Karen Ingalls: Shining For Others



Everyone’s Story welcomes author Karen Ingalls to our little corner of the blog world. Karen and I have connected over 2 passions: our love of writing, and ovarian cancer. Karen has battled with the illness; my mother had passed away from it 28 years ago (and I had an ovarian tumor but praise God, it was benign). Another passion of mine is helping others over a good cause and this week Karen reaches out to those who are fighting ovarian/other cancer(s). I hope you’ll share this post with anyone who may need encouragement over an illness, whether family or friends or neighbors. Karen is offering her award-winning book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir  to 2 commenters. A big by-the-way mention: all proceeds of this book are donated to gynecologic cancer research!! We’re both looking forward to chatting with you.





Karen is offering 2 randomly chosen commenters 1 print copy of Outshine, a perfect source of inspiration for either yourself or a loved one facing cancer. The winner will be announced here on Friday, December 2nd between  5-6 PM EST.

** For Giveaways: it’s not necessary to insert your private email information within comments.




An Excerpt from Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir by Karen Ingalls

Chapter 3

Prayer and Love

It’s said that as tears flow out, love flows in. I believe that to be

true. For the next two weeks, a lot of love flowed in. Jim and I

sobbed until our throats and stomachs ached. The week was painfully

difficult while we waited for answers; informed our kids,

family, and friends; and made preparations for surgery and recovery.

It was the start of a journey that would have us enter hell and

then travel various peaks and valleys of hope, fear, ministry, doubt,

prayer, and an ever-closer relationship with God and each other.

I have always believed in God, even though I was raised in

a home where there was no talk of God, Jesus, or the Bible. We

never went to church, grace was only said when my stepfather’s

family was at our house for a meal, Easter was about the bunny

rabbit, and Christmas was about Santa Claus. My grandmother,

Edith, was the one who taught me about God, all religions, and

how Jesus was her Savior.


In my junior year of high school, the abuse had escalated to

a point where I knew my life was in danger. I left my mother’s

house in Long Beach, California, to live with my dad and his

wife in Hollywood, California. Starting in my preteen years, my

dad and I had become very close. He did not know about the

abuse, because I was scared to tell him the “secret.” The move

meant changing schools, making new friends, and seeing very

little of my mother and two sisters. Both sets of my grandparents

had always been very important to me, and now they were even

more so. Both Dad and my grandparents provided the stability,

strength, and spiritual and religious beliefs I needed. It was an

ending and a beginning, frightening and safe, confusing and

sane, nightmare and dream, sadness and happiness. A classmate

invited me to the youth group at her church every Wednesday

night. So began my journey in truly knowing and accepting

God into my life through Jesus the Christ. My faith has never

stopped growing, and it was the foundation for which I found

the strength and courage to face what lay ahead.


The time before my surgery gave Jim and me an opportunity to

come to a new level of grief. We talked about the power of prayer

and how our love could see us through anything. Prayer and love

had already seen us through some difficult times with family,

careers, and our own relationship.


We were overwhelmed, too, with the love and support

we received from family and friends. Every message in a card,

whether written by Hallmark or the sender, touched my heart

and soul in a completely unexpected way. I learned a lesson in

life that any birthday, sympathy, or get-well card might be very

meaningful and powerful for the receiver. Therefore, cards need

to be selected and sent with the ministry they are intended to

have. Too many times in the past, I have sent cards without

paying close attention to the words inscribed. I gotta get this in

the mail, was my thought as I quickly selected a card after barely

scanning the verse. That was not ministering to others. Rather, it

was being too self-absorbed in my own busy-ness. Being on the

receiving end of so many special cards opened my eyes and heart.

As the days brought us closer to the surgery, I learned that

friends are one of the most cherished gifts I appreciate. One

morning, I joined my dear friend, Charlotte, for a cup of coffee.


We had met twenty years ago when we worked together in the

hospital’s epilepsy unit. Sharing the same philosophy of life and

nursing, we quickly formed a deep friendship. We talked about

my upcoming surgery and the unknown challenges that lay

ahead of me. She helped me deeply explore and discuss my true



“I think my greatest fear is for Jim,” I said. “How will he be

if I die?” For over twenty years, we had lived each day as if we

would live forever, though we had buried his parents and said

goodbye to other relatives and friends. “Jim and I have such a

close bond, it’s like we’re one. We’re best friends, besides loving

each other so deeply and profoundly.”


