Tag Archives: memoir

Cerebral Palsy: ‘A Story’ Finding the Calm After the Storm by Ilana Estelle (Book Review)

 
Living with cerebral palsy is enormously difficult. But what if you never knew you had it? This is the incredible story of Ilana Stankler.

Born the second of premature twins, from a young age Ilana knew she was different, but for all the wrong reasons. A child of the 60s, Ilana experienced first-hand the way that disability was so often brushed under the carpet and not spoken about. Her constant physical and mental struggles made her feel isolated, alone, frustrated, and misunderstood… it took 46 years for her to find out why.

Part memoir, part motivational guide, Cerebral Palsy: A Story is Ilana’s open and honest journey from an angry, confused child, knowing something was wrong, but not knowing what, to the ‘real’ her – a courageous woman using her experiences and lessons to create inspiring messages about mental and physical health, positivity, resilience and change. 

 
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Cerebral Palsy: A Story: Finding the Calm After the Storm informed me about 11 secondary conditions connected to CP (cerebral palsy). The memoir also gave me facts that escaped me until now. For example, 800,000 individuals have CP, and 10,000 people are born with it each year. Ilana Estelle also explained how the brain is affected in those with cerebral palsy. There are physical limitations. People also face emotional and mental roadblocks. 


She went in-depth on how emotional stress can affect a CP’s immunity. A positive attitude, surrounding yourself with positive people is vital for a CP person’s overall health. Ilana Estelle gave examples of how to achieve a happy mind, cope with stress, and live a healthier life. 


There were many sections in Cerebral Palsy: A Story: Finding the Calm that could apply to those not living with CP: foods to maintain good high blood pressure, foods that alleviate arthritis pain, and parenting tips. At times, these areas seemed to deter away from the topic at hand—cerebral palsy. While I appreciate the extra health tips and her parenting advice, I wanted more about her journey in life with CP. 


Ilana Estelle discussed the misdiagnosis at the age of 2 (2.5). She spoke of the lack of family support  (often) and felt guilty and depressed about failing in life. She also emphasized what she learned in the process. 

  • know your limitations
  • ask for help
  • gain knowledge about your condition

To parents, she stressed having a sit-down and make sure all siblings are aware that people with CP need patience, understanding, compassion, and assistance. 


While Ilana Estelle has struggled in life and will as she continues her journey in this world, I’m pleased to see she’s not bitter or angry over what’s occurred in the past. She’s working hard to achieve a happy mind. Peaceful soul. 


You can’t change the past, but your actions today can pave the road for a better tomorrow. 

 
 
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Meet the Author:
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Ilana was born with a disability she didn’t know she had until the age of 46, when through her medical notes she discovered she had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 2.

That discovery turned out to be a unique and life-changing experience that has forced Ilana to stand back and look at her life experiences differently. On her late diagnosis, Ilana set up her website The CP Diary and uses her experiences to explore her emotional and physical health, with an inspiring message advocating resilience and change.

Ilana likes to spend her days writing and blogging about anything that contributes to her health and well being. She is an animal advocate and is passionate about environmental issues. When she is not writing to tending to her blog, Ilana enjoys days out exploring the Yorkshire countryside. Ilana lives with her husband and their much-loved cat, in Yorkshire. Her grown up son and daughter both live in London.

Connect with the author: 
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Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists by Christine Shields Corrigan (Book Review)

 

A breast cancer diagnosis at forty-nine forces Christine Shields Corrigan, a wife, mom, and meticulous list-maker, to confront her deepest fears of illness, death, and loss of control as she struggles to face cancer again. From the discovery of a “junky” cyst, to chemotherapy and surgery, sleepless nights filled with rosaries and “what ifs,” and shifting family dynamics, her adult experience mirrors her teen bout with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with one exception—she no longer has parents keeping her in the dark.

With the ghosts of cancer past hovering around her, Chris falls into the same overprotective traps her taciturn Irish-Catholic parents created, striving to keep her family’s life “normal,” when it is anything but, and soldiering through on her own, until a neighbor’s unexpected advice and gift move her to accept others’ help. With fierce honesty, poignant reflection, and good humor, Chris shares a journey filled with sorrow, grace, forgiveness, and resilience, as she winds her way through cancer for the second time. Again offers practical guidance and hope to individuals that they have the strength to forge a path beyond a diagnosis.

 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from
 iRead Book Tours 
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Christine Shields Corrigan refers to cancer as the Beast; I think of it as more as the bogeyman no one wants to face. Just uttering the word cancer strikes fear in the minds of anyone, regardless of age. And Christine was correct when she stated in Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists— “Cancer is an equal opportunity disease. No one is immune, and we’re all the same when it hits.”

