"I only get one life and I will not let Fibromyalgia take the joy from my living it."

Friday, March 1, 2013

Famous Faces of Fibro: Author Kristine Cheney

I was very excited to learn that a real author followed my blog. So when Kristine Cheney agreed to do an interview I knew that my Famous Faces of Fibro was not a single post but a series. Please welcome our first female Famous Face of Fibro.

Q: So you're a writer. How long have you been writing books?

A: Yes! I absolutely love writing and pride myself on writing stories that are non-erotica. Based on my own preferences, it would be fair to say that I strive to be noted as a sensual writer. I completed my first book in 2010, and was published by Astraea Press in February 2011. I have released three books in my Spartan Heart Saga, namely, Spartan Heart Part
One, Spartan Heart Part Two, Spartan Surrender, and my Christmas novella, Secret Santa. My goal is refuse Fibromyalgia from making my writing a part-time job.

Q: When I heard you were an author my first thoughts were, "I couldn't do that because
my Fibro fog keeps me too incoherent and my hand and finger pain would not allow me to
type enough." Has your writing been affected at all by your fibro?

A: It’s a daily challenge that often leaves me hanging on by the skin of my teeth. I think
the hardest part of Fibromyalgia, outside of the pain, is simply the exhaustion. Sometimes
several weeks go by before I open up a waiting manuscript. I’m thinking about roughing it
up with a new plan to assign certain nights to Brett so I can take off to the library for some
quiet and inspiration. My biggest muse is water. Love the sounds of the ocean, the waves,
the streams and the rains. These are certain to make this girl wish for her laptop.

Q: What genres do you write?

A: I love to write paranormal and contemporary romance, but I will write any genre that
calls to my heart. I have several stories that are waiting to be finished. I love allowing my
stories to write themselves into being.

Q: What does a daily schedule of Kristine Cheney look like?

A: I can’t help but smile on this one. All I can say is that I must be a sucker fish for cruel
and unusual punishment. *laughs* Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., I work
as a paralegal secretary to an estate planning attorney in Phoenix. Then, every Monday
through Thursday evening, my husband and I babysit our granddaughter Evie from 5 p.m.
until my daughter pulls her out our bed (about 10 p.m.). By Friday evening, I could use a
good coma until Monday morning rolls around. I think my schedule would test the likes of
those fortunate who dwell without a chronic illness, but it’s a silent testament to myself of
what I miraculously achieve despite my body’s war against Fibromyalgia.

Q: Being a mom is hard. Being a mom with Fibromyalgia sometimes seems impossible. Do
you have any advice or tips to give on balancing motherhood and Fibromyalgia?

A: For me, it’s having to take the extra steps to put myself in the center of the action. I
don’t want to ever be a disassociated parent. I think knowing my limitations and sharing
those expectations with others have helped to usher in a level of needed understanding.
I refuse to do anything that I know my body can’t do. I believe it’s easier on everyone
if we’re just honest about it. Now I ask for help if I need it. I don’t always have to do it

Q: How has Fibro affected your daily life?

A: I have a very full day, and work steals the majority of my energy. I can honestly say that
it’s by the grace of God that helps me survive every passing moment…every single minute.
It’ helps me to try and keep my mind trained that I only have to live this life one day at a
time. Fibro is a thief. This illness is stealer of joy. I feel robbed of my enjoyment from the
blessings in life that should offer such solace, contentment, peace, and happiness. This is a
personal struggle that I often wrestle with, and again, this is where abundant grace proves
again that God’s mercies are indeed new every morning.

Q: How old were you when you were first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?

A: I was diagnosed in 2003, at the age of 32, and my diagnosis reconfirmed in 2013.

Q: What were your first symptoms of Fibro? Did you know what you had before the
doctors diagnosed you or was their diagnosis a new revelation?

A: I had absolutely no idea what was wrong with me. I remember feeling absolutely
overwhelmed and terrified. My first symptoms came on suddenly during a car ride home
from a week-long Mexico vacation I had taken with my husband and some friends in 2003.
In the blink of an eye, I was slammed with severe debilitating vertigo. Nausea, weakness,
and some hearing loss became the blasted companions of my dizziness. I believe that trip
was the worst, most torturous car ride of my life. I never thought we would make it home.
Lucky for me, we live in Arizona. The vertigo battle lasted over seven months, and I ended
up losing my job due to my incapacity. My whole life was turned upside down in an instant.
I still struggle with the effects of vertigo, but thankfully now, it’s limited to short infrequent

Q: Do you feel your symptoms are progressive in nature or just the same issues that come
and go? Have you developed any new symptoms since being diagnosed?

A: Without a doubt, progressive. Vertigo and nausea soon became accompanied by severe
constant exhaustion, frequent headaches, and sinus infections due to constantly irritated
allergic rhinitis. And who can forget that that lovely “fibro brain fog?” I also have freakish
episodes where my skin would flush crimson out of the blue. Looking back now, I see why
I had to have that emergency hysterectomy the year I turned 30 (1991). Uterine fibroid
tumors are an associated symptom of Fibromyalgia. Now I can easily connect the dots.

