Monday, September 15, 2014

And then...I Drank Like a Vampire

Today had great potential to be nice, but then I went to the doctor. A CT scan more precisely. One where they made me drink a liter of blood colored fluid that was sickeningly sweet. On an empty stomach. Uck.

At least the Rad Tech was entertained by all my what-I-did-on-summer-vacation stories. I was quite chatty and started to feel bad about it, so I asked them if they were interested in the stuff I was talking about. Fortunately, we were a good personality match, so I nattered on and on while they stuck me with needles, filled me with drugs and took pics of my internal organs.

After that I went home and tried to decide if the way I felt meant I was going to puke a bunch of red fluid or if it was going to come out the other end. It all derailed my day sort of spectacularly. I've had CT scans before so I thought I knew what to expect, but the liter 'o 'blood' I had to slurp down was a yucky twist.

Fun times!

I imagine the scan will show nothing since things are not all that aggravated at the moment and I'm good with that. This is not the kind of stuff where you want them to find anything. I don't need an answer. I don't want a name. Weirdo-shit-that-only-your-body-does-and-it's-no-big-deal is what I'm hoping to hear. I'll even accept post-gallbladder removal adjustment syndrome< --- I made that one up, but it's a good one, don't you think?

Anyway, time for more school stories. The communication issues continue. I went to a meeting billed as an information session only to find out it was really a brawl between parents and the school board. Oy. I sat through two hours, trying to say as little as possible and wondering WTF I'd gotten myself into.

Sheesh. If they'd told me it was a 'tear down all processes, especially the ones parents like and reinvent all our wheels no matter what parents think' meeting I would have skipped it. I'm too new to be sucked into that shit. Way too new.

All of us new parents sort of huddled together in a protective circle, commiserating on all the WTFery.  But we all agreed, our kids are happy. Maybe there's hope for us to be happy too. Or at least not be in the middle of screaming matches between parents and the school.

Have you ever worked with someone who was obviously not in the right job? That's the deal with the school official who headed up the meeting. They're younger, not as experienced as the parents and not very organized. They may not know it yet, but that job is not a good fit. They need to move on. I hope they figure it out sooner as opposed to later.


On the positive, calling my friend and telling her all about the fucked up school meeting helped me drink the red goo drink without hurling. That last cup was a real bitch to get down. Ranting about that meeting had me so distracted, I didn't even taste it anymore.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Puttering

Doing okay over here. I can sleep on my right side with minimal aggravation of whatever is pissed off inside my gut. This is a rare thing and a real luxury.  Very few spasms. Little protest from my system when I eat.

Still feeling kind of tired and I'm not sure why (I've started the next pill pack which I thought would fix things). Season change maybe? Asthma flared a little bit yesterday, I assume due to the transition from summer to fall. We've had days where even my husband has a hard time breathing. Cool + high humidity = panting. At least for us anyway.

Latest book is doing well. Lots of reader response, which is an excellent sign. When people take the time to seek you out via email or friend you on FB just so they can send you a PM, you know your work is resonating. Good. Now I just need to write a million more books and publish them.

Exercise-wise, I've slowed down. I'm not doing a great job of switching up my routine to match the season. I think I'm pouting over the fact that I can't go swimming anymore.

At the same time, the fatigue is holding me back. Did a bike ride last night and just couldn't muster up the energy to go. I wasn't sore, my legs weren't tired, I just had no power. My energy is quite listless right now. My minutes-per-mile was slower than the last bike ride.

Kiddo is cute. We have a wedding coming up so she needed a fancy party dress. OMG. Shopping for that was fun! We typically stick with soft knits as she's sensitive to seams and tags and tightness and phantom things that only she can feel. I was a little bit like that as a kid, but my daughter is a whole new level of 'things are boooooothering me.' As in, The Princess and the Pea was probably written about her.

So we had a lot of discussion about how fancy party clothes are tighter than other things she wears and how you have to just deal with it if you want to dress up. I think she's on board. She loves her dress which helps.  Let's hope it carries her through and that we don't have a meltdown on the dance floor at the reception.

School-wise, I'm very pleased at what I see going on. She's reading openly instead of insisting she can't read like she did last year (her rationale being her kindy peers couldn't read yet). The current book she's selected to read is at the 5th grade level. Less than a month in the right environment and she's 'smartening up' instead of 'dumbing down'. Fitting in is very important to her. In kindy that meant denying skills whereas this year, she has to use them if she doesn't want to stand out.

She's been so good at hiding the extent of her capabilities that I find I consistently underestimate her.  I've learned the hard way to hide my work screens if she comes into my office because she will read over my shoulder and then nonchalantly ask me about the content...which is sometimes not for little kids. Urk.

