“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #29 – Stevie Turner

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Look on the Bright Side of Life

Late October 2015, and the year is dying. As I step out along the country lanes and scuff up the dry, withered leaves, I cannot help but focus on my own possible demise. Once again there are two enlarged lymph nodes where enlarged lymph nodes shouldn’t be, despite one thyroidectomy, two neck dissections, and four treatments of radioactive iodine. The possible implications start to play havoc with my mind. I start to think about arranging my funeral and sorting out my affairs. I change my bank accounts to joint ones, and try not to sink into a deep depression.

They say papillary thyroid cancer is a ‘good’ cancer. This had been told to me 10 years previously with just the right amount of bonhomie by a rather fortunate medic who had no idea what it would be like to suffer personally from an advanced stage 4 variety. The disease is slow-growing but relentless in its efforts to take over the body. Silent battles have been valiantly fought over many years with a clever, elusive enemy. However, casualties are now mounting at an alarming pace; the voice is croaky, the neck is stiff and painful, the eyes are dry at night and watery during the day, the thyroxine-induced palpitations are increasing along with bone thinning, and slowly but surely my vitality and joie-de-vivre is dissipating, along with the heat of the summer.

At the age of 47 I had only suffered from the odd cold or sore throat, and had been into hospital just to have my 2 babies. This was to change somewhat drastically with my cancer diagnosis in June 2005, initially mis-diagnosed as a multi-nodular goitre by a radiologist stuffed full of his own self-importance. I suddenly found that many doctors wanted to be in my personal space, although luckily I’ve been unconscious for the more serious intrusions. Their jovial bedside manner and tendency to understate matters is irritating; why not speak the facts as they stand and let the patient be informed of what is going to happen to them? I was never told that radioactive iodine could cause narrowing of the eyes’ tear ducts; I had to look up the information for myself after I was brushed off as having blepharitis and told to wash my eyes with baby shampoo! I eventually needed to be in another surgeon’s personal space as he repaired the tear duct in my left eye in 2009. The same surgeon repaired the right eye seven years later.

However, I am still here after 10 years of fighting. Metastatic thyroid cells invaded my lungs early on with the intention of finishing me off, but as yet I have no symptoms from the secondary lung cancer, which does not seem to grow. I take my daily constitutional walks around my village, inhaling the country air and mentally sticking up a middle finger at my foe. I’ve even purchased a bicycle, and relish the fact that I can still pedal out along the narrow roads and feel the breeze on my face. If villagers pass the time of day with me and ask why my voice is croaky, I tell them I have caught a cold. I must be known locally as ‘Germy’! I avoid pity like the plague; all I’ve ever wanted to be is ‘normal’, the same as everybody else.

What is ‘normal’? Everybody in this life at some time or another has a cross to bear. There is no point in bleating ‘Why me?’ The answer is ‘Well, why not?’ Why should I be singled out for a trouble-free life? Bad luck affects us all in different ways. With me it’s thyroid cancer, but others can be worse off in their misfortune. Life is not a bed of roses, and we have to deal with the lot we have been given. This is where I am fortunate because twice in my life thyroid cancer, strangely enough, has worked in my favour.

The first time my dark cloud had a silver lining was after the initial thyroidectomy operation in 2005. One vocal cord was permanently paralysed during the procedure, and I was left with a whisper of a voice for many months. At the time I was working as a grade 2 clerk in a busy hospital, and could no longer answer the phone or speak to patients and relatives who came up to the desk. I was re-deployed and promoted to a grade 3 assistant medical secretary, typing clinic letters only, rising to a grade 4 secretary when a semblance of a voice had returned and it was proved that I could do the work. Seeing as it was a medical secretary’s post I had been after when I initially joined the hospital’s staff in 2002, my dream had at last come true. I did not possess the qualifications initially to apply for a secretary’s post, and had originally been turned down countless times when I had applied for job vacancies. Thyroid cancer had stepped in and given me what I wanted!

