Guest Blogger: Julie C Gardner, Author

Today! Julie C. Gardner is my guest blogger. Today! Julie C. Gardner’s new book, “Lily by Any Other Name” debuts. Today! Is a good day indeed.

Up first, a taste of Julie’s wit and wisdom in her post below, “What Happens in Clovis Stays in Clovis.” After the post, I’ve included all the links and info you will need to get your (vitual) hands on Julie’s brand new book!  Let’s do this…

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So I have these friends who shall remain nameless because they aren’t bloggers, writers, or seekers of Internet fame and I want them to still love me tomorrow.

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I met this group years ago at a karate studio where our kids were training to be black belts. The six of us moms just clicked. In fact, we clicked so loudly, everyone must’ve been relieved when we began gathering off-site for happy hours. For family barbeques. Road trips to Vegas.

As the group grew closer, our kids grew up. Our friendships had to evolve to survive. But I’m happy to report, after all these years, we’re as tight as ever. Maybe we don’t see each other as often, but we make the effort.

We make it work.

Since I promised not to name names, I’ll describe us by the roles we play:

THE ORGANIZER: The one whose ideas brought you together in the first place. She starts the ball rolling, then she keeps lists for you in the notes on her phone. You’ll find her researching Groupon get-togethers on lunch breaks, emailing options, texting details. Her enthusiasm is infectious. She’ll create a kick-ass slideshow of the fun within 24 hours.

THE LIFE OF THE PARTY: The one with the loudest laugh, the raunchiest mouth, the biggest smile. She’s up for anything and up the longest. When the rest of you start eyeing your beds, she’s ready to start Round Two. She embraces a life is short motto. If you need a partner in crime, she’s your girl. And she’ll post bail.

THE MOM: The one who brings the stocked first-aid kit, the antibacterial wipes, and the Tupperware to store any leftovers. She is the first at your doorstep with flowers, the last to leave if your dishes aren’t done. Her heart is enormous, but then she drops a line to remind you moms aren’t just lovable. They are hilarious.  

THE QUEEN OF BLUNT: The one who tells it like it is, who fearlessly says what others are thinking (good, bad, or ugly). If you’re making a mistake, she’ll let you know. When you’re getting ready to go out at night, she blurts, “LOOK HOW AWESOME WE ARE!” She’s so confident, you believe her. With her, you do feel awesome.

THE MESS: The one who plays the fool to entertain you (or maybe she’s just a fool). She’ll buy leggings from the clearance rack at Target and wear them in Vegas for days, only to realize afterward they are xhilaration pajama bottoms. Sometimes she worries she doesn’t deserve such loyal friends. Sometimes she laughs so much, she pees.

THE ANGEL: The one who fought cancer so damn hard, you still can’t believe she’s gone. Whenever you take pictures of the five of you now—this group that should be six—there’s a gap you see later. A glow between you. That streak of light above your heads. “Look!” you say. “There’s her space. There she is!”

Always and always.

I’m so lucky these are my people. Thanks to them my world is brighter, tough times are easier, and joys are more…ummm….

Joyful?

Maybe we just got back from a road trip and I’m too happy to care about adjectives.

Maybe we went to Clovis instead of Vegas because The Organizer moved there and we wanted to celebrate. Maybe we talked too much and ate too much and drank the right amount of wine. Maybe we pledged again not to take these lives for granted. Maybe we cried a little when we said how much we love each other.

Maybe you have friends like this, too.

Maybe you know which one I am.

Maybe when you’re shopping the clearance racks at Target, you should double-check that someone didn’t accidentally slip a pair of xhilaration pajama bottoms in with the leggings.

Anyway, that’s what my friend says.

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Want more of Julie?  You should  visit her blog at juliecgardner.com. You should read her books! Her talents extend to her books, blog and so much more, but everything she does includes heart. She is a published author and her newest novel is out today!

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Just click on the book image above to be magically transported to Julie’s new book on Amazon.  “Lily by Any Other Name” can be found at any one of the following links, as well:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075YDVGMK

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lily-by-any-other-name

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1310056461

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1127406324?ean=2940158915123

“Yes, my Young Adult book baby (that older-ish adults can read, too) officially releases today. And I might be thrilled to share the news!

LILY BY ANY OTHER NAME is a story of love and friendship, of heartbreak and hope.

It’s about making wishes that come true in ways nobody sees coming.

And it’s available NOW for just $3.99 (LESSTHANFOURDOLLARS) at all the above sites.” ~ Julie C. Gardner

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Julie C. Gardner

 

Thank you, Julie, for taking the time out of your busy writing day to visit my humble blog and brighten my day, as well as delighting all my readers. Godspeed on your writing endeavors. I have my Kindle copy of “Lily by Any Other Name” and cannot wait to read it!

 

 

 

Interview with a Warrior

Last winter, I met the most amazing man. His name is Tony Nicholson and he is my cousin. I was almost grown when he was born, so I never really got to know him when he was a child. Then we lived thousands of miles apart, and, well…time goes on. Finally, we touched base online and had an amazing connection. Tony is 49 years old, married to a lovely woman named Sherry, lives in Tennessee, and is a Cancer Warrior. His journey has been one of bravery, personal resolve, and intestinal fortitude, and I am honored to have him as my guest. Please welcome Mr. Tony Nicholson…

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Tony, when did you find out you had cancer?  Did you fall ill or find out from routine testing?

