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Are You Prepared?

Judy Baker wearing Love is Thicker Than Smoke T-shirt


Be Prepared

I came home from the October 8th meeting of Redwood Writers. It was a pleasant Sunday afternoon. It was my weekend for meetings with authors as I belong to the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association and Redwood Writers. I am on the board of both organizations which have a combined membership of over 500 writers.


After the meeting on Sunday, I felt like I needed some time to process all the information I gained that weekend. I love being in these groups and find that I am buzzing with excitement afterward and can take hours to unwind from this infusion of energy.

I had a busy week and had put off doing any laundry thinking I would take care of it on Saturday or Sunday. I decided I would wait until Monday to do my laundry as I had time in the afternoon or so I thought.

Sunday night was a bit unusual.  I was watching television in the living room, and we had intermittent dips in the electricity. Around 10 pm the wind became intense, whipping around the trees, plants, and furniture outside. The chairs and tables on the deck were bumping and creaking. Our pop-up tent was preparing to launch itself into the stratosphere.

My husband Garry rushed outside and closed up the tent securely. The fluctuating electricity continued to sputter, but it did not shut down until around 1 o’clock when it went out completely. I am a lover of The Wizard of Oz and the lyrics  “the house began to pitch” were piping through my brain.


I had stayed up late, and now I had to scurry to find our portable, battery-operated lantern. We are often affected by interruptions to our electricity. We keep flashlights and candles, electric candles, around the house for just such situations. When the power goes out, it is incredibly dark in this house.


I went to bed and no sooner had I gotten to sleep when around 2 AM something woke both of us up. We heard a couple of fire engines which is not unusual, and we smelled smoke.

We figured that there was a small fire somewhere and we fell back asleep.


We Are Not In Kansas Anymore, Dorothy

It was a very different world we woke to the next morning. As soon we opened our eyes, our noses were greeted with a thick smoke. We looked outside and the air was yellow. Not only had the power gone out but we had no phone service either and we could not connect to the Internet.


Garry went into our garage and found an old battery-operated boombox and turned to a new station to see if he could find out what was going on. We learned. that the Tubbs fire was burning from Napa through Santa Rosa and Sonoma Valley.


With no power, I got dressed and went off to exercise at Parkpoint in Sonoma.  I thought that I would be able to work out and then take a shower and dry my hair at the gym. When I arrived at Parkpoint, I knew something was really wrong as the parking lot was empty instead of being busy and full on a Monday morning. I went upstairs to the fitness studio and discovered only three other people. One of them was the instructor, my friend Sandy. Sandy lives adjacent to an open field and she too was woken up at two in the morning. She looked out her window and saw flames to the east. She knew the fire and high-velocity winds were making for a very dangerous situation.


That Monday morning was the last time I was able to exercise until after the fires were contained the following week. In years past when there was an emergency, people would gather at the gym as it was a safe haven in a place of refuge, and hygiene. A few years back we there was flooding around Christmas time and many of the gym members were without power and water for many days. This crisis was different. Classes were canceled because the smoke invaded the gym. The air was tainted and unsafe to breathe.


I went home thinking it would just be a short time before we had power and phone service. Before I left the gym, one of the staffers told me about nixle alerts and how to sign up.

Nixle keeps you up-to-date with relevant information from your local public safety departments & schools. Nixle Saves Lives During Illinois Tornado – Learn More. Have Questions? Check out our FAQ page! Looking to opt-out? Click here or text your zip code again to 888777. 

We went through the house and gathered important papers, medications and other supplies in case we had to leave in a hurry. Garry got out a portable carrier for our quartet of chickens, just in case.


Fortunately, Garry had some battery powered chargers so we. could power up our cell phones and tablets but we could not connect anything that first 24 hours. We later learned that the cell towers and the cabling for XFINITY had been severely damaged or destroyed by the fires. there was no estimate as to when service would be restored. This left us both feeling helpless.

I think we waited a day before we went in search of a portable generator. Friedman Brothers hardware has a store in Sonoma but it was closed because of. the fire danger. Our neighborhood was on alert and it was recommended that we evacuate but it was not mandatory. The neighborhoods closer to Glen Ellen, Kenwood, and the east side of Sonoma all were forced to evacuate. We drove to Petaluma to purchase a small generator thinking it would be sufficient to power our refrigerator and outdoor freezer as well as giving us limited computer time if we used our cell phones as a hotspot. Our cell carrier generously removed data limits for the month.


The noisy gasoline-powered generator provided some relief. Most of our neighbors evacuated. We were packed and ready to go if the situation changed.  We kept all the doors and windows closed except for the power cord to the generator.


