Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I need your help!

Hello, friends and family!

Life goes on, one breath at a time. I’m coming up on the two-year anniversary of Bryan’s death this Sunday, so it’s been a little tough. Not as bad as last year, but the thought and pain are always in the background.

Yesterday, Derrick Hayes at posted my comments about how life is different from where I expected to be 5 years ago. I could write a book (wait a minute – I did!) although we were limited in the number of words. It was a challenge, but it’s now posted as #8 on his blog.

My publisher and I are discussing the cover design, marketing plan, and website, so my book, Stepping Through Cancer, A Guide for the Journey, is moving forward. Still estimating a February release date.

Here’s where I need your help with a marketing plan. They want to know places where I could speak and promote my book. Many of you have invited me to come and speak to your group or church. Please let me know of any connections you have with a church (please give approximate membership), organization, media, conference, event, or educational institution that may share a passion for cancer caregivers. I want this book (and myself) to be available to anyone and everyone who is caring for a loved one with cancer.

I’ll probably start speaking soon. I won’t pretend that it doesn’t scare me to death, especially doing it alone. But I know this is where God wants me right now, so I’m stepping out in faith.

Our pastor John Martz was speaking about honestly putting in God control our lives. He had us hold our car keys in our hands, palms turned up and fingers outstretched. Then, we prayed that God would take the keys of our lives and that we would be passengers, going wherever He wants us to go. It was quite a moving exercise and let me know that I’ve been holding tightly onto my “keys.”

I just watched “Back to the Future III” again. The movie ended with Dr. Emmett Brown saying, “Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.” Good advice for all of us. Maybe being a passenger with God as the driver will make it REALLY good!

Make it a good one.
Love to all-

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ten Best Things about Being a Grandparent

Today, my son Brian Harmon and his wife Sarah became first-time parents. Beautiful little Carys Anne Harmon was born at 10:32 am, 6 pounds 15 ounces and 20 inches long. She looks just like Daddy except for the whiskers, but on her it looks good!

Having been a grandparent for 12 year now, I’ve learned a thing or two:

Ten Best Things about Being a Grandparent

10. You don’t have to fight all the battles. If they don’t want to eat their vegetables, give them a cookie instead.

9. You get to spoil them and send them home.

8. What happens at Gramma’s stays at Gramma’s. (Or so we’d like to think. We all know that little mouths blab everything they see!)

7. Grandkids don’t play one grandparent against the other. They only do that with Mom and Dad.

6. Leave discipline to the parents. Your job is to have fun and create memories.

5. Sweet phone calls, even when you can’t understand a word they say.

4. You don’t have to pull all-nighters. That’s for the parents to do.

3. You usually see the kids at their best.

2. You can be silly and the grandkids don’t look at you like you’re from another planet.

1. Unconditional love. Isn’t that what we all want?

Have a blessed day!
Gramma Debbie

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Top 10 Things Learned When Driving 4,000 Miles

At the beginning of August, I wondered what lay in wait for me as I set out on my cross-country trek to the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. It only took 15 days and a little over 4,000 miles of driving (mostly by myself) to get from Denver to Philly and back with a few stops along the way. I managed to learn a few things in the process.

Top Ten Things Learned When Driving 4,000 Miles in 15 Days By Myself:
10. Don’t plan a road trip longer than one day more than you’ve previously done. Your butt needs time to gradually work up to sitting for that long.

9. GPS means Gotcha Phooled, Sucka! I turned down paper maps at the AAA office, thinking Charmin Garmin (as my granddaughter Kayleigh named her) would get me where I want to go. Ha!

8. Take paper maps. Print Mapquest or Google, get accordion maps, write out directions, or have something non-technological that will tell you where to go. Well, you know what I mean.

7. Line up a “Phone a Friend,” someone who works at home and has a computer on at all times. My friend Ken Arney connected me with AAA to get maps when Charmin died, gave me a detour route for the Indiana turnpike when a truck accident blocked the road for hours, and even figured out how to get my air conditioner to work! (Just a few of the “bumps” in the proverbial road.)

6. That rule about stopping every two hours isn’t just for leg-stretching. It’s also for engine-heat-thawing-the-air-conditioner-condensation-that-froze-and-stopped-the-air-flow. That happened while my friend Becky Spencer with her “personal summers” was riding with me to Detroit. Not a fun day for her.

