Category Archives: Memoir

Remission 12th anniversary

Photography by Miriam Hurdle

I was diagnosed with a rare melanoma cancer in July 2008. None of the doctors who treated me had seen it. It started with stage I or II but turned into stage IV within a few months. I completed the year-long bio-chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation on August 1, 2009. Today marks the 12th anniversary of remission. I’m thankful to be alive, enjoy my family and have the joy to watch the grandchildren grow. I have been writing about my cancer journey since 2016. The distance from the event allows me to have reflection and a proper perspective. It will be a part of my legacy to pass on to the generations to come. This was a one-day-at-a-time journey of faith, hope, and strength. It was a journey cheered and supported by family and friends.

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of my remission, I wanted to share an excerpt with you. The working title of my legacy is The Winding Road, and I’m working on the tagline.

Chapter 2

The hysterectomy surgery was on July 31st, 2008. I wanted to rest for two or three weeks after the surgery before returning to work when the new school year began. 

My husband, Lynton, drove me to St. Jude Medical Center which was 3 miles from home. He stayed with me until the hospital attendant transported me to the surgery room. After the attendant and nurses lifted me onto the surgical table, the anesthesiologist called my name and introduced himself to me and said Dr. Gray was on the way. Before I smiled at him, the blackness came upon me. 

I woke up in the hospital room in the afternoon. There was no pain in the abdomen. Perhaps the anesthesia was not worn off yet. Lynton came with a bouquet almost the same time I woke up. He stayed with me until dinner time and said he would call me early in the morning. It was a relief that the fibroids I had for years were out for good.

At 10:00 p.m., Dr. Gray came to the room and greeted me with a smile. I returned a grin with apprehension because no doctors would visit patients late at night unless there was an emergency. He sat down by the bed. “The surgery went well,” he said, “and I wanted to share the pathology result with you.”

My puzzling grew but nodded and kept smiling.

“The pathology result shows that the vaginal mass was melanoma. I’ve never seen it before, not in vagina, so I did some research. The research shows that melanoma is the most aggressive, invasive and dangerous cancer.”

He detected the perplex on my face, and said, “It looks like it’s in stage I or II, the beginning stage and the cancer has not spread into other parts of the body yet.”

I wanted to ask questions, but my mind went blank. What questions could I ask? The moisture saturated my eyes.

“I have lined up the referrals for you to see the specialists for treatments. Call my cell phone if you have questions. I’ll start my vacation tomorrow.” He handed me a note with his phone number. It seemed like he did a lot of homework that afternoon.

“But you’ll be on vacation,” I said, still tried to find words.

“That’s what a cell phone is for.” he smiled. “I’m glad God put you in my care.”

His visit transported me to the thickest fog in the dark.

~ ~ ~

The next day, I still had no pain after the anesthesia was worn off.

Lynton called me around 9:00 a.m. to let me know he was coming to see me later that day. He told me his dad passed away, and he was on the phone with his siblings. His dad had been in Loma Linda ICU since last Wednesday with a heart-attack and a kidney infection. The infection went into the blood and his condition went downhill. After the infection was gone, he was on dialysis to give the kidney a break to see if it could be reversed. Lynton and I went to see him last Wednesday. He was unconscious when we got there. The entire family of twelve people were there talking to each other about the latest progress. Lynton’s dad heard our voices and opened his eyes. We went close to his bedside to hold his hands and spoke to him. His eyes sparked a little and then went back to unconsciousness. That was the last time I saw his dad.

“Would you ask your family to schedule the funeral service after I get home from the hospital? I want to be there.”

“Don’t worry. My family will consider that when they plan for the funeral service. I’m on my way to the hospital to see you.”

When he arrived, I gave him the news. He faced me with the brooding look and said he would research on melanoma as soon as he got home.

“How are you feeling?” the nurse came in to check on me.

“I’m feeling very well with no pain. Can I go home today?”

“The attending doctor is not here yet. Let me check your incision and change the dressing. I’ll let the doctor know of your condition. He has to authorize the discharge.”

The doctor came in an hour later. After checking my progress, he authorized the discharge.

“Thank you, doctor,” I said to him while my mind spun at a record speed, miles into the search engine, chasing the meaning of melanoma.

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 – #Memoir D.G. Kaye, #Thriller Iain Kelly, #Poetry Miriam Hurdle

I’m over at Sally Cronin’s blog as she is updating the author’s details in her Cafe and Bookstore. Please head over to visit her and check out the fascinating features on her blog.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Over the summer I will be updating author’s details in the Cafe and Bookstore and also sharing their bios, books and recent reviews with you in this series…

Meet D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily…

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National Poetry Month – Songs of Heartstrings by Miriam Hurdle #BookReview @mhurdle112

I’m over at Carla’s blog of Carla Loves to Read. She read my poetry collection and posted a wonderful review. Carla and I have teaching and school administration in common. She is a retired elementary school principal/teacher/teacher-librarian. She blogs about book reviews, reading challenges, adults’ and children’s books, and a lot more. Please head over to read her post and browse around her beautiful blog with different features.