The week of the fire was surreal.  The air continued to be dense and yellow. there was very little ash as the fire was burning at such high heat. I stayed in touch with my friend Deborah Myers every day. We called or texted each other as she had to evacuate from her home in Santa Rosa. I got calls from friends near and far to be sure that I was okay. The irony of the situation was not lost on me as many people were checking my status on Facebook.


My business was shut down during the entire week plus a couple of days. Our power was restored on Tuesday, October 17. A few hours later, Xfinity was operational.

It was amazing to me to have a week without the constant background noise of the internet. If not for the danger, there was an unusual sense of peace.

In response to the situation, I put together a list of resources and checklists on preparedness for disaster which I shared at BACN. the response at the meeting was incredible.I decided to share the slides with all of our BACN members.  You can download a PDF which I hope will help you know what to do in case of fire, flood, or another disaster. I hope you never have to put your emergency plan to the test.  When I saw the news footage of the fires in Southern California, I thought at first that they were rerunning footage of the wine country fires. I have family in Huntington Beach and San Diego. These new fires are moving like a hungry wolf through thousands of homes, trees, forests and getting a boost from 80 mph winds.

Be Prepared to Stay Safe

How to be Prepared 11-17-17


Get Famous and Get Clients

Get Famous

Get famous like Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell

It’s time for you to get famous. Take action and shift the conversation. Take control of who you know and who knows you.

In 2009, the economy was in a nasty tailspin. It was a dark time for consultants and W-2 employees alike. This refreshed article is my response to the doom and gloom atmosphere we seem to be in again. Keep reading to see how you can get famous.

Why do people know you?

When you get yourself well known in the market area you want to own, something remarkable will happen. All kinds of fantastic opportunities will present themselves. Clients will come to you.

Why is it important to get famous?

Is there one thing you are known for in your community? What or why do people come to you? Tell me more.

Your personal brand can help your business. When you are easily recognized and associated with your business, this will grow awareness in the minds of your prospects and customers.

Now is the time to look for opportunities to get famous. While other companies disappear, reduce or eliminate their visibility by shutting off their marketing and advertising, hunkering down, hiding out, hoping and praying, they are setting up a perfect stage for their competition to rise above and stay in front of their customers. When people know you and remember you, they can do business with you.

Businesses that are tightening up fail to realize, as the playing field becomes less crowded, it is easier for those remaining to be seen and heard. Now is the perfect time to make you more visible. Take a stand, show up, stay in the game, and become a leader in your market segment.

Becoming visible doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money. There are inexpensive or even no cost opportunities and ways that you can keep your name out in front of the minds of your prospects and customers.

Three ways you can stay in touch and top of mind

  1. A phone call. Call to say hello. Share a tidbit of information. Pass along a recipe. Make a recommendation for a service you have enjoyed. Endorse a book or movie. Share an inspiring or amusing quotation. Stay in touch with a phone call, even if you get voicemail, it is better than disappearing or fading from memory, and it is likely to produce results down the road. It is not a “sales” call disguised as something else. It is a staying in touch call.
  2.  Send a card or short letter just to remain in touch. The content could be the same as what you would put in a phone call. There’s been a significant drop in the volume of postal mail something to the tune of 9.5 billion pounds less in fact in the last year. A piece that you mail has a much better chance of being read today because millennials and boomers have digital fatigue. They welcome personal correspondence. You might also include a call to action in your note. Perhaps you have a new book, service, workshop that you’d like to share, promote, or otherwise bring to the attention of your recipient. Even when your recipient is an able to take advantage of your offer, you have reinforced your presence and connection with them. And if the offer is compelling, it is likely that they will contact you. Buyers cannot buy it from you if they don’t know you have something they need or want.
  3. Send a short e-mail just to say hello, not to sell. For example, today I read an article about David ARORA. He is an author’s and specialist in mushroom identification. I recently became acquainted with a man, and it turned out he is interested in building a small mushroom growing facility where he lives. As we talked, we realized that we both know Patrick Hamilton who is a chef, owner of a construction company, and he too is famous as a mycologist. Small world. I sent in a link to David auroras website and to the article I just read to this gentleman with a short note.

None of these actions take more than a few minutes. If every day you made a point to reach out to four or five people you know in one of these ways, I believe you will find that people remember you more easily and when it comes time to do business, they will think of doing business with you.

I highly recommend that you have a mix of ways to stay in touch, make it personal, and when appropriate, include a call to action. In all your communications include how to be in touch with you and a short, clear, concise statement about who you work with, their problems or challenges, and the results they can expect from working with you.

