By Colleen Sparks
Chandler author Kate Mathias has enjoyed creating characters that jump into other worlds in her paranormal fiction books. But she found truth was stranger than fiction when she learned she had a brain tumor.
Mathias took a page from her own life when she wrote “Awake, but Still Dreaming,” about her diagnosis and recovery from a brain tumor. When she signed book at the Author Walk recently, some proceeds from sales were donated to the National Brain Tumor Society.
“I wanted to make a difference with this because I feel like there’s a reason why I’m still here,” Mathias said. “I finally feel like I’m really living.
“Every day that I wake up is a blessing to me,” added the 39-year-old mother of three.
Mathias enjoys hearing from readers and wants to help others understand brain tumors.
Her ordeal began with severe headaches in 2012, and a doctor misdiagnosed her as having had a stroke.
Later Mathias injured herself at a gym and lost feeling from her waist down. Doctors at the hospital believed she had multiple sclerosis until finally a neurologist diagnosed her with a brain tumor.
The doctor told Mathias if she didn’t have surgery to remove it, she would probably die within two or three years.
“I really feel like I’m living on borrowed time,” Mathias said.
Her tumor was removed in February 2014. The tumor was not cancerous but it did leave her with some serious, lingering health problems.
The former teacher and Realtor, who moved to Chandler from Iowa six years ago, has a 10-inch scar on her head and suffers seizures because of the surgery.
But she’s on the mend, suffering fewer and less-debilitating seizures than she experienced right after the surgery. Mathias attributes her recovery to exercise, a healthy diet, supplements and getting enough sleep.
Despite the gravity of her health scare, Mathias shared funny moments in her latest book. She said having a brain tumor removed “made natural childbirth feel like nothing.”
“I wanted to have a book people could read and enjoy and not be so heavy,” Mathias said. “There’s multiple laughs told through creative non-fiction. You feel like you’re in the story.”
She said she tells her children to be kind to everyone because while people like her might look normal on the surface, they may be struggling with their own issues.
While “Awake, but Still Dreaming” is a personal tale, Mathias brings elements of herself into the characters in her other books: “Worlds Apart,” “Hiding in Plain Sight,” and “Spitfire.” The three books make up her “Silver Oaks” series, with “Worlds Apart” and “Spitfire” considered paranormal romance and “Hiding in Plain Sight” a paranormal suspense novel.
Mathias’ books are available on Amazon.com, iBooks and through NOOK Books on barnesandnoble.com.