Carla Loves To Read

I took several weeks to enjoy this book of poems. I enjoyed them and wanted time to ponder them, not rush through them. Miriam Hurdle is a blogger I follow who shares wonderful photographs, poetry and snapshots into her life among other things. I enjoy her blog and wanted to read her book. I was not disappointed.

Songs of Heartstrings byMiriam Hurdle

Published October 31st 2018 by KDP

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Book Reviews – Just Her Poetry by D.L. Finn and While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle

My two book reviews – “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul” by D.L. Finn and “While the Bombs Fell” by Robbie Cheadle

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Denise and book

While the Bombs Fell x

Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul by D.L. Finn

Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul by D.L. Finn is a collection of poetic paintings of nature through the seasons. The vivid imagery creates a virtual reality for the readers to share the author’s experience. Sitting on her deck bathed in the warm sun, surrounded by sky-reaching cedar, redwood, and Douglas fir trees, Finn observed the colorful flowers, bees, birds, and quietly watched the animals while accompanied by her pets. As a nature lover, it’s a privilege to be in the company with the author to appreciate the beauty of nature. This poetry is also an honest outpour of the author’s deep emotions through her states and stages of life. It reflects the anguish, pain, fear, anger, dilemma, love, acceptance, strength and hope. Poetry lovers will enjoy the refreshing songs of nature and the heart.

My favorite lines from Spring and Summer:

The gentle breeze…
Blows away the remnants of winter.
The blue skies showcase the beauty…
In an abstract painting of an untamed scene.

My favorite lines from Fall and Winter:

My soul sways like the trees,
Both rooted firmly in the ground.
Water pours out of the sky.
The winds pound furiously.
Trees bending, but not breaking.
They ride the storm out.
Then, in the silence, the snow.
A temporary frozen situation.
That soon disappears back into fall.

My favorite poem from Emotions

PIECES
You are always safe here I try to reassure.
Your eyes flicker with hope for a brief moment,
But suspicion quickly replaces that hope
I know your trust is hard to come by.
Yours has been shattered into many pieces.
I cannot find all those pieces—yet.
I won’t give up though until I return them to you.
I’ll find a way to relight the hope in your youthful eyes.
Bit by bit I will search with as much help as I can find.
It’s not going to be easy, but that doesn’t stop me.
Others may give up—I won’t.
Because I know once you are safe and loved
Some day…some day…the light will shine again.
All your pieces will be put back together.
And all of you can be whole once again.

Amazon and Goodread Rating

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About the Author

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.

Contact the Author

Website

Amazon Author Page

Twitter

Goodreads

 

While the Bombs Fell by [Cheadle, Robbie, Eaton, Elsie Hancy]

My Review

“While the Bombs Fell” by Bobbie Cheadle and Elsie Hancy Eaton is a story based on Eaton’s true experience. While it is not a history book of WWII, it contains many details of the hardships, rations, and simple joy of the family lived through the unpredictable bombing.

Elsie recounted her wartime memories as a four-year-old girl living in the town Bungay, East Anglia, England in 1942. Germany bombed England, and the air raid sirens were part of her “normal” life. When sirens came on, the family rushed to the bomb shelter.

The family lived on the farm with cows and vegetables to help to supplement their rations. Items such as bananas, oranges, and lemons were unknown fruits to Elsie. Families those days kept the books of coupons used to purchase rationed items such as clothing and meat. Despite the freezing cold, Elsie’s family only had enough energy to light the fire in the living room. At nightfall, all the rooms were dark except the living room. The young children took baths, but the adults and older children used the bowl in the scullery to wash themselves. They used the same bowl to mix batters and dough and wash the dishes.

Regardless of the bombing, children continued to attend school. Elsie started school in 1942 and enjoyed simple learning and fun, such as playing with modeling clay and singing.

Elsie remembered going to the movie and saw Back from the Front. She got some wool and knitting needles for her birthday present. Her first knitting had many holes from skipped stitches. Elsie kept it as a memento.

Robbie Cheadle is known for her children’s books and recipes. In this book, she included two recipes during WWII, the Lord Woolton Pie, and the Potato Pastry.

The book is a well-told story. It reminds me of my parents’ experience during WWII. They retreated from the city to live in a village where they had a farm to grow pigs, chicken, and vegetables. My older sister’s job was to feed a 500-pound pig. The farm sustained them until the war was over.

Amazon and Goodreads Rating

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2a.Robbie

About the Author

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalized biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth under Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Robbie Cheadle

Website   

Blog

Amazon

Goodreads    

Twitter

Miriam’s Book Review – Memoir of a Mad Woman by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Miriam’s Book Review – Memoir of a Mad Woman by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

Memoir of a Mad Woman by [Quiroz-Vega, Vashti]

What Amazon Says

A novelette from the award-winning author of The Fall of Lilith and Son of the Serpent, Vashti Quiroz-Vega.

Who can explain how madness begins?