I still suffer bouts of all of these ailments, and am constantly resisting the immersive drown
of fatigue. My current list of symptoms has grown into a macabre textbook: memory
loss, small water blisters on my face, tremors, muscle twitches and cramps, nystagmus,
pain-ridden insomnia, rib cage pain, neck and back pain, walking and movement
difficulties, muscle weakness, mysterious dents in my lower legs, joints that often “pop
and crack,” pain in face and jaw, tingles, hums, and burning in my extremities and back,
toe numbness, difficulty catching a breath, pain induced high blood pressure and anxiety,
heat intolerance, sensory malfunctions, broken blood vessels in the eye and a reduction
in my vision rx of 125% in the last year, blurred vision, word and mouth confusion, dry
mouth, chronic dry and itchy skin, inability to lose weight, bruise easily, swelling in feet
and ankles, difficulty in swallowing at times, drug sensitivity, but most of all have severe,
excruciating, bodywide pain that never leaves me. Trying to sleep while your body feels
consumed by an invisible fire is comparable to some medieval torture device.

Q: Do you mind sharing with us what your Fibro treatment and management is? Are you
on any medications and how do they affect you?

A: I am currently taking gabapentin 300 mg, three times a day, for pain and am taking
Ambien to help me sleep. Without the ambien, I’m up all night in severe pain. With the
ambien, it forces my body to get the deep sleep that I so desperately need and I feel no pain
while sleeping on this medication. I am certain the neurologist will increase the gabapentin
when I go to see him next week, especially since the current dose has helped my pain levels
to reduce by about 30%, which is fantastic! It has taken the edge off. Now if I can get a
more regulatory dose to try and control the pain a little better, I’m all for it. My primary
doctor wants to add an anti-depressant called Lexipro, and so I’m a little nervous about
this. I’ve tried Trazodone for a few days (it worked great for sleeping and great for extra
pain relief, but I got AWFUL headaches that lasted all day long. Needless to say, I aborted
the Trazodone medication therapy quickly, and I’m sure I’ll relent and try the Lexipro.

Q: Are there any tricks that you use to help pull you through the rough patches?

A: Prayer…prayer…and more prayer. Did I mention prayer? 

Q: How did you find my blog? Would you mind sharing exactly what you were searching
for when my blog appeared in the search results?

A: I was fortunate enough to find one of your blog posts while searching for information
relating to the crippling effects of Fibromyalgia, specifically for those who are pondering
the use of a wheel chair for days when the pain leaves one debilitated to the point of being
unable to walk without assistance. I noticed one of your blog topics on the search results
and clicked on a link that directed me to your page. Although the topic wasn’t related to
assistive devices, I was intrigued by your post article and admired the heart behind your
prose, so I left a comment to join in on the conversation. Needless to say, I was delighted
when you quickly responded and have enjoyed our new friendship tremendously.

Q: I like to put "solutions" in my blog. When I find a product or a trick that just makes life
easier for a person with Fibro. Share with us a solution that you have found or a trick you
have learned that just makes life a lot easier.

A: I hate the way clothes feel resting against my skin, so I always wear long flowy skirts
and slip on shoes. I hold onto my husband’s arm often.

Q: I wrote a post about not letting Fibromyalgia keep us from doing the things we wish to
do, like sky diving. I called it the Buck It List. Like, "Buck It, World. Fibro can't stop me."
What is on your Buck It List?

A: Quit my day job, buy a little motor home, and Go! O! Go! I’m a huge history buff. I
want to fly back to England, Ireland, and tour Europe so badly. I also would love to take a
trip with Brett back east and see all the historical revolutionary war and the civil war sites
and bring a good metal detector with me. I would also like to go to Arkansas, and see that
diamond state park, and go hunting for some beautiful baubles!

Q: Will you let us know when you've done that?

A: I most certainly will! Thank you for my awesome interview.

Kristine has been generous enough to provide some prizes for a little contest (rules at bottom.) The winners will receive their choice of her ebooks. It'll be a hard decision choosing a book so here are some back blurb teasers:

Spartan Heart Part One and Spartan Heart Part Two:

Sent away to college in America, Evangeline swore she would never return to England.
Anger loses its value when tragedy forces her home to assume ownership of the family's
beloved Greco-Roman museum.

Placing a foolish, drunken kiss on a Greek statue in the museum's basement, Evangeline
unknowingly frees a Spartan prince from an evil oracle's curse. Suddenly, her lonely life is
invaded by the rakish man with knowing emerald green eyes who never eats or sleeps, and
seems to know her every thought and feeling.

Falling in love is dangerous, especially when it's with a man who has already been claimed
by the bitter oracle, Demona. From the moment of her kiss, Evangeline is swept into
Dorien's world of mystery, danger, and passion. The oracle's fury only mounts as they
unravel Demona's darkest secrets, but not before Demona finds out about their unborn
half-breed immortal twins.

