Hi, and thanks so much for coming to my web site. Every visit helps my standing with my publisher, so I really appreciate your coming to check me out.
First, there's big news: Queen Bee Goes to College has been retitled Queen Bee Goes Home Again. My publisher said the book is about so much more than Lin's going to college, so we renamed the sequel Queen Bee Comes Home Again. Lin Scott, after losing her house and her income in the real estate recession, has to move back home again to help her mother take care of their crumbling Victorian mansion. As Lin puts it, "Cinderella in reverse," and she's deathly afraid she'll never escape again.
Then, as a favor to her broker, she takes one last buyer—the gorgeous new, divorced Baptist minister—and sells him the cozy house next door. In the process, she falls hard for the guy even though being a minister's wife is the last thing she wants. In conservative Mimosa Branch, she's the last woman he should be seen with, but God has a wicked sense of humor, so there are plenty of laughs for everyone, and as always: all's well that ends well.
IN THE WORKS
Though my time now is limited, which I explain below, I am still working on future projects: a memoir titled Hit By the Weird Stick about my eventful life; a cookbook for people like me who are allergic to almost everything but eggs and iceburg lettuce; and a new Arthurian historical. I will also revise and re-issue the remaining three of my historical novels as e-books suitable for general and young adult readers. I'm also planning a book about a newly divorced Southern woman who moves to Boston in her fifties. As long as I have two gray cells to slap together and can still type, I'll continue to write.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
My life has been a lot of things, yet nobody could ever call it boring. But the latest challenge my son's family is facing came close to breaking my heart. Our precious seven-and-a-half-year-old little girl came down with intractable seizures at six, and is in seizure 75% of the time, a rare form of epilepsy called Doose syndrome. She goes limp and falls, then has a period of fear and confusion, then becomes manic, totally impulsive and unable to respond to verbal instructions. Even so, she is still our darling girl. And she continues to deteriorate.
No matter what her condition, she's still my darling, so I keep her as often as I can. With four other children at home, she responds well to the calm at my house and my undivided attention. And I love to have the other children, too, one at a time, so I can give them undivided attention on which they thrive. My daughter-in-law is the most wonderful mother I've ever known, and she and my son have held up amazingly well, but five children from ages nine to nine months are a challenge even without the relentless challenge of dealing with Doose.
As for my seven-year-old, sadly, none of the expensive, dangerous drugs the doctors have tried works. Not to mention the fact that the side effects are potentially fatal: liver failure, kidney failure, pancreatitis, among other horrors.
So my son testified for the Georgia House—where a bill legalizing medical marijuana for seizures passed with only eleven dissenting votes—and in the Georgia Senate Health committee, where the chairperson, Renee Unterman, would not allow the bill out of committee unless another bill was attached (requiring insurance companies in the state to provide early intervention for Autistic children) which made our bill unpassible. Though I sympathize with children with autism, they do not die from their conditions. Our children do, either from seizures or from the side effects of conventional treatments.
So our bill did not pass.
My son has also gone to Washington to ask that parents of children with intractable seizures be allowed to transport the special marijuana extract across state lines, but with midterm elections coming up, very few want to support what they consider a controversial policy.
Which tries my soul. This extract is plant-derived, as are morphine, digitalis, and so many other drugs. Why is everyone so riled up about making this treatment available when other options fail? In order to get the treatment, each case would be referred by a medical doctor to a review panel of physicians, and only then would treatment be granted when appropriate.
Sadly, many well-meaning Christians have the idea that this would be a "toe-hold for the devil" in our state, an idea based on misinformation. Blessedly, one of our wonderful Christian radio stations, The Fish, has supported these specific treatments and informed their listeners about the truth.
I was crushed and angry when our bill did not pass. But then I remembered that we've all been praying for God's will, so He obviously didn't mean for us to have this option in Georgia at this time. Though we love our homes and have been Georgians down every branch of our family tree for two hundred years, we have no choice but to leave and go where my granddaughter can be treated. So we're packing to become marijuana refugees, like so many other families of kids with intractable seizures. Though other states have passed bills allowing medical marijuana for treatment of seizures, the specific low-intoxicant Charlotte's Web strain is currently only available in Colorado.
In Alabama, the treatment is legal, but parents transporting it within the state are subject to felony drug charges! That's all these families need, parents convicted for giving their children a medicine that is legal, but not legally possessable. Where has common sense gone?
When my daughter-in-law learned of this new nonintoxicating extract, she put our little girl on the waiting list for the medicine many months ago and arranged to rent a condo in Colorado to establish residency as a fail-safe, should Georgia not legalize the possession and treatment of seizures with medical marijuana. We had considered going to a clinic in California, but there were legal roadblocks because the medicine is an extract, taken orally, not smoked. So we decided on Colorado. As it is, Marlo's medicine will not be ready till early July, so now we're preparing to rent a larger house in the south Denver area for a few months to see if the medicine helps.
There are other kinds of cannabidiol made from industrial hemp, but only the Charlotte's Web has shown such encouraging results with intractable seizures, while minimizing the amount and side effects of THC, the intoxicating substance that has caused cognitive problems with young marijuana users.
So far, the treatment results with this particular hybrid have been amazing. Fifty percent of the children with intractable seizures stop having seizures altogether on this extract! Of the remaining half, only a tiny fraction are not helped to some degree. And the side effects are minimal, far less destructive than those with conventional treatments.
While we're in Colorado, my son will work with his emergency medicine practice here and commute to be with us. If the Charlotte's Web extract works, we are praying that the legislature will pass the bill next session. If not, we may have to relocate, but that is a small price to pay for helping our little girl get better.
Every seizure steals a piece of the academically gifted ballerina, gymnastic, social director she once was. But I still love her—and all my grandchildren—with all my heart.
So who knew that I'd end up going to Colorado? I'm really excited about the treatments and being in a new place. Another good thing: I'm sure they don't have the 5,000 pollen counts we do near Atlanta in the spring (Achoo! Cough! Snort!). And I know there are wonderful chapters for RWA and the National League of Penwomen in the Denver area. So I am excited about our big adventure, and I get to be the grand-nanny. (The only one with my own room, because I snore like a chain saw, so nobody in the whole family wants to share a room with me. LOL!)
So please remember my granddaughter and her family in your prayers, and ask that God will show us His will and give us the strength to do it. I have been blessed with so many wonderful readers and prayer partners, so we are all awaiting the miracle, no matter how it comes.
When we shift our focus from our problems to an attitude of gratitude, giving thanks to God in all things, there is joy to be found in even the smallest of things in every day. It's the only way to survive something like this. One day at a time, seizing every precious moment.
I wish you all well. If you'd like to keep up with our adventure, please friend me on Facebook. I post there every few days. And if you know anyone who is dubious about medical marijuana, please send them here to my web site: haywoodsmith.net.
I'll write about this, of course.