PERFECT STORM

Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos

Imagine if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time which leads police to believe you did a serious crime you didn’t do. That is exactly what happens to Brody Trent in my novel, TWISTED FATE. Unfortunately, the victim cannot set the record straight because she is in a coma. The artsy community where he lives and works is shocked to find the easygoing artist charged with the brutal assault of a young woman. As each day goes by, Brody grows frustrated waiting for his day in court which is at least a year away.

By a fluke of Mother Nature, he escapes house arrest and goes after the person he thinks committed the crime. On the South Carolina coast near Charleston, he seeks the help of a pretty woman to clear his name. But doing so puts her at risk, something Brody doesn’t want, especially since he has fallen hard for her.
Like the title infers, there are many twists and turns along the way and many potential suspects. The Kindle edition of the book is available today and tomorrow (October 18-19) for FREE. Go to this link, to download. If you don’t have a Kindle, no problem. You can download to any e-reader app or Kindle Cloud. TWISTED FATE is now available as an Audiobook.
One more thing…You can sign up for Susan’s Blog by filling in your email address on the right side of this post. Happy reading!

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Food Choices for A Healthier You

If you think about it, everything you need for healthy eating can be found in the perimeter of the grocery store. In most cases, no need to go down the aisles.

Most nutritionists recommend a plant-based diet such as the Mediterranean. Since receiving my recent diagnosis of Stage One breast cancer, I have made a commitment to eat foods that are preventive for the return of the disease. Did you know 85% of cancer patients will experience a nutrition related health deficiency during their cancer treatment? I’ve learned it is more a lifestyle change than a diet which requires me to select the right foods to block the formation of cancer.

Here’s perhaps the biggest culprit and foe of cancer patients: Sugar. Based on the work of Nobel Prize-winning physician, Otto Warburg, we know that the average cancer cell needs up to eighteen times more sugar to grow and divide than normal cells. The average daily intake of fructose is 54.7 grams. That’s 14 teaspoons! Way more than the liver can metabolize. I have substituted sugar with Stevia; however, artificial sweeteners are not so great either. They make us crave sugar. I can’t stop thinking about ice cream after I consume it! Yikes! A better choice is a natural sugar like honey or maple syrup but only in a small amount.

Okay, so we know sugar is a bad guy. What is good for us especially in the formation of good cells versus bad cells? I won’t bore you with the scientific reasoning behind these choices. You’ll just have to rely on my research.

Here’s my A-list of good food options:
Garlic – at the top of the list in cancer prevention
Cruciferous veggies: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, kale
And don’t’ forget these guys: radishes, mushrooms, green beans, asparagus
Turmeric – the all-around best spice for your health
Walnuts or other tree nuts. Yummy and full of protein
Honorable mentions: green tea, berries, red grapes, olive oil, whole grains, fish (especially salmon), red kidney beans, pinto beans, banana, lemons, grapefruit, apples
Two you probably never heard of: (click on word for link)
Hemp protein powder: I use it in a green smoothie for lunch: 3 leaves romaine lettuce, ½ avocado, juice from 1/2 lemon, Stevia packet, ¼ cup hemp protein, water. Use blender to mix & chop
Ground flaxseed meal: I use it for a muffin in a mug for breakfast. Place in wide brim mug in this order: 1 Tbsp. olive oil, ¼ cup flaxseed meal, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 egg, 1 TBsp. maple syrup. Mix well, cook on high in microwave for 1 min. 20 seconds. Turn immediately onto plate

My typical meal plan looks like this:
Breakfast: Muffin in a mug, black coffee
Lunch: green smoothie, 5 almond crackers
Snack: ½ apple and ¼ cup walnuts
Dinner: Small portion of grilled or baked salmon, steamed broccoli, ¼ baked sweet potato with cinnamon
Nothing after dinner. It is best to fast for 10-13 hours

Research source: Chris Beat Cancer by Chris Wark, The Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry, MD, and Cancer Care.org

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A LEAP OF FAITH

What would possess a retired grandmother to take her first trip out of the country not to the Caribbean, or Paris, or London, but to Uganda. Why there? Out of the blue, my sister, Donna, called me to tell me her news. But to really get to the heart of the matter, I decided to conduct an interrogation, —huh, I mean, an interview. You might be surprised by Donna’s answers to my questions.