Demona uses her knowledge of the future to manipulate and destroy, but sometimes love
has a will, and a heart, of its own.

Here’s the blurb for Spartan Surrender:

The exciting Spartan Heart Saga continues!

Stubborn and independent, Taryn Hampton takes a calculated gamble. Despite the dangers
of a half-breed birth, she’s run off to Blackpool Sands, determined to deliver Thessalus’
baby alone. But when complications arise, desperation soon sets in. With no one around to
save Taryn and her unborn child, she’s forced to barter with an evil nemesis for the safety
of her newborn. Cursed to endure the consequences of her foolish decisions, she must face
this eternal punishment with a mother’s sacrifice.

Thessalus Agiad wants only Taryn, but the willful woman refuses to submit to her feelings.
Finding out about his unborn, half-breed babe, he’s aware that Taryn loves him, but she’s
still terrified of his immortality. To make matters worse, she now fears his child that grows
within her belly. Tired of her repeated rejections and the endless game of chasing after her,
Thessalus gives the woman he loves an ultimatum.

The Oracle Demona is wretched, as ever. Tipped off by one of her visions, she awaits
the day to retaliate against Dorien and Evangeline. Aware of Taryn’s impending folly,

Demona exploits her mistakes to the point of utter devastation. The Witch hires the rakish
immortal, Dastan, to carry out her evil plans, knowing well that he’s just another pawn in
her self-rigged game.

Enamored with Taryn Hampton, Dastan wants the feisty vixen for himself. Thessalus
Agiad is the only man who stands in his way. Hired by Demona to kidnap Taryn, Dastan
decides it’s an added bonus to torment his enemy. But Taryn is sick with fever, and he gets
more than he bargained for when she becomes a tempting siren in his bed. It matters not
that his comely hostage believes that he is Thessalus.

Curses, manipulations, and fears may decimate everything that lies between Taryn and
Thessalus, but sometimes love can balm the scars of a wounded soul, and force the most
stubborn heart to surrender.

Here’s the blurb for Secret Santa:

Holly Gordon’s estrangement from her family makes loneliness of the Christmas season
hit close to home. Volunteering for the annual Ashton Falls Secret Santa Program is
more than a comfort, it’s a blessing. Just knowing she’s able to help another hurting soul
experience the joy of a heartfelt Christmas makes her own reality a tiny bit sweeter, that is,
until Marcus Jenner ends up on her list.

Marcus Jenner is more than a bronze, muscled looker. This Chickasaw loner isn’t happy
being placed on the town’s Secret Santa list. Suffering from the blow of a devastating loss,
he has chosen to withdraw from living almost completely. For the life of him, he can’t
figure why this pretty little blonde keeps bumping into him, calling him by name, and
insisting on giving him presents. Unfortunately for Marcus, every time she does, a billowing
cloud of havoc seems to ensue. Why can’t this uninvited vixen leave him alone?

They say time and fate have all of the answers. Holly, in all of her innocence, is drawn to
Marcus like a moth to the flame. But Marcus has no intentions of submitting to the threat
of his newfound feelings. A painful exchange pushes their lives into a pendulum chaos. His
demand for privacy is granted by Holly’s hidden illness. Her sudden absence hits him hard,
especially when the arrival of a stranger delivers the rest of his gifts. Right away, he knows
something’s horribly wrong.

Love and selfless giving can rouse a wounded, sleeping heart. But sometimes a Secret Santa
gets a few unexpected gifts of her own.

This Is My Fibro with Kristine Cheney Contest
Everyone who leaves a comment is registered for an entry into the contest. Winner(s) get their choice of any one of Kristine's books. Kristine will choose a handful of winners. For every friend they refer to visit the interview and then leaves a comment (stating the name of the friend who referred them in their comment, then the person who referred them will get an additional entry in the contest. Visitors can have as many referrals for extra entries as they like. The person with the most friend referrals will get two signed bookmarks for being so awesome! In honors of Kristine's Irish roots, winners will be chosen on St. Patrick's Day, March17, 2013. May the luck of the Irish be with you. Winners will receive the .pdf ebooks (winner's choice of ebook) via email.


  1. I would love to win one of those books!!!!!


    1. Hello, Heather! Thank you so much. I deeply appreciate your visit and comment. Best wishes in the contest.

      I'll be sure to check out your blog.


      Kristine Cheney

  2. Thanks for a great interview! Her books sound really interesting!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi, Connie! Awww...thank you! I'm so glad you decided to visit. I'm grateful for your comment. Good luck in the contest. :)


      Kristine Cheney

  3. It is NOT easy using Google+ on a cell phone...hahahaha! ;)

  4. Heather and Connie, you are both winners of one of my ebooks! Please send me a personal email referencing this interview and informing me of your choice of ebook title to me at tisatrix@cox.net and I will forward your .pdf ebook. (Please note that the first book to begin my Spartan Heart Saga is Spartan Heart Part One, and my single title novella is Secret Santa.)

    Thank you for joining us. I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with This is My Fibro.