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 – January 23, 2017

Writing: It’s all about flash fiction. I’ve been utilizing word prompts almost every day and I’m happy to report they are working for me. In the last week or so I wrote several super short stories. Some I shared and some I held back. (Click a title if you would like to read the ones I’ve posted: The Smudge, Ashes, The Cycle, & Peaches).

There are two I’m not sure I like. One of them is simply ridiculous and the other is not quite a story, but I still find it interesting. I might put them up together. Another is still only bones but I’ll add the meat to it today before trying to write a new one.

My goal is to write as many short stories this year as I can, at least one a week, preferably more.

I’m completely out of novel mode but I’m okay with it. Burnout was on the horizon and I needed to do something different. Besides, with all these short stories, I might end up with one growing into a book length story.

Reading: I’m still reading The Sword of Truth Series. Book six is…challenging. I don’t like what’s happening. I’m unhappy about the development of one of the main characters and I’m bored with the excessive world building. If I see the words ‘wayward pine’ one more time I might scream. That’s a lie, I’ll probably only groan.

The biggest problem I’m having with this book, and the two before it, is the female main character is becoming unlikable. No matter how many times her husband is proven right, she never agrees with him, never believes he’s making good choices, and always wants to do the exact opposite of what he says they should. There are scenes where she acknowledges that no matter how odd his decisions may be, he’s been in the right every time. Yet she still argues!

It’s driving me nuts. The husband, who is the overall main character, almost always gives in to her wishes, even though he feels he’s right, and he’s the leader of a country. He’ll have a ton of inner dialog about how he just wants her to be happy, but he worries he’s making the wrong decision by giving in. He is. Every time.

How can I like these characters if they don’t learn and grow?

Still, I’m sticking with the series because I am doing this for research. Already I realized I have a character who always feels sorry for himself but doesn’t do anything to fix it. I might not have noticed how extreme this problem is if not for the flaws I found in the characters in these books.

As writers, we should always read and learn something about writing from every book we pick up.

Medical: I went to the pain doctor for a follow-up from my nerve burn procedure. It didn’t really help. Before they could offer I said I had no interest in pain medication. They said in that case, all I can do is wait until March, when I have a CT scan and see the neurosurgeon again. The suspicion is I’m healing very slow from my spinal fusion surgery and/or one of the screws could have loosened. Scary and frustrating stuff.

I still go to the gym almost every day. I’ve upped the intensity on a few things but still don’t push too much. I wish I could workout harder. I’m only keeping steady, not making real progress. I shouldn’t complain. Going to the gym does help with the pain. I just wish I could do more. I’d love to be more fit, toned. I don’t want to get giant muscles, but I would like some definition.

One thing I’ve been negligent about is the home exercises I learned in physical therapy. I’m getting back on track though. I just need to accept that I will be doing this forever.

Everything else: I’m obsessed with Rogue One and The Force Awakens. As of Friday I’m the proud owner of a Jyn Erso Funko Pop figure. She stands in front of my other Funko Pops: old Han Solo and Rey. Behind them is my Pez Death Star tin. Soon I will frame my 8 x 11 prints of C3PO, R2D2, and BB8.

I want to make one wall in my house a nerdy wall. The whole family would be welcome to put whatever franchise stuff they want on it. The only problem is it would soon be covered with Adventure Time and Stephen Universe (which I despise). I’ll have to give in though. It wouldn’t be a family nerd wall if it was only the stuff I like. Maybe I’ll divide it into sections. Once we have stuff up, I’ll take a picture and post it.

We got an old, but new to us car. My ex-husband bought himself a new car and didn’t trade in the old one because he was hoping one of the kids would want it. My oldest has a car and the others don’t drive. Seriously, one is 21 and the other just turned 20 but they don’t drive. My daughter has zero interest. She didn’t even finish driver’s ed. The other is almost interested but it will be a slow learning process.

So, the ex brought the car to me to use until one of them decides to adult. It has its problems. One of the seat belts in the back is broken. The brakes are squishy and need to be fixed. We had to replace brake light bulbs. Toothpaste and elbow grease fixed the foggy looking headlight covers. The outside looks fine, but the inside is torn all to hell. But, a free car is a free car.

My husband’s car is junkyard bound so he’s driving the ‘new’ one for now. The ex said he’d rather it be driven than sit in someone’s driveway. Regardless of the condition, it’s pretty cool. I’ve never been given a car before, so I’m not complaining.

I’ve been organizing. Normally this means I’m making a giant mess while making things better eventually. Not this time. I’m doing it slowly and just skipping to the better part. I reserve the right to still make a mess when I tackle the closet though!