The second time it worked in my favour was in October 2014 when after a period of 7 years’ remission, the cancer returned. I needed a right neck dissection, and the procedure caused my voice to disappear again, no doubt because of the trauma of intubation. I was by then 57 years old, suffering more with the effects of the various operations I had had, and I decided to take early retirement on grounds of sickness and disability. I had had enough trying to hold down a job in-between undergoing procedures. My oncologist put up a good case for me, and I was granted my pension. I am now free to do the thing I have always wanted to do all my life – write novels!

To date I have written 8 novels and 4 novellas, and am currently working on a book of short stories. I am having a ball while I suffer the effects of my cancer treatment. I have my own little space in our lounge, where I sit and let my creative instincts take over and banish thoughts of death and disease from my mind. Sometimes I even forget to start cooking dinner, so lost am I in the twists and turns of my plots. My husband is kindness personified, and is only too happy to see me enjoying what life I have left. I sell my stories on Amazon to supplement my pension, and to date have sold over 1000 books.

The waiting is one of the worst things about this disease. First you wait for surgery, and then you wait for a diagnosis. Following treatment you wait to see if it has been successful, if it hasn’t then you must wait for more treatment. If your thyroxine dose is incorrect, then you wait 6 weeks for a blood test after taking an increased or reduced dose, because a new strength of thyroxine takes 6 weeks work properly. I have spent 11 years as a lady-in-waiting.

What length of life do I have left? Who knows? It’s as long as a piece of string. It could be 30 years, or it could be 3. I have exhausted two of the treatments, surgery and radioactive iodine, but still have two more to go before the doctors hang up their white coats and walk out the door. The third treatment is external beam radiotherapy, with its drastic side-effects and possible hospitalisation for an eventual inability to swallow. The fourth and final treatment is a new drug on the market, which also has many side-effects. Apart from surgery and radioactive iodine I have also had four sessions of healing with a world-renowned spiritual healer. God alone knows if it was the surgery or the healing which helped, but my latest scan results at the end of January 2016 showed no evidence of any thyroid cancer cells in my neck, and the two enlarged lymph nodes that could be seen in October 2015 had shrunk. They say I’m doing well, and therefore I hope to be around for many more years to come.

What lies ahead? None of us know, and perhaps it’s better that way. Not a single one of us gets out of this life alive. My own father died of cancer at the age of 49, and without the interventions I’ve had my life would have been similarly shortened. He never knew my two sons, and I would never have met my four grandchildren, which fill my life in a way only grandchildren can, if I had not had the treatment I’ve had. Every day is a bonus for me now, and I’m making the most of life while I can. I’ve just been upgraded from 3-monthly follow ups to 6-monthly, so don’t worry about me, I’m doing very well!

Stevie Turner © 2016

author bio

I began my writing career as far back as 1969, when I won an inter-schools’ writing competition after submitting a well-thumbed and hastily scribbled essay entitled ‘My Pet’. A love of words and writing short stories and poems has carried on all throughout my life, but it is only now in middle age that I’ve started writing novels full-time and taking this author business seriously.

I have just published my second short story ‘The Noise Effect’ and a tenth novel ‘The Donor’ will be published on 26th December 2015. My novels are realistic, but tend to shy away from the mainstream somewhat and focus on the darker side of relationships. However, you’ll find I do like to add in a little bit of humour along the way. In January 2015 my third novel ‘A House Without Windows’ won the Goodreads’ eBookMiner Book of the Month Competition, and was chosen as a medal winner in the New Apple Book Awards 2014 Suspense/Thriller category. Also in late 2015 it won a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award.

I have also recently branched out into the world of audio books. Two audio books ‘The Daughter-in-law Syndrome’ and ‘A House Without Windows’ are available for purchase, and the rest are currently in production and will become available in 2016.

So here I am in the late summer of my life, and the words are tumbling out of my head. Living for more than a few years has given me plenty of subject matter to write about, and I look forward to sharing quite a lot of it with you.


Thank you so much for taking part Stevie!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]


Stevie is giving away FIVE audible.co.uk codes for her humorous audiobook The Pilates Class. Comment on this blog post to show your interest!!!




“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #18 – Rachel Hague

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So I’ve struggled,

I’ve hurt.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

You look at me like dirt.


Why do I feel this way?

