A Meaningful Children’s book–finally published. 

Dear bloggers and faithful followers! My book has finally been published!  It’s been a long and slow two years. BUT with my newest publication Going Through A Maze I thought It would be a good idea to venture down memory lane–Why I wrote the book and how it came to be.  

  
For those who havn’t followed me in the process– I wrote this children’s book during a difficult time, while I was caring for my sick father. 
This book is based on the love and friendship built between a grandfather and granddaughter. It depicts the reality of a family member or friend struggling with cancer in a simplistic way that is appropriate for young and older audiences. The story ultimately is meant to help prompt difficult conversations with children relating to cancer or any serious illness. 

Here are a few past blog posts I wrote from the time my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, to his passing, and then my grieving. 

Please fellow bloggers I need your help.  Repost this and help me spread the word.  Portions of this book are donated to cancer research.  
You can purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other participating bookstores. Available in paperback or ebook. 

All my love & many thanks in advance,

G

Publishing. 

So, I’m finally gearing up to publish the children’s story I wrote & illustrated two years ago. 

 Going Through a Maze.  

 

When I was writing this story my father was diagnosed with cancer. And actually, it wasn’t a story it was a poem.   My father even had the opportunity to read that poem.  I turned it into a story after he passed away.  And every Wednesday when my mother in-law would watch McKinley I tirelessly sketched and colored my heart out. 

Unfortunately, I’ve sent it out and It’s not a story publishing company’s want to publish.  Mostly, because it’s a children’s story about Cancer and subsequently death.  Shocker.  But, it also happens to be a story about preserverence, love, friendship, and family. You know, like important shit?

Anyways, I wanted to read my daughter something to help explain what our family was going through at the time, and there just wasn’t anything on the market.  It’s important that there are story’s for children about cancer and death because many families experience this and death is simply inevitable– no matter how invincible you want to be. 

So,  I continue my journey and will be now be self-publishing!  I’ll be sure to let my readers know when it’s ready to purchase. I also plan to donate a portion of the proceeds to help fund lung cancer research.

-G 

Backseat

I waited impatiently for the phone to ring. And when it finally did my mother’s somber voice didn’t prepare me.  Even when something is anticipatory it still comes as a f-cking shock.

My dad had gone in for an MRI of his brain. Everyone told us it was probably nothing. We expected his cognitive issues were because of adjustments in his medications.  I was driving to the grocery store during the time of his appointment.  And started thinking:   I need a sign. I don’t feel right. It’s gonna be okay.  It’s the medications. I dunno though, what if it’s not.  I just need a sign. Please God give me a sign.  The car in front of me brought me back to reality because they were driving 10 MPH under the speed limit.  I caught the license plate: DUEPRAY.  Oh my god, due pray, like do pray. I should be praying right now! I grabbed my rosary that hangs over my rear-view mirror and began reciting the Lords Prayer.  Then, a bird flew past my windshield.  A little bird in slow motion.  I’m  actually surprised I didn’t kill the bird… that’s how close it flew.

When I got home my phone finally rang.

“Well? What did they say?” I asked.  A PET scan a couple of months earlier showed no signs of anything.  We’re talking about cancer, there were no signs of cancer.

“It’s not good Georgia.” My mom was matter of fact.  She even said my name.

“Okay, what is it?”

“It’s in his brain,” she stated.

“No it’s not… wait are you kidding me?”

“No.”

“Are you JOKING me!?” I belted. I seriously couldn’t believe it.

“No, I’m not kidding you.  They found approximately 20 lesions or tumors in his brain,” her voice got soft and broke. I heard sniffles through the phone and could only imagine the amount of tears trickling down her face.

“Ohhhh f-ck.”  Then silence.  “Mom, are you driving?”

“No, not yet, we are walking out to the car.”

“Okay, well just drive home. I’ll call the siblings… I love you mom.”  Then, I hung up.

I was holding McKinley screaming out loud Oh God, Oh God! while sobbing and trying to call my sister and brother. I’m crying now. It’s everywhere in his brain. And time is running out. Precious time with my daddy. Precious time for McKinley with her Papa.

