INTRODUCTION OF (AUTHOR) Jodie L. Guerrero – Triple Cancer Survivor

NAME: Jodie Guerrero
LOCATION: Brisbane, Australia.
SKILLS: Consumer Health Advocate, blogger, writer & speaker.
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Jodie Louise Guerrero, 48 – is a young mum with two beautiful special needs girls. She is an ‘extreme medical survivor’ who is a triple cancer survivor, transplant survivor, medical negligence and rejection disease survivor (GVHD x 5). In total, Jodie has dealt with six medical traumas, all of which could have easily taken her life. Jodie has endured Medical Negligence | Lymphoma 01 | Lymphoma 02 | MDS (RCMD) | Bone Marrow Transplant & GVHD Rejection Disease (mouth, throat, skin, eyes and lungs).

Jodie has a medical diploma in dental nursing, plus over ten years in consumer experience, as an on-going Haematology patient, continually educating herself in medical science and consulting with some of the best doctors in the southern hemisphere. Additionally, she has a working background in customer relations and quality improvement, in both airlines and aerospace industries, both in the United States and Australia. She is a former radio announcer and book industry professional with several years’ experience in book retailing.

Jodie loves dipping her toes into anything artsy and creative. Currently, she enjoys blogging, vloging, writing and media. Jodie’s family are Australian-American, her husband is from San Francisco and now living with Jodie in Brisbane, Australia.

During Jodie’s search for answers to her initial symptoms, she experienced a delayed diagnosis – Nov/05 to Sep/06. She visited seven (7) doctors – twenty-one (21) consultations but was basically told she was a hypochondriac and concerned about nothing. Many months later and close to death, she discovered in desperation, via the local emergency room that she had extensive and profuse stage four (4) Follicular B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL), eating into nerves | bone & muscle. NHL is a blood cancer that (in Jodie) was caused by two random & common viruses – Glandular Fever and Epstein-Barr Virus. As a result of the extensive disease and tumours – she was losing her R leg mobility – her R leg is still weakened and she has atrophy of the R leg muscles, due to tumour scarring of the S1 nerve. Because of this, she wears a supportive leg brace.

Since that first encounter with blood cancer in 2006, she relapsed again in 2008 and had to then leave full-time work. Jodie then developed another new blood cancer, caused by the toxicities needed as chemotherapy for Lymphoma one & two. The new cancer was Myelodysplasia or Pre-Leukaemia and she needed a transplant to then save her life, once again.

In 2014, she had an Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplant, using the bone marrow of a 30-year-old male, from the United States.

After fighting through this extremely risky procedure, she has now made it to recovery mode. All up, she has endured ninety-four (94) doses of chemo & radiation and now takes over fifty (50) pills a day, with monthly plasma infusions to maintain her survival. The odds against Jodie surviving have been narrow and her success has been remarkable.

The fact that she is still alive is often regarded as a miracle, by her followers and her medical consultants. Jodie’s Journey, via her online platform and social media presence, has assisted thousands of patients worldwide – many of whom are also in the fight of their lives. Jodie’s positive demeanour in the face of incredible challenges; has inspired many fellow fighters and survivors to keep going, no matter what.

Jodie is committed to serving the cancer and chronic illness community, as an ambassador and an advocate, giving back and assisting as many health consumers, worldwide from the tip of the northern skies to the bottom of the globe.

Jodie uses her skills as a ‘Consumer health Advocate’ – assisting patients in how to speak with doctors, family, friends and how to navigate the hospital and medical systems – receiving the very best treatment possible.

A quote from Jodie: ‘Multiple challenges; mean multiple opportunities to prove that you are strong enough to press on and turn your sour lemons into the sweetest lemonade of all’.

1) What was the first story you ever wrote, and has it been published?

My first story was a brief overview of my journey thus far. It was requested by the magazine ‘Christian Woman, Australia’ – who had published a story about me (in their magazine) about my path through cancer and how faith affected me, during the journey. In 2007, I started a website and a blog, after dealing with ‘medical negligence’ and with a very late/delayed diagnosis of a typically elderly disease – Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

2) What was your first book published?

The company that owned and published the magazine in question one, also looked after a small publishing press. It was basically an independent or indie press. With 13 other extraordinary women in the Christendom sphere, I poured out my heart about what had occurred to me in 2006 – how my life was almost cut short and again hacked into by a malignant disease that just would not give up. The book was called ‘Inspiring Stories of Hope’ – by Ark House Press. Even though it was a collaborative endeavour and I shared the book – I was so, so excited about being published. I sent copies to some of the world’s top politician’s and royalty, including the queen.

