Changes

My Writing Journey, Part 1

One doesn’t choose to be a writer, it’s in you, but you do have to decide to write. Being a writer is part of me, it always was, but I didn’t always choose to do anything active about it. The road to writing regularly was bumpy, often blocked, detoured, sabotaged, scary, and sometimes impossible.

Even now, as in the last few months, there are times when I write next to nothing. I aim to change that, starting with this post. There are many reasons why I’ve been in what I call a ‘writer’s funk,’ but I’ll get into that in a later post.

For now, I’m going to share with you all how I got to where I am today. I called this post Part 1 because it will take several to get it all out. I don’t know how many but I would rather do this in sections than give you with a ten thousand word post.

It all began when I was a child. I’d like to say I always wrote. I wish I had hundreds of journals worth of childish thoughts and stories, but I didn’t write back then. I was capable of it, but things more powerful than the urge to write ruled my life. Fear and shame. Not fear of life or a person, just fear of baring my soul and shame when I did and was rejected. I tried several times, with diaries. After writing a few lines, I would seize up and put them away.

Opening up still fills me with dread. There was no significant event that started it. It was a mix of small childhood traumas that stifled me so much.

I was one of those kids who liked to make crazy things up. Fantastical stories with me as the star. A few times I tried to share these with friends and family.  My parents didn’t actively discourage me, but with three kids and jobs, they didn’t have time to ‘indulge’ me.

My friends were tolerant but more heavily grounded than me, so not particularly interested. All the girls my age were more interested in love stories, and the boys just wanted to watch cartoons and ride bikes. While I was imagining having a superpower or flying on a dragon, the other kids were busy being normal.

One of my brothers, who shall stay unnamed, but it’s the one I don’t get along with, had a different reaction. He made fun of me. Then his friends joined in. I won’t go into details except to say he liked upsetting me and succeed often. I valued his opinion above all others and he used that mercilessly. It wasn’t too long before I started keeping my stories to myself, even from the people who didn’t mock me.

I didn’t even want to write them down. Hence the started yet never finished diaries. What if someone read them? I would have died before letting anything see how weird I was. Now, all these years later, I don’t know what it was those boys said that made me feel so much shame, I only know the result.

Watching other girls writing their secret thoughts made me so jealous I could hardly stand it. I didn’t care what they wrote, but I wished to be like them. I wanted to be as brave as I thought they were.

I still made stuff up regularly, anytime I had a quiet moment. I kept it all to myself, for years. It took my mom pissing me off when I was a teenager so bad that I wrote her a letter to express my feelings before anything changed. That’s a story for next time.

As I stated above, I don’t know how many posts it will take me to tell my writing journey. I’m winging this one. Some posts may be short, others longer. There is also no schedule for when I’ll write them. I’m in the process of getting back to writing regularly so I hope to be very busy soon.

In my next post I’ll tell you all about how I started to embrace my weird and took a step closer, and many steps back from active writing.

Did any of you guys have problems with other people judging your creativity as a child? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.


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Disappointing/Potentially Dangerous Morning Due To My Own Bad Choices

As an adult, I have the right to make terrible decisions, right? My most recent mess up has to do with Pop Tarts, and I’m ticked off about it. Not long ago I made a choice to start eating a cherry one every morning. Not the healthiest thing, but it was quick, easy, and kept my blood sugar mostly normal.

Besides eating mostly sugar for breakfast, my biggest mistake was assuming something as cheap and bad for you as Pop Tarts are, there couldn’t be real fruit in them. I was spectacularly wrong!

There are dried cherries, and oddly, dried apples in them. Guess who is allergic to berries and most other fruits? Actually, it’s more that I’m overly sensitive to something in a lot of foods – salicylates. I’ve always had issues with them, but until several months ago, when I had a severe reaction to some berries, it wasn’t too much of an issue. I’ve never cared for most fruit, so I rarely had any, except in Pop Tarts.

I learned from my doctor that my sensitivity would grow worse once I had the bad reaction. The problem is salicylates are in so many foods. To break it down a bit, everyone is sensitive to them, as they are basically poison. As we grow and try new things, our bodies build up a tolerance, allowing us to eat them. How else do you think you can eat tomatoes, which are nightshades – poison? People like me are more sensitive to them and can’t build as strong a tolerance, so are likely to have an allergic reaction eventually.

