Title: One Pedal at a Time: A Novice Caregiver and Her Cyclist Husband Face Their New Normal With Courage, Tenacity and Abundant Love
Genre: Memoir / Family / Medical
Publication date: Feb 10, 2018
Publisher: Abuzz Press
CTM Official Review:
If there were ever a person with an undeniable blend of humble determination, illuminating love, and a never ending dedication to those who hold meaning in their life – CJ Golden would be her. One Pedal at a Time is, in my opinion, a must read for any and everyone who is, has been, or may in the future be facing any sort of medical trauma that requires ongoing care. Not only for the insight of do and don’t while caring for a loved one, but also to soak up the tremendous example of positive attitude and personal interaction.
As weird as it is to label a book about novice care-giving as a ‘lovely’ read, I’m going to do it. From cover to cover this book offers so much to learn from in terms of relationship and family values. And, yes lovely is the word I’m going with. Let me tell you why!
The beginning of One Pedal at a Time offers a run down about how CJ found herself married to Joe, as well as a little background of their lifestyles. Before courting, the two had known one another from group interactions while each were in their previous marriages. Once dating, they ultimately clicked, took their time in growing close, learned from one another, as well as respected the fact that their union was centered on more than just the two of them. Joe’s and CJ’s children, and grandchildren clearly hold the utmost importance in their lives.
One thing I love about this book is that CJ paints a clear picture of Joe before Leukemia and strokes took them for a loop. Joe is an accomplished, witty, up-beat, wholesome, and extremely supportive man. He’d helped CJ through medical difficulties of her own, and was a very prominent cyclist. He even rode across the U.S. merely a year before strokes debilitated him.
A large portion of the book consists of emails that CJ had written to friends and family throughout Joe’s treatments and stays during the hardest year after diagnosis. This approach of writing helped to round the entire story. It allows us as the readers detailed insight on real time emotions as well as detailed treatments, good days vs. bad days, and more.
Together CJ and Joe face the world head on, in sickness and in health. Their relationship and their approach to life is general is, as I said before, absolutely lovely.
CTM Official Author Interview, CJ Golden:
CTM: CJ, thank you for sharing this story with the world! One thing I’ve noticed (and love) about One Pedal at a Time, is that you’ve managed to give your readers an idea of the depth of pain and trauma that Joe was forced to endure, yet you kept his dignity very much intact. Do you have any tips for your readers who may be experiencing similar novice care-giving, on what may or may not be appropriate to share with friends and family?
CJ: I truly believe that everything and anything that will help the reader or listener understand the depth of the situation and, ultimately, the job of being a caregiver, should be included in the story. Now, that being said, I did turn to Joe to seek his approval before inserting several instances (I.e. the “going to the bathroom while groggy from meds in the hospital” scene). The patient – if he is Joe – will understand the humor in that situation and want to share. Others may not. It is imperative that we allow the patient his/her dignity and follow their lead on what parts of their story get shared.
CTM: At one point in the book you mentioned the struggle in understanding and/or controlling your own fears, and emotions, about symptoms while Joe is solely in your care. After everything that has happened, it’s hard to decipher when to panic and when to take a breath and handle it. Since writing this book, have you been able to get a better grip on such events and circumstances, or is this something that is always there, lingering under the surface?
CJ: I would love to say that I am quite under control; my emotions do not get away from me; and I am vigilant rather than hysterical. Not! The caring and concern is always under the surface – it’s like waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. However, I am more at ease with Joe’s situation and, while watchful, do not go into panic mode anymore. It’s difficult, isn’t it, when you love someone, know he is dealing with a possible dire situation yet you want to believe with all of your heart – that he is totally fine and will be for many years to come.
CTM: It’s made clear throughout this powerful memoir, that you have written your story in order to help others. You’ve mentioned a few times that sharing your experiences will hopefully assist people in their own journeys, and you even included several links and resources at the end as references that your readers might need. I know as a writer myself, I always come up with more after my books are published. That said… now that your book is finished and out there for the universe to devour, is there anything in hindsight that you’d like to add? Anything helpful that your readers can take away from this interview that you personally feel is lacking from the book?
CJ: I’m now at the point where I give many interviews: on-air, podcasts, videocasts and I am booked for speaking engagements. My concern had been that there was not much more I could glean from our situation that wasn’t already in the book. That is most definitely not the case, however, as I continue to read of other caregivers and hear their stories. The one big takeaway now is that there is so much pain and anger and frustration within the world of care-giving. And rightfully so. But, as a motivator in my other books and presentations, I want to bring a positive light to the job of being a caregiver. There are ways (and I admit it is difficult) to find some joy in the situation. At this point what I want most to do is help people find that.
CTM: For the lighter side of things, I’ve just got to ask one for fun. You said that during Joe’s cross country bike ride, he had a bit of a run in with racoons! I got a real chuckle out of this because my husband and I had our own racoon experience on the night he proposed to me. There were four of them who showed up to our condo porch party uninvited, and lets just say they got got a little hissy and handsy! I ran for my life while my better half made a not so sober effort to swat and kick them away. This is one of the funniest first memories we share together…. were you with Joe when his own little wildlife mishap took place? Can you elaborate on the funny details? Please tell me that someone out there took pictures of this epic event!
CJ: Sorry to say that I was not with Joe during that encounter. Nor was I when the cyclists tried to pitch their tents on mounds of fire ants, or when they had to stop pedaling due to hail storms in the ridiculous heat of Texas. I have not been at any of these happenings and wish I was (well, maybe not experiencing them but just being that fly on the wall watching). I make sure I am wherever Joe and his gang are when they head off for a long ride, and I am most certainly with him at the end to celebrate the finish of another epic adventure.
CTM: Lastly, what would you like to share special for CTM readers in terms of your overall experience as a caregiver for your husband. If there is one thing you want your readers to take away that sticks out in your head and in your heart above most everything else, what would it be?
CJ: There is a wonderful little quote from Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh, “Promise me you’ll always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” The job of being a caregiver is overwhelming and, at times, appears to be impossible. There is help and support out there for you. But the most important encouragement comes from within.
CTM: Thank you so much CJ, for sharing this amazing story!
Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she's writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians(a trilogy to be). Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and bathing in the desert heat plays an important part of her day to day lifestyle.