I was diagnosed the first week of January 2017. I started having some stomach issues Thanksgiving Day, 2016. The pain was bad, but I hadn’t been to a doctor in 20 years. No way was I going because of a stomach ache. By Christmas, all I could do was work and go home to bed. The day after Christmas I was pretty much bedridden. I broke down and went to the doctor a couple of days later and he and I both thought it was my gallbladder. I went for a test, my gallbladder was bad, and was scheduled for surgery for the following week. I didn’t make it that far. I was so weak and so sick I honestly thought I was going to die. I remember taking a shower so that I would be clean when they found my body.

My wife took me to the ER where they immediately took me back and started testing. The on-call doctor first suggested that I might have cancer. It was confirmed a few days later when a biopsy was performed during surgery.

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I woke up from surgery without my gallbladder, without 13″ of my colon, with a colostomy bag and when tests came back, a stage 3 cancer diagnosis. I was devastated.

How did you feel when you got the news? Did you resolve to fight right away, or was there denial before acceptance?

I was hospitalized for 13 days. Thoughts were running through my head: Am I going to die? Am I going to be a burden on my wife and family? How am I going to pay bills and keep my house if I can’t work? Thoughts also of chemo and the side effects…

I knew I had to fight to stay alive. I promised my wife, my kids, my sisters, and my baby Grandson that I would fight with all that I have. I promised my Grandson that we would go see Mickey Mouse someday. I’m determined to keep that promise.

What was the diagnosis and treatment plan?

I met with the Oncologist in my hospital room. She told me that I would require 6 months of chemo every other week. She also said that the odds were 50/50. She told me that she simply didn’t know. The cancer had spread to my lymph nodes.

How did your family and wife Sherry react to the news?

Sherry was stronger than me. She kept telling me that I was going to be okay. My family supported me the best they could. My sisters came to the hospital every day.

How long before you began chemo?  Tell me about your first chemo experience.

I started chemo on Feb 15th. I was so scared, but I was trying not to show it. They took me back and took blood, took my vitals, and after a checkup with the Oncologist, I was off to the treatment room. Sherry was by my side the entire time. We sat in the reclining chairs. I can remember asking Sherry to move an IV stand because I couldn’t see that face of hers that gives me strength.

The nurses at Tennessee Oncologists were beyond great. They calmed my nerves. They stuck a needle in my stomach about the size of a pencil. It hurt like hell, but was necessary to help control nausea. Then they ran some other anti-nausea meds through my port that was put in the week before. Then came the chemotonychemo

drugs. It was scary seeing Nurse Barbara dressed like she works at a nuclear power plant. I was holding Sherry’s hand and she kept asking if I’m okay. The entire process took almost 6 hours. I had to wear a chemo pump for 2 days after each treatment to keep giving me meds slowly over time.

Did you bond with some of your fellow cancer warriors and did you have any special care givers who made your journey easier/better along the way?

When you spend 6 hours a per day every 2 weeks in the chemo room, you get to know the staff and other patients. You become part of their lives and you let them into yours. The tough thing is getting attached, then realizing the patients have cancer just like you. I began talking to a man named Mark. Mark had colon cancer just like me, stage 3 just like me, and a colostomy bag just like me. He got his shots in the stomach and from what I could tell, had the same protocol as I did. For some reason, Mark’s chemo didn’t take and he lost his fight on Sept 11th. Could’ve been me.

Nurse Barbara stands out as far as my nurses go. She named me the “Chemodale Dancer” and made me a bow tie that made some of the other patients laugh. She also heads up the cancer support group that has helped me tremendously.

How did you come to call yourself a “warrior”?

The term “Cancer Warrior” came from a fellow cancer patient named Barry Rinks. When I was diagnosed, I reached out to him to ask about his fight, his treatments, and his outlook. Although he didn’t know me personally at all, we talked a lot about treatments and about God. He made me see that death is nothing to fear if you have God. He helped lift such a burden off me. I didn’t know at the time that Barry was so close to losing his battle. He went home to Heaven around Labor Day.

I understand your wife Sherry was your life-line and your primary care giver. How vital was she to your ultimate and overall recovery?

Sherry was/is my care giver. Without her, I would be dead or in nursing home. There is not enough time or space to tell all she has done for me. I know this seems short, but if I start listing things, it is going to be extremely long. She has kept me alive.

How many months were you in treatment? How did you cope with daily life? Did you stay home a lot or get out as much as you could?

I did chemo for 6 months. I was out of work for 3 months. The nurses at the oncologist office did a great job with my nausea. I had some but it was manageable. The fatigue, on the other hand, was awful. I had never felt so constantly run down. I couldn’t eat, drink, or touch anything cold. Trying to get the colostomy bag fixed to where it wouldn’t leak and make huge messes was a big issue. The mental part was harder for me than the physical. I had 3 months to think about my life and how I was going to make positive changes, be a better husband, father, brother, son, and grandpa. I told God if he decided to take me I’m ready, but if not, my desire is to be that man who I want to become.