Have you seen Hellboy? Imagine a female version, and you’ll get a good mental image of what I looked like when I reacted to a smoothie containing blackberries and blueberries. I’d avoided these my whole life until that day, apparently for a good reason. My entire body turned bright red, and I felt terrible. I probably should have gone to the hospital, but I took a Benadryl and waited.

So, back to the cherry Pop Tarts. As usual, I ate one today. I was cutting potatoes for a stew I was going to throw together in the slow-cooker. I ended up eating pretty slow, in between potatoes. It took about fifteen minutes to cut the veggies and get everything in the pot. Then I went to my bedroom to change into my gym clothes. On the way, my bottom lip started feeling strange.

It was a tingling that was almost a burning sensation. It was the same with a couple of my fingers. Curse words flooded my thoughts because I recognized the feeling. I was reacting to something. I panicked a little at first because it could only be the cheap pastry or the tea I was drinking with it. I looked at my cup of tea and realized I’d only taken a few small drinks. It had to be the damn Pop Tart!

Claritin is part of my morning pill routine so I didn’t take a Benadryl. All I could do was finish getting ready and take my kid to school. I almost didn’t go to the gym but decided I would because I didn’t really feel bad, the burning, which had moved into my entire chin, wouldn’t stop me from working out. When I got to the gym I checked my face and the bottom half was definitely red. I worried I looked like a ventriloquist’s dummy but I sucked it up and got on the elliptical. The allergy stuff wasn’t going to kick in for at least two more hours so I kept my head down and made as little eye contact as possible. Actually, I do that every time I go to the gym so I wasn’t acting out of the ordinary, haha.

After my workout, I went to the grocery store and picked up something different for breakfast. I came home and looked at the ingredients on the food that betrayed me, and sure enough, it had real fruit. I’m an idiot for not checking this before I started eating them every day, which was two months ago. I can only guess how I was able to eat them this long. With the fruits in dried form, maybe it takes longer to get to me?

At least this will force me to eat something healthy in the morning. I should have been all along. The truth is, I’m a creature of habit. Buying a box of Pop Tarts was an impulse and then quickly became a habit. Plus, I LIKE them. Whatever I choose to eat for breakfast always becomes an everyday thing. I don’t have time in the morning to think too much about food. I certainly don’t have enough time to eat anything that takes a lot of prep.

Now, the Claritin is doing its job. My face isn’t red, and my bottom lip and chin aren’t swollen or burning anymore. I still feel it a bit in my fingers, but it will go away soon. If it doesn’t, I guess it will be doctor time.

The really sad part for me is my tea. I drink a cup every day while I eat breakfast. For all I know, it contributed to what happened. Tea is high in salicylates. I have been drinking it anyway because I did build up a tolerance. I knew eventually it would probably betray me too but I was hoping it would take a long time. Giving up my daily caffeine is terrifying! I may have to anyway.

I hope this time I’ve learned my lesson!

 

Everything Update – 8/22/2016

Writing: I’m writing! This weekend I went to two different writing things. The first was on Saturday. The leader of the Nanowrimo group in my region sets up a write-in once a month throughout the year so we can all keep in touch beyond November. Sadly, I’ve missed every single one, until this month.

I thought I would have to drag my friend but he wanted to go as much as I did. Sometimes I need a little push and the fact he wanted to go insured I went. I’m not saying I haven’t wanted to go in the past. In fact I would have loved to go but life conspired against me. Severe back pain, a couple of major surgeries and a hellish recovery put a stop to most of my extracurricular activities.

There was a point where I decided the pain wasn’t going to strip me of my writing anymore. So, in spite of the consequences, I went to my favorite writing spot (I’m there now) and wrote for as long as I could. What ended up happening was I was so sore from my stubbornness that I couldn’t handle much in the way of extra outings. As I eventually joined a new writing group and went to it every Sunday, the write-ins were off the table.

Now, all these months later, I’ve gone through physical therapy and while I’m not in perfect condition, I am much better and more determined than ever.

The result of making up my mind was unexpected: writer’s block. For a while I thought it was more writer’s funk but nope, I was fully blocked. I have a couple of stories completely plotted and the writing part should have been easy but the tank was empty. I did write a bit but it was all crap.