Charlotte took my hand and said, “Jim is a survivor. He’ll

go through his stages of grief and will miss you terribly, but he’ll

survive just because of his love for you. He knows that’s what you

would want.” After a few minutes she added, “Besides, none of

us knows when we’re going to die. Just because you might have

cancer does not mean you are automatically going to die from it.”



When anyone hears the word cancer it creates fear, anxiety, and sometimes panic.

This is true no matter the language, culture, religion, or nationality. When I heard, I am sorry but the tumor was cancerous I also felt fear and thought my life was over. This lasted about two days but as I asked questions, did research into ovarian cancer, and turned my fear over to God then I began to see the cancer as one of several challenges I have had to face.

I prefer to use the word challenge because it does signify negativity, but also an opportunity. Just as the athlete trains for the competition, I see my training as putting my body, mind, emotions, and spirit in optimum condition to live with cancer. I have always been the health nut of the family choosing to eat few red meats, little processed foods, and lots of fruit and vegetables. I have always exercised or been involved in yoga. Meditation or deep prayer has been a daily (or more) event.

I am a retired registered nurse who specialized in holistic counseling in my private practice as a nurse counselor. I offered the client therapeutic massage, healing touch, biofeedback in addition to the one on one counseling. I pursued these same modalities for myself and after the diagnosis I added Qigong, Reiki, and nutritional advice.


Since I was a preteen I wrote short stories, poems, and nightly wrote in my diary. I found this to be very helpful in dealing with my alcoholic parents and abuse from my stepfather. In the 1950’s there was no programs, information, or sources for those of who were being abused. It was a family secret!

I wrote and journaled for my healing and continued doing it right up to today. I did not think I had any gift for writing so I did not share it with anyone. One of the positive things that came out of my cancer diagnosis was the publication of my award winning book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. This is the story of my cancer journey, which anyone who hears the words you have cancer will relate to it. Cancer is cancer is cancer. Even though our specific cancer might be different and there may some variations to our journeys, we do walk similar paths. It is my hope that my ways of training for this challenge, or coping, will help others.

I also wrote the book Outshine to bring awareness about this lesser known and too often deadly disease. Every female, no matter her age, needs to know the symptoms and act on them. Briefly, the most common symptoms are bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain, indigestion or feeling full sooner than normal, painful intercourse, changes in urination or bowel habits, etc. If these symptoms persist for only two weeks, it is imperative to see a physician and demand a transvaginal ultrasound and a blood test called a CA125. These tests are not expensive and they are all we have to help diagnose ovarian cancer at an early stage.

Too often physicians do not consider ovarian cancer initially when the patient presents with any or a couple of these symptoms. It is imperative that the woman know and share her family history and be proactive. Gilda Radner was sent from physician to physician until her cancer was so advanced she died young. This still happens today. Physicians, nurses, and every woman needs to know about ovarian cancer.

This cancer is not just for women over 60 years old. There have been diagnoses of preteens, those in their teens, twenties, thirties, and on up. Did you know that Olympic gymnast, Shannon Miller was diagnosed at age 34, Gilda Radner was 42, and Maureen Connolly the tennis champion was 34? A teenager in Florida was diagnosed at the age of 18, a 7 year old, and even an infant was diagnosed with rare forms of ovarian cancer.

I hope you will share this information with everyone. It is only through knowledge and action that we can save the 14,000 lives that are lost every year just in the United States alone. Please feel free to contact me at my website listed below if you have questions or require more information.

No matter if our challenge is related to health, relationships, finances, abuse, addiction, or any other number of events my holistic approach can be of help to the reader. I talk about such things as meditation or deep prayer, exercise, diet, imagery, and laughter to name just a few. I hope the reader will find the necessary ways to cope with the stress or challenge in his or her life.

Karen’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet Karen Ingalls @KIngallsAuthor: Reaching out to others with #OvarianCancer (Tweet This)

Karen Ingalls @KIngallsAuthor: advice & encouragement for those faced with #cancer (Tweet This)

@KIngallsAuthor: How #writing #faith #meditation can help to cope with #cancer (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Karen Ingalls is an 8-year survivor of ovarian cancer; a retired registered nurse with a Master’s Degree in Human Development; author of three books; blogger at two sites; and a public speaker. Her first book is about her journey with ovarian cancer, which reaches across to anyone with cancer. All proceeds from that book go to gynecological cancer research. Her second book, Novy’s Son is about one man’s struggle to achieve his father’s love and acceptance but unfortunately uses anti-social behavior to achieve it. This is based on a true story, which reflects a common problem in our society where fathers do not know how to be fathers and teach their sons how to be responsible and loving parents themselves.

