This weekend I have the great pleasure to introduce you to The Memory Witch. The novel will be available to purchase December 15th so grab a copy for yourself or the young adult in your life. I think the cover design is beautiful and haunting, and I can't wait for the release so I can take an afternoon off for reading.
Ten years ago, Quinn Jacobs’ mother made a bargain with a local witch—steal away Quinn’s memories from the first eight years of her life and in return, Quinn would spend a year in servitude to the witch.
On Quinn’s eighteenth birthday, she’s forced to leave her home and friends behind. For the next year, she’ll live at the Chadwick House, learning everything she needs to know about being a spellcaster. As her powers grow, Quinn begins to unravel the secrets of the past and the reason her mother was so desperate to conceal the horrifying truth.
Publication Date: December 15, 2013
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18248374-memory-witch Excerpt
I didn’t have a single remembrance before the age of eight. The first day of kindergarten, losing my first tooth, my first best friend—these memories vanished into an unexplained chasm and were still missing ten years later.
My mother would never explain the root of this anomaly to me. The only thing she’d say is that losing my father that year did something irreversible to my brain. A crater opened up inside of me and every early memory fell into oblivion.
I had eight years with my father before he died—but I didn’t have one memory of him. I didn’t know what it felt like to be inside of his embrace. I had no recollection of the scent I breathed in when he gathered me up into his arms. I had to imagine the memories through a haphazard collage of photographs and videos left behind.
My father was murdered in a fumbled burglary attempt at our home. My mother told me I should be grateful we weren’t home that night because we would be six feet under right alongside him. The ice in her voice made me wonder if she blamed him in some way for being killed.
Mere weeks after we laid him to rest, we moved two hours away from our New Jersey hometown to Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. A visit to his final resting place was a rare occurrence and we were estranged from my father’s side of the family. The part that I always had a hard time wrapping my head around was that my father’s unsolved murder never plagued my mother. She never sought out the killer to exact justice for taking a father away from his young daughter.
She insisted we needed a fresh start. And for ten years, I lived a seemingly normal teenage existence with the exception of my unique case of amnesia. My mother never brought me to a team of doctors to analyze my brain and she has never pushed me to remember. I comprehended the oddities surrounding my life, but we’d lived this way for so long that it became normal.
Until the day that everything changed.
I have been writing my Writer's Life Interrupted for one year now. I try to keep the blog as accurate as possible and describe what is going in my life as eloquently as I can. With Crohn's disease, that can be a challenge, especially when you are flaring.
Sometimes you have to skip the solid food to get things back in order. A liquid diet is great for resting the digestive system and it helps you get the nutrients you need. Digesting liquids is much better than solids, even if it isn't as tasty.
My liquid diets are great. I have my smoothie maker, lots of fruit--skip the berries--but remember the ice and spinach. This is a great way to get your body into tip top shape. I don't care for the commercial drinks because many times they are loaded with sugar. And if you don't know by now, sugar will feed the bad bacteria in your gut. However, many friends supplement with Ensure and Boost as long as you are not intolerant, which I am. I'll blow up like a beach ball if I drink either one. Neither contain lactose so it must be something else that disagrees with me.
Trying to find something to relieve the pain of a flare, I invented my own smoothie. I call it the...
Banana Peanut Butter Swirl.
1 large banana
1 tablespoon of peanut butter (organic--no sugar added)
1/2 tray of ice or six cubes
6 oz of apple juice--natural--no sugar added.
1 handful of organic leaf spinach.
Turn that blender on high to create a very tasty treat that has protein, veggies, and fruit, all in one great tasting shake. Plus it doesn't hurt to digest it.
I have thought of blending meat, but that's as far as it's gone. Somehow, meat in a blender just isn't appetizing. I've tried soy milk, almond milk, and rice milk, none of them agree with me. *shrugs shoulders* I have no idea why.
As for sugar, not only does it feed the bad bacteria in the gut, it pulls water into your bowels and contributes to diarrhea. I haven't had processed sugar in so long I've forgotten what it tastes like. You can try using plain coconut milk if it agrees with you. Check your ingredients for mannitol, sorbitol, zylitol, and sugar alcohols as they can contribute to feelings of discomfort. Try to eat as fresh as possible. Throw those canned goods out along with all your processed foods.