I tried changing projects and it didn’t work. I came up with something new but then stalled quickly. Writing prompts were a bust. Even my well of undeveloped ideas gave me nothing.

The new idea was slowly forming. When I say slow, I mean slug crossed with sloth slow. It will probably be my project for November at this rate.

Then something sparked. Someone in my writing group posted a picture prompt. Within minutes I had the most ridiculous bad story idea. When I say bad, I mean deliberately bad, because it was funny that way, well at least I think so. Click here to read it. It was the first thing I wrote in weeks.

After I was still not coming up with much but tiny ideas were sprouting. I went to the write-in and after bouncing ideas off my friend and listening to suggestions my new story started growing. I’m still not ready to write it but I’ll develop it a bit and shelve it until November.

Yesterday at the writing group meeting the second spark occurred. Someone saved me from having to give the group a picture prompt by offering to post one. I was thrilled because I would have over thought it and agonized about which picture to use. She found a photo and posted it to our Facebook group right away.

I looked at it and was instantly intrigued. I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s a person, somewhat androgynous made of smoke or more accurately: going up in smoke. My muse metaphorically clapped in glee and my first idea formed. Then the second took over. Next the two ideas merged and a story was born. I’ll be working on it today, maybe for several days.

The length of this one is undetermined. At this point I think it will be flash fiction – 500 words or so, but it has the potential to become a longer short story. Perhaps even a novel. It’s hard to know because I’m in love with the idea. For all I know this could be like a rebound relationship after being dumped. People always jump into them and it rarely works out. That’s probably a bad comparison since my muse took me back after dumping me and watching me suffer for a while. Believe me, I appreciate it more than I ever did now!

If the short version of the story doesn’t suck I’ll post it when I’m finished. Wish me luck, I think I might need it this time!

Physical Therapy: Today I told the guy working with me I was done. I’m not giving up, it just isn’t doing anything for me I can’t do on my own. I’ll admit I feel like they were willing to keep me there as long as my insurance paid, which was for an astonishing 30 visits, whether I needed it or not. Don’t get me wrong, it wouldn’t have been bad for me but if it’s not helping then it’s silly to keep milking the insurance.

I said it nicely and the guy was disappointed but understood. He wasn’t my regular therapist but I work with him a lot. He told me he would talk to my therapist and on Wednesday I’ll go in and talk about what exercises I can and can’t do.

Crunches are out of the question and anything requiring I lean back or twist are a no as well. I know I can’t do anything requiring I lift weight over my head, but I can do ones where I pull down. Basically anything forcing me to put a lot of pressure on my lower back needs to be avoided. I’ll bring a notepad and ask a lot of questions.

My biggest concern is I want to tone my arms but some of the best arm exercises affect the back too. I still won’t be able to do a ton of cardio but if I’m patient I can build into it.

I still have pain but not constant. I know what makes me feel better and what doesn’t. Sometimes I might push it too far but I’m learning to live with it. The surgery didn’t completely fix me but it certainly helped. So I’ll figure out what daily life is going to be like now.

Everything Else: There isn’t anything to report. I drew an awesome dragon and I’ll eventually work on coloring it in. I haven’t done any photography related activities since my vacation but I will soon, unless writing takes over (fingers crossed this happens).

I have an abscessed tooth and need a root canal. I was in agony last weekend but they gave me antibiotics so I’m okay now. I’m just waiting on the insurance company to say yes and figure out how much it’s going to cost and how I’m going to pay for it.

If this update had been written while I was still in pain it would have contained a lot more whining.

Shockingly, since I’m a big wimp with pain, I went to my writing group last week even though I was miserable. This new-found determination is disconcerting haha.

I’ll post the story and another update when I have something to report.

Flash Fiction – Tauria

They said it was a legend, but Tauria knew it was real. She saw it once in the forbidden grove. She desperately wanted to tell everyone about it but then she’d have to admit she’d gone to the forbidden grove.

It was beautiful, with a long mane that shone white and it was much smaller than she’d imagined. The perfection of the creature almost made her enter the clearing where she found it but fear kept her in the tree line. For all she knew it was dangerous. In the animal world beauty sometimes indicated menace.