Should I believe the things you say?


Heart racing,

Blurring mind.

Worrying if what I’m doing is right.

What will I find?


I end it with you.

Need to get out of this hole.

Claw out of darkness,

Need to heal my soul.


I saw the light,

I chose to fight.


Silence throughout it all.

Back on top from whence I fell.

If they ask, I’ll just say,

“THEY” say I’m doing well.


Just. After time,

My life is my own. All Mine.


Gosh, it’s so long since I wrote a poem! I used to write all the time when I was in my teenage years. My my, how life changes!

I just want to say how hard it was in the beginning to ask for help. I had struggled with anxiety for a long time before I spoke to someone, It was only after I had started pulling my hair our (I had a lovely small bald patch to show for it) that I was encouraged to talk to someone. Even now, years later, if I have a bad day at work or if there’s something that’s weighing on my mind, I still feel the urge.

Talking helps. Talking to my partner, my mum or anyone for that matter! Learning to let the little things go has improved my quality of life. If I don’t think I’m going to remember the current “incident”, that’s causing the anxiety, in a year. I let it go. (Please don’t start singing THAT song now I’ve written let it go. Dammit now I’m humming it!)

I don’t ever want to feel how I did back then. People did always used to say I’m doing well, because they never knew any different until I started to get help.

I refuse to be the person I used to be. On my back I have….

Take me as I am,

Who I was,

And for whom I shall become.

Tattooed there. A reminder that I’m stronger now than ever before. I’m happy.

Never feel ashamed to talk out loud to people and share. Even if it’s just a tiny sliver of your worries, anxieties, the highs and your lows, it may just be the start to finding your way back to being you.

You’ll find your way back. I believe in you.

You just have to believe too.

Rachel Hague © 2016

author bio

Rachel is a blogger for booksiignoremyhusbandfor.blogspot.co.uk and a proactive member of the book community! Follow her on Twitter @BIIMHF – she always has her head in a book!


Thank you so much for taking part Rachel!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]


Giveaway and Freebie!!

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A FINE PROFESSION is #free to download to your Kindle devices today and tomorrow ONLY. CLICK COVER TO PURCHASE FOR £/$0.00.

On my FACEBOOK PAGE, I am currently giving away a copy of A Fine Profession in paperback (not to mention other goodies, too!). Follow this link for instructions: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=613337078770046

This 5* erotic read is paired with A FINE PURSUIT, and together they make two novels detailing the complex, highly sexual relationship between a mega-earning investment banker and the humble “chambermaid” determined to show him life doesn’t have to be meaningless forever.


Read Noah’s story too:

a fine pursuit


☆☆☆☆Cover Reveal☆☆☆☆



Here is the cover for the last book in the SUB ROSA TRILOGY, Unleash:

KAY (4)


Have you ever fallen for the wrong person – knowing they’re not the one for you?

For Kayla Tate, pain and disappointment are all she has ever known when it comes to love. Is it that she never learned from her mistakes? Or is there a ghost from her past she’s yet to lay to rest?

Kayla embarks on a journey during which harsh lessons will be learned and relationships will be tested. It seems to centre around the Sub Rosa mystery, but where will she begin to unpick the threads? All she knows is that something doesn’t add up . . .

Kayla’s heartbreaking story is about lifelong friendships, taking chances and finding that one person who’s willing to risk it all with you – at exactly the right time.

LENGTH: Full-length novel


GENRE: Romantic suspense/women’s lit/BDSM


ADD TO GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25692863-unleash



??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????We should chase away from what we’re scared of, right? Run as fast as we can. Yet some of us seem to veer toward chaos and destruction…

Chloe sees anguish and despair lurking beneath the surface of Cai Matthews, the dark and dangerously handsome freelance photographer she meets on her first day in a new job. She can’t see straight in his presence—blinded by a blistering sexual attraction that has the potential to sweep her clean off her feet.

When Cai disappears from the workplace and doesn’t come back, Chloe tries to find out more about his life but all she knows is he’s set to inherit a ton of money and his aunt runs one of the most famous fashion magazines in the world.