If you follow these simple rules, you will see results. Business will come to you. So I challenge you, for the next 30 days every day be in touch with 4-5 people in your contact database.  I recommend you create a simple spreadsheet to track whom you contact, how you reach them, the date and any other relevant information.


At the end of 30 days, identify whom you would like to reach in the next month. The most compelling campaigns include the element of repetition. Re-contact the people you contacted in the first month and add 4-5 more people to your list each day. You may decide to vary how you stay in touch.

Go narrow. Go deep. Many people make the mistake of going for quantity versus quality. Focus on a small segment of your contacts for this activity. Keep your numbers small and doable. Get to know these connections as intimately as you can. It will take some time and commitment. Most marketing campaigns take about six weeks to six months of consistent activity to yield meaningful results.

None of us likes to feel as if they are “being sold.” We appreciate being heard, respected, and helped. If you keep these principles in mind, your communication will improve. As you develop your campaign, remember all of us want to know what is in it for me?  Respect your prospects. Speak honestly with the intent of sharing information and resources that can benefit your audience.

Measure Your Results

Review the data you collect using your spreadsheet. When you are ready to take it up a notch, there are database services that combine the ease of tracking your contacts and documenting your interactions all in one place. Make adjustments based on feedback. You may find that a few minor changes to your message, timing, or medium can have a dramatic impact on your effectiveness in building relationships and ultimately, attracting business to you.

I attended a presentation hosted by the Bay Area Consultants Network. Our speaker, Dennis Erokan, the founder of BAM Magazine and the Bay area music awards, better known as the Bammies, told us how he became famous. The story was quite charming and applicable to anyone who is self-employed or who has a business and would like to have business come to them. Dennis interviewed Bill Graham, a famous concert promoter in the Bay Area. Dennis asked how Bill became famous. While still in school studying accounting, Bill was a waiter in the Catskill Mountains. The owner of the restaurant told him, “Bill, get famous.” He said that was the way get opportunities to come to you. When Bill became a rock promoter, he would go on stage and announce the upcoming acts. He was the owner of the promotion company, but he made sure people knew his name and face. His personal brand became tied to this business brand. As a result, when the Rolling Stones decided to tour the United States, they asked Bill Graham to handle the tour — not just in the Bay Area, they wanted him to manage the tour for the whole country. He did such an outstanding job; they hired him again for their European Tour.

Get Famous — a Smart Strategy

For many years, Dennis didn’t think this being famous applied to him. Then he realized it did.

When he started Bam magazine, his main competitor was Rolling Stone magazine. Then Rolling Stone moved its operations out of the area. When that happened then is realized he had an opportunity to own his segment of the market here in the Bay Area. One of the things he did was to create a fund-raising event that benefited a nonprofit. The Bammies became a hot ticket and had the support of well-known bay area musicians and corporate sponsors.

When Dennis moved on to start the magazine, Microtimes, doors open for him because of his fame and reputation from BAM and the Bammies. Diablo Magazine ran a picture of Dennis in 13 consecutive issues. Because of this exposure, he landed on the front page of Contra Costa Times more than once.  He is known to reporters in the area as an on a list of experts in several areas: the music industry, publishing, computing, and more recently, as a branding expert. He is the one they call for a quote or comment.

What are some of the ways you can become famous?

  • Volunteer
  • Share your expertise, and by helping others, people get to know you
  • Partner with someone who has a business with a similar or complementary audience
  • Write an article (or a series) in your area of expertise.
  • Host an event
  • Write a book
  • Interview someone famous
  • Get interviewed
  • Answer questions or make comments on blogs
  • Start a podcast
  • Videocast
  • Send out a press release
  • Use your website
  • Ask for links to your site or other related sites
  • Give something away
  • Piggyback on the event related to your industry and expertise
  • To stay in touch on a regular basis with the segment of your market you want to own
  • Sign up for online for HARO, help a reporter out

Share Your Story

He made sure everyone in town knew his name recognized him and because of that opportunities came to him. He volunteered, he showed up he participated in the life of the community and the community repaid him by filling his business, inviting.

Evaluate the results once you have about six months of information. Then decide if adding this activity made a difference in your visibility, productivity, and possibly your pocketbook. Oh, I strongly recommend that once you have completed the first 30 days that you commit to continuing this practice for another 30 days until you have done this for six months total. Now you have a baseline to measure and examine to see if this activity has had the desired impact on your clients your prospects and your business.

And here’s a bonus idea. Instead of just sharing information by phone, by mail, or via e-mail, invite some or all of the people you are contacting for a short meeting, coffee or tea, a brisk walk, or to an event you feel would be of benefit to them. If you are diligent and follow through with these actions, you will see a difference in and health of your business.