So she watched as it frolicked and seemed to play while it clearly enjoyed the sunlight. She stayed until the wind shifted. The mythical entity must have caught her scent because its head came up suddenly and there was fear in its eyes. Tauria was surprised to also see intelligence when it caught sight of her.

Not waiting to find out if it would hurt her she turned and fled.

That night as she lay down to sleep she felt an unexpected longing. She had to go back. Logic told her the madness had come upon her. Though it was only whispered about, many women in her village had been brought low by it. Now she understood why the grove was forbidden. Still, her heart told her she would return even if only for a glimpse.

It took a week for her to work up the courage. She knew she might not survive the attempt but she was determined.

She snuck off during the noon meal, running as fast as she could. As she reached the grove she slowed and walked as silently as she could through the trees until she reached the clearing. It was empty so she waited.

Within a few minutes she saw movement across the grassy area. Slowly the creature stepped out of the trees. Tauria’s breath caught as she realized it was looking directly at her. Of their own volition her feet carried her forward. Not even her terror stopped her until she reached the beast.

She crouched down, hardly knowing what she was doing, and spoke gently to it.

“Are you a child?”

It laughed. “Of course I am.”

“What is your name?”

“Serra.”

“Do you live here in the grove?”

“Not anymore.” It replied and reached out to her.

Tauria allowed the girl to climb on her back, careful not to let it near her single horn, and took her home. As she passed the other females of her village she saw the sympathy and concern in their eyes but didn’t care. She vowed to herself to make sure everyone learned where children came from so they could get their own if they wanted one.


 

Well, I was supposed to be working on world building but I wrote this story instead. I’m not mad at myself for this distraction!

The inspiration came from Chuck Wendig. His flash fiction challenge today was to use a quote from a list of the random things his kid says. I picked:

“They said it was a legend, but I know it’s real.”

I didn’t know when I started writing the story it was from the perspective of a unicorn. Honestly I didn’t do a lot of thinking, I just started typing and went with whatever my muse came up with. I was down to the last paragraph when it hit me and as I read back through I realized I’d subconsciously been writing it that way all along. Brains are cool! It’s amazing how you can surprise yourself as you make stuff up.

As with all the flash fiction I post this is a rough draft and any opinions are welcome.

A Welcome Change

Remember when I said I didn’t want to switch the story I was working on? Then I said I was being distracted by my trilogy? Well, I’m sure it will surprise no one that I am putting all my effort into my fantasy trilogy. Although it might end up a duology.

I’ve only temporarily abandoned The Order of Life. Since it was still in the plotting stage I only feel a tiny big of writer’s guilt. Also I’m thankful for it because if I hadn’t started world building it, I would have never realized what was wrong with the other story.  As I worked on the culture I kept thinking of the trilogy and finally started jotting down notes.

It took over. I knew it would, even though I fought it. Then I realized it wasn’t a bad thing to want to work on my original WIP. For a long time it weighed me down because it was broken. Now I can see a way to fix it. It’s exciting and encouraging. Now the trick it to make sure no other stories distract me. I have hope I can exercise some discipline. This story is the most important thing I’ve ever worked on.

It’s the story many people tried to stop me from writing. The idea came to me in 2003 on an airplane while on the way to destroy my life get married. My ex-husband pretended to be happy for me and encouraged me to write it at first. Then after a month or so subtly used it to undermine my confidence. Not long after I put it aside. When the relationship ended, less than a year later, I picked the story back up.

There was a major problem though. I wasn’t a good enough writer to write it. I don’t mean I was terrible, I mean I was a beginner. I’d been writing for years but it’s the same story, another ex hated that I wrote and did everything he could to get me to stop. It worked. So when I started this super involved epic fantasy story I wasn’t in a place to be able to do a good job. Still, I kept working on it. If you don’t write, you can’t get better was my motto.

Over the years, people, children, life, etc stopped me from working on it. Let’s not forget fear, a major obstacle for me.

In a way because I associated the story with bad times in my life, working on it was torture. Then I met my husband. He was the only man in my life to want me to write. He encouraged me and meant it. He’s the reason I now write full-time.

So, I’ve got story boards on the wall over my bed for the story where I can see it every day. It intimidated me but stayed in my head. I worked on getting better at writing, mostly trying my hand at short stories. I like to think I got good at it. Then I started writing novel length stuff, still avoiding the trilogy.

