May 2022 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

I’m sitting on the couch icing my knee as I write this. Recovering from joint replacement surgery has been slow but steady, and I can almost taste the freedom of walking without pain, gardening, and doing a little yoga again. 

Did you notice the fresh look of this newsletter? I’ve updated my website, too. If you follow me on social media, you may have voted on photo and tagline options; if so, thank you! Check out more of my new look here and here and here to see where your favorite photo is used.

Another change–I’m going to take a hiatus from my monthly blog (the topic-focused articles I post on my website), although I’ll continue this monthly newsletter (more of a personal letter to you). 

This is a strategic move. I’m a V-E-R-Y slow writer (I mean, it took me over twenty years to finish my memoir!) and I need to prioritize getting essays published in other outlets. Experience has shown me this is the best way to bring in new subscribers and followers, which is my goal in the year leading up to my book publication on May 2, 2023.

I’d love your help in growing my tribe. Do you know anyone who fits the following groupings? 

  • Readers who enjoy memoirs, medical mysteries, family dramas, inspirational stories
  • Those in the brain tumor and brain injury communities
  • Individuals who have trouble saying no, who can’t stand up for themselves
  • Individuals with food addictions or eating disorders
  • Anyone who has struggled to be heard in the healthcare system
  • Parents of special needs children
  • Mental health therapists (clients may struggle with people-pleasing)

If so, please forward them this email so they can subscribe for themselves using the link below. When they do, they’ll receive my first chapter free!

(If you received this newsletter from me, you are already subscribed! Did you get my first chapter in my last newsletter? If you haven’t read it yet, reply to this email and I’ll send it to you.)

Subscribe to my mailing list

As a reminder, I have memoir “calling cards” I’d love to send you if you’d like to spread the word–just reply to this email and let me know how many you’d like and where to snail-mail them.

Keep scrolling for old photos and memories, a book recommendation, links to articles on people-pleasing, and more.  And let me know what’s new with you!

All the best,


Please follow me on Twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram. 

A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived.

When her eight-year-old son begins to exhibit increasingly bizarre behaviors, a happily married mother of two must meet the overwhelming demands of motherhood and wrestle with her fear of conflict if she and her son are to survive. 

Forthcoming from Apprentice House Press, May 2023.

Karen is a happily married, slightly frazzled working mother of two when her eight-year-old son, Matthew, develops a strange eye-rolling tic. Over the next three years, Matthew’s tics multiply. He becomes clumsy and lethargic, a gifted program dropout. Karen repeatedly tries to get her husband and the pediatrician to open their eyes, but she is too full of self-doubt to tear off their blinders.Exhausted and full of despair, Karen crumples to the bathroom floor one night, wondering if she has the will to carry on. But she must persevere. Who else will fight for her son? Matthew finally receives a horrifying diagnosis but is expected to “bounce back,” and Karen is convinced the battle is over. But the pain drags on, revealing just how weak—and then exactly how strong—she is.

Book Backstory

These photos were taken in 1990 when Matthew was four–seven years before his brain tumor diagnosis. What you see is pretty typical–he was rambunctious, joyful, silly, and squeezably adorable even when elbowing me in the chin. Minor wounds of the flesh heal quickly. But, as you know, wounds of the soul can last a lifetime. And what lessons they teach. 

 Books That Inform My Writing

My mother introduced me to Jane Isay’s book Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents soon after it was published in 2007. At that time, Mom and Dad had six adult children, four of whom were married. My sons were 21 and 16. I knew this book would light my way as my children got older, perhaps settling down in serious relationships. The quote from the book that stuck with me:

“Mothers of sons understand that, in our culture, the mother-daughter tie is the stronger one.”

I felt forewarned in a good way. Now that my younger son is engaged, I tracked the book down, bought a copy for myself, and recommended it to my book club. If you have adult children of any gender, I highly recommend it to you, too. 

 People-Pleasing on the Web

Three Ways to Become Less of a People-Pleaser.

“You can “shift the language from ‘I am a people pleaser’ to ‘I am aware of a pattern, and I’m making new choices to change for the benefit of everyone.’”

The Hell of Being Married to a Yes-Man.

“If your partner is peeved and doesn’t tell you, his unspoken complaints have the potential to turn from mild irritations to toxic resentments. “”There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”- Edith Wharton  


  • Karen DeBonis

    Karen DeBonis writes about motherhood, people-pleasing, and personal growth, the entangled mix told in her memoir "Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived" forthcoming in spring 2023. Subscribe today to receive Chapter 1: A Reckoning.

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