Monday, October 20, 2014

Lizzie Lilac and the Left Socks Book Tour & the Survive & Thrive Blog Hop

If you're here for the Survive & Thrive Blog Hop, my entry can be found below Lizzie Lilac and the Left Socks.

Today I welcome Cheri Chesley and K.C. Rose. Their children's book, Lizzie Lilac and the Left Socks, released this month. Welcome, ladies!

Authors: Cheri Chesley &  K.C. Rose
Book Title:  Lizzie Lilac and the Left Socks
Book Genre:  Children's Books
Release Date: October 2014
Tour Host: Silverbow Promotions

In honor of all breast cancer survivors, warriors, and those they’ve left behind.

A few years ago, K.C. Rose and I got some devastating news: a sweet friend and mother had an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer. Since I had just launched my first novel into the world, I decided to donate all my royalties for a period of months to the family to help them fight this horrible invader. But it wasn’t enough—we knew we could do more. That’s where the concept of the Lizzie Lilac book was born. This book is not only dedicated to our friend (who is now cancer free!!) and her family, but also to all the families who struggle with this disease. K.C. and I make no profit from sharing this story—everything we raise will go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah to help them help others.

Thank you for being part of our fight. 

Poor Lizzie Lilac. When one of her favorite socks goes missing, she is determined to find out where all the missing socks go. What she learns is definitely more than she expected.

You can purchase Lizzie Lilac and the Left Socks at Amazon.

About the authors:

Cheri Chesley believes in miracles and the magic of books in everyday life. When not writing, she can be found reading the dictionary for fun or devouring any of the many books in her library. She lives with her husband and numerous children in Waurika, OK. Look for updates on her latest works at

K.C. Rose is the pen name of one of Cheri Chesley’s lovely daughter, who currently enjoys reading books about fairies, writing stories, singing, and performing. She lives with her family and was the guiding inspiration for Lizzie Lilac and the Left Socks—including coming up with the concept, naming characters, and approving all rewrites.

The Survive and Thrive Bloghop is hosted by Stephen Tremp, Michael Di Gesu, Diane Wolfe, and Alex J. Cavanaugh. And it's meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages.

What I'd like to talk about is heart attacks in women. Why just women? You'll see in a moment. 

The symptoms of a heart attack have been fairly well publicized in the past. These symptoms include:

  • Chest pain, usually in the center of the chest, that lasts more than a few minutes
  • Pain in other areas, such as the arm, jaw, back, neck, and stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other symptoms, such as cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

Chest pain and arm pain are the two symptoms we hear most about. What they weren't discussing a decade ago, and which I haven't noticed being mentioned these days either, is that women's heart attack symptoms are often outside the normal symptoms mentioned for men. Women often don't suffer the chest pain as a primary symptom. Instead, they will frequently experience flu-like symptoms, including:

  • Pressure or pain in the abdomen
  • Dizziness, fainting, lightheadedness
  • Upper back pain
  • Extreme fatigue

Just over a decade ago, I was putting together a huge surprise party for my parents' anniversary. I'd secured the venue after much research, and I had friends and family flying out from Oregon and California to take part. I called my grandma (my mom's mom) to see if she'd be coming out, as well. Her voice was weak. She told me she wasn't feeling well. She thought it was the flu shot she'd just gotten, and she asked me to call her the next day. 

When I called her the next day, she still sounded awful, but she said she'd been to the doctor the day before, and they'd told her she was dehydrated. They shored her up with some I.V. fluids and sent her back home. She said she was just so tired and weak, that her stomach was upset, and that she was having "stomach issues" (code words for her for diarrhea) and nausea. They told her she'd feel better the next day. She told me she'd call back when she felt better and let me know if she could make the party.

I had to stop by my parents' house the next day. I drove up and parked, but before I could get inside, my mom ran up to me. She'd gotten a call from a hospital in Oregon. My grandma had suffered a heart attack. A friend of hers had shown up when she didn't hear from her, as they'd had plans, and she'd found her on the floor, too weak to move. We were told it was bad, and that we should get out there immediately to say goodbye.

My mom and I flew to Oregon from Colorado that night. My mom's terrified of flying, and our big plane only took us to Portland. We had to get a tiny plane to take us to the mountains, where my grandma lived. (If you've not ridden on a prop plane with someone terrified of flying, you haven't experienced flight.) Her friend picked us up at the little mountain airport and took us directly to the hospital. There, the doctor told us she had suffered multiple heart attacks over the course of three days, and that her heart was in shreds. She wouldn't make it. 