Then the back problems started, stalling everything. Now I’ve had surgery and I’m recovery fast and back to writing daily.

I didn’t know when I started writing a new story that the old one would intrude but I couldn’t be happier. I look at this story and I see a challenge and a damn good idea. There are no more negatives associated with it except I’ll have to work hard to fix it and scrap a lot of what I’ve already written. But that’s the gig.

One of my plans to help with it is to write some short stories involving the characters. I wrote four already and three of them will make it into my first draft. The fourth helped clarify some things about a character I didn’t know very well so it wasn’t a waste of time.

I’ve managed to change a two character names that didn’t fit with the culture and the spelling of my villains name, which was a bigger deal than it seems.

There is a clear picture in my head of the various realms in the. I now know how these people live, what’s important to them, who they are. I can envision the desert, the farmland, the tundra, the valley no one is allowed to enter, the pyroclastic volcano used to imprison a god, etc. World building is fun! I hope I don’t overdo it.

Expect to start seeing excerpts posted soon and maybe a couple of the short stories. I’m getting back to work, more updates will be forthcoming.

Anatomy Of An Odd/Bad Day

Today sucked, then it didn’t, but it still does. Sound odd? It definitely was/is. The day started with me waking up early after a sleeping terribly. I was in a lot of pain, the kind I knew wouldn’t be helped by the pain meds I am on. Ironically, it was a good thing because I had a doctor appointment and I had no problem showing him exactly where it hurt.

I took my daughter to school and had an hour to kill so I went to a coffee shop where I defiantly drank tea and worked on my revision. My concentration was off though so I didn’t get much accomplished. I switched gears and worked on plotting my witch story. That went well but I couldn’t concentrate on it for very long either. So I stared into space and imagined what my muse must be doing. She was hiding in a corner sucking her thumb. At that ridiculous thought my logical side took over and I was forced to acknowledge I was worried about my upcoming doctor visit.

There were only a few possible outcomes. One, I would be told I needed another injection. Two, a change of medication. Or three, talk of surgery.

As it turned out, all of those things happened. First, they changed my medication for something stronger. It’s not a narcotic pain reliever, which I can’t take, but it’s close. I’m a little nervous about it but I’m going to do what the doctor tells me to.

Second (and third), I was told I need to have a pain inducing procedure called a discogram. Basically they are going to stick needles in my back, inject a dye into the discs and put pressure on them to recreate my pain to determine exactly which discs are the problem one(s).  They they pump me full of pain relieving stuff and send me to get a CT scan.

The intention is to prepare for surgery. The chances of me not having surgery at this point are slim to none. Spinal fusion surgery. I recently watched my mother go through the same surgery and have a bit of an idea what to expect. As you can imagine my day was going downhill. I almost cried at the doctor’s office, which is weird for me. I never cry in public, ever. My husband called as I was leaving and I almost cried again but luckily was in the car.

I didn’t want to go home because I didn’t want to be upset in front of my kids so I stopped and got lunch at a grocery store that has a good deli inside it. Big mistake. One thing I’m bad at is hiding my emotions. My face betrays me regularly without me realizing it. I got a few odd looks from people passing me as I made my way to the food counter so I knew what I must look like. Since I couldn’t seem to control it I kept my head down while I waited in line.

A little old lady in front of me got my attention and smiled at me. I half smiled back and went back to analyzing my shoes.  The lady didn’t give up though.

“They have really good food here.”

I was so surprised I stared at her for a while. She had the most patient smile I’d ever seen, and she knew exactly what she was doing.

“Oh, I know. I came across town to eat here.” What? I had no clue why I told her that! The lady behind the counter, who’d overheard, said “Aw, that’s good to hear. It means a lot to us.” She had to the nerve to smile too! It was a conspiracy.

The elderly lady got her food and started walking away. She turned back and told me to have a good day. She looked like she wanted to say more but just smiled at me again and nodded at the cashier before leaving.

This was a typical kind of occurrence here in west Texas. Nothing special or unusual about it, except she made me feel better. Which I think was her intention. Her simple kindness almost made me cry but I’d rather tear up about that then weep like a child about my fear of surgery in public!

