personal

Second try…Let’s do this. Help Me #LightTheNight for Blood Cancer Awareness Month…

Re-sharing with the correct link 🙂 For the donations already done to the previous thank you SO MUCH!!!

September is Blood Cancer Awareness month, and this year I’m going to do several things, including my first Light The Night with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which is virtual this year. You can help me by joining my team or donating here. My goal is to raise $500. You can also share this post or my team page with your friends and family, on your social media. If you’d like to share one of my social media posts, you can find them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin.

Long story short: I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in October 2017 and went through several treatments and went through an autologous stem cell transplant almost a year ago. I’m currently in remission. It still feels surreal to type this.  And I just want to find ways to make sure no one else has to go through those countless treatments. And if they do, that they have the support I had. 

Financially. Emotionally. Physically.

And that more people become aware of blood cancers and the symptoms. And that a cure is found. And that people can find the help they need. Your donation will help. And you joining my team to raise money for LLS will help too.

Oh and another thing you can do? Register to be a donor for BeTheMatch.org. I’ll be soon doing a virtual registration drive for them. But you don’t need to wait to help save a life.

Long story long: I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in October 2017 after months of feeling unwell, losing weight, having back pain. It all started with pain as I had a sip of wine back in November/December 2016. I thought back pain was just the way it was. I didn’t exercise enough. I don’t sit or stand straight enough. Fast-forward to a doctor’s visit, a lot of physical therapy, another doctor’s visit and then another. And well, the tumor I had in my chest was now probuting out of my chest wall. Fun times.

When I had my biopsy, I couldn’t lay down all the way because the surgeon was worried about me not being to breathe due to the mass. Which was about the size of half a gallon of milk. When we got the results of the biopsy, we were actually happy. Because Hodgkin’s was a much better outcome in our mind than the other possibilities. I was told and knew from research that I would have 6 months of chemo and then should be okay. After 2 months of chemo, we would do a PET scan and that PET scan would ideally be clear.

Well, it wasn’t.

After 2 months of chemo every 2 weeks (4 different chemo each time), my PET scan wasn’t clear.

I went for a 2nd and 3rd opinion (both gave me so much hope and I’m so grateful to them), and changed care. My current oncologist and his team make me feel like I’m an integral part of my care, and they gave me that hope I mentioned and I was able to start therapy as part of their comprehensive care which was oh so helpful. I changed chemo regimen. Did 6 more months of chemo. Had a clean scan through treatment and an iffy scan after.

That iffy spot ended up being okay 3 months later (as my oncologist had said it would), but another spot showed up. So more watch-and-wait. And then another PET scan. And then a spleen biopsy. And then radiation. And then another PET scan. More watch-and-wait for another spot. And then another PET scan. And then another biopsy. Which didn’t get enough tissue. So another biopsy, this time a mediastinoscopy. And then Hodgkin’s was confirmed. So onward with immunotherapy for several months. Another PET scan.

And then the decision to go through an autologous stem cell transplant. Preparation for that, including placing of another catheter and then cell collection. And then time to go into the hospital.

High-dose chemo for several days. And then my cells were given back to me. And then sepsis, high heart rate (in the 200s) where I needed to get a shot to reduce the heart-rate and there were a lot of people around my bed when that happened as they prepared the paddles to put on my chest…just in case. I could spend more than 300 words on that particular experience. 😉

And then I got better. Still couldn’t eat much or taste but slowly got better.

And then I started immunotherapy maintenance treatment.

And then I got a clean scan.

And then I finished maintenance treatment during Covid-19. My first treatment ever without my husband by my side as caregivers weren’t allowed in the cancer center.

And then another clean scan with something in my nose. And then another clean scan with still something in my nose but smaller. And then a nasal endoscopy, which was weird but very reassuring.

Oh and shingles.

And plenty of therapy sessions.

And quite a few tears.

And a lot of laughter.

Help me make a difference, click here to join my team and/or donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for #LightTheNight and/or to join my team. Thank you! 

I light the night as a survivor, as a supporter of everyone touched by blood cancer being the patient or the family or the friends, and in remembrance of so many people. Too many people, including Melissa Baker from Australia who was a light herself on the Hodgkin’s Refractory group, and passed away at the beginning of the year after so many years of treatment. I didn’t know her personally, because I don’t interact much on the group. But she was such a bright spot. Just like so many others. Lost way too fucking soon. I think of them and their families and their friends and their loved ones often.

personal

How to pronounce “Elodie Nowodazkij”?

I’m used to explaining how to pronounce my name: both my first and last name. I’ve done it for years.

