Wednesday, August 27, 2014


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.



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).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Illness Takes a Holiday

(Note: Wonky spacing due to the fact I wrote this in gmail and blogger doesn't like that. I did what I could to fix it.)
I wasn't going to post. I didn't think I had anything to say, but then I compared the latest vacation to the one that came before and what a difference! Definitely noteworthy.

In March 2013 we flew out to visit family and I just about died. I struggled with fatigue and actually had a few days where I couldn't function. I had to go back to bed even though that was the last thing I wanted to do!

Fast forward to Vacation 2014 and I had none of that adrenal BS. NONE! 

I even worked while on vacation and wrote 1/3 of the novel I'm trying to finish.

It is amazing to me how sloooooow recovery is from HPA axis suppression. At least for me.

Anyway, remember how I was exercising so vacation wouldn't kill me? We did NOTHING. Mostly because it was 93F with 95% humidity 24/7. I was not prepared for a tropical climate. None of us could function as our area has had a very cold summer this year, even dipping down into the 40s at night. (See also, my pansies were still alive in July and still would be if the house sitter had watered them.) 

We were/are not used to such intense heat. We didn't even have the right clothing. I brought my jean capris which were miserable to wear in that heat. By the end of our vacation, I just wore my ratty workout shorts everywhere. 

We spent a lot of time basking in air conditioning and avoiding going outside. The lizards we saw always went for the sun,but we were sidling up to any a/c vent we could find. 

Another thing I didn't understand about tropical climates, the water during summer is as hot as you are. It doesn't cool you off. The only way to cool off is to jump in the pool and then go sit in air conditioning.

Worse, that super fancy hotel my husband and I stayed at? It was infested with smokers. I couldn't even use our ocean front balcony because of all the smoking. The outdoor furniture reeked of cigars so I couldn't sit in it. People smoked by the pool, so swimming was out too. 

The area we stayed in is a huge party haven so we had to avoid the main drag due to all the smoking. We still had a good time, though. I just didn't realize how bad the smokers were. None of the guidebooks or trip reports I read mentioned it.

For future reference, if you have asthma and your vacation destination is party central and also a hot spot for Europeans and/or Latin will have problems. They all smoke. A lot. 

Also, hurricane season isn't just a risk of hurricanes, it means rain every day. Don't go to the tropics in the summer. Stay way north of the equator. We were rained out several times and even got stuck in some of the worst storms of the summer. We saw rain worse than any blizzard, which, naturally, we had to drive through.

Truth be told, I failed completely as a vacation planner. Ha!  Instead of a good time, we had an interesting time, which is still okay in my book. We learned what not to do and the whole adventure certainly gave us a lot to talk about.

We go back in the Spring. Let's see if I can do a better job planning that trip!

Okay, now that that's over, let's get to writing gossip.

1. I came up with a concept for a group project, and once again, people are trying to benefit from my ideas as if I don't exist. I've had to have some uncomfortable (for them) discussions with people as, at least this time, I retained leadership of the whole thing. (I'm learning!) They joined the project, then dropped out and thought they could still use my idea for their own benefit. I don't bring things to people for them to use for their own purposes. I am always cooperative and I expect everyone to conform to that (pretty well established) ethic. 

Granted, my expectations are unenforceable, but there are other factors that matter to people more than what I think. Such as all the other authors can see them being greedy and it won't look so good if they make sure they maximize their return while turning their backs on a group they had originally agreed to work with. (I phrased it much more politely but that was the gist.) That's a great way to not be invited to join any future projects as well as have your peers ignore you just in general. 

Oh, you have a new release you would like me to share with my readers? Sorry, I didn't see your email/post until too late. Maybe next time!

Reputation matters in this industry. You can get away with a lot, but eventually, a lack of integrity will catch up with you. So don't be an ass.

I don't want to have to use a contract, but I may end up requiring NDAs or non-competes going forward. I don't provide 100% of the value, but I am pivotal in making that 100% possible. My value is in spotting trends early, gathering people together and facilitating mutual success. Not everyone can do that.

In the interim, on my latest idea, I specified that this was not something for them to pass on and that participants were hand chosen, the project isn't an open call. Hopefully, people get a clue.

2. Some of the project dropouts above are driven by skeevy group politics. I don't know the lay of the land yet, but the factions are solidifying and people are getting cut. I've been cut from a few inner circles, and have, likewise, been cutting people on my end (the asshats). Sales are down across the board and people are looking for life rafts. As one of my author buddies says, this is when you find out who has integrity.

3.Sales are even worse. Ha. People are starting to panic, including the bigwigs who've made, literally, a million dollars in this biz. We shall see what the future brings. 

FYI now is not a good time to get into Indie publishing. In case you were considering it. The industry is completely restructuring and Amazon's God Complex is at Defcon 5. Wait until the dust settles.

And if you're already publishing...keep writing and try not to panic when you stop making money. The storm will pass, a path forward will appear. It's just a question of when.

By the way, there's more shit ready to hit the fan that isn't even public yet. I only know because someone broke their NDA with the mighty Zon. Even more change is coming. I feel like I'm starting all over in terms of industry knowledge. That's how big the changes are.

The good news is there is no easy or cheap replacement for authors (yet). So we're still very much a necessary cog in the wheel. Booksellers can't treat us like we don't matter without paying a price themselves. If we don't earn, neither do they. Eventually the booksellers will figure that out. Again (and then they'll forget and the cycle will repeat).