I don't digest B12 and D so if I'm flaring my vitamins will need a lift. A good supplement goes a long way. I couldn't figure out why, when this disease first hit, I had panic attacks and depression. Once my vitamin levels were checked and I went on supplements my panic and depression disappeared like magic. Sometimes I get lazy and forget to supplement. A good anxiety attack lets me know when my levels are low. Not that I recommend that, of course.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I ate what I wanted and paid for it later, but somehow NOT eating the dressing seemed more miserable than a bout of pain later.
I did Courtney's cover reveal, but didn't get a chance to announce her book, Enhanced. This book is a winner for the young adult this Christmas.
Sixteen-year-old Michelle is a product of the Institute’s eugenics program, where people are bred like livestock. One doctor decides which kids get to grow up, and which disappear. Only Culls walk into the slum outside Institute walls, and they never come back. Michelle has survived every purge, and she’s about to win a luxurious life as a breeder. Then the doctor banishes her brother Seth and her boyfriend Brian, and she risks everything to find them in the cutthroat slum. She’s in trouble until handsome Dillon stakes a claim to her. Michelle is mortified, because Norms are practically animals. But the doctor is using the missing boys in a twisted plan and she needs Dillon’s help to stop him. Michelle and her friends must find Seth and Brian, but a plague is spreading, the doctor is after her and Dillon isn’t thrilled to help her find her lost boyfriend.
Courtney Farrell is a molecular biologist who left the laboratory to write books for young people. She authored fifteen nonfiction books on social and environmental issues before transitioning into fiction. Farrell lives on a ranch in Colorado with her husband and sons.
My 4 Star Review
What a great YA Dystopian novel! Not only does the novel make you think, it exposes the teenage angst we've all felt when younger. The story is fast-paced and entertaining, the romance between the two characters entirely believable.
Enhanced is a good read, somewhat rushed in a few places, but overall, really enjoyable. The characters are easy to get to know, sympathetic, and interesting. I like the way they confront fear and overcome it, showing some moral fortitude in the process.
I really enjoyed Cortney Farrell's Enhanced and would recommend it to my YA readers in the family.
You don't need me to tell you it's Thanksgiving.
From a Crohnie on the SCD diet point of view it can be depressing. Especially when you think about food. I mean there's no dressing, no potatoes, no rolls, no cranberry sauce, but you can have turkey and bean casserole as long as the sauce isn't canned. There there's no pie, no cake, no cookies, OK maybe I'll sneak one cookie or maybe one piece of pie.
I tried that last Saturday night at a friend's retirement party. Only it wasn't pie or cookies. It was Bailey's over ice. You know, a nice sweet sipping drink that tastes a little like heaven. I was sick all day Sunday. So, if I eat pumpkin pie will I get sick? Maybe, probably. Then that means no Christmas Fair on Friday. A trade off. No pie--Christmas Fair. No Christmas Fair--pie.
Seems very unfair.
That's where the acceptance part comes in. I have the GI Monitor on my Android phone. It is the BEST tracker of all things Crohn's I've ever had access to. I recommend it to anyone who needs to track symptoms. You can download the tracker at www.wellapps.com.
There is also a social aspect to the GI Monitor and I was fortunate enough to see a beautiful comment made by another IBDer. She wrote:
Yesterday, I attended a patient meeting for CVID (Common Variable Immune Deficiency) given by the Immune Deficiency Foundation. I met a woman whose outlook was disturbing. She used the tool of a positive outlook as a form of utter denial.
I understand fearing that losses will become too much to bear… and they are too much to bear alone… but I’ve never encountered this odd mix of grief couched in gratitude-terms before.
For the record, grief is healthy and an appropriate response to a difficult diagnosis. It is OK to climb up and over each state of grief, even if you get stuck in some rocky snares. But don’t be so afraid of the darker shades of grief that you refuse to go there.
Go there, but don’t go alone!
Grab a hold of our hands and together it isn’t so scary anymore. Any of us who has been on this journey a long time can assure you that together we can do this and do it well.
Misappropriated gratitude isn’t going to help you climb—a fellow IBDer will. I’m so grateful for you guys. The community of others makes a healthier approach possible and I feel so sorry for that woman—our positives aren’t imaginary or delusional or paralyzed by fear. IBD, CVID, or any chronically difficult disease truly sucks, but we find strength in community and discover that gratitude grows and thrives best in winter as long as we stick together.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving.