A few weeks ago, Trish Doller tweeted about how helpful it would be for authors to have a pronunciation guide for their name.

I had been meaning to do that for a long time.

Some days, I do believe it would have been easier to go with a pen name for more reasons than one. Other days, I’m happy I decided to publish under my name. Lots of pros and cons. But I digress. Today’s post is about how to pronounce “Elodie Nowodazkij.”

“Elodie” is a common French name. And I may just have spent ten minutes looking at a graph showing its popularity per years. According to data extracted by several websites from l’Insee (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies), I can share with you that there were 83 babies named “Elodie” in 1900, while 7118 babies were named “Elodie” in 1981. And I was one of them. It actually reached a peak in 1988. So you could say my parents started a trend. 😉 Based on this data, 58 babies were named Elodie in 2018.

Outside of France, it is not a very common name at all. I usually tell people, it’s like, “Melody without the ‘m’.”

For my last name, “Nowodazkij”, well it’s harder because one doesn’t pronounce all letters. The “j” at the end is silent for example. And for the little story, it’s spelled like this because it was transcribed that way from Cyrillic to German when my husband immigrated to Germany when he was a kid.

So, for those of you who are wondering how to pronounce “Elodie Nowodazkij”, you can listen to me below saying it (or you can click here).

At some point, I was thinking of starting a 5-minute podcast on “How do you pronounce…?” And ask authors to tell me one story about their name.

I might still do that…

Thanks for reading (and listening)!

personal

Welcoming thirty-nine with gratitude…

…even though I still haven’t convinced The Chemical Engineer that my birthday should be a national holiday 🙂

Yesterday, I welcomed 39 with a lot of gratitude, a walk in a not-too-humid Maryland summer day where we saw a dragonfly, and very delicious food. The Chemical Engineer cooked some of my favorite dishes and surprised me throughout the day…I’m grateful and I’m lucky in so so many ways. Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes! I truly appreciate them ❤

Here are a few things you can do to celebrate my birthday (I know it was yesterday but maybe it’s a birthday week? ;-)), I’m trying to raise more awareness about BeTheMatch.org and how one can become a donor. While I’m so lucky to be in remission after my autologous transplant, there are a lot of people waiting for a donor transplant and you could save a life. 🙂

So, I’d love it if you could read more about BeTheMatch.org and either sign up to be a donor or share the info with your friends: https://join.bethematch.org/s/landing?language=en_US&ref=headerjoin&_ga=2.83404822.1487756652.1597782116-87238107.1597782116

I’m looking to organize an online BeTheMatch donor drive (I’m in touch with one of their volunteers and will share more details soon) and if you’re interested in helping me brainstorm, don’t hesitate to reach out.

And if you’d like to support my writing: don’t hesitate to: sign up to know when Fear Me, Fear Me Not will be released as an audiobook (https://forms.gle/KEkvvdNcjeJQTaSF9 ) read my books, leave reviews for my books (links to my books can be found here: https://elodienowodazkij.com/my-books/)

Again, thank you so so so much!

personal, Uncategorized

Pourquoi publier en français est un tourbillon d’émotions…

Mon premier livre en français « Un Eté Pas Comme Les Autres »  va sortir le 8 mars 2016.

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Il enchaîne les conquêtes. Elle est la sœur de son meilleur ami.
Ils ne devraient pas être ensemble. Mais cet été, la tentation est trop forte. 

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Et je dois avouer que c’est un vrai tourbillon d’émotions.

Pourquoi ? Pour plusieurs raisons…

  1. Je n’écris pas en français…je ne l’ai pas traduit moi-même…pas toujours facile à accepter

Au cours des deux dernières années, j’ai reçu beaucoup de questions concernant la publication de mes livres en français, me demandant pourquoi je n’écris pas en français, pourquoi je ne traduis pas mes livres en français…

Une partie de moi souhaitait le traduire moi-même. J’ai essayé de le faire avec mon livre Un Seul Rêve et je sais que j’ai fait beaucoup d’erreurs. Ce livre-là est actuellement avec ma famille pour correction et cela m’a pris énormément de temps pour le traduire. Et je me suis rendue compte que cela n’est peut-être pas une bonne solution pour moi.

Mais cela reste dur à accepter. Apres tout, je suis française, ma langue maternelle est le français. Il y a des années, j’écrivais en français pas en anglais. Je rêvais de publier un livre, de publier des livres, de devenir un écrivain.

Mais honnêtement, cela fait maintenant 15/16 ans que je n’habite plus en France ou dans un pays francophone. Wow, quinze, seize ans…le temps passe à une vitesse incroyable. Et écrire en anglais me vient plus facilement. Ce n’est pas facile à admettre mais c’est la vérité.