Your only costs for these actions are a small amount of your time and creativity. By building a habit of staying in touch consistently, you can build your business without breaking your budget. Go out and get famous.


Mac Screen Recorder

Mac Screen Recorder is Easy to Use

It is software that you can use as soon as it is installed. You don’t need to have a filmmaking degree or be a technical genius. If you are looking for easy screen capture and movie making software, this is it.

I made this video using the built-in iSight camera on my iMac. I did a couple of takes using the built-in system speakers and I was not happy with the sound quality. Once I switched to my Blue Yeti microphone (USB), the sound was much improved. This video is a quick experiment. I could make it better and spend more time to refine. For my purpose of testing the software, this is a good enough result.

My main goal: could I produce a viable movie in a few minutes, upload it and share it.

Mac Screen Recorder passed the test with flying colors.

It is not as feature rich as Camtasia or Adobe Premiere. Where Mac Screen Recorder shines is its simplicity.

Need to create a training video for clients? This will work for you. You have options to upload to YouTube, Vimeo, share by email or text and a few more.

I give it 4.5 stars.

You can find it at

They also make apps for Windows users.

Sharing Your Stuff Made Easy

Sharing With Ease

Sometimes I feel like sharing something great with my friends and fans. And then, I start to do it and find that it takes too much time or too many steps. Have you ever wanted to share a good review or a testimonial and found that it took you so long to do it that you gave up half way through the process?

What if you could click on one button that would take you to a social site like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest or even an email share of the super cool thing you want to share?

Have no fear, there is a solution that is easy, free and awesome. What is it you ask? Sharelinkgenerator. I made a link in under in 5 seconds:
Share on Facebook

Share Link Generator on FacebookWhen you click on it, here is what you will get:

Now, think about using this to promote your latest book, a new service or product. Pretty sweet.

This is just one of the great tips I learned about from Tim Grahl on his podcast, Book Launch Show.

Tim started this podcast in December 2016. Each of his episodes is about 15-20 minutes of great information for self-published authors. If you want to check out the podcast, click below.

Share on Google+

Share on Google Plus

Now you know how to make it easy to share your stuff with your fans. Sweet.

Why I like the Book Launch Show

Each episode is short, to the point and taken from Tim’s real like experiences. It is not full of fluff or lots of self-promotion. It is solid information that is proven to work for authors. He has a pleasant voice and delivery style. Even though he is very experienced, he doesn’t talk over the heads of a newbie.

I appreciate his practical approach to book promotion. Listen and learn. It’s easy.

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Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer Can Save Your Life

I Didn’t Know the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer and it nearly Killed Me

I am Judy Baker and I am a wellness warrior

Judy Baker 2014

Judy Baker 2014

Judy Baker July 2016

Judy Baker July 2016

I survived ovarian cancer and I am thriving

I was diagnosed in late December of 2013.

I had been feeling less that excellent for months. I kept telling myself it was overwork, adrenal fatigue, muscle strain from working out. I  even suspected a case of pancreatitis or a gall bladder attack. Anything seemed more likely to be the source of my discomfort. Cancer was on my radar. I was in denial.

Family History

My father had breast cancer. It had spread to other organs and his lymph nodes by the time he got the diagnosis. He underwent a radical mastectomy, which removed not only breast tissue but muscles and lymph nodes in his chest and arm.

First, let me give you a little background. My father was never ill. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service with three full years (365 days x 3) of sick leave, accumulated over 25 years of service. He was never absent from work. Not ever.

He and I walked everywhere. Usually 5-10 miles every day. I carried that habit with me when I moved to San Francisco.

He loved to read, ate pretty well. He didn’t consume alcohol, other than a very occasional beer.

He controlled a mild case of diabetes with oral medication and diet.

He was a healthy man up to the day he received his diagnosis of breast cancer. He had a hard, red lump in his chest. Back then, as it is today, it is relatively uncommon for men to get breast cancer. It was rarer still to know about this disease affecting men.

Hell No

He had symptoms for a long time before the official diagnosis. Over the next seven years, he had cancer of the prostate and colon. He got ill for the final time at 76. He had pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer symptoms mimic those of diabetes. He passed away a few days before my 21st birthday, about a year from the time of diagnosis. While there have been advancements in treatment, pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival outcomes. He suffered during that final year. I told myself I would never go through what my father did.

Dad refused chemotherapy after each surgery. 40 years ago chemo was primitive, and the side-effects of the cure were often worse than the disease. I can understand his decision. For many years, I harbored a secret fear that I would someday receive a diagnosis of breast cancer. I anticipated suffering like my father. I wanted to deny that this could or would happen to me, but somewhere in my mind, there was a seed of doubt.