Cai is running from a complicated past he doesn’t like talking about. Gossip columns rage with speculation concerning him and his aunt, who took guardianship of Cai after his parents died.

Conscientious journalist Chloe has a mind for details and once she gains access to his world, Cai realises she could undo every, single dirty little secret that he and his aunt have tried desperately to cover up.

BUY UNBIND: http://mybook.to/unbind


I’ll stab you in the heart. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
I’m coming for you.
No secret dies.
But you will.

In the concluding part of Chloe and Cai’s tale of frantic, tempestuous, meaningful love…

When news breaks that enigmatic magazine editor Jennifer Matthews is dead, it irks Chloe that Cai refuses to shed even one tear. What she doesn’t know is that he was expecting it, perhaps even, hoping for it.

In this dark, romantic tale of revenge, Cai explodes the deepest, most destructive aspects of his past as he comes to terms with the tragedy at the heart of Jennifer’s downfall. With Chloe’s love and support, he must brave his demons and dodge death to finally end a bitter feud between two damaged families.

**This book is not intended to stand alone and is the second in a three-part series, concluding in UNLEASH – Kayla Tate’s story.**

BUY UNFURL: http://mybook.to/unfurl


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About Sarah Michelle Lynch:


British author Sarah Lynch knew she could write from a very early age when a children’s story earned her several gold stars from a primary school teacher. She went on to earn various scholastic accolades and her love of reading and writing maintained through school life, progressing into adulthood with the pursuit of a degree in English Literature and then a career in magazine journalism.

It wasn’t until Sarah became a mum that she found the time and courage to write her debut novel, The Radical, the first in a dystopian science-fiction series which she had wanted to write for some time. After that, a dare prompted her to try her hand at erotica and A Fine Profession received some very strong reactions she could never have predicted. Since then Sarah’s stayed on the path of romance with her work ranging from contemporary to paranormal.

Her latest work, Unfurl, is the second part of the Sub Rosa series which begins with Unbind, the story of two people’s blossoming relationship set against a mystery from the past. In addition to her writing, Sarah is also self-employed as an editor and proofreader.

Breastfeeding: The Debate

This is a blog detailing something I feel passionate about—but for once, it’s not books!! It’s a women’s issue—and my books are full of women’s issues.

Breastfeeding? What do we think? Which of these is your opinion?

  • Yuck – lactating, abnormal tits on display. It’s weird. Why do mothers feel the need to do it in public?
  • I try to cop a look whenever I see a nursing mother. Right on!
  • It’s beautiful.
  • Wasn’t there a sketch on Little Britain about that?
  • Breastfed children – do they ever leave home?
  • It’s nature. Not bothered…
  • I live in Australia. It’s everywhere.
  • I know nothing about it.

I’ve seen a lot of debate on the internet about this subject recently and some of it quite frankly made me laugh! Apparently society has gone from throwing nursing mothers out of Harrods or wherever, to slating those mothers who bottle feed publicly… crazy, much?

I breastfed my daughter for seven months and that was my choice. I wasn’t bullied into it. I wasn’t forced to do it or pressured by media or society. I did it because I wanted to. It was like a smoker deciding to quit; I made an informed choice and followed through and I breastfed. However, let’s get real…

Breastfeeding my child for that length of time was very, very hard. I’ve been recently astounded by the whinging, whining, moaning minnies I encounter everywhere in my sphere—but until you’ve given birth and breastfed a little beast trying to suck the life from you, you ain’t known pain! LOL. I’ve written ten novels and several short stories and blah blah blah and the list goes on… but nothing I have ever done in life has ever been as hard as breastfeeding, let me tell you. IT IS SERIOUSLY HARD.

I am by no means a breastfeeding maniac. However, if you read my books, you will discover my female characters breastfeed. All of them. Why? Because if you come to me and ask, should I breastfeed my child? I will always sit down and tell you, YES!