Anyways, we are on an interesting journey with her, one I could have never anticipated.

And now I am going to try to work.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Let Me Tell You

Right now, this very second, my GI system seems to be doing okay. I often feel like I'm being stabbed in the back and there's the occasional spasm in the bilary ducts, but mostly things are calm and functioning.

We will see how long that lasts.

And I still feel awful,but for completely different reasons. I'm delaying the start of my birth control pill so I can time everything for an OB/GYN appointment. It's my last pack and I won't be able to get anymore without seeing the OB/GYN. For some reason, I've returned to the pattern of feeling really horrible once the pill stops. Fatigue and sharp headaches are my plague now. It's not too bad when I can start the next pack as scheduled, but this prolonged gap has been particularly unpleasant.

Three more days and I will have some relief.

As a small mercy, I've given myself the week off from writing. Not work, I still have to work, but I'm not holding myself to any word count goals. I'm doing mostly admin stuff and gearing up for the launch of the next book which is done (hallelujah!).

                                                                             ***

Some mommy blogging....

Kiddo is doing great at her new school, but we have no clue what she does there. The school is awful with communication. I mean, really awful. It's making me twitch. Twice now, I've had to force myself to delete a line offering to copy edit the newsletters from my emails to the school trying to clarify various pieces of contradictory information.

Is the meeting the 8th or the 9th, because both dates are in the newsletter. On the PTA meeting, there's a date but no time or place. Where and when is that meeting?

This is not a good fit for my personality. I don't do well if I have to sit idle on the sidelines while the home team fucks everything up when I know I can fix it. While other parents may just roll with it, I'm over here frothing at the mouth and fighting not to say what I really think of all this poor communication. (The examples above are just the tip of the iceberg. OMG. How do these people run a school?!)

Eventually I WILL address it, but not until I have a better understanding of how the school works and I've developed some relationships with administration. Do you know they didn't even tell us what day school started? Or the time? I had to hunt someone down and make them tell me. At one point, I was reading through all of last year's newsletters trying to piece together the information I needed. Crazy.

And this is a gifted school...apparently run by not so gifted staff. Ha. Irony! No, the staff is fine, but there is room for process improvements. We are fortunate to be there. I think.  Time will tell and if my kiddo thrives there, we'll be around long enough for me to insert myself into the communication process so I can FIX IT ALREADY.

                                                                                    ***

On writing...

Here is a thought that occurred to me today: I'm never going to master this writing gig. I've written multiple novels now as well as novellas and short stories. I've moved 50,000 and 25,000 copies of things I've written and I still have no idea what the hell I am doing.

None.

Here's why: Once you start building up a body of work, you then have to work to not repeat yourself. You can't use the same plot twist in every book. You have to come up with new stuff. Characters need different flaws and strengths. And settings need to be different.

So, essentially, you are pretty much starting at zero. Every time.  You always have to stretch for the next book. You're never complete as a writer, not unless you actually want to rehash the same plot structures over and over again (which, no, I don't).

Maybe mastery kicks in at 30 novels or something. I don't know.

And now I have to go. Me and my fatigue with a side of headache have a business meeting with my admin. So no proofreading at all. Sorry if something doesn't make sense.



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Warming Up

Things are starting to settle down. With that said, though, the anti-depressant for the SOD and pancreatitis was a disaster. Yes, it blocked pain, but it didn't stop the spasming. which meant my pancreas remained irritated and I continued to wake throughout the night. Plus, it gave me one hell of a hangover with a side of crazy bitch.

That was the effect of just one pill (which lasted two days). I wasn't brave enough to take more than that.

What I have worked out is, I take two doses of the muscle relaxant in the evening, and combined with eating less along with never, ever eating at night, things are better. Not perfect, but I am sleeping at night. If I'm hungover from the meds the next morning, I can't tell.

I am hoping that all of this is just part of adjusting to life without a gallbladder. I do not want gastro paresis or pancreatitis. I would like it very much if this was just a temporary phase.

As the SOD has calmed down, I've had more energy. I didn't realize how much the GI stuff was costing me until it improved. It is definitely a significant drag on the body.

I almost miss the old adrenal days. They made sense. I had a system worked out for dealing with the swings from too much to too little cortisol. When it comes to the GI stuff...I got nothing.

BUT, on the bright side, I can still work. Adrenal stuff destroys me and I can't wake up, let alone do anything productive, so there's that.

Kiddo update...

She's started at her new school, and so far, it's all smiles and thumbs up. Naturally, by the end of the first week she had a cold, though, and was doing her best to deny it. If I asked her how she was feeling she would get growly with me because, I guess, she thought if we ignored it, it would go away (ha! I wonder where she gets that from?).