Because of what I saw happen to my father, I elected to forego having children. I was sure that if I did, I could pass on defective genes. I didn’t think that was fair.

2013: I was in Denial

I Started To Notice Something Was Off in My Body

Around November of 2013, I began to feel off. I went to lunch with a friend to celebrate her successful treatment for Hepatitis C. We had a date at a restaurant that is known for its yummy food. I ordered something I thought would be delicious. My food arrived, and I took a few bites. I was full. I chalked up how I was feeling to the effects of stress and feeling tired from not enough sleep.

My difficulty eating persisted through the Thanksgiving holiday and into December. I appeared bloated, so bloated that I could not fit into most of my clothing. I thought I was gaining weight and that I was just fat.

I noticed other symptoms. More and more frequently, I had to step out of my exercise classes and rest for a few minutes before continuing. I attributed this to being busy and working too much.

I could have auditioned for “The Walking Dead” based on the lovely gray color of my skin. I looked as awful as I was feeling.

I realized I was in serious trouble when my upper back seized up while I was in Child’s Pose during yoga class. I felt like someone had slammed into my back with a club. I couldn’t breathe. My muscles were spasming. My body was doing its best to get my attention. I continued my denial that anything major was wrong with me.

Uninsured and Out of Luck

At the time, I did not have medical insurance. I believed I could postpone getting help until after January 1, 2014, when Obama care would start.

My body couldn’t wait out the calendar. The stabbing pains in my abdomen forced me to see a doctor in mid-December.

Unfortunately for me, my primary care doctor was on vacation. I agreed to a visit with one of his associates. She was useless and infuriating. I told her my symptoms, but she did not hear me. She kept insisting that I needed to have a colonoscopy even though I didn’t have any problems with my bowels. I was clear this was not the solution for me and that this was a doctor who was of no help.

I went home, and the pains got worse than before. Despite my misgivings, I made another appointment to be seen by this medical practitioner. Again, the doctor directed me to get a colonoscopy. Why couldn’t she hear me?

I remember screaming at her. I was in agony. Her only other solution was to recommend I go to the Emergency Room. I told her I didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford the cost of care in the ER without coverage.

Getting Worse Before I Got Better

The next few days I continued to get weaker. I hadn’t eaten in about two weeks and yet, there was this huge belly. Three days after Christmas, I gave in, and my husband drove me to the Emergency Room.

I was delirious with pain.

My husband had scheduled meetings with prospective clients for that Saturday. I told him to keep the appointments. I was sure I was having a gall bladder attack or a severe case of pancreatitis. I asked him to call a friend to come and stay with me while awaiting help in the ER.

I think I was there for about 5 hours. The head of the ER came over to me and said he had bad news. I asked what it was. He said we don’t know the type, but according to my blood work I had cancer.

He prescribed a heavy-duty narcotic for my pain and sent me home.

A Long, Sleepless Night

The drug had no effect on the pain. I spent a sleepless night wrapped in blankets on the couch. In the morning, my pain was off the charts. Back to the ER.

The doctor on call looked at me, read my chart and concluded I had a build up of fluid in my belly. He said he would do a procedure to drain it, paracentesis.

He told me later that this is usually only done when there is a radiologist present to guide the process.  The doctor nearly gave up doing this procedure on me, but, because of my extreme discomfort, he persisted.

He drained 5.5 liters of fluid from my abdomen. The fluid build up had been pressing all of my organs. It made it impossible for me to eat. Once the fluid stopped pressing on my organs, I could take a deep breath. My pain lightened.

Signing Up for Covered California Was Like a Car Wreck

Signing up for Medical Insurance was nearly as heart-stopping and painful as having 5.5 liters of excess fluid pressing on my stomach. My insurance broker got the process started, but it took me more than 3-hours to complete my application online. The deluge of people attempting to sign up swamped the woefully under capacity computer servers and ridiculously written software. I persisted. I got registered in time to start my coverage on January 1, 2014.

Happy New Year

My journey with cancer had just begun. On the first Friday of 2014, I had the last appoint of the day with my real doctor. He was running late. I suffered sitting in the waiting room with my husband for over an hour. I wanted to lie down on the floor. Sitting up was agony.

We finally went into the exam room. For the next hour, my doctor asked questions, shared ideas and took action. He called Marin Cancer Care and scheduled my first visit with a gynecological oncologist for early the following week. He also contacted the gynecological surgeon for me at UCSF for that same week.

Becoming a Wellness Warrior

I met with my new wellness team. I listened and learned what I needed to do to survive. I was clear that I was going to do everything necessary to survive.