I got my food and noticed everyone I passed smiled at me so I must have lost the upset expression I brought in with me. I ate my lunch and went and bought my dogs some new toys because I knew they would be happy and it would cheer me up. Then I headed home and called my mom. She was nice enough to let me vent about the medical junk. She’s been through it all, some of it very recently, so she knew exactly what I was feeling.

Unfortunately when I got off the phone the sad/upset part hit me in the face again. I still can’t concentrate on my writing projects. Hell, you don’t even want to know how long it took me to write this post! I’ll keep trying though. Work will help me get through this but I don’t know how much I’ll be able to accomplish for the next few days with this change in medication. Some of the side effects are drowsiness, dizziness, and memory loss/issues. Fun. The doctor told me to take it at night the first time since it will definitely make me sleepy at first. If it does I won’t complain about real sleep! Maybe I’d better go do the laundry before the memory issues though.

So that’s my roller coaster day, so far. I’ll probably feel sorry for myself for a couple more hours today then on and off over the next few days. I’m the type who can’t stand negativity for very long so I’ll be fine soon.

Hopefully the day will get better fast. I have chocolate, Oreo Thins, and Smarties and I can binge watch Orphan Black so it kind of has to improve.

Sidenote: There is a YouTube channel I subscribe to that shows animal rescues called Hope For Paws. A notification popped up on my phone saying there is a new video. I clicked it but had to close it before it started. Since I almost cried at least three times today I know I better not watch it or I will cry this time.

 

Flash Fiction – It’s Over!

“I trusted you!” Craig yelled. “How could you do this to me? You always wait until I forget how horrible you are before pulling the same shit again.” He was in full voice now, frustration clouding embarrassment he might feel at screaming for all the neighbors to hear.

“I’ve given you everything. My love, my time, and God knows you’ve taken all my money. And for what? Just to shit on me over and over. Well I’ve had enough. We’re through!” He walked away but soon turned back. He couldn’t leave her there on the street, couldn’t bear the sight of her. After fifteen years it would be hard but he would do what he had to.

Craig called a tow truck to come get the piece of crap, broke down car he’d loved for so long. He felt a sharp pang of regret watching it being pulled away until his neighbor came over and offered to take him to the dealership. He knew he would never find another like her but he figured that was exactly the point.


So this is what happens when I’m having car troubles — flash fiction! At least something good has come of all the knocks life is throwing at me this month.

One Of Those Months

Have you ever had one of ‘those’ months? You know what I mean, a terrible, no good, crappy, problems piling up months. Well I’m enjoying one of those now. It started with physical therapy finishing up and my back problems not any better and shortly graduated to those problems getting worse. I am the biggest wimp I know when it comes to pain so this super sucks.

Then my monitor went out. It was only a few years old and has effectively ended my love affair with LG electronics (although I still swear by their appliances). My husband’s computer started making strange sounds and my phone went a little crazy. Don’t even get me started on the damn laptop issues! Moving on…

A couple of days ago my car started making a clicking noise. It only happened as I was accelerating and between 20 and 30 mph. I know just enough about cars to know this was weird. My ‘oh shit’ meter was maxed out at this point because I have horrid luck when it comes to car problems. I’ve never owned a vehicle that didn’t have something unusual (and expensive) go wrong with it.

My husband and a coworker figured out what was wrong (see picture below). They got a new part and started really working on it, only to find out the part they got didn’t fit, which was the part’s guy’s fault. They went back to the parts place and were told they would have to buy a different part, a $1200 part to be precise. FFS!! I was in no way surprised since this is my kind of luck but holy crap! This car has been so much trouble. (Did I mention I only have it because my last car was totaled when some a-hole crashed into it in the middle of the night and then took off. Great thing to wake up to.) Hopefully we can actually find that part tomorrow, since the auto place didn’t have it, and get the car fixed. I really don’t want to take it to a shop.

Anyway, the point is this month sucks. A lot. But here is where it gets odd. It seems like the more that goes wrong in my life, the better my Nanowrimo prep gets. Pardon me tooting my own horn but this story idea is good! If I do it right then the novel will be great. I’ve been having breakthroughs left and right and for the first time in ages I know exactly where I want my story to go. I’m positive my plan will fall apart by lunch time on November 1st but I don’t care because I can either get back on track or rearrange my handy little note cards and get back to work. I feel like I have just enough planning. It’s like everything belonging to baby bear. Not too hot, not too cold, etc. I really think I can make it work and I’m super excited about it.