This is the story of Emma. Reared by a religious fanatic, orphaned at a young age and sent to a mental institution and an orphanage. Molested and betrayed by the people who should be watching over her…

Who can say that madness has no logic?

During a fight, Emma’s best friend punched her in the abdomen. Since then, Emma has believed there’s something damaged inside of her.

Every month… she bleeds.
She tries to fight it all her life, but the pain and the blood return twenty-eight days later… and the cycle begins again.

But Emma, even in her madness, knows how to take care of herself.
She knows how to make things right…

You may not agree…
But, who can reason with insanity?

Read this tragic but fascinating tale and traverse the labyrinthine passages of madness.

My Recommendation

In Memoir of a Mad Woman, Vashti Quiroz-Vega writes about the horrible experiences Emma went through. After her father left and mother was burned to death, she was placed in an orphanage. There was a time when Emma had a crush on a male teacher, had a girlfriend and even wanted to plan a birthday party for a female teacher. Her mental stage didn’t indulge her good feeling for too long before the cruelty of an institution inflicted upon her. The physical, emotional and sexual abuse ripped her apart and her only friend betrayed her. She was the loneliest soul in the orphanage while the director, male nurse and other adult ignored each other’s crime done to her. To a fifteen years old poor girl with no friends and no adult guidance, the bursting impulse pushed her to the edge of vengeance.

Vega in this short story exposes the dark side of reality which doesn’t come to surface easily. It’s an engaging quick read provoking emotion. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys dark and horror stories.

My Amazon and Goodreads Rating:

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Vashti Quiroz-Vega

About the Author

Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a writer of Fantasy, Horror, and Thriller. Since she was a kid she’s always had a passion for writing and telling stories. It has always been easier for her to express her thoughts on paper.

She enjoys reading almost as much as she loves to write. Some of her favorite authors are Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin.

She enjoys making people feel an array of emotions with her writing. She likes her audience to laugh one moment, cry the next and clench their jaws after that.

When she isn’t building extraordinary worlds and fleshing out fascinating characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband JC and her Pomeranian Scribbles who is also her writing buddy.

Contact the Author at:

Website: https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7122693.Vashti_Quiroz_Vega

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VashtiQV

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vashti-Q-Author-Page-396515670465852/

 

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The Biggest Change: Times Past

Irene Waters hosts a monthly memoir post – Time Past. The theme for this month is The Biggest Change.

My mom is the Silent Generation and I am the Baby Boomer.

I have many stories to tell about the biggest change in my mom’s life as well as in my life. For this post, I write about the biggest change in my life within a few months in 1977. The changes in culture, environment, language, and ways of life happened to me all at once.

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I worked several years after graduated from college. I took the Double-Decker bus to work. It went from Kowloon to the underwater Crossed Harbour tunnel, then to  Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. At that time, there were no cell phones, I did my reading on the bus.

Being busy was an understatement. I worked forty hours a week in my paying job plus twenty hours a week volunteering at a church. I did most of the mental planning on the bus. It was an advantage to take public transportation. On some of the weeknights, I went window shopping to take my mind off the working mode. I did a thirty-minute walk from Pioneer Centre Shopping Arcade to Kowloon Central Post Office on Nathan Road, then took a bus home.

It was eleven thirty o’clock at night when I went to bed. The more I tried to relax the more anxious I got in my head. Getting six hours of sleep was fortunate before I shook my head to wake up the next morning.

On March 21, 1977, I arrived in Portland, Oregon to attend school for my graduate studies. The campus was surrounded by pine trees reaching into the sky. The school owned some housings and rented them to students. Many of the nearby residents rented out their homes to the students also. I shared a cottage with two female students. It was common that the basement and the attic were living areas if they met the legal requirement.  I lived in the attic, my housemates lived downstairs. I didn’t mind living in the attic because I was shy to carry on a conversation with my British English. My housemates were very friendly. We ate dinner together three times a week and took turns to do the cooking. Cooking was not something I did often in Hong Kong, so I tried to remember what my mom had done and did accordingly.

 “I’m living in a forest,” I told my family in a letter.

I had never experienced such quietness. It was so quiet that I started noticing the intermittent tinnitus in my left ear. This was an extremely different environment to the one I just left two days ago. My life was from running sixty miles an hour to almost a complete stop. In one minute, I was hustling and bustling to catch the bus; in another minute, I had nothing to do except going to classes and doing term papers.

Doing a typewritten paper was a challenge to me. I did all my writing in handwriting previously. When working on the first assignment, I learned to type with a manual typewriter and typed my paper at the same time. I didn’t want to type with two index fingers. How could I learn to type by doing that? By using ten fingers to type, it was inevitable to have many typos. There was no correction tape built into the typewriter, I used correction fluid. Experience taught me to apply a thin layer on the paper, not only for it to try faster, but avoid having a white hump on the paper.  Even when I typed after the fluid was dry, the dent would look like sticking the candles on the icing of a cake. It took me almost an hour to type my first page.

(Excerpt from my memoir in progress)

By the way, my first typewriter was orange. It looked almost the same as this image I found on Google search.

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Irene WatersThe biggest change: Times Past