Category: Uncategorized

SPECIAL

Special

I’m still excited about my new book, Abidance: A Memoir of Love and Inevitability. Lots of  amazing responses. Actually, I continue to be excited by my old books, so I have a great offer:

Any one book – $15.00

Any two books – $25.00

Any three books – $35.00

All four – $45           THESE OFFERS ONLY APPLY ON ORDERS EMAILED DIRECTLY TO LOIS

And only $3.00 shipping on any size package!!  (You send your check when you get your package, IF YOU LIKE YOUR BOOKS.)

Email TODAY. lois.hjelmstad@gmail.com

***

“This beautifully written love story inspires couples to renew their commitment to living fuller lives together. Whether you’ve been married for one year or seventy, this wonderful story will bring tears, laughter, and inspiration to your lives. A must for aging readers, which includes everyone.”

– Connie Shoemaker, author of The Good Daughter: Secrets, Life Stories, and Healing

“I truly adore Abidance. Lois has written a page-turner about two soul mates whose marriage has endured much struggle and yet have been blessed with boundless love and good times. In this day of social media and everything digital, this is a tale about something we often forget: The deep and abiding love two people can have for each other, and the life’s journey they share.”

-Fred Silverman, New York Producer

***

Again, email TODAY. lois.hjelmstad@gmail.com

You can also pick up your full price copy here:

https://www.amazon.com/Abidance-Inevitability-Lois-Tschetter-Hjelmstad/dp/0963713906

 

Love you all, Lois

End of Pinktober But Not Cancer

Halloween.

One of my least favorite holidays – pulling together costumes for years on end, kids wild from too much sugar, answering the doorbell to who knows what.

Ugh and boo.

And then there was the year Les and I brought our premature daughter home from the hospital on Halloween, in a blizzard….  

But at least it's the last day of October, the month when so many businesses use our breast cancer to promote their profits. Yvonne Watterson's post explains that much better than I can. And if fears of recurrence spook you, there is good information if you follow the link "may recur at any time" in her post.

[It's also the end of a tough month, health wise, for my dear husband, Les.  We're hoping for better things as the holidays approach – those holidays I do love, Thanksgiving and Christmas.]

But after all the pink, pink, pink, I offer something real to you – real feelings, real disfigurement, real fear, real validation of your many emotions – the eBook version of my award-winning breast cancer book, Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness. (Read more about the book here Fine Black Lines.

I'm especially happy that my many breast cancer friends around the world will now have access to this inexpensive version, if they are interested. And if you do read it, please let me know what you think and if there are any mistakes.  

Happy November!
 

 

It Hurts To Be an Adult Orphan

Hi – I've been gone from my blog ever since I posted for Mother's Day. There have been lots of reasons – loads of company, illness, lack of inspiration – all the usual excuses. And I wish I could promise I'll do better, but I'm not sure about that. We can only hope.

My last post was about my mother's death in 1995 on Mother's Day. On August 1, 1998, three years later, my father died, exactly three weeks after Les and I celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary with Dad right there with all of us and exactly one week after I had major abdominal surgery. I wrote about his sudden death previously. 

Eight weeks later I was on a book tour in Oregon and on the morning of my sixty-eighth birthday, I walked along the beach, cried, hurried back to the hotel. and wrote:

A Birthday Mourning

A birthday morning—

an ocean shore, far from home
whitecaps blend into the mist above
driftwood lies gray upon the sand
relics of places distant, days of yore

A birthday morning—

my first as an orphan
the woman who bore me
gone three years and more
the man who sired me, ashes encrypted

A birthday mourning—

for the two who gave me life
and where am I
under this threatening sky?

Who am I
and when
shall I die?

(Excerpted from The Last Violet, copyright 2002 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

Are you an adult orphan?

When did your second parent die?

Unwanted Anniversary Part 3

My journey with chronic fatigue syndrome continued and continues. I wrote of it again in This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage. This small excerpt shows some of the ways we coped:

"We eventually learned that while some patients recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome, many did not. However, I was determined not to lose my real life to a disease that, even though a mystery to medical science, was not usually fatal.

"From 1989 onward, Les and I struggled to make that happen. CFS shifted our roles. Doing heavy work made me worse, so Les took over as many chores as he could. We learned to stay at home in the evening. We started going to bed earlier than we preferred. If I could order from a catalogue, I skipped shopping. Friends slowly disappeared because I did not have enough energy to make and keep luncheon dates or carry on a converation when I did go. My family and friends tired of asking how I felt and hearing 'exhausted,' so I started saying, 'Fine.' 

"I increasingly turned to Les for strength and understanding. Only he could validate my journey with CFS; no one else knew or understood how difficult it was for both of us.

"Sometimes I dreamed about CFS. I would be visiting relatives or attending a party and feel too exhausted to lift my arms or legs; I felt as if I were disappearing into nothingness. The dream always frightened me to consciousness, but it was the one nightmare from which I could not awake.

"The rivers of entropy flowed on. And we knew that we could not stay in the Garden of Eden, no matter how hard we tried."

Most of the time, I accept my limitations. After all, I have had twenty-four years to adjust. It is part of the fabric of my life. CFS and my breast cancer a year later changed everything. And nothing. 

During all those years since April 6, 1989, I had two separate mastectomies, gave up teaching piano, wrote three books, traveled by car over 400,000 miles (without homicide or divorce?!) to speak more than 600 times, spent precious never-to-be-forgotten hours with my beloved husband and our four children and their families. 

But I know that there are many CFS patients who cannot live their lives, no matter how much accommodation they may try to do. I have been extremely lucky and I feel unworthy of the good fortune I have had. I am trying to give back as much as I can out of gratitude.   

This thread to be completed tomorrow with a poem…

Unwanted Anniversary Part 2

After my diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, I was embarrassed, mortified. What had I done to cause it? Had I worked too hard? Was I too much of a Type-A personality?

Please let me continue the excerpt from Fine Black Lines:

"Aside from Les and our children, I told no one about the diagnosis for two years. I tried to hide my symptoms, rested on the sly, and made excuses so I wouldn't have to do so much. I felt a sense of shame in having an illness that was portrayed with such triviality in the media. CFS was dismissed as the trendy disease of the late 80s–the Yuppie Flu.

"It felt neither trendy nor yuppie to me. I was 58; I was a little old gray-haired piano teacher, for goodness' sake. But I discovered what it is like to not know at 10:00 a.m. how I will feel at noon, to stand at the foot of the stairs and wonder how I will make it to the top, to be too tired to lift a pencil or hold a book, to have to rest two hours every afternoon and go to bed by 8:00 or 8:30, to play the piano and have a finger 'lock up,' to have to wear a jacket with pockets (even on a summer day) to carry my arms, and to forget an entire thought in the middle of a sentence.

"When I was diagnosed with breast cancer a year later, I almost felt validated. At least everyone understood that disease and its implications. Almost everyone has heard of the terror, the incredible sense of loss, the fear of disfigurement and death.  [At this point, I’m not so sure how many people actually understand, but that’s how I felt then.] 

"There has been no way to sort out how much of my weakness and fatigue comes from CFS and how much has been caused by the cancer surgeries and treatments. I do know it is likely that CFS has caused at least some of the difficulty in recovery and some of the residual pain in the surgical areas.

"And I know that writing has been a lifeline to reality and healing.

"Still, I did not intend to write a book. But when I shared my writing with doctors, nurses, and friends, they encouraged me to share my experience with a wider audience.

"Sometimes I laugh and say I had three things to get off my chest–this book is the third."

To be continued…