I finally said, "Honey, it's my job to ask how you're feeling. I'm supposed to take care of you. You're supposed to tell me these things."

At first, she crossed her arms with a loud 'humph' and gave me a death glare, but then her shoulders sagged and she said, in the tiniest, saddest voice you ever heard, "Mommy, I have the boogies."

She doesn't want to miss school and is doing her best to power through. I'm letting her as she doesn't have a fever and it's a mild cold without much congestion. Since she caught it at school, I doubt we're adding to the germ pool either.

I'm sure the bullying and the usual mean girl stuff will start sooner as opposed to later, but right now we're just happy she's happy. She had a lot of anxiety about the new school and it was tough to watch how much she struggled with it. A positive start, even one covered in boogies, means a lot.

Writing update...

1. Finishing up edits on my latest project. Trying to finish the rough draft of another and wondering when I'm going to get to all the other books I owe readers.

2.Still trying to find the editor of my dreams as well. That is a tough one. They either catch typos but not plot holes or hate what I write and my approach to pov. Or they cost way more than I can pay. Sheesh.

3. The sociopath whackjob I've mentioned in the past met their comeuppance. I thought it would come from the authors, but in reality, their complete lack of business structure, process or policy is what brought them down. People still think this person is da bomb, so they may yet rise again. Who knows?

4. Plagiarism. There's a lot of it going around as the 'get-rich-quick' crowd has crowned ebook publishing as the #1 way to become a millionaire (except it's sooooo not). Their methods involve telling people to copy books in whole and sell them with new covers. I don't get it because, not only is that the stupidest business strategy on earth, if you know anything about authors, you know they will cut you.  For instance...

Do you know how many authors....

Are lawyers? Lots.

Are bat shit insane and own guns? Loads, way more common than authors/lawyers.

Have an intelligence background and can hunt people down like a freaking bloodhound? Not many, but more than you would think and all the other authors know them.

Can hack and know all the black hat tricks the scammers do? Quite a few.

Have made a ton of money? As in $500,00 or even millions so that creating a huge legal hassle for a plagiarist isn't cost prohibitive? More than you would think. (It's still not easy to make that much money though. Not the kind of easy that you can access via a $20 guide written by someone who hasn't made their own million yet.)

Authors are not a group of people I would mess with if I wanted to steal content.  We share information and strategies and we donate to legal funds. We are not little old ladies who can't fight back.

Frankly, these internet scammers should choose their marks more wisely. Authors are not easy targets, we are cut throat and we know how to play dirty with the best of them (because that's how publishing works, and also, we spend a lot of time researching illicit/immoral activities. Between the two we have a great skill set for ass kicking). It seems the scammers are going to learn that the hard way.

It's only a matter of time before the booksellers get sued, too. (Mostly because their copyright enforcement is lax to non-existent. I've seen better plagiarism policies at diploma mills. The booksellers just end up enabling the plagiarists and pocketing the cash whenever they do shut down an account. The copyright holder is always SOL. Not cool.)


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Demoralized

Saw the GI doc to follow up my surgery from May. It wasn't a great visit. More testing followed by even more testing and then a likely referral to a specialist center as I've outpaced my current clinic's capabilities. However, there really aren't a lot of options so I'm not sure what a specialist center is going to do.

The SOD is still spasming. All the damn time. OMG. Just stop already you stupid thing.

The GI doc is replacing the muscle relaxants with whatever that anti-depressant is called that is used to treat IBS. In theory, it will make me less loopy and provide good relief. We'll see.

I now have various things going on with my liver, pancreas, the biliary ducts and stomach. All I need is for my intestines to go kaput and I'll have a complete set of medical fuckery!

And a new diagnosis is on the horizon. Gastro paresis. Isn't that another one that drug seekers like to use, ergo all patients with that diagnosis are suspect? Greeeeat. Just what I need! Maybe someone will bequeath me with a Fibromyalgia diagnosis so no one will ever take me seriously ever again.

I kind of figured the Gastro paresis was coming. My one parent likely has it. Not that they tell me, in fact, they like to keep medical stuff secret, but they've let enough slip that I put it all together. Several authors I hang out with online have it, too, and they aren't shy about discussing it. So between the two, I was not surprised when the GI brought it up.

Although, I don't think it's severe. Not yet at least. I have noticed over the last year that I get full faster and heavy meals just seem to sit and sit in my stomach. (In fact, I think last night's dinner is still in there.) I do sometimes wonder if I'm going to throw up after I've eaten, but that hasn't happened yet. Mostly I just feel ill for several hours after a meal. Maybe it's just a side effect of the pancreatitis and will improve if the SOD ever calm down. I don't know.

But the whole thing sucks.

I'm going to go edit someone's book. I need to get lost in someone else's head for a while.