Her post made me cry. Crohn's is a difficult disease and she gave me permission to acknowledge the risks we take. We are forced to lower our immune system to make us well, but to make us relatively well; we put ourselves at risk of opportunistic infections like pneumonia or sepsis. Sometimes it’s just a cold or the flu, but other times it can be life threatening. After diagnosis, we need to grieve. You can’t put a happy face on grief. It is something that must be faced and resolved.
As for myself, I spent a year in anger. The funny part was I didn’t know I was angry until it went away. It took my doctor to tell me there isn’t anything in the world that will make you well, to give me my come to Jesus moment. As soon as I accepted his advice, the anger disappeared and I realized just how angry I’d been.
I’d distanced myself from my friends. Even my dearest relatives I closed the door on. After the 4th of July this year, I went back to my house and stayed inside for the next four days. It didn’t matter that my nieces and nephews were here visiting my sister-in-law, I closed up shop and retreated. I was pissed.
Why was I angry? Because I was out all day in the sun with those I love. What should have been a wondrous occasion was, exhausting. I snapped at people and they had no idea why. What I should have done was gone home and napped, but I didn’t. I could play all day just like everyone else, and the following morning, once I’d realized what I’d done, I closed my door on the world around me.
It took my doctor to make me realize that it is what it is. It was also at this time, I decided to get serious about treating my health holistically. If modern medicine can do nothing for me, maybe herbal treatment can. If not, then it is what it is. I am no longer angry.
To find people like the commenter above on something called the GI Monitor was miraculous. I don’t even know this woman, yet she gets me and how I feel. Why? Because she’s living it, too.
I am so thankful for people like her. It is a liberating experience to talk with people who know exactly what you’re going through.
So on this Thanksgiving Day and weekend, after giving thanks for my husband, children, grandchildren, daughters, and son-in-laws, I want to say thank you to my new friends on the GI Monitor.
Blessings to all.
You have an idea and it's perfect for the next best seller. You see your name in the New York Times. You've bought a new laptop, you have enough paper for editing, new ink, and now, just as you seat yourself in the most comfortable office chair available, you put your fingers to the keyboard.
And nothing comes out.
Another cup of coffee is needed.
You get up from your chair, head into the kitchen, pour a cup of coffee, add some cream and sugar to taste, and head back into the office. You sit down, take a sip, set the cup off to the side, and touch the keyboard.
Sometimes, that first sentence can be a real bugger. I don't know why, it just is. At least that's what most authors tell me. For me, it's the middle of the book. I can get the first sentence, I can even get the ending (sometimes) but the middle is hard for me to tackle. I took a month to figure out what my problem was/is and I'm still not sure. I used to find excitement and wonder when tackling a project. Now, I'm not so excited anymore and I don't know why.
Perhaps it's having Crohn's disease. The damn thing sucks the life out of you. But maybe not. Maybe I have lost the newness, the excitement, the rush of writing. Now, writing is more like work.
Excuse me, the writer half of myself just smacked me upside the head. She's telling me I'm too introspective that I waste too much time thinking and just need to sit down and write.
True enough, but in a way, becoming a writer is also part of getting to know yourself. All writers use personalities they come into contact with on a day by day basis to use in their novels. We use the people in our lives to populate our books. Sometimes we even get even with people or find a new way to express the love we have for each other. Writing is, after all, about becoming.
A book is never completed at one sitting. It is never even complete in your mind until you write The End and even then it goes off to editors for more changes. A novel, until it comes out in print, is always in a state of becoming. So too, are you or in this case, am I.
It is in this place that I get lost. I wonder, who am I to tell this character what to do. I mean, what if she lives in some probable universe or something. I'm guiding her life like I know what I'm doing. Then of course, I wonder if that's what life really is. Maybe I'm a figment of someone elses imagination.
That's a scary thought.
(Cover art by Taria Reed)
Morbunda is a land still divided centuries after a devastating war when the last dragons turned on their human allies. Men rebuild, but war soon erupts again, this time a battle between human religions.
The foundling, Kerik, bitterly accepts his destiny when the specter of war threatens his friends, the twins Donal and Lyla Logan. Nothing can stop the fanatical army rolling toward their home except a battle dragon as of old, and the most powerful of ancient fire serpents is reborn in Kerik.