5. Just like Forrest Gump, when you find a bathroom, use it. Highway personnel are evil and don’t always tell you in advance when the restroom is closed or being cleaned. How do you get that message to your bladder in time? Oops.

4. Use your God-given cruise control. Some folks like the speed up/slow down thing, but it’s aggravating for us good drivers. And you can usually get away with 5 mph over the speed limit when cruising.

3. If my writer friend Rick Marschall offers to ride along when you go to pick someone up at the airport, ask for his hidden agenda. You’ll find yourself driving all over his old stomping grounds to get a milkshake, fries, or fresh pretzels from the Pretzel Factory. Really yummy, by the way.

2. I learned that I can actually take a 4,000-mile trip by myself and not die.

And the Number 1 thing that I learned about taking a solo 4,000-mile road trip:
1. I will NEVER do it again!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Made it to Pennsylvania

Good morning! Well, I made it to Pennsylvania! Each of the first 3 travel days included some "bump in the road" that created frustration, worries, and extended drive time each day! Not good.

So yesterday, when I was on my 5 1/2-hour drive from Cleveland to Harrisburg, I kept waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop, wondering what would happen. I'd already had (minor) car problems, an air conditioner that didn't work, a dead GPS and an hours-long traffic jam involving a detour. What else could happen?


It was a smooth, uneventful drive yesterday. I arrived at Hope Flinchbaugh's house right on schedule with all mechanical and electrical devices working. Thank you, Lord! Hope could see how tired I was, so she prayed that I'd get a good night's sleep, which I did. Oh my, how good you can feel after sufficient rest!

I have a 2-hour drive today, followed by setup at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers' Conference. I'm taking and setting up displays for Hope and for Becky Spencer, since they'll be arriving later. And I get to make an airport run, so I'll be tired again tonight. But it's a good tired, and I'm looking forward to it.

Please pray for the conference, that everyone will make it there safely and that we'll create new relationships, cement older ones, and meet the right people for our books. I'm SOOOO looking forward to it. Last year I was a newbie. This year, I belong.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Where am I going?

In preparing for my cross-country drive to the Greater Philadelphia Writer's Conference, I invested in a Garmin GPS, lovingly named Charmin Garmin by my granddaughter Kayleigh. As a result, when I visited the AAA office for a tour book, I told the lady I didn't need any maps. HA!

At the beginning of my 11-hour drive from Buhler, Kansas, to Chicago on Friday, Charmin decided she had taken me far enough and she quit. Totally! Just quit! I was on an interstate just outside Kansas City and had no idea how to get from there to my friend Ken's in Chicago!

Bottom line - I called Ken who bridged on the AAA office in Kansas City for directions to their office so I could get maps. The directions were wrong! She told me the wrong exit and to go left, not right. Another hour wasted.

As the frustration built, I was determined not to cry but to just keep driving. God and I had a long talk, and I asked if this was a sign that I shouldn't be going. The announcer on radio station 88.7 FM, the FLR (Family Life Radio) that I had on IMMEDIATELY said, "Cheer up! You're right where God wants you. Just give it up and let Him lead the way."

Wow! I had asked for an answer to prayer, but I never expected to hear a literal voice with that answer! Needless to say, I cried. But this time they were tears of relief, not tears of fear or frustration.

I made it to Chicago in 13 hours instead of the 11 I was expecting, but I made it nonetheless. And I know that I'm right where God wants me to be. That's the best place for anyone--to be right where God wants you.

Thank you, Lord!
Love to all-

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A new roof and a new beginning

Hello, friends, family, and loved ones (you know which you are!)—
Well, I made it through Bryan’s birthday today, July 11. I kept busy and thanked God for the time we had together, although it was much shorter than I wanted. Since we lived our “happily ever after,” I’m not in a hurry to remarry. I’ll leave the single older men for other women who haven’t found their Prince Charming yet.

But it’s possible: The Fourth of July weekend was spent with family in Ohio, witnessing evidence that even we “old folks” can find happiness! My 75-year-old widowed (or is it widowered?) brother-in-law married a beautiful 75-year-old widow in a “Victorian” ceremony. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church. And I’ve never seen old people kiss as much as those two! It was really cute, not gross like watching your grandparents kiss.