The third book is titled Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. This is also based on a true story of America’s premier author in the 1800’s who fell in love with and had an affair and child with his model, Davida.

Karen is an active member of Rave Reviews Book Club, Florida Hospital Cancer Institute for gynecological cancers, Waterman Hospital gynecologic cancer support group, and Women for Hospice. She is available to give free seminars about women’s cancers in person or via Skype.

Places to connect with Karen:




Amazon/Outshine Ovarian Cancer

Amazon/Novy’s Son





On Sale on Amazon!

                           Kindle $.99

                    Print Edition $9.99







Karen and I look forward to your comments.

20 comments to Karen Ingalls: Shining For Others

  • The C word is so scary. I have a friend who was diagnosed almost five years ago with ovarian cancer and who is doing great now. My prayers are with you as you share your story that gives so much hope to those facing this terrible disease.

    • elaineadmin

      Wow, Pat. I love, love, love your *word*: great. I’m glad she is! May God bless her with continued health, and may the two of you enjoy many more years of
      friendship 💗

    • Pat, my prayers and good wishes go out to your friend. Cancer is a scary word, but it is important that it not be our life, only a part of it. I refuse to let cancer control my life, so I try to always rise above it.
      Thank you for sharing.

  • Marilyn

    Cancer is a challenge. Thankful you and Karen are here today. Karen’s excerpt needs to be read by all–definitely a road traveled when informed you have cancer. Thanks for featuring Karen Ingalls and her openness of her life. God bless.

    • elaineadmin

      So glad you could appreciate Karen’s feature. She’s an encouragement to those who are ill, as well as those who are healthy.

    • It is interesting that you use the word challenge, which is my choice of describing cancer or any other life-changing event. As i dealt with abuse, divorce, untimely deaths, and now cancer I looked at each of these as challenges. That way I have tried to learn from and become a better person because of these challenges.

  • All I can say is: Wow, thank you for sharing your story of life’s challenges and how the Lord made Himself
    known to you. We never know how our lives will touch others!

    Another thought-provoking post, Elaine!

  • Susan Elizabeth Henson

    Karen, you are quite the inspiration as I am an aspiring author myself of a story geared towards those who are dealing with brain injuries. I sustained a traumatic brain injury in 1992 in a car accident and would love to be an encouragement to others dealing with a similar situation. God has blessed me also with the gift of writing, and I would like to use it to bless others!

    • elaineadmin

      Susan, welcome to Everyone’s Story. I’m so sorry to learn about your accident and subsequent injury, but can’t help but smile at your desire to reach out to others to help and encourage them. May God bless you tremendously.

      Hope to see you again.

  • I wish you the very best in your writing career, and I encourage you to follow your dream. I know that your story will be an inspiration to others.

  • Janet Estridge

    I have heard “that” word in regards to family and friends. At a time like this, you learn how to rely on God and trust Him to do the rest.

  • Janet, thanks for stopping by and sharing. Relying on God is the only way to live.

  • I would love to read Karen’s books on cancer being an Ovarian Cancer survivor myself!

  • Elaine, thank you for having me on your wonderful website. The opportunity to spread the word about this devastating disease is important and welcome. Cancer is cancer and no matter the type it creates fear and uncertainty. There are healthy ways to cope with cancer or any other life-changing event.
    Women need to know the symptoms, act on them, and demand physicians to do a transvaginal ultrasound and CA125.
    I appreciate the wonderful things to do Elaine. God bless you.

  • elaineadmin

    What a wonderful God-amazing week this has been on Everyone’s Story. Each Friday evening before I launch a new guest I pray that the new feature will glorify God and bless both my guest and any viewers who need to be lifted up in inspiration by the new particular guest. I really do believe this happens week after week, and the interaction this past week has been very moving. I have my special guest, Karen Ingalls, to thank 💗 Karen, heartfelt thanks and much appreciation. And thank you for the lovely words you’ve already shared above. May God bless you with much health and happiness.

    Thanks too, Karen, for your BookGiveaway of Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir to 2 winners. And they are…

    Sharon and Susan!! Both Karen and I will be in touch with you via direct email.

    Blessings to all.

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