  1. Trouver un traducteur/une traductrice

Trouver quelqu’un pour traduire mes livres en français ne fut pas facile. Je suis un peu difficile parce que je souhaite vraiment que la traduction capture le style et la voix de mes protagonistes. Et cela est très subjectif. Dès que j’ai lu le début de la traduction d’Edith, je n’ai eu aucune hésitation. Je suis tombée sous le charme de sa traduction et j’avais comme un sentiment que c’était exactement ce que je cherchais.

Je n’ai aucune envie de répéter la chorégraphie d’un ballet. C’est pourtant ce que je devrais faire. Je monte en demi-pointe pour esquisser un relevé.

Je n’ai plus envie d’être Emilia Moretti – danseuse classique de seize ans qui répète chaque mouvement jusqu’à la perfection, de manière quasi-obsessionnelle. Mes genoux se fléchissent au-dessus de mes pieds et je descends en plié.

Je n’ai plus envie d’être cette jeune fille qui crie sur tous les toits qu’elle s’en fiche d’avoir été adoptée, mais qui essaie de retrouver ses parents biologiques en douce.

Je remonte sur la pointe des pieds.

Je n’ai plus envie de penser à Nick, le meilleur danseur de L’École des Arts de la scène (et le meilleur ami de mon frère), dont je suis désespérément amoureuse. Je veux danser pour tout oublier.

  1. La peur de publier en français

Publier dans ma langue maternelle est angoissant. Bon, il est vrai que publier dans n’importe quelle langue est angoissant et passionnant tout à la fois.

Ma famille et mes amis qui ne lisent pas l’anglais vont pouvoir lire mes livres…et s’ils les lisent, qu’est-ce qu’ils vont en penser ? Et puis il y a aussi une autre question : et s’ils ne lisent pas mes livres ?

Beaucoup de questions…

  1. La peur de ne pas rentrer dans mes frais.

Publier un livre soi-même coûte de l’argent. Faire traduire un livre coûte de l’argent. Pour l’instant je n’ai que 5 précommandes de mon livre sur Amazon (le système KDP avec lequel je publie me permet de voir combien de personnes ont précommandé mon livre). Et pour pouvoir rentrer dans mes frais, je dois vendre au moins 250 eBooks…donc pour l’instant ce n’est pas gagné.

Si je ne rentre pas dans mes frais, je ne peux pas continuer à investir dans des traductions…donc je me mets peut-être un peu beaucoup la pression sur ce point là.

  1. Se rendre compte qu’au moins un de mes livres va être disponible dans ma langue maternelle 🙂

Même si j’angoisse, je suis vraiment impatiente de voir mon livre sortir. J’ai adoré écrire l’histoire de Nick et d’Emilia et je croise les doigts pour que vous les aimiez aussi 🙂

Et comme toujours, je suis très reconnaissante à mon mari, ma famille, mes amis qui continuent de m’encourager ! Merci !

 

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Rambling thoughts…

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What happened in Paris on Friday, November 13th shocked me to the core.

I was getting ready to go out with a friend and when we postponed, I sat at the computer and saw what was going on.

The horror.

And I texted my family to make sure they were safe, that no one we knew was at the soccer game, that my dad didn’t take my nephew there like they’ve done before because they love soccer and we live close by. I remember going with my Dad years ago to watch France against Scotland in that stadium.

And I cried. A lot.

On that day and the days that followed, I cried. And I called home. And my husband hugged me a lot.

I reached out to friends who I knew were in Paris, and to friends who I didn’t know if they were in Paris that evening or not.

They were okay. But people died. Families will never be the same.

Like they died in Lebanon, like they die in Syria and many other countries. I knew it, but I didn’t realize what this meant.

Seeing Paris like this…it became real. And it’s sad to say this, that before, I hadn’t realized, I hadn’t wanted to realize because the pain is strong.

Maybe, it’s because every single time I went back to Paris, and sat in a cab to whatever business trip I was going to, a wave of happiness came over me, a wave of memories, of my childhood, of admiring and loving this city. Friday night in Paris, for me, is all about chatting about the world, laughing, drinking wine and eating. It’s going to a concert, or to a soccer game.

And I’m sorry that it took something so close to make me realize more bitterly what millions of people are going through every single day.

I had no words. And I still don’t have any answers.