Yesterday my roof was replaced. Yay! I left for a few hours while the roofers were working and came home to find a flyer from A-1 Roofing taped to my front door, wanting to give me an estimate! Too bad he didn’t see the ladder to the roof (that he had to walk around), the four guys doing the work, and the shingles in the roll-off on my driveway! Talk about dumb!

Interesting display of opposites: The roofers worked for over 14 hours to get the roof completed in one day. That’s commitment and hard work. Then, this morning I saw a lady walking her dog IN A BABY STROLLER (the dog was in the stroller, not the lady). Why bother?

If you have nothing better to do, you can go to and read an interview with me for the Women Ministries at my church. I didn’t think Kinsey would put it all there, but she did. Ironic that it was posted on Bryan’s birthday.

Today’s word of hope is from the Touched By An Angel day-at-a-time calendar script by Martha Williamson: “When two people choose to become one, you become something even greater than that if you ask God into the circle, ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer.’ Because when times are better, God blesses you, and when times are worse, God will bless you even more.” I can attest to that, and the blessings keep coming.

Thank you for all your love, help, and prayer, and for blessing me.
Love to all-

Thursday, June 24, 2010

2 lessons learned

Good afternoon, all!
A lot has happened in my life, but not much has changed. I guess that's the way life usually is, thank goodness!

Three events and two lessons learned:
First event - my son Tim graduated from California College San Diego with a BS in Computer Science. He's always been good with computers and electronics, so we hope this will lead to a successful career in what he loves. Mom and I had an enjoyable weekend in Southern California while Denver received yet another hail storm.

Second, I helped out at a birthday party at Royal Family Kids' Camp. This camp is for kids in foster care to have a week to just be a kid and not worry about being abused, left alone, or acting grown up. They get "loved on" by volunteers and get to have more fun than I've ever had! (For more info, go to

I've never felt such positive energy under one roof as I did at that birthday party. Imagine 83 kids ages 7 to 12, some of whom have never had a birthday party, all celebrating and receiving gifts. It was electric! And all the boys put together their little Styrofoam airplanes and flew them around the room for half an hour. What fun!

Third, I ate out alone again today at the Brighton Depot Restaurant. I know, I was cheating going to the same restaurant, but at least I did it-alone! This time it was a fundraiser for CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) where my stepdaughter Lisa volunteers. She works with three brothers to be sure their best interests are considered by the courts. (For more info on CASA, go to

And the two lessons learned:
1. My Guideposts magazine fits perfectly in my purse for reading in a restaurant.

2. I'm not ready to ask someone to join me yet. We've all seen movies where a single woman in a restaurant sees a handsome man walk in and invites him to join her. Well, the first part of that happened: a handsome man with graying hair walked in, looking for a table. He glanced at me several times and then took the table next to mine. I thought this was the moment, until he told the waitress he was waiting for someone. I'm SOOOO glad I didn't invite him!

Quote of the day is from the "Touched By An Angel" day-at-a-time calendar: "Truth penetrates your heart, in a way that mere words cannot." I hope that what I write is more than just words. I share the truth as openly as I can, trusting that it will help others.

Well, that's all for now. I'm back to working on my personal memoir of Bryan's cancer journey and my life since then. Many people have said they want to know how I did it, so I need to do this-for them as well as for me. It's very emotional, so if you think of me, whisper a prayer that I can get through this.

Love to all and God bless-

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Another step in my "New Normal" life

Well, I took another major step in my “new normal” life. I went to a restaurant by myself—not the fast-food kind, the kind where you stand at the counter, place your order, carry it to your table, and eat without being seen. This was the kind where you actually get seated and they hand you a menu and a waitress comes to take your order.

The Brighton Depot Restaurant was hosting a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for lunch. I figure if I’m driving cross-country this summer, I may find myself at a restaurant, and I better get used to it. Life keeps going forward, and I better hop on the moving sidewalk or be left behind!

It wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it was going to be. I wish I’d done like in the movies and taken a book with me. But about the time I thought to dig in my purse to see what I had to read, the food was there. It was really fast. So it wasn’t … it wasn’t too terrible.

Remember the hail storms we had last week? Well, it turns out that my roof needs to be replaced, in addition to my cars being “dimpled”. I have appointments for all three to be assessed, repaired, and covered by insurance. Thank God for insurance! All I’ll owe is three deductibles. Guess I better start selling some books!