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This might sound strange, but in my mind I’ve always known my dad was going to die.   Duh, the life cycle.  It’s something we know to be fact, yet believe we are invincible.  When he first was diagnosed, the thought changed to- my dad is dying.  And now that his death is upon us, the thought has reverted back to: my dad is going to die.  Really Soon.  It’s not that I didn’t foresee the cancer spreading, I did.  Just not this quickly. I wasn’t ready.

How am I doing? Terrible.  I know it may be social protocol, but it’s really a strange question to ask.  In my opinion.  Different people have told me to be strong, but what does that really mean?  What is it to be weak during your father’s death? And, why is it a bad thing?  I understand they are words of encouragement and sympathy and it helps.  The truth is, I’m not sure I can be strong.  I only hope that someway somehow my father’s voice will ring loud inside me and the words and strength will flow effortlessly.

So, we are preparing for the end.  With hospice. An anticipatory grief (counseling term). A milestone. A really f-cking hard milestone.  Living with and caring for: a parent, a hero, a friend, teacher, and advocate, someone you look up to, depend on, and someone you love deeply. Your father.

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Early in the year, I did a post to raise money for LUNGevity Breathe Deep Newark for our team: The TERMINATORS.  We helped raise, with many others, $23,000 for research.  Thank you again for your help and kindness.  Here is a short movie I prepared of that day (May 11th) and the speech my father gave to everyone (they asked him to give a speech because he was the #1 individual fund-raiser and the only survivor in attendance) 

I wanted to let my readers know that things have been harder lately. Obviously. My father is really struggling. We are all struggling.  Skipping the details of what that means or entails, I’m spending more time caring for him. And so, this blog is something I currently cannot commit to doing as frequently as I was before.

I will continue to try to participate in “Monday Monologues” and “Wordless Wednesdays” capturing pictures of McKinley’s Milestones and family life.  Although, I’m not sure how frequent that will be.  My hours spent editing craft, recipe, and informational posts will most likely take a temporary backseat for now.  I apologize for that and I hope that you’ll remain an avid follower.

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LUNGevity… Fight with me

You can help me fight against Lung Cancer and show your support for someone you know, or for my father. 

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Dad was in the ICU for a week.   The doctors said he was lucky to even be alive.  He had a massive blood clot in his lungs and pneumonia. They were also concerned about the ‘masses’ in his lungs.

He was officially diagnosed in February with Stage IIIB Lung Cancer.  (Read about Lung Cancer.) Let’s put it this way there are 9 stages in lung cancer.  He has stage 8.

As I assume with most people who are diagnosed with cancer, it came as a shock.  My father is only 56!! Lung Cancer!? A late stage!? In a single moment, it was as if years of his life were taken away.  Years from spending time with his grand-daughter McKinley, his wife, my sister, my brother, his brother…me…and many others. (To read my full story see earlier post: Cancer Diagnosis)

Lung cancer impacts one in 14 Americans and kills more than colorectal, breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers combined.

This Saturday, May 11th my family and I are participating in a walk against Lung Cancer sponsored by Breathe Deep Newark.   Fellow bloggers, please take part in the walk with us and join our team, The Terminators (if you live in town).  If you can’t make it, you can make a donation or sponsor one of our team members by clicking here: Terminators!

Where: Rotary Park Pavilion 925 Sharon Valley Road (across from the Lou and Gib Reese Ice Arena) Newark, OH 43055

  • Check-in: 8:30am
  • Team Photos: 8:30am
  • Program: 9:30am
  • Walk/fun run: 10am
  • Closing ceremony: noon

All my love, Thank you everyone.

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How to: Cancer Party

“In loving memory of every cancer patient, family and friends who have lost the battle of cancer and the ones who continue to conquer it”

It’s not everyday people throw cancer themed parties.  If someone you know and love is up against Chemotherapy/Radiation possibly a cancer themed party is the perfect way to send them off into battle.

1. Cancer Ribbons

  • Ribbon (preferably the color associated with the particular cancer) Ex: breast cancer = pink
  • Hot glue gun
  • stickers
  • Colored pins

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Great way to spread awareness! And give something to your guests to show support!

2. Cancer Themed Food

  • Colored paper
  • glue stick
  • address labels to print on
  • took pics
  • tape

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We made name tags for the different types of food and nibbles we were serving.  “Courageous Cheese” and “Motivating M&Ms”.

This is a bite awkward, but after all it is also a Cancer a themed party.

~The chance for growth is infinite~ Georgia