I’ve never faced the Beast or the bogeyman; therefore, I didn’t realize how many side effects there were to the chemo drugs. I was aware of the hair loss and memory issues, but the vast number of other side effects astounded me. I couldn’t imagine walking a mile, let alone an inch, in Christine’s shoes — any cancer patient’s shoes for that matter. The physical, emotional, and psychological toll it takes on a person seems almost too much to bear. 

For those facing the Beast, I encourage you to read Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists. Christine shares tips on what helped her cope with specific side effects of the treatments. She also included resources for books, bras (after reconstruction), tattoo artists, and much more.  

If you are a friend or family member facing the evil C-word, you should read Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists. It will give you great insight into what your loved one is facing or will be facing. 

 
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Meet the Author: 
Christine Shields Corrigan is a two-time cancer survivor, wife, mom, and author of Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists . In addition to Again , Chris has published a number of lyrical and practical essays where she gives voice to the beautiful ordinary. Her work about family, illness, writing, and resilient survivorship has appeared in anthologies, magazines, and other publications including, The Brevity Blog, Grown & Flown, Horn Pond Review, The Potato Soup Journal and Anthology, Purple Clover, Ravishly.com, Wildfire Magazine, and the Writer’s Circle 2 Anthology.

Chris’ essay, “Not Back to But Forward,” about how her cancer experiences helped her cope with COVID-19 is included in (Her)oics: Women’s Lived Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic (edited by Joanell Serra and Amy Roost), an anthology that draws together the stories of 52 women across the US during the Covid-19 pandemic (March 2021). A graduate of Manhattan College and Fordham University School of Law, Chris built a successful career as a labor and employment law attorney and as a legal writer and editor. After surviving cancer in midlife, Chris became a freelance writer. She also teaches creative nonfiction writing for an adult education program, provides writing workshops for cancer support groups, and is the chair of the programming committee of the Morristown Festival of Books. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

 
 
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Flying Against the Odds: One Man’s Journey to New Ways of Healing by Jean-Jacques Trochon with Heather Whitehall-Trochon (Book Review)

FLYING AGAINST THE ODDS by Jean-Jacques Trochon

Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  249 pages

“IT TAKES A DIFFERENT KIND OF THINKING TO SOLVE A PROBLEM THAN THE KIND OF THINKING THAT PRODUCED THE PROBLEM.” —Albert Einstein


JJ had a devastating problem. At age fifty-one, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer and given three years to live. Rather than accept that outcome, JJ did what he always does: he set out to find a solution. Desiring to look beyond traditional treatments and their often harmful side effects, he put his unconventionally wired mind to work. JJ was relentless as he investigated alternative therapies and pursued global trailblazers in cancer research. Moving from the role of patient to patient-researcher, he became a trailblazer in his own right, being sought after for his latest findings.

 
Ultimately, JJ brought together the most innovative international minds at the Rethinking Cancer 2017 conference in Paris. Together, they found common ground, and they continue to create integrative, synergistic approaches to treatment.
 
Today, almost a decade after his diagnosis, JJ has defied the odds and is cancer-free. Recently retired from his career as a commercial airline captain on the Airbus A380, he now devotes himself to sharing his ongoing research with scientists and patients.
 
JJ’s story illustrates how looking at things differently often enables us to see them in a whole new light.
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours.
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Flying Against the Odds: One Man’s Journey to New Ways of Healing by Jean-Jacques Trochon with Heather Whitehall-Trochon was an inspirational story about a man’s journey to combat stage 4 kidney cancer. This book also talked in-depth about those who inspired, assisted, and supported his efforts. 


Jean-Jacques has led quite an adventurous life before and after the dreaded cancer diagnosis. With his father being a pilot and then him himself, Jean-Jacques has visited many wondrous places. His travels have taken him to South Africa, the USA, and Europe. He’s also known in the rugby world and an accomplished surfer. 


He’s a man always on the go, and he wasn’t going to allow a cancer diagnosis to stop him from living. He took charge of his treatments, put in the time in cancer research, and spoke to many highly respected individuals in their field of study. He defied the odds and inspired others. 


The road to remission was not easy for him or his family. Heather, his wife, was his rock. She altered her life, her diet in support of him. I’m not a huge fan of sugary treats, but I do like to partake in a donut here and there. It must’ve been a hard adjustment to give certain foods up. Most spouses/life partners probably wouldn’t have done it. I applaud them both. (section on Keto Diet)


Jean-Jacques Trochon proved he’s do anything to starve his cancer cells. His strength and determination, his cancer-beating story, inspired a conference — a movement. (Rethinking Cancer 2017) 


He has also given researchers a new path to study in the fight against cancer. More than anything, he has given hope to those who had none. 

