I often work with authors who are writing a how-to book or writing a memoir, and who wonder how much information they can give away before the book is published–should they “tell all” or nothing? In the interest of building platform, it may make sense to give away some information, but certainly not all—you usually want to save some of the juicy stuff for when your book is published in order to get fresh media coverage and reach potential readers.
However, sometimes there are other important issues to consider. Here, holistic healer Lorraine Giordano shares why she decided to “come out” with her strange and rare secret before she had a publisher.
Lisa: Can you share the basics of your story–and your secret–that you will share in your memoir?
Lorraine: For close to twenty years I had mysterious health issues that affected me from my head to my toes. I saw many different doctors and took many tests, but the root cause of my issue remained hidden until, in 2008. I learned I was carrying a lithopedion—a stone baby—caused when a fetus in my uterus calcified. A few days later I learned that I had uterine hyperplasia with atypical cells. My doctor told me I wouldn’t be able to have children and I needed to have my uterus removed.
Not willing to give up my uterus, I put Operation Save Uterus into action. In one year I worked with ten alternative healers who helped me align my mind-body and spirit. As a holistic healer, I now help women connect to their own healing ability.
Lisa: What are the reasons you did not publish your story—or seek publicity—sooner?
Lorraine: First, fear. I was scared to share very intimate and private details about my life. Also, I thought I needed to have my book finished in order to reveal my story to the public. I’d need all the details laid out in black and white for people to fully understand my journey. And then I wasn’t sure how people would react to my using alternative health practices.
Also, I originally thought I could finish writing a memoir in six months, so it was easy to think I’d wait.
Lisa: Are you disappointed it’s taking longer than expected to write your memoir?
Lorraine: At points I’ve felt disappointed that it’s taken longer to write than I expected but then I take a deep breath and remember that my book is about my health journey. My story was still unfolding while I was working on the book. My awareness and insights into important aspects of my story became clearer in 2013—and they are making the book better, which is great.
Lisa: Were you concerned that if your memoir got lots of press it would be less of a fresh story and harder to get media coverage when the book comes out?
Lorraine: I wasn’t expecting a lot of press or media coverage. I expected my story would be more of a grassroots/word of mouth story slowly building traction over time. Based on talking to smaller groups about my condition, there are many people who are not familiar with lithopedions. I reveal the who-what-where and when of my stone baby early in the book: the question of why, important details and how I stumbled into peace still remain a secret.
Currently I don’t think there is enough media coverage on gynecologic health issues. I hope that by sharing my story it helps to elevate and inspire more conversation and awareness regarding female organ health.
Lisa: What made you change your mind and decide to share your story in a blog post?
Lorraine: I had a mole removed from my left thigh in December of 2013. It reminded me that time goes by fast and every day is a gift. Some of the themes I address in my book relate to hiding vs. being visible. I felt an urgency to share my story and did so in January 2014 on the Business SpringBoard Radio Show with Louise Crooks. It was the first time I shared about my stone baby with a large audience.
Even though I spoke on a radio show about my stone baby I felt as though I was still hiding behind my book and it was time to fully come out. A recent report of a Columbian woman who carried a lithopedion felt like a sign, especially since reported cases are quite rare. Since my healing journey began, I pay close attention to how choices feel in my body and this choice felt right in my core.
Lisa: What do you hope to accomplish by sharing your story?
Lorraine: I hope that by putting a name and a face to this rare condition—that women (and men) are aware that lithopedions are possible—in the United States or anywhere.
My wish is that any woman who has experienced a lithopedion in silence to know that she is not alone.
I think there still is a lot of taboo related to female reproductive health. I was not connected to my body—especially my female organs. Due to the increase of stress and toxins we are exposed to daily it’s important for women to take responsibility for their health.
I hope my story helps inspire women going through serious health issues that better days lie ahead. I went to a baby shower recently and a friend of a friend who read my blog post approached me. She shared that she is going through various serious health issues and it’s been challenging for quite some time. My blog post gave her hope.
Lisa: Any particular questions you asked yourself in deciding whether or not to share your secret before your memoir came out?
Lorraine: 3 questions I asked myself:
- If my story helped just one person, would it be worth exposing my secret now? YES!
- Was I ready to come out fully now in order to be fully free and speak my truth? YES!
- Are there still enough details of my story for people to be curious enough to read my memoir when it’s published? YES!
Lisa: Anything else you’d like to share?
Lorraine: I often tell clients in my healing practice to allow for opportunities. Rather than think that there is only one option or X, Y, Z solutions available, I invite people to stay open to all possibilities. When I first started to work on my book I felt strongly that I wanted to get a traditional publishing deal. It would be stupendous if that happens but I realize that’s not the only option available. Self-publishing offers a valuable opportunity to get a memoir out to the masses, as well.
Lisa: What have been the results of blogging about your lithopedian?
Lorraine: It freed me in many ways. Although I’ve been on Facebook and Twitter for a while, I’ve haven’t taken advantage of it as much as I could. Now that I put out my story, I’m more open to reveal more of myself and be more visible using those tools to get my message out.
I also received lots of valuable feedback. Here’s just the high level feedback based on my blog post:
1) Men are more involved and concerned than I thought they would be.
2) Many women are emotional about my story and they share that it’s making them think about their relationship with their female organs.
3) I’ve heard many heart wrenching stories about health issues, relationships, finances, in the past few days. I believe these to be related to energetic shifts we are going through collectively.
4) Of the people I heard from so far: 85% never heard of a lithopedions; 15% heard of them but they thought it only happened in foreign countries. So, clearly it’s educating people.
5) No question that there needs to be more awareness of the benefits of alternative therapies and my blog posts contribute to opening up the possibilities for people.
6) Many people have commented that they or a relative or friend have felt sick for a long time but doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong.
My story is just one of many but by sharing experiences related to female organ health, it helps to shift taboos that still exist and elevates the conversation of female health.
Lorraine Giordano is a writer, health and healing blogger (both on her own site and the Huffington Post) and the founder of Inspired To Health, a company dedicated to helping women lead more healthful lives. She offers therapies to help women de-stress, let go and focus on themselves.
Questions for Lorraine or comments? Please share below–and please share this post with anyone you think may benefit!