3) What is your favourite part about being an author?

I found out early, about the power of the book and the publishing world. It seems, without a book with your name in it – there is little credibility to one’s story or journey. Having a book and being able to give someone a book; is such a delightful experience. I have witnessed the reaction and joy of someone close to me receiving a signed copy of my book and the massive smile that lights up their face. They often say ‘Oh, wow – thank you so, so much’ – ‘What an honour’ and I am always amazed at how excited people get when your book is handed to them.

4) What is the hardest part about being an author?

I would say there are three hard parts of being an author – finding an agent, who is interested in taking on your project and choosing an editor that fits with your story/journey is not easy either. Plus, if you want a manuscript that shines and screams quality – it costs a heck of a lot of money. Finding that money is not easy either.

5) What do you do for fun?

Currently, I am working on the ‘fun bit’. For the past 13+ years I have been fighting cancer very hard – and raising two disabled children. Fun has not been very available – simply because I am either fatigued, tired, busy, in pain, cooking, on medication and bearing various other hinderances. Now that I have NDIS funding – there is a little bit in the kitty for me to take writing and art classes, with my NDIS carer. I can’t wait – lots of fun to come.

6) How do you test out your stories? Or who do you test them on?

I have a blog, with over 60+ entries – which essentially is a little piece of my story, one bit at a time. I have been told by many patients and even medical staff that many of them visit and use it to not only understand, my situation and that of cancer patients – and for medical staff; they use my blog to relate to people dealing with the same challenges – not just cancer, but everything that goes with cancer.

7) What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?

Enid Blyton – SnugglePot & CuddlePie (not really for the wordage, but for the picture of the little bottoms on the gum babies)!! I was very curious.

8) What is your favourite children’s book now?

‘There’s a monster at the end of this book’ by ‘Grover’ (Sesame Street).

9) Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?

Not yet and in the future, that may be complicated, due to my health. I am immunosuppressed and have 15+ illnesses and disabilities. It would be hard to find an insurer who would take a risk on me, particularly to the USA. Although, I can go several countries with reciprocal health care arrangements with Australia. I have though lived in the USA, for 4 years, when I was first married. My husband is from California and it was an amazing experience to live and work there.

10) Have you met anyone even more famous than you that was exciting?

I have met many celebrities – particularly when I lived in the San Francisco area and worked for several high-profile airlines @ SFO. John Lithgow, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Sam Neill, Loretta Swit, Jeff Goldblum and many more. MOST of them were lovely – some were not so lovely, and some were downright nasty – it always depended on whether their planes were on time and if they were getting the kind of service they thought they deserved.

11) What writing genre do you like to do the most?

Memoir or autobiography, by far. Real stories make the world go around.

12) What do you consider your biggest achievement?

Receiving a hand-written letter from one of our past governor general’s (Quentin Bryce), to advice that she had presented my first signed book to Her Majesty, The Queen on her last tour of Australia. I was so pleased. I have also written to several high-profile British royals and received some lovely letters back.

13) Where do you see the future of children’s books (eBooks/apps/print)

I see more kids reading more physical books – although kids will also continue accessing literary works via apps, eBooks, kindle and even audio books for kids. I know my 16-year-old likes paper books and not tech-based books.

14) What is your favourite way to read?

As I am super busy, I love listening to podcasts and audio books, particularly whilst I am cooking and performing housework or driving. I figure I might as well use my time wisely and learn something new, to appreciate what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes.

15) What book are you reading right now?

‘Patient 71’ (Hachette) – Julie Randall – another amazing extreme medical story and well worth reading. An incredible story of beating an incurable (stage 4) Melanoma, no matter what.

16) What is your next project and how are going with it?

My full memoir/autobiography is finished and has attracted considerable agent attention – although to find the right agent – took me 12 months!! The best agents are located in New York City, where 90% of the USA’s publishers are located. It is from that point on that I am now working on my manuscript with a local editor. Happily, my NDIS funding is assisting with the editing, as I will be learning a new skill that will help me continually write more books in the future and possibly edit books for more clients, from home. This is an investment in my future that will assist my family and give me more independence, as a woman with several disabilities.