It’s the first Wednesday again, and time for the next monthly installment for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This is where we writers provide support and encouragement to each other. Join us!
Thank you to this month’s co-hosts: L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace. And of course, a special thanks goes to our fearless founder and leader, Alex J. Cavenaugh! I hope you’ll visit their blogs in appreciation for their contributions to our merry band of writers.
January 2, 1996…twenty years ago. My then-husband and I woke up with the flu. Since we were both sick, there was no one to take care of us, and it was a nasty bug.
Three days later, he went back to work, still ailing but better. For me, though, the story was different. I didn’t get well. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I woke exhausted, my body alternating between freezing cold and burning hot, my lymph nodes swollen, my digestion disrupted.
The eventual diagnosis of CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) didn’t help, as the cause is unknown and the path to treatment unclear.
During the months in bed, I had a lot of time to think. All my life I had wanted to be a writer but always let life get in the way. Now, with my brain addled and little ability to concentrate, I wondered: was it too late? Did I squander my chance?
I don’t often “bargain” when I grieve, but this time I did. Make me well, God, and I won’t forget.
I was one of the lucky ones. Eventually, I did get well…and I didn’t forget my promise. In 1997 I found The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which helped me get started. In October 1999 I published my first book, When a Grandchild Dies: What to Do, What to Say, How to Cope (the link is for the 15th anniversary edition).
The life changes that resulted were extraordinary, and here I am all these years later, proud to be a novelist who has completed her second novel and sent it off to industry reviewers. There’s another novel in draft form, and I am swimming in ideas for more books.
More than anything, writing has made me more whole, more authentic, happier. As a side note, when I met my current husband, I gave him a copy of When a Grandchild Dies…it made him want to get to know me better.
It took a debilitating illness for me to wake up and live. It took that moment in time, twenty years ago, when I no longer had the choice to ignore who I really was. Every day that I can write, that I do write, is a remarkable gift. Yes, writing is hard. Yes, it’s frustrating sometimes to find readers. Yes, reviews can be upsetting.
But to be writers who do not write…that is a tragedy.
My hope for you, my fellow writers, is that 2016 brings you joy, peace, health, and a wealth of ideas to explore. May you find readers who resonate with your words. May you look self-doubt and insecurity in the eye and say, “Thanks. I’m doing this anyway.”
How was your 2015? What are your dreams/goals/plans for 2016? Do tell!
What She Knew is now available for pre-order! I hope you’ll take a look. *
What an inspiration. Thank you. 🙂
Anna from elements of emaginette
You’re welcome! And thanks so much for visiting the blog!
This was very inspiring, thank you for sharing. My mom has chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia (maybe the same thing? the diagnosis shifts every few years as they discover new info). She was on very harsh medicine for years to control pain and a new doc recently told her those meds lose effectiveness. YEARS she’s been taking this. She is a very positive person and does not let these things slow her down. For me, it’s made me see that medicine doesn’t always have the answers, and we need to live each day purposeful in spite of setbacks.
I think CFIDS and fibromyalgia are related, though not exactly the same. I never had fibromyalgia with the CFIDS, but my father and a few siblings have fibromyalgia without CFIDS.
Your comment reminded me of something my doctor told me years ago. She was speaking to our CFIDS support group and said, “Part of your healing is to accept that you may never be well.” I took that to heart, and it gave me a good quality of life in spite of the disease…as your mother does.
Inspiring story! All the best for 2016, Nadine.
Thanks, Anabel! Right back at ya!
Thank you for the inspiration!
I didn’t have the best 2015, but it’s just made me more determined to have a great 2016.
Sometimes those not-so-great years are what propels us forward. All the best to you in 2016!
Hi and Happy New Year!
Thanks for sharing a part of your life. I’m so glad that you stepped out and started writing. As for my 2015, it was great and I look forward to 2016. I have goals that are waiting to come to fulfillment.
All the best for 2016.
Wonderful, Patricia! I hope it’s a great year for you.
I’m so glad you got well and that you found your calling in writing. I’ve had chronic illness, but it hasn’t flared up for several years now and I hope to keep it that way. I know what you mean about wondering if you’ll ever be well enough to do what you love. Thank goodness yours is a success story with more chapters to come.
I hope your health remains good as well. Because CFIDS has an unknown cause and cure, I never take it for granted that I’m well. I make self-care a priority these days…just in case!
What an inspiring story.Well told. I think you could write this story and it would enrich many folks lives. My hope for you is the same as you wished for us. Blessings.
Thank you! My stepdaughter wants me to write a book about the whole story (of which this is just a piece!). I’ve noticed lately I’m reading a lot more memoirs, so maybe it’s time.
My story is similar. Isn’t it sad that sometimes we have to be beat over the head with a near death experience or serious illness to move on those goals we set in our youth? I guess it’s the only way Heavenly Father can reach us sometimes. I’m glad you got better and started this journey.
It is sad, Charity. One of the things I’ve tried to do since then is to try to get the lessons without some trauma. Thanks for visiting the blog!
Beautiful and eloquently written, Nadine. Thank you for sharing this. I think it is marvellous that you turned your life around and are now helping so many others. I’m so glad you stopped by my blog so that now I know about yours. Many blessings in 2016 and beyond.
Thank you so much! I appreciate your visit.
“Every day that I can write, that I do write, is a remarkable gift.” Yes! Writers not writing is definitely a tragedy. Thank you for this wonderful perspective.
Thanks for visiting and saying hello! I appreciate your comments.
How inspiring that you were determined to get well and did! Keep moving forward! Congratulations on your pre- release!
Thank you! It’s a busy, crazy, wonderful time!
I’m sorry it took such a rough patch to “wake you” as a writer, but so happy that you’re swimming in new ideas! Happy New Year!
Thanks! All the best to you as well!