I took a step back from social media because what I saw and keep on seeing there angers me, it also makes me sad, and it scares me. The hate and simplistic answers scare me. The judgement, the spread of lies. There should be a button called “have you fact-checked this before liking, commenting, sharing?” on Facebook…and then there should be another one that says “are you sure, are you really sure you want to do this?”, “I understand you’re scared, but that’s not the solution.”, “And if you’re not scared, then what’s your reasoning because I don’t get it. And if you’re scared, maybe just say you’re scared instead.”

Seeing the news about Muslim people being attacked in France in retaliation sickens me. It scares the shit out of me to see how people can react with so much hate towards innocent people, like the ones they’re claiming to fight.

I don’t have the answers, I don’t know the answers, but I know my answer is not and will not be to spread more hate. It will not be to change who I am, and what I believe in.

Otherwise, they win.

And who is they? They’re not religious. They’re not representatives of the religion they claim to be killing for. They kill anyone.  Sophie Aram said it better than me: “You only have to be alive and free to be a target of those assholes.” (her words in French in the video below resonate a lot with me).

They kill and don’t care who they kill.

Terrorism has no religion.

Terrorism has no fucking religion.

I don’t know if I believe in God, but I still remember how after one evening of catechism, our Priest told us that it was better to behave according to our values (helping people, being kind, forgiving…) and not be a believer, than to come to church and not follow those values.

I wonder if those values are remembered by those who claim themselves to be religious.

The refugees who are coming to Europe, they’re fleeing this violence, this hatred, those people. Shit, are we so quick to forget that little boy who drowned, whose face had become a reminder of our duties as human beings? Is there a risk? Of course, there is. Just like there’s a risk in Europe itself.  After all, most of the attackers were from Europe.

The mastermind they’re looking for right now is from a middle class family, raised in Belgium, was not religious, was a petty criminal…

There are idiots everywhere, they are bad people everywhere. And people looking for a place to carry on heinous acts because they want to.

I am grateful for the policemen and everyone risking their lives for us.

I think this standing ovation at the National Assembly from politicians from all parties was a strong message.

I’m grateful for the rally of support near and far.

I am grateful for the ones who continue to make us smile.

There are problems that need to be addressed, problems within France, within the European Union, within the international community. This much is clear and can’t be denied. This much is true. Countries all around the world suffer from terrorism. Innocents are being killed every single day. But division is not the solution.

I believe in “Liberté, égalité, fraternité.”

I believe in Voltaire, and Zola, and Hugo…

I believe in humanity. There were acts of kindness, acts of courage.

I believe in critical thinking and am grateful for my high school professors who encouraged me to think, to question, to analyze. I’m grateful for my parents for leading by example.

I don’t know what we should do. What answers we should give.

But what I will do is that I will not make rash judgments. I will research, read in the languages I know to gain a broader perspective.

I will continue to read the uplifting messages coming from thousands of people, coming from people who have lost someone (like this man who lost his wife and mother of his child), coming from people who remind us how wonderful we all can be.

I will continue to think.

I will continue to try to make someone smile every day.

I will try to be better.

personal

My word for 2015

I have set some blogging and reading goals for 2015, and I have also some personal goals like “take care of myself and be gentle with myself” as I highlighted for the #12DaysofBooks organized by YA Buccaneers.

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For the few past years, I’ve also chosen a word (or words) for the year. In 2013, it was PERSEVERANCE and ENJOY. In 2014, I chose BALANCE.

And both in 2013 & 2014, I wrote things that still resonate quite a bit with present Elodie.

  • In 2013, I wrote “But…I also need to fully enjoy the happy moments like those ones. I need to not be afraid of what could come and look forward to what I can make happen.”
  • And in 2014, “Another element is to let go of the things I cannot control and of the negative talk (–> this one is really tough). You know the one I am talking about: “I should have had, I shouldn’t have had, it shouldn’t be, it will never…

I  need to let go of whatever I cannot change (yes. feel free to sing Let It Go, I know I am :P)

My word for 2015 is PRESENT  (it’s the same as Katy’s. I probably could have copied her entire post on that one) and I think it encompasses what 2013 & 2014 Elodie wrote in this blog. I want to be present in the moment, I want to really pay attention, I want to enjoy the laughs fully, I want to pause and give my full attention to the little moments that make the big ones, and the big moments which are made of so many little ones.

I want to be present.

Do you have a word for 2015?

personal

Looking back…2014…

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There are still a few days in 2014 and what a year it has been, both personally and professionally.

In 2014, I announced my decision to self publish and I published two books, I am so thankful for everyone who’s supporting me in my writing journey. Thank you! ❤

The Hubby and I traveled to Malaysia, to Texas…I had a lot of business trips. I quit my job as a press officer and we moved back to the US. What a year it has been!