In one of the devotions in Covenant Home Altar, Garth Bolinder wrote, “In the midst of the temptations, turmoil, and trails of life it helps to know that God the creator is also God our sustainer.” That’s what He’s been for me, especially in the last couple of years—my sustainer through all the turmoil and trials. I can’t imagine handling all this alone. And thanks to all of you for walking it with me.

Make it a great day!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"All Hail the Power"

Good afternoon, friends and family-
I just came in from raking leaves. Yes, raking leaves in May! We had a lovely series of storms come through yesterday, six storms over a six-hour period, each one accompanied by hail. The first was the nastiest, lasting about half an hour with hail up to two inches in diameter! I saved some in the freezer if you want to see it.

The house seems to be undamaged—no broken windows and no flooding indoors. But the cars have dimples, and not the ones you get when smile. Yes, Bryan’s red Dodge Magnum was in the driveway along with my silver Stratus. I stood helpless at the window, having a tearful discussion with God as the hail gave the cars “depth”.

I learned long ago the difference between a problem and a fact of life: a problem you can do something about; if you can’t change it, it’s a fact of life. That hail was a fact of life—no amount of screaming, crying, or running outside to move the cars would stop the storm. (It might have dented my head!) But I could decide my response to it, and I chose to accept it and take care of the damage later.

This reminded me of 2 Corinthians 1:5, “For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” Thank you for all the overflowing comfort you have shared with me for nearly two years now. We all have sufferings to deal with, but living through them and thriving on the other side give us the courage and strength to help others.

Anybody need leaves raked in May? I have experience!

By the way, I have a signed contract with HigherLife Publishing. My cancer manual should be published by February if not before, and I’ll have a website for it about the same time. There are a lot of people who need the “comfort” that I can share from my experiences and I’m looking forward to it.

Take care, make it a great day, and share comfort with someone who needs it—

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 2010 CCWC

Hello, dear friends and family-

Well, I have survived the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference and my life has returned to “normal”. It was a fantastic five days spent learning more about writing, publishing and marketing, as well as making new friends and cementing old relationships. It was absolutely great!

The weekend started with picking up my editor Hope and Cary Grant at the airport for the drive up to Estes Park. (Rick Marschall had e-mailed me a picture of Cary Grant so I’d know what he looks like.) :-) I attached the picture to a sign with his name and held it high so he could find me among the crowds. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who wanted to wait with me to see Cary Grant walk up!

The conference had more workshops than I could attend and more information than I could ever hope to absorb. I took notes fast and furious (or is that fastly and furiously?) so that I can type and digest them when I have time, hopefully this week. The more I learn about writing, publishing, and marketing, the more I have yet to learn!

In case you haven’t heard, I am now in negotiations with HigherLife Publishing to have Stepping Through Cancer, A Step-By-Step Guide for the Journey in print later this year. YAY! Hope Flinchbaugh, my editor, met with me at the conference for half an hour to discuss this book and another that I’ve started. She’s really excited and has some great marketing ideas for a Stepping Through Cancer website. We'll have a survivors' wall for people to send a picture and short bio, as well as a memorial wall to help us remember our loved ones. I’m also creating a notebook for use with the cancer book, which will give caregivers a little control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation.

I keep running across Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" I told Hope that was meant for me. God promised to give me hope, and I got Hope as my editor and friend!

Actually, this verse has helped me to accept all the rotten stuff I've had to deal with for my entire life. The plans have always been to prosper me and not harm me, to give me hope and a future. I can see that now. had. And that, along with my writing, gives me hope and a future. But the promise isn't just for me. All of His children can claim this promise. His plans for us are good. We just need to be willing to let Him use us.

Blessings to all of you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Debbie's brother and book, May 1

Good morning, friends, women, and countrymen. Lend me your ears – oh, no that’s something else. Well, you can see that I’m doing quite well. As my father-in-law would say, I’m in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in.

Update on my brother Ken Horn – he woke up from his seizure-induced sleep. He’s not talking much and when he does, he mumbles. But he is alert and eating now. Praise the Lord! We weren’t even sure he would wake up. Our God is full of surprises! :-)

And here’s another praise – My step-by-step cancer book has moved to the next phase! My friend Hope Flinchbaugh completed my Manuscript Review, and I now need to make some changes and decide on a title. Then, HigherLife and I will be negotiating a contract to get the book published, create an e-book from it, and develop a website for cancer caregivers to use as a reference and source of encouragement.

