Hope, Inc. Receives High Scores
This morning I received a review of Hope, Inc. from a judge in the Writers Digest Book Awards. Though I didn’t win in my category, I was pleased to received a review from the judge who read my first novel.
“HOPE INC., A Dani Driscoll Crime Mystery by Loucinda Sullivan, is a gripping story told by an author who cares about her fellow women. Sullivan uses her talent well to get a message through in an organic way via the power of fiction. In Dani Driscoll, the author has developed a great character.”
“I’m ambivalent about the cover. As a reader, I may or may not have chosen this book based on visuals, depending on what other books were set beside it. This is applicable even on Amazon when you consider that they offer a carousel of books for readers to skim covers side by side. But the title font is eye catching and title itself is intriguing. The back cover copy is well written.”
“But the story itself is the heart of the matter. I’m glad the author didn’t waste time getting to her story, a plus when working to hold the attention of today’s impatient readers. Even so, I would have liked more fill-in with descriptions and a sense of place early on. That said, considering this is supposed to be a fast-paced story, I’d rather see the author choose this direction than to be too slow.”
“I appreciate that Dani prays, especially for the safety of children. The author has also made a married woman interesting in fiction. Despite the fact we married women are very interesting in real life, it takes talent to write a fascinating story when not focusing on a single couple falling in love and experiencing initial attraction.”
“All in all, I believe this author has a bright future!”
Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.
BREAKING NEWS! October 2014
The Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Tuohy is taking his breast cancer prevention vaccine to clinical trials in 2015. It’s about time!
In honor of the pinkest month on the calendar, I pledge 100% of net proceeds from the sale of my book, Hope, Inc. during October to Dr. Vincent Tuohy for clinical trials of The Pink Vaccine.
Lifestyle reporter Dani Driscoll blows the doors off the breast cancer industry when she uncovers a paradigm changing medical treatment that could save millions of lives, and the plot to destroy it.
While the clock is ticking for dying patients, Dani follows a twisted path to expose the truth and discovers an industry fraught with jealousy, greed, and corruption. There’s only one problem; the editor refuses to publish her story.
Dani continues to investigate on her own until one night a chilling message appears on her computer screen. “I know who you are.”
Now the target of an unknown adversary, Dani’s motivation to expose the politics of selling hope becomes a race to save her own life.
Hope, Inc. is a crime mystery about greed and jealousy in the breast cancer industry. Read and Enjoy!
April Fools Day 2011
The phone call was devastating. On April 1, 2011 I learned the innocuous-looking red area on my breast was a very aggressive form of cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. The odds were not in my favor. Only 40% of IBC patients survive five years.
Now I faced what was, for me, the most agonizing aspect of breast cancer. Telling my husband, my son, and my sister. It was heart wrenching to hear them sob. I will never forget it because it broke my heart along with theirs.
The motto at Rocky Mountain Cancer Center is “Love Heals.” It does. It truly does. I was scared, but I accepted the diagnosis and began a whirlwind of testing, and treatments. First, an outpatient surgery for a port in my chest through which my chemo was later administered. I attended Chemo class, where I was told to scrub everything, including food before cutting or peeling it. I was given prescriptions, and a list of supplements that might help me while the doctors took me to the brink of death in order to save my life. A PET scan was ordered to evaluate whether the cancer had spread, or was contained in my breast. That kept me busy for a week while I waited for further examination of the biopsied tissue, which determined my IBC was HER2 negative and Estrogen receptor positive.
Now I had a treatment plan.
Twenty weeks of chemotherapy; known toxins were injected directly into the port located in a large vein just above my heart. I was told to expect my body, and energy to respond like a bouncing rubber ball. The first bounce was pretty high, but subsequent bounces would be less, and less until I could barely bounce back at all. Five weeks after completing chemo I was still weak, but the doctors determined I had recovered enough to undergo a bilateral mastectomy, and extraction of twenty two lymph nodes in my right arm, and three under my left arm. I am forever at risk of lymphedema. Another month went by before I started seven weeks of daily radiation treatments. My husband bought me a large aloe plant to help with the burns. We named it Bernie.
