Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Will Not Be Broken- Never Give Up – My Story

My story about why this famous quote means so much to me.

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”-- Thomas Edison

I started therapy in an attempt to overcome depression associated with the loss of work and financial support from a job that I loved and dedicated myself to, nursing. I had no idea I had fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or chronic myofascial pain. All I knew is that I hurt, couldn’t sleep, and I could no longer remember where things were kept, even at work, remember simple tasks or learn easily like I once had. This cognitive deficit was documented by a neurocognitive exam and I knew I needed help. My then therapist is my now co-author. This book started as an entry in my journal in the year 2000, and was to be an exercise for maintaining what cognitive abilities I had left. Sometime in 2001, I realized I was earnestly putting myself into the project, and it began to morph into something more than journal entries. I took the next three years to research and write the manuscript, much longer than the average person my age, education, and background, but I was glad I had accomplished what I set out to do. Through this process I learned so much about my disorders, how to cope, how to pace, and how not to expect more than I had to give. Those of you reading this know how unpredictable these ugly illnesses can be.

I spent the next twelve to eighteen months looking for a publisher. I read how hard that would be as a first time author, but I had writing experience as an educator and a contributor to the Missouri State Board of Nursing Continuing Education Program. After all, this developing query letters was exercising the half brain I had left. Oh, I got discouraged all right, but I knew it was about having the right product for the right publisher at the right time. I experienced so many rejections, but I learned to handle constructive criticism, which was empowering to me. Then, bingo, I got a taker and a contract with a small publishing house in St. Louis. But the story doesn't end here. The owner passed away 3 months after signing the contract. The family tried to keep it going for the next THREE years. Yes, 3 years. I kept being put off, and could never get hold of my editor, yet I was bound by a contract and I had no money to fight what was happening or join a union that could. Now I had seven years invested and I constantly had to keep the information updated.

In December 2008 I called to see if the typesetter got the final piece he needed, I was due to go to print in 3 weeks. To my great dismay, and I say that VERY lightly, the phone line had been disconnected, and the publisher took down their website. The family closed the doors without warning to any of their pending authors.

I started down that black hole again, first I am so ill I cannot work, then I pour my heart and own health into what I considered to be a way of helping others, which as a caretaker for so many years was important to me. I couldn’t help thinking that maybe this just wasn’t supposed to be. Shot down again by the situation of life. But then I was lifted out, after my pity party, I began to look up.

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."--Isaac Newton

If you know me, you know I love quotes from famous or not so famous people. It was the strength I received from remembering those words that led me to understand; this was only a bump in the road. It only took me about another six to ten months (remember my time lines might be a little off, but you get the idea) to find a new publisher. After sending out the manuscript to many and probably over 100 queries, and every publisher has their own idea on how they want things submitted, I hit pay dirt.

My relationship with Inner Traditions/Healing Arts Press was meant to be from the beginning, I just didn’t know it way back when. The WPI discovery came out just in time to get XMRV in the book, though only a small piece, it offers hope. My editor was already on top of it. Two days after I had feverishly sent off the information on XMRV I wanted included, just days before going to the typesetter, my editor also contacted my project manager about this breaking news.

So you see, I am one fortunate lady. I was blessed with a mother and grandmother that believed in the power of persistence and that any voice can make a difference. I have stood on the shoulders of many giants and for them I am grateful.

And now I must honor my mentor, the person who shared time from her life to make me a better writer, and the one who told me to NEVER GIVE UP, Devin Starlanyl. Devin J. Starlanyl is former director of the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain Institute and is the author, with Mary Ellen Copeland, of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual and The Fibromyalgia Advocate.

My friend, you are one in a million. You see, I am doing my best to pay it forward.

Lamb hugs

I Will Not Be Broken

Though I may bend, you will not break me,
I am determined, you will not flaw my character,
Because of the strength of others bestowed upon me,
I will persevere, this I know about myself.

God, lift me up from the dark hole that may imbibe me,
Continue to show me how to embrace the beliefs of others,
Help me maintain my integrity,
And embrace the universe with resolve.”

Celeste Cooper


Unknown said...

Could you get up each day, After you prayed
Cry when you try to wash your hair?
Each time you eat, Your food it repeats
Your intestines swell, stabs you as well
Your energy ebbs, makes you fall?

I would rather have 10 GOOD years
than lie in pain, In bed every Day
When NO ONE you love
Understands, OR is there AT ALL
So yes I think death, would put me to rest

instead i stay here
In pain every breath every hour
So my love will not have to
Endure my death, My will has weakened
Like any dry flower, Energy wilted,
I Try, I Cry

The Pained Ink Slayer said...

Thank you so much for your comment and sharing your most intimate feelings Michelle.

Lamb hugs, Celeste

Celeste's Website

Celeste's Website
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