It looks like God is orchestrating my new career. I’m so excited about being able to help those in the same situation I found myself in just a short time ago. Guess that’s why He helps us through tough times – so we can be a blessing to others.

Something interesting I came across in Isaiah 43:2: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Notice that it says “when” and not “if” these things happen. God knows all the rotten stuff we’re going to face, and assures us that He’ll be with us through it all. It’s been my experience that He prepares us ahead of time, whether we realize or not. We’re never alone.

Thanks for your support during the past couple of years. God loves you and so do I.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Green Eggs and Ham with a side of Joy

Hello, friends and loved ones-
I trust you all had a very happy Easter. Mine was great, spent with family. I decided to make deviled eggs with blue food color added to the yolk mixture, so we had “Green Eggs and Ham” for dinner. My 8-year-old twin granddaughters looked at me like I was crazy and refused to try them, but the adults loved them!

I finally mustered the courage to send my manuscript to HigherLife Publishing for a manuscript review. That’s where my friend Hope Flinchbaugh is an agent and editor. Their team of editors will look at it and give me feedback. Then, if they decide it’s a book they can sell, maybe we’ll talk contract. I’m so excited and nervous all at the same time. God opened this door last year, and I finally got around to walking through it. If this isn’t a good fit, there’s another publisher in town interested. I’ll let you know how it works out.

My son Brian Harmon and his wife Sarah announced that they’re expecting their first child, due September 24th. They’re even more excited than I am, if that’s possible. I believe that when a couple is pregnant, instead of saying they’re expecting a baby they should say that they’re expecting a teenager. After all, kids are teenagers for seven years and babies for a much shorter time!

My younger son Tim Harmon will be graduating from college in June. I never would have imagined that, watching him struggle to get through high school. I guess God still works miracles!

At church this Sunday, our pastor John Martz was talking about joy, which is what I have chosen for my attitude. John said, “Joy is idealism that has been through the fire and got purified. Cynicism is idealism that has been through the fire and got burned.” That’s me. I’ve been burned and burned and worked my way past the cynicism. Finally got a lot of dross burned off, so I hope I’ve been purified. At least I feel the joy is real.

We’re coming up on 18 months since Bryan’s death, and I never dreamed I would make it this far. Now, I just need the courage to begin speaking to groups, so I can share with others how to maintain a positive attitude in spite of life. Let me know if you hear of a group that needs a speaker, especially in the Denver area.

Thank you for all your support, love, and prayers.
Love to all-

Monday, March 1, 2010

"Seasons of Solace" by Janelle Shantz Hertzler

Good Monday morning (or afternoon, if you're in the Eastern time zone)-
I'm one step closer to publishing my book, thanks to a Saturday-night answer to prayer. But that’s not what this e-mail is about. I want to share with you some information on a book I'm reading that may make a difference in you or in someone you love.

Janelle Shantz Hertzler, a friend and writer, sent me a copy of her latest book, "Seasons of Solace, A Story of Healing through Photos and Poems." It's wonderful!

Janelle and her husband John had been working thru a Mennonite organization in Thailand, assisting with economic development, helping AIDS patients, and teaching English. Her husband was killed by a drunk driver, leaving her alone in Thailand with their 18-month-old son Micah.

When Janelle started working thru her grief, she expressed herself in poetry for the first time since high school, and began taking photos of nature. These two creative arts have been combined into a beautiful hardcover book that is helping me in my grief journey as well.

Here is one of my favorite poems from Janelle’s book:

True Me
I know well the me I’m told to be
but I don’t know the me
that was given me to be.
The true me, the inner me,
the deepest me remains unknown.

When I live the me I’m told to be,
I fail, I disappoint, I hurt.

When I show only the me I’m told to be,
I feel shallow and deceptive.
I make promises I cannot keep.

Will I choose the risk
of turning inside out?
What will I find as I get to know the me
I am made to be?

Incredible! Janelle lets us see her deepest hurt and watch as she begins to heal. I especially love the one where she swore at God, then "waited for the proverbial lightening bolt. / But I heard, / 'I've been waiting for you to be real. / Now we can move forward together.'"

In addition to the poetry and photographs in her book, Janelle also provides a list of Recommended Reading, so you can explore and do necessary grief work in your life. These include books on Grief, Reflecting on Loss, Poetry/Writing for Healing, and Photography for Healing.