She was conscious and able to talk to us. We slept on chairs in her room that night, as it was late. The nurses slipped in a couple times and put heated blankets on us because it was freezing cold in the room. The next day, my grandmother requested we take her home so she could die in the house she and my grandpa had built. 

In the end, she only lived a few more days, but she lived those final days on a hospital bed in the living room of the mountain home she loved. My mom and I cared for her, and were able to spend those final days with her. My uncle and aunt were able to come up to be with her the last two days, as well.

The truly unfortunate part in all this is that, not only were the symptoms of a heart attack overlooked, but her doctor had taken her off Atenolol, a heart medication she was already on for known heart problems fairly recently, due to surgeries she was having. A simple checking of her medical records should have shown this, and she should have been put back on it after the surgery. Where the error occurred, who knows. Did her doctor not write that he'd taken her off the drug? Did the emergency doctor not check through the records thoroughly? Either way, with a woman in her 70s, it should have been a consideration. Sadly, the chest pain didn't set in until it was too late. Ultimately, she did report pain that felt like an elephant sitting on her chest, but it was close to the end when that occurred. (Her words about this not long before she died later caused me to burst into tears during the movie Something's Gotta' Give, when he reports it feeling like an elephant on his chest.)

Had they treated her for a heart attack after the first one, instead of telling her she was dehydrated, I'm told there was a chance she could have survived. But after three, she stood zero chance.

Make sure the women in your life know that the classic movie symptoms may not be true for them. Especially if they are at known risk for heart problems. The American Heart Association has a lot of good information. Personally, I also recommend knowing what meds they're on, and following up if the meds get changed. It could make a difference.

Thank you again to Cheri and K.C. for stopping by on their blog tour. Be sure to sign up via the Rafflecopter giveaway. And take care of yourselves and your loved ones!

May you find your Muse.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sorry you had to lose your grandmother like that. I didn't realize the symptoms for women were different.
And yes, I've been on a prop plane. Never again.
I always thought the dryer ate those socks.
Thanks for participating in the blogfest.

S. L. Hennessy said...

My mom had a heart attack too. I'm so sorry for what you went through and so grateful you're getting the word out to prevent others from going through the same thing.

J.L. Campbell said...

Congrats to Cheri and KC. Scary story about your grandmother. Thanks for sharing these facts. Didn't know about the flu-like symptoms.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

As a health teacher, I always made a point to talk about how women have some different symptoms of heart attacks than men. Most studies are done on men and overlook women so this information is late being reported. Great post and glad your friend is cancer-free.

Birgit said...

A co-worker of mine is 49 and has already had 2 heart attacks. I knew about the symptoms because of her. She didn't even realize she had a heart attack because she thought she had the flu and had an upset stomach and a bad back. Her husband took her in to the hospital and right away they hooked her up and found out she had a heart attack. She was lucky. It is a shame that many Dr's do not know what to look for and I feel they think when a person is in their 70's and a woman, that they "have lived their life". I have heard Dr's say this and I want to scream. It must have been hard to see her succumb to this but maybe this experience will help someone else. You know what the signs are and can help. I think it was great that you donated all the profits of your book

cleemckenzie said...

Very interesting and so sad for you. I'd always thought heart attack symptoms were the same regardless of gender. Good to know. Thank you for educating us with your experience.

Kimberly said...

I'm sorry about your grandmother and the missed symptoms. I did know they were different but this is such a great reminder that they are - it's not something we think about all the time.

I have flown on a prop plane and it's definitely not a fun experience.

What a great thing Cheri and K.C. are doing - congratulations on their book!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Thank you Shannon for sharing your story and joining our bloghop....

So sorry to hear of your grandmother's demise. It is sad they hadn't diagnosed her properly.

THANKS for featuring Cheri and K.C.... what a wonderful book for such great cause. We can't do enough for cancer victims...

Congrats ladies... ALL the best!

Unknown said...

Thank you for this post. I've heard that heart attacks in women are worse than men. It's really important to pay attention to the signs. Sorry to hear about your grandmother.

Pat Hatt said...

never knew there was different signs for women. Good to know indeed. Awful that the doctors screwed up when she maybe could have been saved

Tamara Narayan said...

What a heartbreaking story! I haven't heard of these alternate symptoms for heart attacks in women. Thank you for sharing this vital information.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

How very sad. I knew symptoms were different for women, but I didn't realize a stomach ache was one of the symptoms. We all need to be aware of that. said...