Why did you choose Uganda to visit?
I have felt for some time that everyone around me is traveling different places. Since I am single (a widow) my opportunities have been very limited. I also have suffered from Meniere’s Disease (a disease of the inner ear). I have lived in fear that an attack might happen as I get no warning when it does. Because of this, I have always stayed close to home. Recently, I seem to be in remission as it has been almost a year since my last attack. One Sunday, our pastor, Elizabeth Bumpas, announced in church that she was getting a group to go on a mission trip to Uganda. Elizabeth was a missionary there for 3 years. She said if you are looking for an adventure to think about going. Something told me right then that I should go. I mulled it over for several days, but once I decided to go, it was like a peace came over me. I firmly believe God is leading me to Uganda!
What is the mission of this trip?
Our church Saint James has been supporting a small theological college in the city of Gulu. It has about 40 students. The college prepares men and women for the ministry in the Anglican Church of Uganda. Many clergy and churches were lost during the 20-year civil war in N. Uganda. This is a critical time in Uganda to spread the gospel. Islam is systematically converting thousands of people in the region. We will visit the students and present each of them with a gift of a newly published African Study Bible. The main purpose is to encourage the ministerial students and pray with them. Also, to see how we can help meet their needs.
Going to a strange land with a different culture, language, economic status must give you some apprehension. What is your biggest concern about traveling there?
My biggest concern is the food difference from what I am accustomed to. Because of my Meniere’s Disease, I must watch sodium in my diet. I am not familiar with what they eat but I did hear it’s bland.
When do you leave, and how long will it take to arrive at your destination?
We are leaving on Oct. 17. I anticipate the travel being brutal. We fly out of Charleston to Washington, DC, then from Washington to Brussells and finally, to Entebbe, Uganda. The following day we will drive 4 hours to the city of Gulu.
I understand you are visiting a refugee camp while there. How did this camp come into existence? Who are the people there?
The people of Northern Uganda have suffered greatly over the last 50 years. In 1971 a brutal dictator, Idi Amin overthrew President Milton Obote and led a bloody terror in Uganda for 8 years. Amin was forced to flee Uganda in 1979 by the Tanzanian army and a group of Ugandan exiles. By this time, Amin had murdered tens of thousands and caused Uganda’s economy to collapse. The current President Yoweri K. Museveni came into power in 1986. There was opposition in the north. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was formed as a rebellion against Museveni’s rule. Warlord Joseph Kony took command of the rebel army in 1988. In order to strengthen his army, he abducted children and forced them to become child soldiers. Young girls were forced to become sex slaves. Villages were raided. Hundreds of thousands fled to camps in search of safety. In 2008, the North began to experience relative peace after the LRA migrated into the Congo, Sudan, and the Central African Republic with pressure from Ugandan government. The rebuilding began and the fragile church began to regroup and rebuild. The recovery has been slow but the Church continues in its efforts to help the people and bring hope to the war-torn lives of Uganda.
How are you preparing for this trip?
I have taken the necessary shots-Yellow fever and typhoid. I have malaria pills I take for 10 days. While there, the women must wear dresses or skirts. I had to buy a few items of clothing since I wear mostly shorts and jeans here.
Are you responsible for your own expenses?
The trip will cost approximately $2500 each. Each team member has reached out to family, friends and church members to help with contributions. To date, I have not reached my goal, but I know God will provide. This experience will be life changing. I want to share the love of God and my friendship with people less fortunate than myself.

If you would like to support Donna with a monetary gift or to the mission trip in general, click here to donate or send a check to Saint James Church, 1872 Camp Road, Charleston, SC 29412 and mark Donna Lewis Uganda Mission in the memo line. Donna says a big thank you!

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DON’T SKIP IT

If you are reading this soon after it publishes on the morning of Tuesday, August 20, I will be in surgery. My first surgery (a lumpectomy) was July 26 to remove what I thought was benign tissue with the high risk of developing into breast cancer. Whether I opted for surgery was a decision left to me, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Little did I know when I went for my post-op visit with my surgeon, he would tell me nope, it wasn’t benign after all. It was invasive cancer. Thankfully, it is low grade, Stage 1. The second surgery, happening right now (if you’re reading this early), is to make sure the disease had not spread into the lymph nodes. Radiation and hormone therapy will be my go-to treatments to begin in about two weeks, unless another test or the lymph nodes biopsy require chemotherapy. My doctors are hopeful chemo will not be needed.

Here’s the thing…I was planning not to have a mammogram this year because the recommendation for women over 70 (that’s me) is to have one every two years. Suppose I did skip it; I would be walking around with cancer and not even know it until symptoms showed up. By that time, my cancer could be more advanced.

Who is at risk? The simple answer is women, and I mean ALL women. Of course, there are other factors such as weight, smoking, family history, age when a pregnancy occurred, hormone therapy, just to name a few. Here’s the hard facts: One in eight women in the US will develop breast cancer in 2019. Of those, 41,760 are expected to die. Among races, African-American women are at the highest risk of death. Get this, 85% of women with breast cancer had NO family history of the disease!

I’m not messing around here—I’m telling you flat-out to get checked. If you’re overdue, make the call NOW!

Stay tuned because in a future blog post, I will share my healthy diet plan. I am hoping it will aid in putting my disease into remission. Not only is the diet plan good for losing weight, but it can decrease a person’s risk of developing cancer. It’s a fact that certain foods like red meat, refined carbs, and sugar increase our risk.

I am determined to stay positive throughout this ordeal. Writing is therapy for me, so I will keep at it, creating suspenseful stories and putting my characters in life-threatening, dangerous scenarios. Hey, wait a minute, in my current situation, I could say that about myself, right? For more info, visit BreastCancer.org.

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