questions: What am I to do with my life for whatever time remains? How can I best serve Him? What lessons am I to learn? In other words, “Will I be creating a better me?”

I know there are areas of my life where I need to be a better me. It is not always easy to admit them to myself, let alone anyone else. However, it is a mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy thing to do.  Two such areas are: one is the need to let go of regrets; and secondly to be a more worthy child of God.

Since a little girl around nine or ten years I had found ways to deal with some not so pleasant things. In the 1940’s my parents divorced and both had remarried. I was angry that I could not say, “My mom and dad” in one sentence as all of my classmates did. I rarely saw my dad. We moved out of the only home I knew and to a different city far from my dad and grandparents. My stepfather betrayed my trust through sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. I was angry and hurt that my mother chose to stay with him and send me away. She did not protect me. I went to live with my dad, but again it meant a new school, distant city, and a different home.

Early on I found solace, answers, and a sense of hope by journaling, writing poems, short stories, and even a novel. I never shared them with anyone. I did not trust that people wouldn’t laugh at me. I had no self-confidence, but I kept writing just for me.

I learned from my grandmother about healthy exercise, good nutrition, laughter, and positive thinking. Over the years they were lifestyle choices that kept my mind and body in optimum states.  They each release endorphins, improve blood circulation, and increase the body’s immune system. I have always strived to be healthy and it is still true today.

Growing up in the 1940’s and 1950’s girls were looked upon as tomboys if they liked to compete in sports or exercise. I always loved to walk and play volleyball and those were acceptable types of activity. Today I walk, exercise at the YMCA, and play golf.

My grandmother in particular taught me about vitamins, minerals, herbs, and good nutrition. She would say, “Do not eat much red meat, but eat lots of fruits and vegetables.” With her encouragement I replaced processed sugar with honey and gave up sodas and caffeinated beverages. I have never had a weight problem or been on a diet. I have always incorporated complementary medicine into my daily life. I used massage, herbs, acupressure, Reiki, yoga, and deep meditation to enhance my body’s ability to tolerate chemotherapy and improve its effectiveness.

Laughter viewed as the best medicine was popularized by Dr. Bernie Siegel. When we laugh or smile gray clouds disappear and the sun shines brightly. Our spirits are lifted and we believe we can overcome any obstacle. I recall the day when I had my head shaved for the first time. My husband rubbed my now baldhead and kissed the top of it. I cried and then laughed and said, “Grab the camera and let’s take pictures of me with different hats, scarves, the wig, and bald.” I was soon making different faces or standing in a variety of poses. Then I posted them on Facebook and sent emails to friends and family.

Closely related to laughter is the power of positive thinking. When I read Norman Vincent Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking so many years ago, I knew this was an important part of being a better me. When I learned I had cancer I certainly went through the stages of grief, but I quickly took the attitude what can I learn and use to make me a better person?

I did bring intentional prayer and meditation ever more deeply into my daily life. There was one particular prayer of St. Francis of Assisi that brought clarity, peace, and purpose:
                        Lord, help me to live this day quietly, easily
                        To lean upon thy great strength trustfully, restfully
                        To wait for the unfolding of Thy will patiently, serenely
                        To meet others peacefully, joyously
                        To face tomorrow confidently, courageously.

            My spiritual life is a central part of who I am. I know that God and His angels are always with me. I try to always be open to their guidance and help. Yet, I know I fall short. The most important spiritual lesson I have learned is that of forgiveness. To forgive my stepfather and mother have been powerfully healing.

            I wrote in my journal throughout my cancer journey. I trusted a friend to read my journal upon her request. When she returned my journal she said, “Karen, you must get this published. You have an important message for everyone with a serious illness or a life-altering challenge. And, you are a gifted writer.” I was shocked by her enthusiastic response. She had been a friend for a long time and we shared everything. I trusted her and somehow knew that this was a scary step I needed to take. The result was Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, which won an award. It has opened many doors for me to speak to groups of women, nursing and pharmacy students.

The better me is an eight-year ovarian cancer survivor who has since published two more books. One of which is the novel I wrote when in my twenties. I have two blogs I write in every week. One reaches out to the general public and the other for readers and authors. My purpose in life is to bring awareness about ovarian cancer; to be supportive to those with cancer; and to bring information, hope, joy, and comfort to others through my writing.

Am I a better new me? Yes. I am more fulfilled and happier because I know that I am trying to do God’s will. I chose to not let cancer take my life. I chose to let my life be richer because of it.

I also know that creating a better me is a process. It is part of life’s journey. A favorite quote is “You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.” (David Emerald from The Empowerment Dynamic)
            Life is a beautiful gift that should never be taken for granted. Every minute is an opportunity to create a more beautiful and better you---and me.

My book is available at www.amazon.com/Outshine now at a reduced rate for the Kindle version. A limited time offer.
All proceeds go to gynecologic cancer research.

My thanks to Rave Reviews Book Club for all it does for us authors. I encourage all authors and avid readers to join this fine organization.