I approached chemo with hope and good humor. I got dressed up for each visit to the hospital infusion center. My husband accompanied me to each appointment. He was my chauffeur and support.

We discovered great restaurants where we would celebrate each successful treatment with a delicious meal.

Losing my Hair

I was giving Benedryl and other anti-nausea medication before each chemo cocktail of carboplatin and taxol. I experienced few adverse reactions to the drugs. What a surprise. I have a history of drug sensitivities and allergies, yet here I was getting poison to kill cancer and I was o.k.

Of course, my oncologist said that my hair would fall out. And it did. Right on schedule. Two weeks after I started chemo. I thought that I prepared myself for this. My stylist cut my shoulder length hair very short before it began to fall out. When handfuls of hair came out when I washed my hair, it was time for the next step. My stylist shaved my head. From experience, she recommended shaving my head before it got sensitive. That day was one of the hardest for me. I like my hair. My hair is on the fine side, it is usually shiny and frames my face. I have a few silver hairs sprinkled among my dark brown hair. Losing my hair was like losing my identity.

I was not ready for a wig yet. I had lots of hats and scarves to cover my head. I gradually embraced the ease of no hair. Lucky for me I have a well-shaped head. I rocked my big earrings. I changed my style of eye makeup to mimic having eyebrows and eyelashes. I looked pretty good for someone who was so sick.

Chemo Was Relatively Easy for Me

It wasn’t at all what I had feared. It was nothing like the fantasy I had in my head. Not at all like what I pictured based on movies and television depictions of cancer treatment.

The first infusion was a full day. I brought my laptop and phone with me thinking I would be able to get some work done while I was hooked up to the drugs. I failed to take into account that I would not be able to move about at will. My laptop stayed in the bag. I slept a lot. It was like a spa day without the glamor.

I never had bouts of nausea. I had a low level of unease. Chemo attacks the cells that line your stomach which often results in major upsets. Not for me. I did have a problem after the first treatment which was easy to resolve with a homeopathic remedy called “Cleanse More.” Once I had that in my kit, I did well.

I did have fatigue. I learned to sleep whenever I could. I found that I napped well during the day. I didn’t sleep well at night even if I didn’t nap during the day t, another common side-effect.

Going to the Gym during Treatment

I continued going to my gym during treatment. In fact, I scheduled treatment to minimize missing my usual workouts. I did what I could each session. I modified my workouts as needed. Sometimes, I would have to sit part of the time on a physio ball instead of standing for an entire class. I used lighter hand weights.

I continued to attend classes because I have a strong network of friends at the gym. Among them are many other cancer survivors, including one of my instructors. She had a double mastectomy over 20 years ago. She is a beautiful, inspiring and fit woman whom I admire.

I did have some days when I was not my best, and I allowed myself to stay home. I later learned that by continuing to exercise I was helping my immune system do its best work.

January to April

The first half of my treatment was designed to reduce or eliminate any cancer cells in my peritoneum, my intestines, and colon. The chemo apparently was working as my CA 125 blood tests confirmed. I told my doctor I could feel the cancer cells being gobbled up. I pictured Ms. PacMan chomping each of those nasty cells and ridding my body of disease.

According to the Mayo Clinic: “CA 125 test measures the amount of the protein CA 125 (cancer antigen 125) in your blood. A CA 125 test may be used to monitor certain cancers during and after treatment. In some cases, a CA 125 test may be used to look for early signs of ovarian cancer in women with a very high risk of the disease.”

After three rounds of dose dense chemo (18 treatments), I went off chemo for a month before surgery to remove my ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, and my omentum. This procedure is known as debulking. Taking out all the parts and pieces not necessary in the abdomen.

I had peritoneal cancer, the lining of the abdominal cavity is the peritoneum. It serves to exchange fluids in the body and cannot be removed. Peritoneal cancer is one of the less common types of ovarian cancer. Here is an excellent

Here is a good article that will give you more information about types of ovarian cancers. It includes definitions, illustrations, symptoms and where to find additional resources and information.

The thought of surgery was scary. I had only two minor surgeries before this, both relatively small in comparison. I had my tonsils and wisdom teeth out at 20. At 31, I had the TMJ disk removed from the left side of my left jaw. My tonsillectomy and jaw surgery required 1 day and one night in the hospital. I was not sure what would happen with this major surgery.

Being My Own Advocate

The day of my surgery, I met with the anesthesia team. They wanted to give me an epidural. I insisted I didn’t need one. I had to argue with the residents; they head anesthesiologist and my surgeon. I prevailed.