Yes, it’s brutal, but this is the current the standard of treatment for stage IIIb breast cancer. The cost? Around $300,000. Thank goodness for my husband, his job, and great insurance plan.
My family surrounded me with love, and my husband never missed a single appointment during those ten months. Love heals.
I had given up my job. I was too weak to work even part-time. Besides, chemo put a fog over my ability to think clearly. Who would hire me now? And even if someone did hire me I wondered whether I could possibly do a good job for them.
During this time, I met many beautiful women in various breast cancer groups on LinkedIn, and Facebook. They cheered me on, and poured their hearts out in group discussions. Love heals.
Elyn Jacobs, is a brilliant Cancer Coach who I met in one of these online groups. One day I tuned in to her radio show, and heard about a remarkable prevention for breast cancer. The success in mice (all drugs are first tested in lab animals before being used in human) was 100%. That’s right. In all three mouse models this vaccine prevented mice from developing breast cancer. Even mice bred to develop the disease. I was thrilled. Excited about the hope of eradicating breast cancer for future generations. I can’t imagine a more beautiful gift to humankind. No more chemo, no more radiation, no more mastectomy, or hair loss due to breast cancer.
Then I became furious. The guest speaker, Dr. Kathleen Ruddy, a Breast Surgeon, and Founder of Breast Health and Healing in New Jersey said the most horrific thing. The promising vaccine was sitting on a shelf, and has been for years, waiting on funding. What? That’s absurd! So many charitable foundations came to mind. And drug companies. Wouldn’t they all be chomping at the bit to be there first to produce a prevention for breast cancer? All those activities, the millions raised for awareness, for mammograms, for assisting families in need. None of them were willing to fund breast cancer prevention? No. Not one.
Why? I have an opinion about that. I multiplied the $300,000 it cost to treat my breast cancer by the number of women diagnosed each year. Cancer, breast cancer in particular, is an enormous business.
I stewed on that for awhile. Meantime, I began the lengthy process of filling the expanders that had been inserted under a layer of my chest wall during my mastectomy. I was ready for reconstruction. I chose implants because I wanted a quick recovery.
One day while sitting on the exam table at my plastic surgeon’s office, flat chested, with a large gauge needled inserted in my chest, I was chatting with the physicians assistant who was adding more saline to my expanders. He was as excited as me about the “pink vaccine” and suggested the lack of funding for it might make a good crime mystery. Hope, Inc. was born from that conversation.
My First Book
Many courageous breast cancer survivors have written useful, and inspirational books about breast cancer, and about their personal journeys. I never wanted to do that. I decided it was best for me to write about the quelling of real hope. Not awareness, not a cure, but what we all really want. Prevention. Isn’t that what we think we’re throwing money at when we donate to pink ribbon causes?
Fun with fiction
I had fun writing fictional charters for Hope, Inc. I exposed made-up agendas to feed the humongous breast cancer beast. I made them conniving, and nasty. I loved that I could make them do whatever I wanted. Even commit murder.
Hope, Inc. is a work of fiction. None of the people in the story exist in real life. But, I feel that greed, and jealousy are alive and well in the breast cancer industry. Preventing breast cancer could cause a lot of people to loose jobs. That’s a difficult reality. But, my journey with this horrible disease compels me to champion life. I champion the pink vaccine.
Loucinda (Cindy) Sullivan
P.S. You will never catch me wearing a pink ribbon because in my mind its meaning has been horribly tarnished. All those billions of dollars we’ve thrown at breast cancer for decades haven’t prevented a single case. I do support the pink vaccine and Dr. Vincent Tuohy of The Cleveland Clinic. Despite all odds they are moving forward and hope to secure approval from the FDA to conduct clinical trials for this life saving vaccine.
Love heals. I wish you love.