But human learned how to kill dragons in the last war. Kerik can’t turn back the invaders from the north alone. Driven by need, Lyla discovers her own gift, a magic that is anathema to everything a dragon is.
Kerik fights on despite weapons created only to kill him while he battles his attraction to Lyla. But the real war in the one against his cruel dragon nature as the beast inside him slowly crushes his human soul.
Excerpt Copyright © 2012 Susan Gourley
All rights reserved — a Crescent Moon Press publication
Kerik gulped more air and drank in the heat as the bones became his own. Something deep in his soul tore open. He screamed as it clawed to life. It rose as a demon of fangs, wings and death. Again he screamed and fire erupted from his mouth. His flame ignited the tent roof. The beast rose from the flames of the alter where it had been created. Not created. Where it had been freed.
Kerik tried to pull the horrible creature back but it shredded his being and rose higher. It spiraled up through the open smoldering tent. He went with it and looked down at the frozen Daughters and Knights.
The beast took Kerik higher until he could see all of Logantown. The horses in the far pasture galloped toward the south end of their field and shrieked their terror. People spilled from their dark cottages and pointed skyward with their arms tight around their children. Close to the Daughters’ camp, Lyla and Donal huddled in the sheep pen. They clung to each other and stared their horror at the fire creature.
Kerik knew this flying creature was dangerous. The fires within burned hotter than anything he’d ever believed existed. He couldn’t allow it to hurt Lyla and Donal or destroy Logantown. It needed to be controlled.
How did the thing hold him? He tried to touch it but had no use of his arms. The front legs of the beast swung at something unseen. He turned his head and the creature turned with him. Why could he not see it?
Damn the beast. It must have magic. He called on his strength and the fires built in the beast’s heart. Understanding flooded him.
Kerik beat his long black wings and lifted higher into the night. He was flying. He soared as he’d dreamed of doing for most nights of his life, but the joy he’d found in his dreams was missing. All he felt was horror at what he was.
The horses milled in a tight bunch in terror of his existence. The twins shrank into the sheep pen filth at the sight of him.
He glided out across the plains and found flight as natural to him as walking. With the acceptance of his true self, no matter how abhorrent, came the knowledge of his namesake. The first Kerik had entrusted everything he was into the spell residing in his bones and now it had been passed on to his descendant. Much of it was foreign memory and the learning of things Kerik knew nothing about—magic.
He considered flying forever and never going back. Could he fly to the end of the world and find a place far from Daughters and wars? There must be a place.
But the histories Vala had shared came back to him and interlaced with the clear memories from the bones that were now his own. There was no place for a dragon to live in peace. As long as the followers of Umbron and Bellam did battle, the world would be at war.
And Kerik had made a promise to Vala. That promise had spared his friends. He could protect Lyla and Donal now, but he could never be with them. He would never be able to give his love to Lyla. She was lost to him. He wept but shed no tears. Dragons did not cry.
Purchase e-Book Purchase Print
Susan Gourley is a high school teacher with a great love of the written word. She writes epic fantasy but enjoys reading nearly all types of fiction. She resides in Pennsylvania, living her dream with her wonderful husband and six children. First Dragon
is the opening book in her second epic fantasy series. Visit her at: http://www.susangourley.com
Still medication free, but moving toward the biologics again. While the SCD diet works well for some people, I'm not so sure it works for me. However, I will go back to square one with the chicken soup and begin again before I give it up completely. I have given myself to the first of the year. I have an appointment with a holistic physician in mid-December. Once I've completed that appointment, done the chicken soup for awhile, I will take inventory.
I once said that having Crohn's does not define me. It doesn't, but this experiment at trying to manage Crohn's without pharmaceutical intervention, has taught me that in many ways, Crohn's does define me. Crohn's comes in many forms and for many people it is very different. It is NOTHING like the commercials you see on television. Well, perhaps it is for some, but not for the majority. It is not just a matter of worrying about when you have to use the restroom. It encompasses so much more and as such, encompasses me. At least my earthsuit has to deal with this disease which makes it my problem.
Other Crohn's symptoms with the exception of diarrhea.
1. Inflammatory response: Not just your intestines get inflamed, but any part of the digestive trace which includes the intestines. The first time I experienced a multiple number of ulcers in my mouth caught me unaware. I'm not ignorant any longer and mouth ulcers are no fun. They hurt.
2. Gastritis: Ugh. Horrible. Did you know you can actually feel your stomach? You can when you have gastritis. Every stinking inch of it burns like acid. *shudder*
3. Esophageal spams brought on by gastritis: Might has well huddle into a ball until they pass. Cause you ain't gonna be doing anything else but hide out in your bedroom.
4. Erythema Nodosum: A lovely inflammatory condition that pops up on your skin. It's actually inflammation attacking the fat cells under the skin and mostly happens on the legs. Mine popped up on the top of my foot. They can be big or small, mine were medium sized, occurred in a circle, and they are painful.
And there are more than just those listed above. Like, fistulas and fissures. But I won't get graphic here.
What I bet you don't know, is that the number of diagnosed Crohn's cases is rising.
There is more to see here than just genetics, though genes do play an important part. There is something in our environment that is adding to our growing numbers, something that is poison to our bodies. Diet, smoking, stress, development in an overly sterile environment, antibiotics, sugar, low fruit and vegetable consumption.
I am guilty of all of the above. I smoked, ate on the fly, had an extremely stressful C.E.O. position, had chronic ear infections as a child, and found it so much easier to eat processed food rather than fresh fruits and vegetables. I was a busy mom to three kids and business woman. And I was stressed to the max.
Perfect set-up for someone like me with a defunct gene. If I could go back and change things I would, but I can't. This does not explain why a child contracts Crohn's disease or even why health conscious adults come down with it. And it wasn't like I didn't cook. Trust me, more nights than not we had fresh food.
So is there something else afoot?
Antibiotic use is huge precursor to Crohn's. Most of the people I've met had just finished a round of antibiotics before having their first real flare. While I have had symptoms of Crohn's disease throughout my life, my first significant life-threatening issue happened after two rounds of antibiotics to treat pneumonia.
Still, no one is quite sure just what sets the disease off. Is it antibiotic use in cows? Genetically modified foods? Whatever it is, it has happened in the last seventy-five years. I'll leave the final answer up to the researchers, but I can't help but wonder... Was it the ear infections as a child?
As I am now moving into a state of near exhaustion, I will close this blog for today.
Navigating social media can be a bit magical. You're never quite sure you are doing the right thing. Sometimes, something important slips right out of your hands. And really, does it work?
I'm on Twitter (You can click on the icons above to follow me if you wish), and I'm on Facebook, and I keep my website up-to-date. I'm also a presence on Goodreads and I do have my own 'author' page on Amazon and Facebook. To do any more would take too much time and I'll never get the books I want to write--finished.
I also put together a list of new Sci-fi, Time Travel, and Fantasy releases for USA Today each week. I'm about social media'd out.
When you couple the fact that the books I write cross genres,
you can see how difficult marketing can be. Take A Shadow of Time. The novel is paranormal with an element of horror so I could market the book both ways. Gemini Rising is sci-fi, paranormal, apocalyptic so I can go multiple ways there as well. I like books that cross genres though my editor once told me to stick to one and knock off the side trips.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I do have presence if counting the visits to this site means anything. I get 500-600 hits per day on the low end and can get up to 1k on a good day. I like to track things and am pleased to announce I receive an inordinate amount of new viewers.
Not that I have anything important to say, but I do love books. I love to read and I love to read cross genre books. I also like to do book reviews.
There is always the beloved auto-responder where you load every e-mail addy you have and do an e-mail blast to let people know what you are up to. I decided that was too intrusive so I crossed it off my list.
I guest blog on other blogs, but got to thinking that might even over do it. Just Google my name. I'm everywhere. It's rather embarrassing. Besides, if my books are good enough people will read them. They will tell other people and so on and so on.
Do I have to tweet?
Yes, I do. And I have to Facebook, and Goodread, and guest blog when new books come out. That's not so overwhelming and gives me time to keep writing. Then I met Hootsuite. What a wonderful, free program, that allows me to utilize all social media contacts on one page.
I have died and gone to heaven.
Then I was introduced to Triberr where I connected up with other bloggers and now we have a collective reach of over 10,000 people.
Those are my thoughts on social media. I realize it is important, but really, does it sell books? No, it sells your brand. Who you are, what you write, the aura that surrounds you. So make sure when you are out there marketing you let your authentic self shine through. Yeah, some people will have a problem with you blogging, tweeting, twerking, whatever, but so what. Just be yourself, write about the things you love and that interest you, and someday, you might see your name on the New York Times Best Seller List. Oh, yeah, it also helps if you write a good book.