 
 
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Meet the Authors: 
 
Jean-Jacques Trochon (or JJ as he is more commonly known) spent thirty-two years as a commercial airline pilot for Air France. A French national, he enjoyed an early childhood in Tahiti before finishing his schooling in France and the USA. In 2003, JJ was diagnosed with aggressive kidney cancer and subsequently underwent the removal of his left kidney. In 2012 and 2014, he underwent further surgeries following the discovery of multiple metastases in both lungs. Despite being given a slim chance of survival, JJ again returned to work in 2016. He captained the world’s largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380, until his retirement in spring 2020. Today, Jean-Jacques devotes his spare time to helping other cancer sufferers and spreading the word about his revolutionary approach to the disease. He was the initiator of Rethinking Cancer 2017, a groundbreaking conference held in Paris on September 21, 2017, at Institut Gustave Roussy, the leading cancer center in Europe.

Heather Whitehall-Trochon is a lover of languages and translator of French and German into English. A British national, she completed studies in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion before moving to Munich, Germany, where she worked in public relations for fashion and film. After relocating to Vienna, Austria, she had a brief stint as an editor at the Associated Press, prior to becoming a freelance translator and seasoned backpacker. Heather met JJ in Paris in 2007, marrying him the following year. The couple, together with their cat, Zulu, have now settled in Biarritz, France.

Connect with the author:
 Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads

 
 

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A Rendezvous to Remember: A Memoir of Joy and Heartache at the Dawn of the Sixties by Terry Marshall, Ann Garretson Marshall (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18 +), 18 yrs +, 378 pages
Genre:  Memoir, Romance
Publisher:  Sandra Jonas Publishing
Content Rating:  R. This memoir contains mature themes, explicit sex scenes, one f-word, and occasional profanity.

 

In June 1964, Ann Garretson skips her college commencement to tour Europe with Lieutenant Jack Sigg, a tank commander on the German-Czech border, with the hope of returning as his fiancée. A month later, her best friend, Terry, proposes marriage—by mail—throwing all their lives into turmoil.
 
Jack offers the military life Ann grew up with. Terry, a conscientious objector, will leave for the Peace Corps at the end of the summer—unless the draft board intervenes and sends him to jail. Her dilemma: she loves them both. Caught between the old mores and winds of change, Ann must make an agonizing choice. 
 
In alternating voices, A Rendezvous to Remember presents firsthand accounts by the two who eventually married, enriched by letters from the rival, whose path led him elsewhere. Provocative and delightfully uncensored, this coming-of-age memoir is a tribute to the enduring power of love and family.

 

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Author Ann Garretson Marshall
Terry Marshall and Ann Garretson Marshall taught English in the Philippines as Peace Corps volunteers and later served as Peace Corps country co-directors in the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Tuvalu. Back in the States, they worked side by side as community organizers and activists in Colorado. Terry went on to write fiction and nonfiction works on discrimination, poverty, rural development, and intercultural conflict. Ann has thirty years of experience as a writer, editor, and community-government go-between for issues related to nuclear and hazardous waste cleanup. Always seeking adventure, Terry and Ann have traveled to forty-three countries. They live in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

What was the inspiration for A Rendezvous to Remember?

Ann. A Christmas gift: Terry gave me a three-inch, Italian leather binder of our love letters for Christmas 2013. We read the letters out loud to each other each night for the next six weeks. They told a story so emotional and so compelling that we knew we had to write about it.

 

The epilogue to A Rendezvous to Remember includes vignettes from your 2014 trip to Europe to “redo” Ann’s trip with Jack in 1964. What other highlights of that trip are not included in the memoir?

Terry. There are so many, but here’s a special one: In drafting the book, Ann made contact with a French soldier who worked with Jack and Ann’s brother on the Czech-German border. In 2014, we visited him at his home in Tours, France, and spent a delightful afternoon with his family, including four grandchildren straight out of The Sound of Music. A home-cooked, seven-course meal, wine parings, and a journey through his photograph albums, which included snapshots both of Jack and of Ann’s brother.

 

What, if any, is the main un-pulled thread in A Rendezvous to Remember?

Ann. I ache to know what happened to my brother’s girlfriend Gretchen after she had her baby—my niece! We have searched for her and her child, who would now be in her fifties.

 

You two are a married couple writing about Ann’s love for another man. Didn’t that cause problems between you? Or did Ann simply leave out the spicy parts?

