Today, it’s my honor and privilege to introduce you to Susan M. Baganz. Not only is Susan a talented writer, she’s also someone who delights in making other people’s dreams come true. Susan is the wonderful woman who “discovered me.” She thought my novel, Time Tsunami, had promise so she gave it to my editor at Prism Book Group. I’ll never be able to express my gratitude enough! Susan is truly one in a million! It’s with special delight that I welcome her to my blog, and I’m happy to announce that her new book, Salsa and Speedbumps, is being released on January 22nd.
Danele: Hello, Susan, I’m so glad that you could be here today!
Susan: Thank you for having me!
Danele: It’s my absolute pleasure. You’ve done so much for me–and for so many other people–you’re a true blessing! I can’t wait to learn more about you. Have you ever experienced a miracle that you would like to talk about?
Susan: Yes, I have. We conceived my daughter, Joy, after suffering a miscarriage. After a lot of research, my husband and I had asked our doctor to suspend all shots after the baby was born. No vaccines. Unfortunately, the hospital did the opposite, and as a result, my daughter began having seizures that were so severe she stopped breathing.
Danele: That’s awful!
Susan: The nurses at that hospital misdiagnosed her. They said she had apnea. But a seizure happened while the pediatrician was there, and I looked at the doctor and said, “That’s a seizure.” The doctor agreed. I’m not sure why I experienced peace at that point, but I did. I was allowed to leave the hospital early to accompany Joy to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee where she was treated in the NICU.
Danele: I’m so glad that you were able to get more help, but I don’t think that’s end of the story, is it?
Susan: No, it’s not. NICU is a teaching hospital, but no one could figure out why this nine-pound baby girl was having seizures. A lot of things went wrong during that time. A messed up spinal tap had to be redone meaning extra days in the hospital. Multiple MRI’s were taken even though the first was fine. We didn’t have insurance, so they were billing us for all their mistakes and duplicate tests. They couldn’t figure out that it was something in the vaccine that Joy was reacting to. She was put on medication, and that medication has now cost us a small fortune in dental bills. The wonderful NICU nurses didn’t know quite what to do with this chubby girl who kept kicking off her leads and setting off the alarms!
Danele: It sounds like little Joy was a fighter! So what ended up happening?
Susan: The neurologist said there was no reason Joy should need the meds, but they stopped the seizures. Then because of our lack of insurance, they wouldn’t see her at the hospital for follow up visits. Seriously? We finally sought out a naturopath who determined that Joy had reacted to some toxins in the vaccines. She helped us detox the poison from my daughter’s system (through me since I was nursing). And with much prayer, I weaned Joy off the dangerous but life-saving medication.
Danele: My goodness, what a battle! How’s Joy today?
Susan: Today she’s a healthy, beautiful eleven-year-old girl who is way too smart for her own good! Her name is Joy Lucille which means “joyful light-bearer,” and she usually lives up to her name! Lucille was my spunky great-grandmother. Joy has that same spirit and energy for life.
Danele: I’m so glad that she’s doing well! That must’ve been quite an ordeal!
Susan: It really was. My daughter and I were at Children’s Hospital for five days while my husband was caring for our two young sons. I knew Joy could die, but I also knew my church family was praying for me. I had somehow forgotten my Bible, but I had my journal. I had written scriptures in it, so I meditated on those. I knew God could choose to take my daughter. I’d seen friends lose children at birth due to birth defects. Life is fragile. I prayed, and I was able to trust Joy to God’s care. I also asked God to let us go home that Sunday (after five days in the hospital). And that was exactly when we went home—just in time to celebrate Christmas as a family.
Danele: I’m so glad you were able to be home for Christmas! What you went through was so awful. I’ll admit that I don’t know very much about vaccines.
Susan: Most “anti-vaccer’s” are not militants but are highly educated and well-read on the subject. Our pediatrician wouldn’t say categorically that the vaccine caused Joy’s injury, but given what happened, he strongly recommended avoiding vaccines in the future. Our Naturopath and another medical doctor agreed. So many people have lost children to some of these shots, or they’ve suffered severe neurological and physical disabilities due to them. I’m just thankful that God spared Joy and that she’s grown to be a healthy young woman. I’m also grateful for the support of my church and for the peace of God during that time.