Surgery went smoothly.

I was a bit woozy when I woke up. Fortunately, my dear friend and health care provider, Deborah Myers of Health at Your Fingertips worked with me before and after surgery to help my body prepare and then release the anesthetic.

I had zero appetite the entire time I was in the hospital. The food was nasty, and I was not hungry.

I had a little pain, which was a surprise.

I was up and walking around the first day.

I won’t go into the details of being in the hospital except to say I was anxious to get out of there. If I was going to eat anything, I wanted the food to be fresh and nutritious. The processed, canned and chemical laden food served was a big incentive for my wanting to get home.

I was released after four days and returned home.

My assignment was to walk every day for at least 30 minutes. We had unseasonably hot weather that April. I had to get up and out the door in the early morning to avoid the upper 90-100° temperatures. I had fun exploring the neighborhood on my daily walks. I stopped to take pictures when I found something beautiful. There are lots of lush flowers in my neighborhood, and the warm weather encouraged the floral display.

I wanted to dive into the pool at our house but was instructed to stay out of the water until my stitches were out. I settled for putting my toes in the cool water until I got the o.k. to resume normal activities.

I was back at the gym about two weeks post-op. That was a triumph for me.

Recovery by Inches

I expected to bounce right back after surgery. I was surprised at how long recovery would last. Even today, I have some limitations. I am getting stronger and smarter about my physical body all the time. I tire a bit more easily. I don’t like wearing shoes with closed toes because they often trigger neuropathy pain. Some shoes are completely off my list of wearables. I was a sock aficionado before treatment. These days I seek out supportive and stylish socks. Luckily, my friend Jeanette Fung is the owner of Sox de Vine, and she carries a beautiful selection of socks for all occasions and needs. Even if you don’t live in Sonoma, you can shop there. I have compression knee highs that are so cute no one would guess they are support socks.

More Chemo

I had three more rounds of chemo following surgery. This second half is where my hands and feet became victims of chemo-induced neuropathy. A smallish price in exchange for my life.

I temporarily lost some of my sense of smell and taste too. I like to think both these senses have fully recovered. It had taken nearly a year before that happened.

July 8, 2014

I celebrated my last chemo treatment by flying to San Diego to visit my family. I was wearing wigs by this time. I had several, bright pink, bright blue, a short ginger colored one, and others that friends gave to me. I got to show off many different sides of my personality with my variety of hair colors and styles.


  • My hair started coming in September 2014
  • My eyelashes and eyebrows were a bit slower to fill in.
  • It was nearly a year before my legs felt lighter than 500 pounds each.
  • I’m still working on rebuilding my abs.
  • I am working with a trainer, Johanna Avery, in the Pilates Studio of my gym to improve my strength and flexibility (and it’s working!)
  • My hair today is just past my shoulders and looking lush and full
  • I get my blood tested every four months, and my CA 125 is low and steady
  • To monitor my breast health, I get an annual mammogram which alternates with an MRI because I am BRCA 2 positive with no sign of disease
  • I see my oncologist every four months. I will move to a six-month cycle next spring which will mark my 3rd-year post treatment.
  • I have a great support group that meets for lunch once a month. All of us are survivors, and we laugh and share with each other in a positive way.
  • I get regular acupressure treatment from Deborah Myers, Health at Your Fingertips to keep my energy in balance.
  • I practice the Daily Clean Your House Flow every day (sometimes multiple times during the day). It keeps me in touch with my body, balances my energy and emotions and boosts my immune system.
  • I do things that make me happy every day, like listening to the Happier Podcast from Gretchen Rubin.
  • I only work with clients who are enjoyable.
  • I don’t hang out with toxic people.
  • I watch silly comedies.
  • I volunteer in my community
  • I laugh a lot.
  • I smile a lot.
  • I sing every day.
  • I tell people I love that I love them.
  • I appreciate being alive.
  • I learned to ask for help.
  • I am more patient with myself.
  • I let go of the bad and focus on the good in my life.
  • I am filled with gratitude for the good people who are in my life and I tell and show my appreciation.
  • I continue to be a wellness warrior.
  • I ask questions.

My Wish for You

I hope you never have to know a day of pain. If you do, get the support you need to regain your good health.

Good health is worth more than gold. Enjoy your life, your friends and family.

Don’t ignore symptoms. The sooner you become a wellness warrior, the better.

Let me know if you have a story to share about your journey by leaving a comment below and share this story with the people you care about.

Book Promotion and Sales for Absolute Beginners

Book Promotion and Sales Doesn’t Have to Be a Solo Act

Book promotion has lots of parts. Knowing where to begin can be overwhelming. It takes time, energy, resources and knowing what to do and when to do it. Finding the right team to support you can be daunting.