Before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, stained-glass restoration artist Mira Gallier had it all: a thriving business doing work she loved and an idyllic marriage to the perfect man. But the devastating storm stole her beloved husband – his body swept away by floodwaters, never to be found.
Now, after years of pain and turmoil, it looks as if Mira is finally on the verge of peace and emotional stability. But her life, like the magnificent windows blown to bits by Hurricane Katrina, is about to be shattered once again. And this time, it’s not a killer storm she faces, but a psychopath who will stop at nothing until he possesses her, body and soul…
First, church windows that she restored are vandalized, and the priest who looked over them brutally murdered. Spray-painted across the glass are the words: He Will Come to Judge the Living and the Dead. Then, New Orleans is rocked by a terrifying chain of murders that all seem to be linked to Mira. The police, led by homicide detective Spencer Malone, are following a string of clues left by the killer on each victim – and beginning to wonder if the murderer isn’t Mira Gallier herself.
As Mira begins to unravel under pressure from all sides – and fear for her life – it’s unclear whom she can trust. And when a man from her past appears out of nowhere, sparking something long forgotten in her heart, he quickly becomes the police’s new prime suspect. One by one, the people in Mira's life are targeted, until it’s clear that the killer has been saving her for last . . . and that there’s nowhere left to run.
A Solid Five Star Review
In the beginning of the book we are introduced to a mad-man who kills his grandmother. He speaks to god and believes he is the second coming or at least the one appointed to pave the way. Murder is the pathway he chooses.
Mira Gallier, a stained-glass restoration artist located in New Orleans, has lost her husband to Katrina. Both she and her husband made the decision to stay behind to enjoy the storm, but on the day after, he is swept away by a levee break.
Her filthy rich father-in-law blames her for his son's death and brings her up on murder charges. When that doesn't pan out he brings a wrongful death suit in which she is acquitted. Finally, after giving an interview to a local TV station, Mira discovers her father-in-law has set up the interview to make her look bad and to once again accuse her of murdering his son.
During this time an old friend reappears after having enlisted and serving a term in Afghanistan. Mira discovers that his abrupt absence shortly before Katrina, was due to him falling in love with her. Unable to watch her and his best friend's relationship, he decided to leave. Mira is also told that her husband knew why he had left, and she begins to question whether or not her husband is the man she thought she knew.
Not too far from Mira's grand New Orleans home she inherited from her husband, the parish priest is murdered and biblical sayings are scrawled across the stained glass windows she has just restored. Soon after, the preacher, a side-walk bum who preaches the end of the world is killed, days after breaking into Mira's home and stealing the necklace her husband had given her. Then Mira's father-in-law is murdered and once again she is in the spotlight.
With more twists and turns than a mountain road, Erica Spindler has written a novel that immediately captured my attention. The writing is superb, the action graceful, yet comes at you like a freight-train. The description of New Orleans post-Katrina will bring a tear to your eye.
I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys thrillers and romance. It was truly a great read. Grab some chips and soda, kick back in your favorite chair and enter Erica's world. You won't forget it.
A New York Times and International bestselling author, Erica Spindler's skill for crafting engrossing plots and compelling characters has earned both critical praise and legions of fans. Published in 25 countries, her stories have been lauded as "thrill-packed page turners, white- knuckle rides and edge-of-your-seat whodunits."
Raised in Rockford, Illinois, Erica had planned on being an artist, earning a BFA from Delta State University and an MFA from the University of New Orleans in the visual arts. In June of 1982, in bed with a cold, she picked up a romance novel for relief from daytime television. She was immediately hooked, and soon decided to try to write one herself. She leaped from romance to suspense in 1996 with her novel Forbidden Fruit, and found her true calling.
Her novel Bone Cold won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. A Romance Writers of America Honor Roll member, she received a Kiss of Death Award for her novels Forbidden Fruit and Dead Run and was a three-time RITA® Award finalist. Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel Shocking Pink a Listen Up Award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998.
Erica lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband and two sons and is busy at work on her next thriller.
Even children are susceptible to Crohn's disease
and it breaks my heart. At my age, when maturity is supposed to rule, coping with the manifestations is difficult enough. I can't imagine a child having to suffer through it.