There’s not much else going on. Just life. I’ll update again soon and post a few more stories sometime this week.


Everything Update – 12/26/2016

Writing #1 (the bad stuff): Apparently my muse is a Grinch. I’m sitting in my favorite writing spot trying to find some inspiration for flash fiction stories. Nothing came to me at first so I looked at writing prompts. That was when my muse made her true nature clear.

All the prompts in the reader are Christmas related. UGH! I like the holidays and all but I don’t want to write about it. I already wrote a Santa story (click here to read it). I’m ready to move on!

My real problem is a bad case of writer’s funk. It’s different from writer’s block because I can write, but there is nothing I want to write about. I’m not even sure I want to write. I know I should so I keep trying but I only have tiny spurts of creativity. Otherwise, my muse is hiding (and waiting for the holidays to end).

This is not to say I’ll have better luck once all the decorations are taken down and everyone stops blogging about Christmas. This funk won’t simply disappear on a certain date.

To be honest, I’m not sure what to do, what I want to do. My plan for now is to try to write flash fiction. No ideas have hit me so far today but I’ll have some eventually. Or I’ll make them. Ideas are cheap when it comes down to it. I just have to find a way to make some work for me.

What I’m really fighting is apathy, brought on by burnout. I know I’ll get through this but for now it sucks!

Writing #2 (the great stuff): I will be attending the West Texas Writer’s Academy (WTWA) next year. I’ve wanted to go for a long time now and finally it will happen. In October they offered a chance to win a scholarship. I had to write an essay, under 200 words, on why I wanted to write.

The essay was so hard to write! If you’ve ever read anything on my blog, or even just this post, you know I’m wordy. The idea of keeping it so short terrified me. Then came the fear i wasn’t saying anything right. I wrote one and thought it was silly, then changed it. The next attempt was too serious, more changed. Finally I simply started over.

I wrote about the things and people who stopped me from writing for too many years. I spoke about how my experiences, especially the bad ones, made me more determined to write now. I called those years my writing boot camp. Then I said nothing would stop me now and I want to learn everything I can and add to my toolbox as much as possible.

After I wrote it, I edited the hell out of it. I remember at one point I hit undo a bunch of times and in the end, most of this third attempt stayed intact, with only minor changes. I was surprised but shouldn’t have been since it came from the heart. The words poured out with no fears or concerns. I emailed it then sat there and cried and shook, in the middle of Starbucks haha.

My nerves were a wreck! Not once did I think I would win the scholarship but I desperately wanted to. So I spent the rest of the day freaking out then tried not to think about it much. The deadline was December 15 (my birthday) so I had plenty of time to ‘forget’ about it. There was no sense in stressing for almost two straight months.

On my birthday I thought about it for a moment then shut it away. I knew by this point they weren’t announcing the winner until January so I tried not to get worked up.

The on December 20 I got an email. The notification popped up on my screen. It showed a small portion of the email and who it was from. I thought my heart would stop. My hand hovered over the mouse, too afraid to look at it. Logically I knew what it said and why I received it but I was too busy calming my nerves to be logical!

As you’ve probably guessed, I won the scholarship. I read the message at least ten times before I moved. Then I burst into tears! I took a picture of the email and sent it to my husband because for once I didn’t have the words to tell him what happened. I sat there crying for a few minutes then went into the living room and told two of my kids. They didn’t know what to do because I was crying and laughing and trying to explain. They got the explanation but they rarely have seen my cry so didn’t know how to handle it, haha.

When I started talking I was having difficulty. My sixteen year old daughter was staring at me with a look of horror/concern until I said they were good tears. It made me laugh when she visibly relaxed. I must have looked like I was having some kind of breakdown.

They congratulated me and I left the room but I couldn’t sit back down, I was too…something. Excited isn’t quite the right word, though I felt it too. Shocked is a closer description.

My other daughter heard the story shortly afterward, once I realized she was awake. I guess I didn’t say it very quietly because my oldest son heard it at the same time, as I woke him up talking near his door.

Eventually I told the people in my writing group and called my mom. I know I talked so fast she barely understood me!

As I came down from the high of finding out I won, weird things started happening. I wondered if I deserved it. I kept thinking my essay wasn’t good enough for me to be picked. I couldn’t have been more thrilled when I tossed those stupid, destructive thoughts out the window! I didn’t just win, I earned it! I wasn’t about to let anyone, not even myself, ruin it.

So next summer I’ll attend a week-long intensive writing class. I know how to write, but like I said earlier, I’m eager to add to my writing tool box. I can’t wait!