Since I’m stressed out, pissed off, worried and all around frazzled I might just say screw Nanowrimo and start writing all the angry, scary, freaky and sad scenes today. Or perhaps some flash fiction that will creep me out.

I go see the pain doctor on Monday so we’ll see how the pain issue goes. If he orders the test I think he will the end of the month will be awful, horrible and almost unbearable since the test is designed to reproduce my specific disk pain. However, if said test goes the way I hope then I’ll be a step closer to surgery, which at this point is what I want to happen.

I’ll keep you all updated. Wish me luck!


20151022_151950  Obviously it shouldn’t look this way.

The Great Vacation Disaster of 2015

Well I survived my hellish vacation. When we pulled into the driveway at home yesterday afternoon I was so happy I almost cried. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad. It great to spend time with my husband’s family and the beach wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be (pale skin and beach don’t mix well).

The drive halfway across the country to get there wasn’t fun since I’m still dealing with back problems but it could have been worse. The beach house we stayed in with Justin’s family was so awful it became comical after a while but it had comfortable beds so that was fine.

I had four days of hot sand, cold water and relaxation before it all went downhill. It started with a trip to the boardwalk. I had specific goals since walking for long periods of time was painful. I wanted to go to the large surf shop to buy my youngest daughter a hoodie to replace the one she got there last year (and wore every day – including in the summer), a place that has awesome caramel corn, a Christmas ornament store (always looking for dragons) and Shriver’s to get fudge and taffy. We managed to get to all the above and I found a little shop with dragon goodies. I bought a cute little box that looked like two books stacked and a dragon ripping itself out of the one on top.

A few minutes before finishing up my shopping the pain started. Every part of my abdomen and my back felt like it had been smashed together. Not something one feels everyday but I assumed it was really my back with pain radiating out because of all the walking. We parked a few blocks away and by the time I got to the car I was hurting more than I ever had and I was becoming aware that I was feeling two different kinds of pain. One was my back, which was bad, but the other felt like it was my stomach. I remember thinking maybe I had food poisoning from dinner or something. We made it home and went to bed soon after.

After sleeping for about an hour I woke up thinking I was going to be sick but I didn’t actually throw up. This started a once an hour, sometimes more, pattern for the night. I never really went back to sleep because the pain. In the morning my ‘stomach’ hurt so much I could hardly stand it but I was convinced I’d eaten something bad. I told my husband to walk down to the beach and enjoy spending time with his parents. He didn’t want to go but I finally convinced him. I figured once I actually threw up everything would be fine. HA!

I stayed in bed but couldn’t get comfortable. I was unable to play on my phone or computer. I couldn’t sleep. Hell I couldn’t even read. Finally I got nervous and went to webmd. It wasn’t helpful because my symptoms pointed to too many problems, however, after answering three questions in a row that made a red alert message telling me to go to the ER I got really scared. I called a nurseline from back home and told the woman who answered my symptoms. She asked me several questions and then in the calmest voice I’ve ever heard told me that everything she seeing on her computer is saying I should go to the hospital. She added: “You should go now.” I sent a text to my husband and started looking for clothes because I didn’t want to go in with pajamas on. When I realized how stupid it was to even think about that I noticed my husband hadn’t answered so I called him. I don’t remember what I said but I heard from my mother-in-law that Justin dropped everything and ran. He was definitely out of breath when he got to me.

We had a hard time finding a real hospital but managed to get to one within a half an hour or so. A doctor came in and poked my belly, which caused a dramatic reaction. Until that point I hadn’t considered appendix really, or at least I had refused to believe it. I had noticed that I didn’t feel any stomach pain by that point; I never really had, only rebound pain. I was in the emergency room for eight hours. They took lots of blood, gave me an IV (ouch) and did a CAT scan. A different doctor came in afterwards to tell me I had to have surgery and he was calling the surgeon immediately. Around 10:00 pm they took me into the operating room and I woke up maybe an hour later.

I only had to stay overnight. I was in a shared room, which was a totally new experience that I don’t want to repeat. After leaving the hospital we went back to the beach house for one night then drove three hours to my in-laws’ house. That part wasn’t fun but at least most of my recovery time was spent in more comfortable surroundings.

