Margaret Larsen Turley

2.24.13MesaHiltonMargaret L. Turley is one of the original eight authors and the administrator of Writers Unite to Fight Cancer (WUFC). Margaret’s daughter has a brain tumor and receives chemotherapy. Several extended family members are cancer survivors or passed away due to cancer. Margaret is a registered nurse and has cared for many cancer patients during her career.

Margaret’s first novel is Save the Child.  While I was traveling to work one day the news broadcast a story about a mother who was refusing chemotherapy treatment for her son. Because I am a nurse I asked myself why a mother would decide against the best that medicine could offer for her offspring. The story unfolded over the next few weeks. The doctors insisted the boy had a virulent cancer that needed immediate attention. Even when threatened with jail and loss of custody the parents were unrelenting in their premise that they felt their child did not have cancer, and they did not want him to receive chemotherapy. After they were charged with kidnapping their own child because they crossed state lines a judge listened to the parents and halted the medical community and government forces. What the parents wanted was an independent, out-of-state medical work-up for their son. The judge allowed them to seek this consultation. The result was that the child was discovered to be free of cancer. I sighed with relief.

The judge had saved this boy from the horrible side-effects of chemotherapy which include nausea, pain, sores, compromised immune systems, sterility, major organ damage, secondary cancers, and even death.  One of the most important roles of a nurse is to be a patient advocate. During my thirty four year career I have observed more than one situation where a patient and or their family are not listened to. This can cause grave problems and errors, not the least of which being patients and families enduring procedures they do not understand pr agree with. It is my hope that the medical community and the law can expeditiously come together to serve the best interest for the child and family.

In the United States parents do not have the right to make medical decisions for their children from the time they are born until they reach the age of majority. Doctors and hospitals need to respect the different backgrounds, cultures, religious beliefs, and preferences approaches to healthcare that individuals and families have.  In Save the Child I have explored a few of these options.

My first exposure to the devastating effects of cancer was during my on-the-job training as a nurse’s aid in the mid 1970′s.  Winslow has a very small hospital. The patients come from the surrounding area. Since I lived there as a child and then our family moved to the nearby farming town of Joseph City, I knew many of the people who came to be treated. I returned on summer break while attending nursing school. One of the most dramatic impressions was from a nurse who had been part of my training as an aide, and died the summer before I graduated.  The profound sadness I felt still wrenches my heart.

Since that time I’ve treated numerous patients with cancer. As a home health nurse I developed close relationships with those I cared for – they became as dear as family to me. Occasionally I’ve been privileged to  celebrate with them as they reached remission. More often than I care to remember I’ve mourned with their survivors at their funerals. The hardest ones are always the children.

Reason I co-founded and am administrator of Writers Unite to Fight Cancer (WUFC)

I have a cousin (in-law who I consider to be my dearest friend) who is an Ovarian Cancer survivor and receives chemotherapy to control her MS. I have an aunt and an uncle who are cancer survivors. I’ve lost one uncle to kidney cancer.  So yes, my life has been greatly influenced by cancer.I recently completed the Crafting the Character Based Novel Courses taught by Pamela R. Goodfellow PhD (the other co-founder of WUFC.) Her instructions and mentoring have helped me bring Save the Child to the point of production. This novel with be included with several others in the Goodfellow Publishing book launch on September 25th, 2010. The subject of Save the Child is a family dealing with their daughter, Sharon, who is diagnosed with Cancer. Several of my personal experiences are weaved into the storyline, as well as events from current news regarding parent’s rights to choose the healthcare for their child.

Rachel Andersen  – Pen-name

When Rachel Andersen was ten, her family moved to a small community in Northern Arizona. The oldest of six children, she learned many of life’s lessons growing up on the farm. She helped care for her younger brothers and sisters (including several foster brothers and sisters), and did many chores, such as hoeing weeds, irrigating fields, and feeding and caring for the animals. Her parents taught love and caring along with honesty and a good, hard day’s work. They also sacrificed a great deal to give her the wonderful experience of living with her grandmother in Holland for a year. That time taught her lessons no book could ever give. During her high school years, Rachel entertained the family with violin practice at5 a.m., accompanied by the dog’s howling, the cat’s yowling and the cow’s mooing. She has taught music lessons, played in community orchestras, and written arrangements and obligatos for strings.

Rachel started her writing career in high school, speaking out her opinion in the editorial section of the school newspaper, which helped turn the tide of opinion towards formation of a four-year high school in Joseph City, Arizona. She likes to read and write in many genres and has two other books under review. She continued on to write poetry and prose when she went to College at Arizona State University, in Tempe.

Rachel started her unofficial nursing career by bringing home birds that fell from their nests, and insisting on bottle feeding runt piglets the sow wanted to crush. She officially graduated from Nursing School at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona, in 1977. She has practiced nursing in four different states since then, in both rural and metropolitan settings.

Rachel grew up with a passion for reading. If her mom couldn’t find her to complete chores, she was tucked in a closet somewhere reading a book. Somewhere along the line, she began writing, and has won contests with her poetry. She also has written three books on her true life experiences as a nurse: A Nurse’s World, Volumes I II & III: Things I Didn’t Learn in Nursing School.

Pseudonym – Sophia Wynott