Wednesday, April 26, 2017

You Really Don’t Want This Diagnosis, Do You?

In 2005, I almost died after an easy laparoscopic gallbladder operation. The doctor made mistakes (internal bleeding), the OR team made mistakes (pinched a nerve in my left leg), and the nurse made a huge mistake (didn’t hook up my IV right and I bleed out on the floor). I’m not sure to this day why they didn’t give me blood transfusions because I fell way below transfusion level. Maybe it had to do with admitting they had made a mistake.

I started having seizures and developed a systemic infection with a fever of 103 degrees F. I also developed other health issues. I eventually ended up seeing a neurologist. I scheduled an appointment to get the results of my MRI so that my husband would be with me. I had to go into his office for some other reason and his staff immediately told me I had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). They had me on the table, ready to inject me with Interferon before I knew what was happening. I refused.

I got several other opinions. If you don’t know, MS is not a conclusive diagnosis. Two doctors said I had MS, three said they weren’t sure. The doctor I trusted most told me it didn’t matter at that point. He said to hold out as long as I could without treatment because it is expensive and can make things worse. I took his advice.

Exactly ten years later, I started having symptoms on the left side of my head, including extreme pain and pressure at the base of the skull, ringing in the ear, eye pain, cognitive issues and frontal lobe pain. I ended up seeing another neurologist and having several MRIs done.

At our next appointment, she said, “I think you have MS, but that isn’t causing your current symptoms.”

“Let’s just focus on my head issue.”

She turned and looked at me. “You really don’t want this diagnosis, do you?”

I stared at her and blinked a few times. Seriously? Would anyone want a diagnosis of MS? Did she think I should be jumping for joy? Frankly, my head hurt too much to respond to that question.

I said, “I thought it wasn’t a conclusive test?”

“You have a lot of new lesions in your brain and on your spine. Let’s get things started.”

On the way home, my mind kept asking me if I was ready for this. I was, and had been, in a lot of pain. Could I take more? Or, had I had enough? Would I just be making things worse by going on medication?

The phone rang as I came through the door.

“Is this Cindy Christiansen?”


“We would like to come out and get your trained on your first injection.”

Really? That fast? “I need to think about this first.”

I hang up, my mind reeling and my hands tingling with confusion. The phone rang again. It was my doctor.

“I’ve talked with the radiologist that read your MRIs,” she said. “I’ve decided you don’t have MS.”

“But the company just called me to schedule the in-home—”

“I’ve cancelled that.”

I hung up, bewildered and numb. So, if I am not a willing to make a rushed decision, I don’t have MS? I guess my doctor was right.

“You really don’t want this diagnosis, do you?”  

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
Fly into a good book at: 

Photo of dog:


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Write Puppy

As you know, I write sweet romance, always include dogs in my books and feature them on my book covers. Readers who don't know me ask, "So, are your books about dog characters who fall in love?" The answer is no. I don't write fantasy. 😃

What I write is stories about heroes and heroines who love dogs as much as I do and have at least one four-legged friend in their life. This came about because writing and a very special dog named Jiffy saved my life while I was chronically ill and bedridden. I had always loved dogs but found that my life just wasn't complete without a dog in the picture. It became clear that I couldn't write a character without a dog being by their side.

When you are writing characters, you must get to know all about them, including their past that might not even be included in the actual story, but makes the character who he/she is. I have charts and psychological profiles that I refer to determine what each character is like. I also use data to determine whether the hero and heroine would be a good match.

Now, thanks to Puppy Spot, I have a chart to help me choose the best dog for each of my characters. Or, maybe choose the worst dog for my character. There's nothing like conflict to enhance the story. LOL

Below is a flowchart that helps you choose the best puppy/dog for you and your living situation. Hope you find it helpful. Please feel free to check out Puppy Spot's website for more information about adopting. And while you are at it, check out some of the adorable puppies for adoption on their page: Puppies For Sale. Some of their pups have champion bloodlines! I have some personal favorites. I'd mention them by name, but I bet they get adopted before you even have a chance to see their pictures. These pages are another great source for picking out dogs for my characters. Having a photo really helps to describe them so they come to life on the pages of my books, and there are some great names: Rose, Irish Cream, PerseusBree, Hollywood, Rope, Layken, Ya-ya.

I got Green - 2: The Easy-going Playmate. I currently have three rescue, mixed-breed terriers.

Find out what breed works best for you and comment below. Tell me what you selected from the chart and what breed you actually have.

I am so pleased that Puppy Spot does not deal with puppy mills. You can find their promise at Never purchase from a puppy mill even if you think you are saving a dog. This just encourages them to continue.

I believe it is our responsibility to take care of the pet population by spaying and neutering our pets. I also believe in stiffer penalties for those who abuse animals and believe unnecessary testing on animals should be stopped. Please consider adoption from reliable sources. There are already so many wonderful dogs out there who need a loving home.

I donate both time and money from my writing to organizations that help abused and abandoned dogs. Please help where you can.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at: