Worth The Ride

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Yesterday, I smiled hearing a friend’s story about Oktoberfest in Germany. I laughed walking to two former co-workers. I rejoiced over extra time with my fiancé. But I grimaced on the walk home from pain in my hip and lower back. When I got in bed, I saw a new 5 star review for my memoir: Misdiagnosed: The Search For Dr. House on Amazon. Lesson: life is full of high and lows but it’s worth the ride.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Beamon does a good job at describing the utter agony, frustration, and day-to-day struggle of her search for the answer. Misdiagnosed… is a great read and comes with great resources so that others will not fall victim to being misdiagnosed.”

 
Full review:
A guide for folks to find the right doctor.

ByJason L Huffon October 6, 2017

“Misdiagnosed: The search for Dr. House” by Nika C. Beamon is a story about a young, successful, African-American woman who by her mid-20s/early-30s was falling apart on the inside, and no doctor could tell her exactly what was wrong with her.

Each doctor seemed to not want to state that they had no idea what was going on, instead they continually misdiagnosed Nika until she finally lead a search to find someone who could tell her what was going on.

The book is a mildly paced, interesting, and often times heart-breaking tale. It goes through highs and lows battling one diagnosis after another with different medications, treatments, and surgeries. Beamon does a great job at leading the reader on the chase with her to find out what is going on and doesn’t reveal too much too soon.

A couple issues I had was: the time jumps, they seemed to not be too coherent as to when exactly things were happening as we fast-forward through some major events in her life. Like one minute we are with Bryce in Harlem with a near-death scare to a book signing some odd time forward that was never clearly defined. However, it doesn’t really detract from the book as a whole, it was just mildly distracting trying to place ‘when’ we were.


I did enjoy reading about how her lovers helped her, and how they supported her and her battles with one of their infidelity. I also enjoyed figuring out what was going on with Beamon. I shared her frustration at a boyfriend who was unfaithful, her struggles with wait times, finances, and wasting time.


Beamon does a good job at describing the utter agony, frustration, and day-to-day struggle of her search for the answer. Misdiagnosed… is a great read and comes with great resources so that others will not fall victim to being misdiagnosed.

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I’ll never let my fear of dying (or anything else) threaten my dreams again

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I don’t like to admit that I’m afraid of what my autoimmune condition, igg4 related systemic disease, will do to me. But, the truth is I have often thought that complications from it could cut my life short.  I usually bury the worry using my faith or denial. However, it took control off me in July 2014 and nearly ruined my dreams.

Six months after finishing my memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House, I was well on my way to publication. I’d gotten a foreword from late comedian Bernie Mac’s widow Rhonda McCullough. I’d gotten reviews from three bestselling authors: Wes Moore, Richard Cohen and Marya Hornbacher. I’d also received three magazine reviews: Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and IndieReader. And, I’d gone over the pages wit an editor from She Writes Press and my literary agent at Serendipity Literary. Then, I learned that I had to have a second stomach repair operation, a Nissen fundoplication redo.  The news rocked me to my core because I’d already endured six lymphoma related surgical biopsies and numerous other procedures in a two year period. My body was tired and so was my soul. I feared I wouldn’t survive.

I prayed about what to do with my book. I remember thinking that I should stay the course. But, I ignored my internal voice. I wrote to my agent and cancelled my contract, abandoned the foreword and decided to self-publish.

My book got lost in the shuffle of the thousands of other self-published titles. The mediocre cover using a stock image didn’t get it noticed.  And, I didn’t have the money or energy to promote it.

I’d rushed it out because I was afraid that if I died no one would ever see it or be helped by story. Yet, by not giving my book the polish and publicity it deserved, I’d failed anyway.

I thought I had no choice but to live with my terrible decision to hurry Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House to the marketplace. Then, I saw a Publisher’s Weekly Booklife contest offering a free book cover redesign.  I wondered, can I salvage my dream of being a successful writer or at least reaching more people with a new look?  I decided to enter the contest.

I couldn’t believe it but I was selected. My book cover was reimagined by a talented artist at Tugboat Design. It was completed the way it should have been from the beginning. I was inspired to reedit the pages to remove some explicit content that readers thought obscured the book’s central point. And, I added the foreword back in. I also made sure buyers could get the book at stores, libraries and online in every form by setting it up on Amazon, Smashwords, and IngramSpark.

Now I have the memoir I wanted. On April 24, 2017 a new edition of Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House is released. I vow that no matter what medical trials I face in the future, I will pursue all my dreams by relying on faith not fear; that way I won’t have any regrets.