I stayed at home a lot. I had to get out and take care of some things because Sherry had to work. After 3 months and against doctor’s orders, I went back to work. It was hell. They took my office job away from me while I was out and cut my pay. I was also told that if I couldn’t keep up, they didn’t need me. So, I would leave chemo and head directly back to work. Because of this, I developed blood clots in both legs and kept a barf bag on my table in case I got sick while working.

Tell me about your last day of chemo.

My last chemo treatment was on July 13th. Sherry made signs for me to hold while taking pictures. I rang the bell as I was leaving. Then I cranked up the music as myself, Nurse Barbara, another nurse, and a volunteer did The Conga up the hallway.

When and how did you get the news that you were cancer-free?

After my last treatment, I went for tests to determine the condition of my cancer. We got the tests back a week later, and the cancer was gone. My Oncologist told me during my checkup.

How are you now and what is your next step in overall recovery?

Right now, I am still battling the residual effects from the chemo. My fingers and feet are both numb and I have balance issues. I have joined a gym and can ride a stationary bike. I’m working on my weight so that I can get a colostomy reversal.

What message would you like to convey to the world regarding your journey and the fight against cancer?

If you think something is wrong with your body, then something might be. It’s better to know for sure. Go to your doctor and get checked. Please get those colonoscopies, mammograms or any other cancer detecting tests. Most insurers will pay 100% for preventive care. Everyone should get a colonoscopy before age 50 (listen up, Nicholson family!) They’re not fun, but may save your life.

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I would like to thank you, Tony, for sharing your story with my readers. I am sure everyone is just as thrilled as I am to know you are cancer-free and moving on toward a full, wonderful life. The world is indeed a better place with you in it!

Please leave comments for Tony below. He would enjoy hearing from you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pat Winchester Booth

Today, I am tickled pink. Why? Because I am hosting my very first guest blogger on What’s in Terri’s Head?!!

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Pat Winchester Booth has been an online friend of mine for years, and I have been a fan of her unique blog, Mining towns in Canada, Reminiscing about growing up for just as many years. Pat is brilliant, outspoken, articulate, and witty. She has led an amazing life, with all its ups and downs, and relentlessly pursues and cultivates happiness and knowledge on a daily basis. I am quite in awe of this lovely, talented woman, and am very proud she has graced me with her virtual presence and words.

 

Without further ado, I present Pat Winchester Booth!

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My name is Pat.
I started blogging in 2007.
My site is Mining towns in Canada. Reminiscing about growing up. I wrote about all the towns I lived in. They were company towns, many in isolation and it’s a time gone by. I wanted to leave a record of that unique life style.
It was a voyage of discovery. I understood myself better and what makes me tick. It was cathartic and a nostalgic visit to my family and childhood.
I’ve had over 45,000 readers and have reunited many childhood friends who were able to contact each other through the blog. Central Patricia gold mines and snow lake were popular.
In between, I posted other thoughts and irrelevant musings.

What I am, what I think, what I write is all the “product” of  living in mining towns in Canada.

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When I was much younger I saw a movie called “Auntie Mame”(1955), A character named “Gooch” got pregnant and did all the “pregnant lady” moves: The walk, the duck feet position, hand on hip & bend, moan and groan etc. I promised myself that I would NEVER do that, and when I was pregnant, both times, it came to mind and I was careful of my comportment, shall we say?

Fast forward to old age…I watched elderly people walk across parking lots and in stores and promised myself that I would never walk that way: waddle, duck feet pointing outward, stiff, agonizing movement.

PAT! GET OVER YOURSELF! I know there are many reasons for people of our age to struggle to walk. I always sympathized with all of them, I just didn’t want to BE one of them.

I don’t mind being old. There are lots of perks and the most important one is that I am still alive and well.

I do have my moments of Gooch-likeness”, especially when sitting for more than 15 minutes, then trying to make it across the room elegantly. (Doesn’t work).

This week, we tackled some physical work (up & down 13 steps with lots of bending) The Aleve didn’t relieve it much, and I had a couple of days of waddling, swaying etc. and I thought “this is it now, old age has set in”.

I’m happy to report that I’m back to normal today, and I concede that my normal could be pretty ancient looking to a 19 year old. I really don’t care, and this is one of the perks I referred to above: thinking about such nonsense, and the audacity to say it!

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(From  About “Mining Towns in Canada” Site)

An Experienced Pet Lover

My husband says “If it weren’t for…

  • The chewing
  • The piddling
  • The walking
  • The scooping
  • The barking
  • The snarling
  • The training
  • The feeding
  • The Vet bills
  • The grooming
  • The brushing
  • The shedding
  • The drooling
  • The dog sitting
  • The chasing
  • The fleas
  • …he would get another dog”.

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Thank you, Pat! I appreciate you so very much!

Everyone, please visit Pat’s blog when you have some reading time. You won’t be disappointed! Also, please leave your thoughts and comments below, as I’m sure Pat will enjoy hearing from you!