Friday, March 30, 2012

Believing In You! an inspiring guest blog from Patti Shenberger

Welcome Patti.  This is a very inspiring post, thank you for sharing it with my readers.  I'm so excited that you have agreed to be part of the Reader Fitness Challenge by encouraging participants to lose weight and win prizes.

Believing In You!

Wow, talk about a stressful title for a blog post.  Yet, it’s true.  If you don’t believe in yourself, how do you expect others to?  How do you convince an editor or agent to take a chance on you, when you aren’t feeling up to the task?  How do you start believing in you????

I am a five year colon cancer survivor.  I was diagnosed on October 9, 2006.  Scariest part is I had self-diagnosed myself on Sept 28th and no one not even my hubby could change my thinking.  Why did I think this?  Because a dear friend had gone through the same thing years before, and our symptoms matched in every possible way.  So when I called my doctor to get an appt, I already had my mind made up as to what they were going to tell me.

I had the dreaded colonoscopy Monday, October 9th, and when I opened my eyes the doctor was at my bedside.  No smile, no jokes, no nothing.  She closed my chart, looked at me and said “I found a tumor.”  From that second on, I stopped listening.  All I remember is getting out of the bed, dragging my IV pole with me and off I went to the bathroom.  I didn’t want to hear anymore, despite the fact nothing she said surprised me.  My hubby was in more shock than I was.

The next three weeks were spent preparing for surgery, taking a leave of absence from my job and letting my family and friends know what was happening.  Two weeks before my surgery, I got an email from a publishing house and also from an agent.  Both wanted to see more of my work.  A week later, the publishing house offered a contract and asked to see more work from me.  Doesn’t it figure when it rains it pours.  Why now?  Why couldn’t they all have wanted this earlier in the year?  Why did it have to be when I was facing the biggest challenge of my life?

I sent the agent a note saying I had to decline to send more at the present time and explained why.  The publishing house, I accepted the contract and sent off the next book I had completed.  But I also told them I had cancer, was going in for surgery and if they wanted to pull out, I would understand.  Then I went back to doing what I was doing. 

Lo and behold the next day a note came back saying the contract would stay, they would work with me for whatever time I needed to do edits and such.  I was thrilled beyond belief.  It was the one bright spot in my day and I really needed it at the time.  I did everything necessary and sent everything back to the publishing house.  Then I had colon surgery.  Surgery was successful and I was sent home to recover for six weeks, and then start chemo.  I spent my recovery submitting more work, doing edits and once more getting prepared for whatever life was going to throw at me next.

Well, life threw me a curveball on the first day of chemo.  Chemo started off fine and dandy.   I was told to give up my beloved Pepsi addiction (G) and I got my period!!  Yup, all in one day.  Talk about a tough day in the neighborhood.  And things went downhill from there.  On day seven, the chemo drugs hit me like a ton of bricks and I could barely get out of bed.  Writing was the furthest thing from my mind.  I was terrified it was going to be like this for the next seven months. (It wasn’t).  Once more the panic set in as to how I was going to do my edits.  Then after I laid there and thought about it (a lot to be said for being forced to stay in bed), I realized if I could sit up if only for an hour a day, I could do edits, and take my mind off me for a while.

That’s what I did.  I started out slowly, got to the computer, and little by little did my edits.  I finished well in advance of what I had given myself as a deadline, turned them in, and on New Years Eve 2006 learned that they wanted to buy my next book.  What a great way to celebrate the ending of one year and the beginning of another.  A few weeks later, they wanted to buy the three short stories I sent in and soon after that another two books.  

This gave me the will to put pen to paper and keep on going.  I took my notebook and pen to chemo sessions with me and wrote.  I kept them on my nightstand so all I had to do was reach over and grab it whenever I wanted to write.  

The belief the publisher and the editor had in me was what I needed to keep going, keep trying when all I wanted to do was lay there and feel sorry for myself, keep pushing on when I thought my writing career was over.  Never once did I miss a deadline.  My hubby would have preferred I put it aside and focus on getting better.  My doctor said as long as I was doing what he wanted me to do, then whatever else within reason was fine by him.  My heart said keep writing, it’ll take away the moments when lying in the bedroom late at night, unable to sleep, my mind wandered to the dark side.  A dark side that I didn’t know if I would be able to pull myself out of.  A dark side that makes you doubt anything will ever be normal again.  But it was and it is.

All you have to do is set your mind to it.  It’s like the old adage – If you don’t write, you can’t submit – if you don’t submit, you can’t get published.  Ah but yes, if you don’t submit, then you won’t get rejected.  And that’s true too.  But if you don’t put yourself out there, and I’m not just talking about writing, it can be anything in your life, a new job, a move across country, a new love life, then how will you know if you’ll succeed or fail?  You won’t know because you didn’t try.  And what’s the worst that can happen in pretty much any situation?  They said NO!  Best case scenario, they said YES!  And if it was a no, then look at it as a practice experience.  One you learn and grow from so you are better prepared the second time.  

Just remember, all it takes is one YES to start the ball rolling.  At the risk of sounding like one of those ‘I can millions and so can you infomercials’, it worked for me and it can work for you.  

Thank you all for spending a little time with me.  Have a wonderful day. 
Patti Shenberger

The Zodiac Club Book 5
Available April 1, 2012
Extasy Books


marybelle said...


I don't know what else to say.

Lostime4me said...

I was not only amazed at your fortitude but also happily shocked that a publishing company didn't back out. Bless you.

Estella said...

Great post!

Judy said...

Thanks for sharing your amazing journey, Patti. It is truly inspiring. Now I want to read one of your books.

Patti Shenberger said...

Thanks Marybelle, much appreciated!

Patti Shenberger said...

Thanks so much Lostime4me. It meant the world to me that they didn't back out.

Patti Shenberger said...

Estelle, thanks so much for stopping by.

Patti Shenberger said...

Judy, thanks so much an I hope you enjoy whichever book you pick up. My favorite is actually The Laird's Lady. I do love my Scottish Lairds.

Anita said...

Thank you for sharing such an inspiring life experience. I bet you, Patti, learned a lot about yourself and those around you.

I will also need to find and read one of your books.

Carol L. said...

Patty, I don't what to say except "Thank You" for sharing this journey with everyone. God Bless and your inner strength is admirable. Thank you.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com