Start Talking, Listening and Learning

Join the conversation with Book Marketing Mentors, Judy Baker and Judy Reyes, at Reader’s Books, August 3, from 5-7pm.

You’ve got questions, we have answers.

RSVP to:

It’s free.

Marketing is Like Gardening

Gardening and Marketing Have a Lot in Common

Prepare, Plant, Nurture, Harvest, Repeat

These are the same steps you must take to grow your business, sell your book, and build your brand.

As every successful gardener knows, you can’t just stick seeds in the ground and hope for the best if you want a lush, productive garden. A little bit of time and attention is required on most days.

How to you grow your marketing garden?

I’d love to hear your stories of what is working to stimulate your business. I’m collecting stories for a book I’m developing. Share your story below. With your permission, it may go into the book. Include how to reach you if I have any questions.

Be a Radio Star

little boy shouting into a microphoneBe a Radio Star: 13 Tips to Being a Guest Who Gets Invited Back

What makes an outstanding guest? David Letterman was a frequent guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He was a guest host 51 times. Letterman hosted 6,028 episodes of Late Night and Late Show.

He did the work. He made the star look good. He learned to be a star.

You may want to appear on television too. But, start with radio. There are thousands of radio shows out there. The growth of internet radio has exploded the possibilities. It’s a great training ground for aspiring media rock stars.

13 Tips to Turn You into a Radio Star

  1. Think like a Radio Star.
  2. Research local radio stations to discover programming that is a match for your expertise.
  3. Draft a statement that describes why you would be a great guest and how  you match the interests of their audience.
  4. Inquire about becoming a show guest. This could be a phone call. It could be an email to the person who does the scheduling.
  5. Provide the station with
    1. A link to your media page on your website
    2. A pdf of your biography (short, medium and long)
    3. Sample questions and answers for the show host,
    4. A link to your book
    5. A link to your book reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.
  6. Be prepared.
    1. Take a printed sheet with your introduction for the host. Keep it short. Include sample questions and answers.
    2. Bring copies of your book along to the interview.
  7. Rehearse.
  8. Have Fun!
  9. Make the show host look good.
  10. Give them a reason to invite you back.
  11. Focus on your expertise. This is not a commercial for your book. Your job is to express what you have to share with their audience. What is it that is unique to you, and you alone?
  12. Give your show host a copy of your book as a thank you.
  13. Send a thank you after the show. Ask for a copy of the recording to use on your website.

To help folks in the North Bay, here is a link to radio stations in Santa Rosa for those who live near me.

Look for podcasters and internet radio show hosts. Listen to their shows. Become familiar with them. Reach out and connect with a compliment first. Share something relevant and valuable. Build a relationship. Down the line, ask if they are open to having you as a guest. Share what their audience would learn or enjoy from you.

Go out and make some news and be a memorable and likable guest who gets invited back.

Into the Forest is a Goodread

Into the ForestInto the Forest by Jean Hegland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The horrific challenges these people endured and how they were tempered by the fire of their circumstances moved me and kept me turning each page with eagerness.

Jean Hegland paints a dystopian landscape that is painfully close to reality. She creates a strong foundation and builds out the rooms of this story, brick by brick. Her use of language is reminiscent of Barbara Kingsolver’s, yet distinctly her own creation.

Relationships are tested, twisted and nearly broken apart, only to heal and become stronger. At its core, it is a story about the love the grows out of the hearts and minds of one family, embodied most clearly in the relationship between the two sisters, Nell, and Eva. They live with their father and free-spirited mother on an isolated farm in a fictionalized location the redwoods of Northern California.

I reveled in the details and patience with which she painted this world. A strong connection to nature permeates the story. The rhythm of her language flows like a strong clear stream. She deftly amplifies the emotional landscape within Nell and Eva contrasting it with their external reality, seasonal transformations that offered bounty and danger in equal measure.

These are unique, smart, quirky people. Each has gifts and blind spots. Through it all, they are enmeshed with each other like the roots of the forest trees and plants that surround them.

It is a coming of age tale of survival. The principal characters are far from perfect. They stumble as they learn how to exist in a world where nothing comes easily except for being true to their innermost selves.

I ached with pain as I read each new struggle. I laughed and wept as the two typical teenage girls discover boys and who they are meant to be. Their lives are turned inside out and yet they find a way to do more than simply exist. These girls are resourceful at times, frightened, and always real.

I could imagine myself in their world where technology and civilization as we know it disintegrates.

It is a well-told tale and left me wanting more.

View all my reviews