Terry. Not really. We set out to explore how we came to be a couple. It was a journey of discovery, not an attempt to “tell (or sell) our story,” so we dug as deeply and wrote as honestly and frankly as we could. The result: It brought us closer together because we gained tremendous insights into each other’s actions and feelings. Frankly, the writing—though painful at times—was wonderfully fulfilling.

 

What was the dumbest thing you did during the period covered in A Rendezvous to Remember?

Ann. Hitchhiking by myself across Germany without being able to speak German, then getting into the car with the “butcher brothers.” Readers will enjoy this story—it turned out OK. Also, dumping my boyfriend’s Sting Ray in the ditch. I still cringe about this.

Terry. I foolishly chose not to brave the cold and get my condoms from the car on an icy, subzero night in Silverton.

 

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Dream Accomplished: A Story of Cancer, A Mother’s Love & Taylor Swift by Elizabeth Gross (Book Review)

(Note from the author, Elizabeth Gross) 

Taylor Swift is not affiliated with the book, Dream Accomplished: A Story of Cancer, A Mother’s Love & Taylor Swift
 We are simply a family wanting to say “Thank You”.
For information about Taylor Swift, please visit her website at www.TaylorSwift.com
For Links to more of the good that Taylor Swift does for so many, please click HERE.​​ 

 

**All proceeds are donated to various charities. For the complete list, visit the Dream Accomplished website**

 

Hello, my name is Elizabeth Gross, author of Dream Accomplished.  In 2012 I was diagnosed with a rare cancer.  It changed my life.  This book chronicles my journey and is my way of saying “Thank You”, ​to my daughter’s hero, singer, Taylor Swift.  Paying forward the kindness shown our family, we donate all profits to fund cancer and invisible illness research and support causes.  I’d never written a book before, and didn’t know I was going to write this one, but in hopes my illness journey could be of help to others, ‘Dream Accomplished: A Story of Cancer, A Mother’s Love & Taylor Swift’ just poured from my heart, filling the pages with inspiration, resources, hope, humor, tips, tears & Taylor.  Thank you in advance for reading & sharing about ‘Dream Accomplished’.
​I sincerely hope it is a help to you or someone you love.   ​-Elizabeth Gross 

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Awards:​

 
Dream Accomplished has won the globally recognized Silver Mom’s Choice Award For Excellence in family-friendly media, products & services. Please Click Here to learn more.
 
‘Dream Accomplished’ has won Gold in the Memoir category at Readers’ Favorite.  Please Click Here to learn more.
 

New Apple E-Book Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing General Non-Fiction 2015 
Please Click Wording Above To Learn More.

 

Dream Accomplished has won the 5 Stars Award from Readers Favorite.
Please Click Here To Learn More.​

 
 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Cancer is a big, scary, ugly word. It creates havoc in your body. It affects your life, job, daily routine, and your family. It can break you down. If you can find a reason to fight, then FIGHT like Elizabeth Gross did. This is your body. Your life. If you give up hope, you’re not the only one affected. 

Elizabeth wrote a captivating story about the struggles a person faces when diagnosed with CANCER. Cost, procedures, conflicting diagnoses, specialists, and sometimes-unsympathetic hospital staff are just a few obstacles Elizabeth and her family faced. The frustrations, fears, confusion, and pain would break most people. Depression is not unheard of. However, despite all the uncertainties she faced, Elizabeth and her husband (Marc) had a little girl who needed them….needed a smile. 

I don’t know Taylor Swift personally. I know what I see and read about online or through magazines. What I learned through Dream Accomplished is that Taylor is kind, has a generous heart and made a lasting memory for a sweet young girl (Page) and her family. In the darkest of times, she gave them all a reason to smile. 

So even though the Gross family’s medical journey is far from over, when they need something happy to focus on, they can remember the time Taylor Swift made a little girl’s dream come true. 

Stay positive and never lose hope! 

 

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**All proceeds to donated to various charities. For the complete list, visit the Dream Accomplished website**

 

 

Elizabeth Gross is a Wife, Mother, Cancer Battler, Invisible Illness Spoonie, Wildlife Gardener, Guest Blogger, Good News Sharer, Chocoholic, Dream Accomplisher & SwiftieMom.  She’s proud to now be able to also add  ‘Award-Winning Author’ to this list (Yay!!)  Most days you’ll find her singing along to Taylor Swift songs as she types away on her laptop or gardens with her husband, Marc, and their daughter, Page, on their Hudson, Ohio ‘Little Lot’.  

This is her first book. 
For more information please visit with her at www.lotsoflifeonalittlelot.com

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