At best, Crohn's is a journey of self-discovery.
It forces you to look inward, to study how your body works, what it likes and doesn't like. The disease makes
you pay attention even when you don't want to. I'm really good at paying attention to others, but I kinda always sucked when it came to myself. Now I have to care for myself if I want a decent life. When you're a kid, you don't even think those thoughts, but like children with diabetes you learn fast.
The first time I remember having an episode was when I was fourteen, though I did manage to miss almost my entire year of second grade due to a recurring fever that no one could figure out. The doc decided it was allergies and that was that. Was it Crohn's? We'll never know. I do know it was the year after my father passed away so it's quite possible stress had activated a nasty little gene. I do remember the stomach aches. After that, my symptoms would pretty much come and go. Generally, once a year I'd get really sick, but then it would clear up after a few days.
At thirty-two I lost 45 and some odd pounds in just a few months. Kaiser said it was anxiety--panic disorder. I believed them and since talking about diarrhea was so, so, well, disgusting, it was not on my priority list to share with my doc. Fortunately, the flare cleared and I went on with life. Until my 50s when I was hit with a flare that nearly wiped out my entire digestive system making the diagnosis a piece of cake for any gastroenterologist.
It is different for children with a severe form of the disease. Because of malabsorption issues they don't grow as they should. They suffer not only the effects of Crohn's but self-esteem issues as well. It takes a strong family unit to help a kid with Crohn's. Which brings me back to this entire post.
I'd like to give a hat tip to those mothers and fathers who struggle to help their children. It cannot be easy listening to their babies cry when their tummy's hurt. It is not for yourself that you check each test, each word and nuance that comes out of or spreads across a physician's face. My biggest fear is that I have somehow passed this down into the next generation. I cannot imagine watching my babies suffer, but many parents do. I have been following this one woman who has TWO children with the disease. If there are awards given out for caretaking, she deserves one.
Lest I get too maudlin here, I do have some good news to share. I have taken up juicing and grinding everything I eat and today is the best I've felt in months. I'm one week in after a pretty horrendous last few weeks. I haven't given up on the SCD diet and do not eat carbohydrates, (except for fruit) I'm just giving my guts a break to let them heal and they seem to like this juicing thing. After a few weeks, I'll give solids a try again.
On another note, I thought I'd share with you some comments people have made to me that I found particularly funny. I hope you enjoy them, too.
1. Before being diagnosed with Crohn's disease, I went to my doc to talk about the diarrhea thing. For over a year I had struggled with a bizarre sickness that would have me vomiting followed by diarrhea. At first it was once a month, then it was once a week, then it was pretty much every day. Unfortunately, when I got to the office my doc was out sick so I saw another physician.
Him: Why are you here?
Me: I have really bad diarrhea. Sometimes I'm really sick. (Yes this was an understatement, but heaven forbid if I sound dramatic. I have family (and friends) who have often accused me of being, um, overly emotional.)
Him: What do you do? What are you hobbies?
Me: I write.
Him: Oh, then, that's easy. You're gluten intolerant. You're sensitive. Let me get you a diet.
And with that he was out the door. By the time he returned, I decided not to tell him about the blood. That would be overkill. I took the diet and went home, showing it to my husband by tossing it across the kitchen only to watch it float to the floor. Even I knew my problem had nothing to do with gluten. So, I let it pass, making myself sicker in the process.
2. But you don't look sick.
There's a good one. I mean, sometimes I look sick and sometimes I don't. My husband says it shows on my face, but I'm pretty sure that's just irritation he's seeing.
3. Oh, and another good one. Home on a Saturday, my grandchildren visiting, I didn't feel well enough to get down and play with them. My then five year-old granddaughter came up to the couch where I was resting.
"Hi, sweetie," I said. "What's up?"
"Can you come play Trouble with us?"
"Not right now, Gramma needs a little rest. She's tired."
"Daddy says you'll be sick for the rest of your life."
"That's not entirely true, but I don't feel well right now."
A look of shock, a gasp of air, one step backward. "Is it catchy?"
3. And lastly, I'm in the hospital, sicker than a dog. A nurse comes in, studies me, and says, "You don't look like you have sepsis."
OK, like how is someone supposed to look?
I hope you got a giggle or grin and would love for you to share some of your funniest moments with me. Hoping you have a wonderful week.