P.S. Share this post with those who love a good book, are in need of inspiration, or need a good kick in the butt to stop making excuses and live. If you’ve already read it, please review it on amazon, pass your copy along or drop me a line.

 

#igg4 #autoimmune disease #chronicillness #chronicpain #memoir #death   #fear #BernieMac #RhondaMcCullough #SerendipityLiterary #SheWritesPress #PublishersWeekly #KirkusReviews #IndieReader #WesMoore #RichardCohen #MaryaHornbacher #Misdiagnosis #BookLife

Bittersweet Book Signing

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I honestly debated whether I had the time or energy for a blog when my friend, musician Ian Brown suggested it. I thought I’ll pacify him by saying I’ll start one and I just won’t do it. No one would be the wiser because I surmised that no one would read it anyway.

Then, today rolled around and I realized I had so much to say but no words to say it. I was screaming on the inside, dying to be heard, and yet all I could do was plaster a stupid smile on my face, make flippant remarks, and continue my day as if everything was fine.

The problem: nothing was fine. I awoke today brimming with nervousness and excitement about the first official book signing for my new non-fiction title: I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married. When I speak of it, I often leave off the subtitle because I think by mentioning that it features single, successful black women somehow women from other ethnic backgrounds and races will automatically assume the stories don’t apply to them, even though they do.

Anyway, so I was thinking about what to say when I stand exposed in front of a room full of people, or the few that bother to come to the signing, about I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married. I scripted answers about my motivation, about my feelings on marriage, what I learned about women, why black women have a uniquely high single rate and what’s the overall message of the book. I had everything worked out too.

I knew exactly how the day was going to go. Coming off of five hours sleep, I would drag into work, put in a full day, leave a bit early, hop into a cab and bear my sole so that a handful of strangers would shell out 14.95 to help further my dream. And, when I began lifting weights at 8:15 this morning, everything was right on schedule.

I got to work early enough to catch the early bird rate at the garage, a feat in Manhattan, so life was good. I sat down at my desk, cranked out a few stories and then my phone rang. Now, it’s never unusual to hear from my mom, especially at work. But, I had just spoken to her for Mother’s Day so I knew that this wasn’t an ordinary call.

With a few soft spoken words, my day, outlook and priorities changed. She said my uncle George had died. He just died. He was found dead, alone in the bathroom of his studio apartment in Brooklyn. She said my father was on his way out there to do what he does best, take care of everything for his family so he wouldn’t be back for my book signing. She then assured me she’d be there rooting for me as usual, she just thought I should know what was going on.

I wondered: what is going on? I didn’t know where I should be. Should I cancel the signing and rush to my father’s side? Or, should I go and do what he’d want me to do which is to follow my passion. I really didn’t know at first and then I thought about my uncle, the man who was suddenly gone from my life.

My uncle George and I weren’t particularly close but he was always there. He as at family barbeques in the Summer, at as many holiday dinners as my dad could stand, and he was in my car the day we drove back from my paternal grandmother’s funeral. In fact, I‘d just seen him two Fridays ago at my book launch party. I would later learn from my dad that he skipped a hospital appointment for treatment of his emphysema to be to see my latest book.

Anyway, I wondered if he would want me to stop in my tracks, wallowing in sorrow for a man I barely knew. Of course, it only took moments for the answer to hit me. No, he wouldn’t want that. He was always about living life, finding a reason to let out his raspy laugh, finding a way to escape the harsh realities that plague us all and more importantly, about never growing up, which was his dream. He died at age 68 but when you’d ask him he’d always say he was 17. I don’t know why. I never asked him really. I know it was the year before he went to jail for the first time, before he had five children he barely saw, before his abusive marriage, drug addiction and family estrangement. It was the year when his life was still simple, good and fun. And while all those things would seem to add up to a bad guy, my uncle truly wasn’t. He was a lost soul, never comfortable in his own, without a dream or a focus. He was also the man who loved me enough to risk his health so he could share in my dream. So, I know he wanted me to follow my dream to be an author today; a successful, prosperous author who entertains and enlightens the world. I did that to the best of my ability, posing for photos, signing books and discussing the topic as if all was right with the world. I looked out at both of my parents sitting in the front row, knowing that my dad too had figured out my uncle’s wish, and I had a bittersweet smile. Finally, we understood my uncle George too late to tell him but soon enough that we could honor him by getting on with life.