Danele: The peace of God is such a wonderful thing. I never would have made it through my illness without it. You suffer from a chronic illness too, don’t you?
Susan: Yes, I do. After my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I was hypothyroid (meaning it was low). It made it impossible for me to lose weight (but far too easy to gain!) and my hair was falling out and my memory was poor. I was tired all the time. Depression was huge (although I do have major depressive disorder as well). My doctor had training in natural medicine, and it was determined that I had mercury poisoning. It took years to detox my body of the metals, including having all the mercury taken out of my teeth. Most will say you can never be “cured” from Hashi’s, so let’s just say that through a long process—I’ve achieved remission.
Danele: I’m so sorry that you’re going through that! Chronic illness can be so hard to bear! Is there anything specific that you’ve learned through your illness?
Susan: I’ve learned that my value isn’t based on how much I can do. At times I could barely stay awake through the day—and I had three small kids ready to monkey pile on mom if I collapsed on the couch! I had to let go of my previous ‘Energizer-bunny,’ type-A, ‘get-er-done’ mentality. God loves me even when I can barely lift my head off the pillow. My kids were loved and cared for even if my house wasn’t always the cleanest. I was a stay-at home mom at that point. I was there. That was more important than anything. With my depression, I still have low-energy days, but now I let myself relax and try not to beat myself up over not getting a huge to-do list done on those days. I try to make up for it on higher-energy days.
Danele: I really admire you, Susan! There are so many people struggling with chronic illness and depression. Is there anything you would like to say to them?
Susan: I’d tell them that they are not alone. I think that’s the lie the enemy tries to feed us when we are hurting or depressed. That no one can understand. But everyone goes through something at some time. I think that’s why I show my characters going through challenges—I want to show my reader that whatever they are going through, they are not the only one who suffers or understands. God is there, and others long to help if we will let them. My desire to help hurting people is why I got my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). We’re all struggling with something, and what you see on the surface isn’t always the reality. Just because I’m not crying doesn’t mean I don’t have my own hurts and struggles too. The body of Christ is a vital place to connect with people, even before tragedy hits so that we can be surrounded and supported when hard times come.
Danele: You’re right about support being vitally important. I spent a lot of my time in quarantine feeling like a leprous Quasimodo. I wish I had been more open about my struggles. Reaching out to my family and friends would have saved me quite a bit of heartache and loneliness. I’m glad that you’ve brought up your writing. Can you give me a list of the books you’ve written?
Susan: Sure. Just recently, I wrote a historical Christmas novella called Fragile Blessings. Fragile Blessings may be purchased as a stand-alone eBook, or as part of a paperback anthology called Love’s Christmas Past. I’m currently writing a collection of books called the Orchard Hill series. The first book in the series, Pesto and Potholes, was released in 2015. The second book in the series, Salsa and Speedbumps, is being released on January 22nd.
Danele: Wow! That’s only a few weeks away. Can you give us a sneak peek at the back cover blurb for Salsa and Speedbumps?
Susan: Of course! Stephanie’s life hits a speedbump in the wake of her boyfriend’s sin. Splitting up with him, she faces a future of difficult choices shaded in shame. She wants to do what is right but the new man in her life leaves her fantasizing about a future that is now beyond her grasp. Roberto finds his heart and professional world turned upside down by the beautiful bombshell. He struggles with his own inner demons and past so he’s not about to cast stones. When he is accused of immoral behavior, and temptation haunts him from every side, can he stand true to the calling God has given him? Joining forces to face the future though comes at a high cost for them both as their individual pasts rise up to destroy them and their relationship. Integrity comes with a high price tag. With a deep faith in God and the help of friends at Orchard Hill Church, can they find the happiness and love they long for?
Danele: Susan, I wish you all the best with your new release! It’s been such a joy having you on my blog!
Susan: You’ve been such an encouragement to me and so many other authors; it’s an honor to be featured on your blog. Thank you so much for having me.
Friends, Susan Baganz is such a delightful person. She is a blessing to everyone she meets. If you would like to learn more about her or her books. Please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!
Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/SusanMBaganz/