(When I was a kid, teachers told my parents they thought I read through classes as a way to cope with their divorce and the bullying. It wasn't true then. I was bored. The teachers were boring and not self-aware enough to understand that. However, now? I'm all about escape from reality.)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Too Relaxed

I've been taking these muscle relaxers for a couple days now and I feel high as a kite. Weeee!

All I want to do is sleep. I am totally, utterly and deeply relaxed. Limp, overcooked spaghetti has nothing on me!

I'm not sure how this medication is going to be a long term solution. There is such a thing as too relaxed, particularly if you're driving or trying to write a book. Tweaks are needed.

At least the ducts have calmed down a lot. They/It were/was spasming rather intensely about 80% of the time and now it's more like 15%. One woke me last night, but it didn't keep me up, I was able to roll over and go back to sleep.

***
Biking was going so well, I decided to find out how fast you're supposed to go if you're riding for fitness.

Suffice it to say, biking is not going as well as I thought. Wow, do I suck. I suck so bad, I'm not even going to tell you how slow I am. It's that shameful.

I am faster than I was. I've shaved 12 minutes off my time since I started in July, but I have a long way to go if I'm truly going to claim I exercise by riding a bike.

I'm going to incorporate some interval training to see if I cut my time.

Yesterday was a great workout. I did 4 miles on the bike and then swam for an hour. (By swim I mean, a few laps, running, walking, jumping etc.. in the pool. I'm not swimming like an Olympiad or anything.) Today I'm sore, but in the best way.  I'm going to miss summer.

My goal now is to figure out my winter routine. I'd like to get some snow pants for fat old people so I can walk in the snow. I really enjoyed that the few times I was able to do it last winter. It's a great workout for your legs and improves balance (imo) because the snow makes for uneven terrain. I just need better gear for it so I can get out more often.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Duct Work

I've been having some kind of  attack of the Sphincter of Oddi for the last ten days. The main issue is it disrupts my sleep with all the spasming. The first few days were also kind of pancreatitis-ish with the only relief found in being upright. I told my husband, at this point, we just need to accept that we will be buying a craftmatic adjustable bed sooner as opposed to later.

Why does sleeping upright solve all the problems?

Asthma likes it. Sphincters like it. GERD likes it. Pancreatitis likes it.

Clearly I am doing it all wrong by trying to lie down at night.

I don't know what's going on. I'm frustrated. I started taking the muscle relaxer the GI gave me before the gallbladder removal. It never seemed to do much, but I'm desperate to sleep.  It seemed to help last night. The spasms didn't stop, but they were less intense and I could sleep through them.

And yes, it does hurt. My main complaint is not pain, though. I'm more interested in sleep. With sleep all things are possible.

I have a GI appointment coming up so maybe there are other meds we can try. As usual, there are comunication issues, though. Their 'mychart' program has disabled my account and my emails to tech support have gone unanswered. I received a notification of a message in my email, but I can't log in to read it. For all I know, my appointment has been canceled.

***

I've been exercising since we returned from vacation and was pleased to find I'd retained enough muscle/fitness to not be at -50 on the fitness scale. I'm ready for 5 miles or more on the bike, but am still having issues with the seat. I bought a new one, which has offered some improvement, but it could be better. I might buy another one to try.

I feel like the Goldilocks of bicycle seats. I've got too hard and too soft covered, but I can't seem to find the 'just right' one.

The pool closed, which was a bummer. One nearby city has one week left in their pool season but a) their pool is cold as the arctic sea, and b) it has a strong current due to two massive water slides. This makes swimming either too easy or too hard. We went once and I'm not sure if we'll go back. I guess we'll have to switch to swimming at rec centers that have indoor pools.

***

Writing...

1. Finished the first draft of my latest project and starting edits today. The first hard copy is printing as I type.

2.Authors continue to be weirdos and are in full life raft mode, meaning they're gathering together who they trust most and leaving everyone else to drown. I think authors win the prize for 'most cliques in a single industry.'

I somehow made the cut into a super secret group. I don't know why though. Most everyone in the group is making so much money, they don't need anything I do.

For instance, I read through a thread where people were trying to figure out what to do with their extra money after they maxed out their retirement contributions. As in, they have so much money, they don't know what to do with it all. As I read it, I was like, these are not my people.

I am not at that level. Not even close! I could be, if I wrote faster. For every one of my books that sells well, they have 3 or 5 because they churn out full novels about once a month.

But I am slow and speed is money in this industry.


I don't like the clique shit. I'll hang with anyone and I'm big on helping out people who are still chasing success. The only social editing I do is to cut out users and abusers or people who, while perfectly nice, don't work well with others for whatever reason (which can be something as simple as their genre doesn't mesh with mine, which can make marketing less effective).