That week was awful. I was on two very strong antibiotics that made me nauseated constantly. Also Percocet made me feel horrid so I only took two half doses before stopping it entirely and relying on naproxen. Eating had the same effect so it was a vicious cycle. I barely ate at all and when I did I would spend thirty minutes trying not to get sick. I could only sit up for twenty minutes at a time and that didn’t happen often. Luckily I had to go upstairs to sleep and shower so I was forced to move around, which is good for recovery. If not for that I would have gladly spent every second on the couch.

We finally left for home on Wednesday. I was glad to spend the time with my in-laws but I was thrilled to go home. Having surgery so far from home and being forced to recover there was so hard. It doesn’t matter how much you love your family, when you’re hurt you want to be home and have your own stuff and your own bed.

The drive wasn’t too bad. I finished the antibiotics by the second day so nausea wasn’t too much of an issue. It was extremely difficult to get comfortable because I was contending with three incisions and the ever-present back pain but I was able to eat more or less normally. The first day I ate three-quarters of a six-inch sub and felt like I had won a marathon!

I slept better than I had for two weeks and I managed to keep my dogs from hurting me in their excitement to see us. The kids were happy too but they didn’t really know what to do so each one hugged me very gingerly and left me alone. We ordered pizza so we didn’t have to cook and I overdid it so I also had pizza for dinner last night (yay to no cooking).

I feel better now although I’m not completely recovered yet. I can’t press anything against my abdomen at all and have to be careful when lying down or getting up from the bed.

Hopefully I can get back to writing soon. I did have a few ideas on the way home. I got no work done during vacation so anything I write for now will be welcome. I managed to take a few photos, if they turned out decent I’ll post some soon.


Sidenote: Hearing my husband laugh out loud (which is rare) when I spotted some brown cows during the drive and yelled “HOW NOW?” was the best thing that happened on the whole trip! It’s a good thing it didn’t startle him too much. 😉


A Sad Phone Call

I was sitting at my desk trying to find the motivation/inspiration to write when my cell phone rang. It was an old friend I hadn’t talked to in a while. Guilt set in instantly because the last time he called I was lying down and my phone was across the room. I was in too much pain to get up so I didn’t. Later I saw who called but I had to pick up my daughter from work so I put off returning the call.

Since being on all these medication and thanks to some weirdness with my thyroid, my short-term memory is awful. I kept forgetting to call back, for two weeks. I occasionally thought about it but was always too busy until it got to the point where it was completely forgotten, until the phone rang last night. This was bad because we only talk about once every six months or so. I felt awful!

When I answered I planned to tell my friend I was sorry and how he knows my memory is crap, etc, but I never got the chance. I said “hello” and he said “what are you doing”, I said “nothing much how about you” – which is how all our conversations begin. He said “I’m dying.”

I don’t know how long the silence from me lasted before I finally blurted out: “What are you talking about?” He calmly explained to me that he had a tumor and there were words like: ‘surgery’ and ‘chemo’ and phrases like: ‘moved into my lungs’ and ‘compromised immune system’. It felt like his words were bouncing around in my head and wouldn’t settle down enough for me to comprehend. Even now I don’t really know everything he said to me.

I was floored and hardly said anything at first. I eventually spouted out some standard crap, you know, the ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I hope they are wrong’ — junk people say when they don’t know what to say. Most of it I followed up with “I know it’s ridiculous for me to say that.”

I asked when he was having surgery and it turns out he’ll be in the hospital at the same time I go out of town for two weeks. I feel like the worst person ever. Right when he needs to be surrounded by friends I’ll be gone. When I get back I’ll going through the process of preparing for and having surgery myself and won’t be available much then either. It’s been so long since I’ve talked to him that he doesn’t know about any of that and I don’t know if I should tell him or not. He’ll worry but I want him to why I’ll be m.i.a. Lost time can never be found again. I’m completely at a loss about what to do.

I don’t know what I really wanted to say when I started typing this. Maybe I needed to get it off my chest. I do know that I wish I had answered the phone two weeks ago (when he got his diagnosis) or called back right away. I wish when we did finally talk that I had handled it better. By the end of the call I had him laughing, which is good because he sounded determined to stick with his out of character calm tone, but I feel like I should have done more. I guess all I can do now is be there for my friend as much as I can.

Pardon my long winded rambling.