That's a tragic episode, WM. So sorry. I think that one of the most tragic things is that even the medical profession ignores any symptoms that aren't at the top of the list, or aren't classic symptoms, when it comes to their PDRs/Physician's Desk References. So many of them refuse to think outside of the box, at the expense of others' lives. I'm glad that at least your grandmother could pass at home, surrounded by her loved ones.

Thank you for this very important information that I'm filing in my memory bank.

Keep a smile.

Denise Covey said...

What a sad way to lose your grandmother and it was avoidable too. I knew symptoms of heart attacks varied, but didn't know women had different symptoms. My mum had a similar experience but managed to live until she was over 90 despite the doctors not picking up the fact that she had had a heart problem.

Diane Burton said...

How very sad. I am so sorry for your loss. I have heard that the symptoms for women are different than those men experience.

One of the things I've read repeatedly in this blogfest is people being misdiagnosed because their doctor didn't listen to them or take their concerns seriously. We have to advocate for ourselves and for our loved ones.

Mina Burrows said...

Oh gosh that book looks adorable.

I'm sorry for your loss. Heart attacks and strokes are so scary. There are many people that have loved ones suffer from this. It's awful.
Those lists are great reminders. Thank you.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Sorry for your loss!! I have a heart condition and I'm always on the look out for good advice. Great Post!!

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Shannon, great that she was able to be around those who loved her so much. All too often its the men that are the focus of a potential heart attack and not women. So great post! I really enjoyed it,

Thanks for participating in the Blogfest. Hope to see you again for next year's event!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Alex, the prop plane even made me nervous, and I enjoy flying.

S.L., I'm sorry to hear about your mom.

J.L., I wouldn't have known about them either, had it not been for her experience.

Susan, I find it so scary that they do more studies on men when heart attacks are a primary cause of death for women. Thank you for educating on the different symptoms for women!

Birgit, I would love to take credit for the book and donations, but they were guests on my blog. I hope your co-worker doesn't have any further heart attacks.

Lee, I think most people think that.

Kimberly, I'm glad you already knew. That means the info's out there!

Michael, I agree that we can't do enough for cancer victims.

Clarissa, I wonder if they're more often fatal for women, or if the numbers are close?

Pat, it's definitely awful. For a fleeting moment we considered a lawsuit, but it wouldn't have accomplished anything.

Tamara, I'm glad to have introduced this to a few new people!

L. Diane, it's such an easy thing to overlook. You get a stomach ache, you assume it's just the usual.

Robyn, I know docs see a lot of people, and are used to the same list of symptoms over and over, but I do wish they'd remember to consider all the possibilities. Those who research and continue to learn are the best.

Denise, wow, fantastic about your mom! I'm glad she survived.

Diane, we most definitely have to be strong advocates when it comes to health.

Mina, it does look adorable, doesn't it?

Cathrina, take care of yourself!

Stephen, oh, I always have health topics to discuss. ;)

Anonymous said...

Shannon, I'm so sorry that you lost your grandmother that way. Thank you for doing this post and sharing the symptoms of a heart attack. I had no idea that they were different for women.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I'm so sorry about your grandma. I'm sure she appreciated that you and your mom spent her last days with her. It's good you had the opportunity to say goodbye, and that she did things on her terms. It does sound like her doctor was negligent in her care. Thanks for the important message that you always have to be proactive about your health.

Very cute premise for a children's book!


Cynthia said...

What a heart-wrenching story. I'm sorry for the loss of your grandmother. Thank you for bringing attention to how women can have different symptoms during a heart attack.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shannon - such a sad story ... but at least she died at home with you around her. But things should and could have been different ...

We need to have someone who will help us through these types of change - not easy to check the doctor though ... it happens and it shouldn't ...

With many thoughts .. Hilary

D.G. Hudson said...

Thanks for the tips on female heart attacks. I was familiar with the arm and chest pain, but not the others.

Hubs had a cardiac arrest, so no symptoms just bang, blockage. So much to know about disease that we don't know. If there were warning signs, I didn't know what to look for.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Susanne, I'm glad I could put out some new information!

Julie, I'm definitely glad we had the opportunity to be with her those last days.

Cynthia, thank you, it's important to me that women know.

Hilary, at the very least, doctors should be aware and cognizant of the difference and monitor women better.

D.G., that's so scary! I hope he's doing well now.

Michelle Wallace said...

Thanks for sharing this story, Shannon.
I learned something new. Wrt heart attacks, the symptoms for men and women are different. Never knew that. And I would never have thought that flu-like symptoms could be linked to it...
I'm sorry about your loss...especially since it could have been avoided.