Please welcome Kathryn Treat as my guest blogger today. Kathryn is the author of Allergic To Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope. The book is an inspiration; a story of hope, and Kathryn’s courage is impressive.
“It is a book of survival for anyone who has battled against chronic illness each day.”
I am honored that Bruce has invited me to write a guest blog post today. I tossed and turned on what my topic today would be. Would I write about my book and my illness? Would I write about what it is like to suddenly have written a book? Or would I write about the amazing opportunities that have been afforded me since writing the book?
After pondering all this for some time, I realized that I wouldn’t have written a book nor had all the amazing opportunities afforded to me if my life hadn’t taken a sudden detour from healthy to quite ill. My journey through illness and sensitivities many cannot fathom is the reason I wrote “Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope”. I believe the reason for my illness was that I was meant to be a spokesman for those whose voice could not be heard or those who didn’t have the strength or conviction to tell their stories.
I was an active mother of two nearly grown teenagers when illness struck me. My life went from attending meeting after meeting, volunteering in clubs, and starting back to work to living with infection after infection and developing one strange infection after another. All of this was followed by becoming sensitive to the chemicals that most use in everyday life (my hair color, my laundry soap, the chemicals in my carpet, and the solution I used for my contacts). I became allergic to most foods and medications as well.
It was during my treatments at the Environmental Health Center in Dallas that I learned that I was not alone. There were others just like me. We were all sick, alone, and isolated. I suffered extreme depression as the illness took me down one horrific path after another. I began writing in my journal as a way of dealing with the day’s stress. My journal became the person I could talk to when my world was crumbling around me. I shed my tears and wrote my deepest feelings in it. It was hard to explain to others what my life was like and how difficult it was to just survive. I decided that I needed to tell the story of my journey to let others who were suffering know they were not alone. I wrote to bring awareness to environmental illness.
I never considered myself a writer. I was crafty and could take a pattern and a scrap of material and create wonderful things. I could envision something quite different and alter the pattern to suit my needs. Suddenly through my writing I was thrust into a whole new world. It was the world of authors, bloggers, reviewers, and the scary social media scene. Sure I knew a little about social media because I did have a personal Facebook page to communicate with friends and family. I had heard of Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest but really did not know much about them. I was told that I needed to begin blogging as a way of marketing and promoting myself and I needed to get a Twitter account. Fear paralyzed me. What could I possibly write in a blog on any regular basis that anyone would want to read? What could I say in 140 characters or less? Would this really be able to help me promote and market my soon-to-be-released book? I jumped in with both feet with a “sink or swim” attitude. Soon I realized that I had plenty to say and the more I wrote the more my fear eased.
Through blogging I made connections with others who suffered from chronic illness and I made connections with fellow authors. Through these wonderful connections I have become a member of PnP Authors and Rave Reviews Book Club where I serve as Membership Director. Rave Reviews Book Club is also where I met Bruce. I have had the opportunity to participate in both written and video interviews. I have been hosted by fabulous women on my first ever blog tour. Most importantly I have been accepted for not only my writing but for myself in spite of my crazy life. I have been accepted as a voice for environmental illness.
I knew there had to be a reason why I continued to fight when it would have been so easy to give up. Despite all the bad things that have happened since becoming ill, some wonderful and exciting things have happened as well. I encourage everyone to keep fighting through the strife in their lives. There could be something truly beautiful just beyond your reach. Keep reaching!
LIFE PASSES HER BY
She sits and stares out the window
and she doesn’t recognize anything
Life has passed her by and
Nothing is the same
Where was she when all this happened?
She was here but
Life Passed her by
She reaches out but
Life is just past
She stretches and bends
and tries again
But life passes her by
She talks to people but
it is a jumble
to understand what they say
The life she missed is
just out of her reach
Life passed her by
Connect with Kathryn through her website, kathryntreat.com.
Purchase Allergic To Life on Amazon