I’ve encountered all sorts of opinions on this matter. All sorts. Here’s a few…

  • A friend of mine had serious mastitis. She gave up breastfeeding after that. It left her traumatised. I didn’t blame her. She had a terrible time (read Unfurl, Chloe suffers it in there, and mastitis is something I had too—it was fucking horrible).
  • A health professional I was visited by spouted off at me about breastfeeding, i.e. the benefits etc., but when she had her own first child a little while after I had my daughter, she managed it for two weeks, citing it was just too hard, too stressful, and she couldn’t cope. She gave up, yet she’s employed by a government trying to get more mums breastfeeding!
  • My mum breastfed me but when she had her other three kids, she just couldn’t cope. She chose to bottle feed the others. It was her choice.
  • One of my friends said, “Boys shouldn’t suck their mother’s tit. It’s perverse.” I wanted to ask her what she would have done before formula. Handed her child to the nursemaid no doubt? I accepted this girl’s opinion, though I thought it was ludicrous.
  • Some women do whip their baps out in public. In fact sometimes when I visited baby clinic, I thought some of the women only turned up for an excuse to get their breasts out without vilification. I fed in public a lot but you couldn’t see anything. I wore layers and was strategic and sometimes people would be talking to me not realising what I was doing until the kid was getting burped and spewed everywhere.
  • I have witnessed those Nazis who watch other bottle-feeding mums with daggers shooting from their eyes, muttering the words, “Cruel witch, feeding her baby that rubbish!”

Extreme some of those, aren’t they? I thought so.

Why is breastfeeding so hard?

  • You don’t know whether your baby is latched on properly.
  • You can’t see how much milk they are drinking.
  • Your nipples hurt like hell until they toughen up.
  • As well as mastitis, you might get blisters, a rash or all manner of lovely ailments in/on your breast.
  • When the baby wakes in the night, it’s all up to you. The father can help by getting you a drink, changing a nappy or whatever—he could even warm up expressed milk for you. However, your weeping breasts will still probably wake you up regardless.
  • When you’re really tired, and exhausted, and the baby just don’t do what you want—you feel like a failure, you feel like giving up.
  • The father sometimes feels helpless, too. It’s all about working together and communicating.

Why am I glad I did it?

  • When my baby needed to feed, I could pop her straight on. No making up bottles. This meant I could feed in the night and get back to sleep very easily because I didn’t have to leave my bed or use my brain in the kitchen.
  • When my baby had injections and needed soothing, I could soothe her instantly.
  • I never worried my breast milk was mixed incorrectly. I always knew the baby was getting the best stuff for her. When she was ill with a cold, it cleared up super fast.
  • I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within a month of giving birth. My stomach also went down quickly.
  • For seven months I didn’t need to sterilise or mix up bottles.
  • My daughter never had a dummy.
  • Serena is now four years old and has never had any kind of illness that has required antibiotics, not yet anyway, touch wood. She gets over illness really quickly.
  • There are few really rewarding challenges in life and though it was difficult, I still look back and feel a massive sense of achievement, doing what I did. It was tough but I have a strong bond with my daughter.

Celebrate Choice

It’s really hard to say why without writing a thesis on this, but mothers seem to have it really tough in this day and age. If we’re not back to work as quickly as other mums, we feel guilty. If we go back to work too soon, we feel guilty. We’re under pressure non-stop, living in fear of what people think!

The Earth Mother is a rarity, I’m afraid, because we live in the modern world and there’s just too much stuff out there to make it easier on ourselves, like jars of baby food and scientifically researched formula and … the list goes on. I say sometimes it’s better to be kind to ourselves and go easier on ourselves. Your mental health matters more than doing everything by the book. I am a strong person and I can tell you, breastfeeding was the hardest thing I ever did. It was harder than studying for my degree or working in a media company. It was harder than writing any novel.

Whatever choices you make, make the choices that are best for you and don’t give a second’s thought to what other people think. Do what’s right for you. I don’t know where all this criticism of mothers has come from to be honest—we should all stick together and stop competing with one another or judging one another by our choices.

I was told this, that and the other when I first became a mum but I just tried to ignore everything I had thrown at me and get on with it. I thought as long as my husband agrees with what I’m doing, sod what anyone else thinks! NEVER LISTEN TO ANYONE who says, “Well it was done like this in our day…” We’re living in the 21st fucking century people!


Peace out.