You can get information Janelle’s book from her website, and from there click on the link to Amazon to purchase it. You may consider buying an extra one as a gift.

Thanks for letting me share this with you. Let me know how you like the book. You can also e-mail Janelle thru her website and tell her as well.

I'll keep you posted on my book, "Stepping Thru Cancer, A Step-by-Step Guide for the Journey," and when I'm starting my speaking ministry. Looking forward to seeing you and hearing from you.
Love to all-

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Publishing Ordeal

I trust you all had a good Valentine’s Day. I got thru it alone, and it wasn’t as bad as anticipated. Life goes on, one day at a time, and the pain lessens little by little.

I’ve given computer-printed copies of my book to Bryan’s oncologist and an editor-friend for their input. It’s kind of like showing off your new baby. You hope everybody admires the little one and says only good things.

Many have asked if my book is published yet. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Here’s a brief overview of what’s involved. I need to find a publisher and maybe an agent.

There’s a 3-step process in getting an agent:
Send a 1-page query letter with a brief description of the book and what makes it different. Wait 1-2 months for a response.
If the agent is interested, send a 20- to 30-page proposal letter with a few chapters of the book. Wait again for twice the amount of time, usually 2-4 months.
If the agent is still interested, then send the entire manuscript and wait around 4-6 months.
With all the waiting, it takes up to a year just to get an agent. If the agent doesn’t allow simultaneous submissions, I go thru it one agent at a time until I find one who wants me.

Getting a publisher takes the same three steps and about the same length of time, even with an agent as a go-between. It could take a year or longer just to get the manuscript accepted. Then, it’s another year or two before it’s published! One contact in publishing suggested that I go directly to a publisher for my first book, so I’m trying to decide which one(s) get the query letter.

It could take a total of 2-4 years to hit bookstands. One writer’s website has a list of 39 steps to getting published. Step 1 is to write the book. (That’s the easy part.) Of the remaining 38 steps, 22 of them start with the word “wait.” I guess God will teach me patience if I wait long enough.

The only way to avoid all this waiting is to self-publish. That means that I pay all the publishing costs and have all the books shipped to my house. Then, bookstores and order from me instead of from the publisher, and I handle all the shipping. Doesn’t sound too appealing, so I’d prefer the other way instead.

Now you know that publishing isn’t an overnight accomplishment. I can’t get back to writing articles or other books until the wheels start turning on this one. I would appreciate your prayers in my search. I’m terrified of putting my “baby” in the wrong hands.

Take care and remember that God loves you and knows what you're facing today. I need to remember the same!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Duane's passing and 3 cancer hints

Good Saturday evening, dear friends and loved ones.
It is with a sad heart that I advise you of the death today of Duane Koski, my son Brian’s father-in-law. Duane was diagnosed with cancer in mid-November, and outlived the doctor’s prediction by three weeks. He fought valiantly, but slipped peacefully into eternity with his family at his side. Thank you for your prayers for him, and please continue to pray for his wife Nancy and daughters Sarah and Laura.

When Duane was first diagnosed, Sarah said she wished that my book was available, because they could use the suggestions in it. I sent her the first chapter, which contains the three most important hints. I decided I’d share them with you as well.

When you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, there are three vital things to do:
1. WRITE IT DOWN: Take notes at every treatment and doctor’s appointment, and record weight, blood pressure, and temperature whenever they’re taken, as well as pain and nausea levels and how medicines affect them. Keep these and all other paperwork and handouts in a loose-leaf notebook.
2. SLOW DOWN: Don’t drive as fast or do things as quickly as usual. Your mind is working slower, so take your time doing everything, especially in the kitchen. You can cut or burn yourself or put things away in the wrong place, like the milk in the pantry instead of the refrigerator.
3. SIT DOWN: Take time for yourself and don’t feel you have to keep your normal schedule. Give yourself permission to rest when you need to, whether you’re the patient or the caregiver. You need it.

Feel free to pass these on to anyone facing cancer, to help them on their journey. This is from the first step of my book, “Stepping Thru Cancer,” which is about 80% done, so it should be available soon. Each week, I hear of someone else who is starting their cancer journey, and that’s an expedition that shouldn’t be made alone. I hope to have the book out in the next few months.

Thank you for standing by me on my journey, and continuing to support me in my new career.
Love and prayers to all-