I remember reading Katy’s blog about her year in review where she used pictures to highlight her year. Loved it. So I thought, this time around, I’ll try something a bit similar.

January

Happy, happy new year! And a Galette des Rois tradition 🙂 I also blogged about my word for 2014, which was balance.

February
  • Macarons…yum and the 40th birthday of my brother in law!
  • A lovely & romantic Valentine’s Day weekend by the Loreley
  • Signed copies of the lovely and talented Rebecca Behrens (for my niece and me)

Annnnd I announced my decision to self publish!

2014-02-11 Psshhh I have some pretty incredible news…

March
  • Getting into the habit of jogging early (5 a.m.) at least twice a week (should get back into it)
  • And another business trip in Paris followed by much needed family time.
  • On the blog, I called for people to join my UNNAMED BUT YET AWESOME team…to help me in self publishing ONE TWO THREE and I am so grateful for the lovely ladies who joined me!

April
  •  The hubby and I went to see a Klitchko fight…we were SO close to him!
  • We traveled all the way to Malaysia. The Hubby had a business trip there and I joined him after a week for holidays. We discovered Kuantan and then went to a gorgeous resort…it was amazing and surreal!
  • On the blog, I revealed the cover of One, Two, Three with the help of many other bloggers (thank you!)

May
  •  My sister and her family visited us in Germany
  • The Hubby ran his first half marathon
  • I received the proof copies of One, Two, Three

June

Published my first book

Texas

July
  •  Business trip in Aix-en-Provence
  • The World cup of soccer, still can’t believe I wore a German hat!

August
  •  Wedding anniversary 🙂 10 years together and 3 years married…there are not enough words to express how much I love him and how lucky I am!
  • Another business trip, this time in Paris
  • A fun weekend with the family in France
  • Turning 33 🙂

September
  • Moved back to the US!
  • Quit my job as a European Central Press press officer in July and my last day at work was in September. Definitely bittersweet.
  • The cat transport company forgot to pick up our Peter for his flight to the US and our big international move, so I stayed one more day in Frankfurt.

October
  •  We spent a bit over a month living at the hotel…where our boxes started to arrive.
  • We had our first tornado warning which Peter the cat and I spent in the bathroom, the only place without windows in our hotel room.
  • And…One Dream Only came out!

November
  • We bought a house! And moved in!
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving in our new home 🙂

December
  • Finally got my Maryland Driver’s License after some adventures
  • We decorated our home for Christmas 🙂

Peter The Cat

And because I took a looooot of pictures of our cat, Peter, I thought I’d do a little slideshow of his year 🙂

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Tell me, what is your best memory of 2014?

Books, personal, What´s Up Wednesday, writing

What´s up Wednesday? The Happy Anniversary edition :-)

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What´s up Wednesday is the brainchild of Jaime and Erin. It´s a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join, make sure to leave a link to your What’s Up Wednesday post in the widget on Jaime´s blog or Erin‘s blog.

What I´m reading

Only a few pages in and loving it!

What I’m Writing

I am outlining ALWAYS SECOND BEST. Outlining, me? I know it sounds crazy. But I´m basically just getting to know my story even better before diving into the drafting.
I am using OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL to learn and so far I can already feel my story getting better even before drafting!

What else I´ve been up to

Finalized the paperwork for the visa and made our appointment with the Consulate for the beginning of September. Crossing my fingers.
Celebrated my 33rd birthday on Monday and it was lovely!
And…prepping for my first #Selfpub Corner post this Friday (to know more about it, you can click on the little button :-))
#Selfpub corner button

What inspires me right now

My husband and our anniversary.

Together for almost 10 years, married for 3…and so so happy!

As I wrote in One, Two, Three’s acknowledgements:

Thank you to my husband, The Chemical Engineer, Alex, (I had another nickname here but he kind of made a face when I mentioned it would be in the acknowledgments…so I’ll just keep it to myself :-)). I would need to write an entire series to explain how amazing you are, and I’m not even sure I could find the words. Thanks for believing in me. Always. (And for taking care of everything while I’m typing away).

I love you!

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I can’t wait to check all your posts and see what you’ve been up to 🙂

personal, Photography

Discovering Malaysia…in pictures (part 1)

I’ve been in Malaysia now for over a week, enjoying the sun, the beach and the discovery of another culture, of different traditions…We met a lot of very nice people and I sometimes can’t believe how lucky I am…And I get to experience all of this with my husband 🙂 We’re flying back to Germany tomorrow…

Here are a few pictures (I’ll post more once we’re back home and I can play with them a little…)

Some were taken during our road trip, one during a river cruise and the others from a trip to a local market.

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