Medical: My back hurts, so nothing new. On Friday I’ll have the second procedure I’ve talked about before. A couple of weeks ago they did the right side, now they’ll do the left. There has to be eleven days between the two procedures and my doctor was on vacation for Christmas week. Otherwise I’d already be done. Thankfully this one is happening this year so I don’t have to mess with a deductible.

This won’t be a permanent fix but any relief is welcome at this point. I’m sure this is part of why I’m in my writing funk. Chronic pain drags a person down. It doesn’t matter how sunny your personality is, eventually it all gets to you.

Hopefully I’ll be back to normal soon. My mother (and the rest of my family) would laugh at me using the word ‘normal’ to describe myself so maybe I should say I’ll get back to myself again.

Reading: I’m doing this a lot more than I planned on lately. With my back giving me so much trouble, I’ve been forced to spend a good portion of every day lying down, which I hate. So I read in twenty-minute increments then get up.

Also, hot baths help relieve the massive muscles spasms my back gifts me with so I read in the tub too. This I don’t mind at all!

I’m re-reading The Sword of Truth series. It’s not my favorite but I’m enjoying it anyway. It’s so complex, with a million side stories and enough twists and turns to make your head spin. Just how I like it. I feel like I’m learning a lot from how the author writes.

His transitions are really good (so far) and most of the time his descriptions are delightfully sparse. Unlike this blog post, he doesn’t overdo it with adverbs. I’m not sure how I feel about his characterizations but overall I’m glad I chose to read this series again.

I’m afraid to read anything new since I’m already having trouble writing. If this were a new to me series, all I would do is read it. Books are my catnip (I can’t say they are my drug because I hate drugs).

Everything else: Christmas was good. We went to my mom’s house on Christmas eve for lunch. It was nice because there was family there I see only once a year or less. The rest of my extended family I only see a few times a year because I’m a homebody these days.

My husband had to work that day, which sucked. He was off on Christmas day though. It worked out that the kids went off elsewhere at lunch so I spent the whole day just hanging out with the hubby. We did a whole lot of nothing and it was perfect. I needed a nice relaxing day and so did he.

Right before Christmas I saw Rogue One. My review is simple: I loved it.

My youngest daughter (my clone) got me into watching Chuck so I think it will be my new binge. The first day of her vacation from school I sat in the living room for hours watching it with her. My back was killing me but we were both happy.

There’s nor really anything else to tell for now. I’ll post an update again after my procedure. Not that day, as I’ll probably be asleep. Hopefully I’ll have a writing update, or new piece of fiction posted before then!



Everything Update

Writing/Nanowrimo: I’m still behind on Nanowrimo. I’ve been in a lot of pain and my writing motivation was nil. My muse is in hiding and my I don’t know how to coax her out. I’m going to try though.

It is unlikely I will win Nanowrimo this year but I’m almost positive I don’t care. What I do care about is not giving up. If I say I’m not going to win and just stop then it’s a problem. If I say I’m so behind I can’t see the end in sight but still try then I win. So I’m going to put as much effort into it as I can.

I realized I’m an idiot last night. Forgetful is probably a better description but whatever. I spend a lot of time lying down. I hate it, every second. If I’m in bed I can’t write. Except I can. I have Dragon Naturally Speaking, which is a dictation program. After reformatting my laptop I never got around to reinstalling it. Which is dumb on my part. I can’t physically write when I’m forced to lay down but I can talk. Hell, I can always talk, unless I’m sleeping and sometimes even then!

I feel silly for not thinking of this earlier. It’s not as easy to ‘write’ this way for me but it’s possible. I’m sure once I get in the habit again things will go well.

I’m not at home at them moment but when I get there I’m going to install the software and start using it. I will have to close my door because I can’t do it in front of anyone else, not even my kids. I’m the type who wouldn’t even order a pizza in front of my husband. (Ordering online is the best thing ever!).

Hopefully it will work out the way I think it will. If it doesn’t, that’s okay. At least I’ll get more story out of my head during a time I haven’t been able to. Even the lessening of the irritation I feel when having to get into bed should help. Maybe my muse will come out and play again.

As for my new Nano project, I’m happy with it so far. Since picking it up I’ve already made major changes but none of them changed the flow of the story in a bad way. It’s still going to end the same way but getting there is much stronger now. I’ll have to replot a bit but I did a sticky note outline so it won’t be hard.

The main change is with a young boy introduced in the beginning of the story. He’s an important character but not the main one. Originally my main character (MC) rescues him and takes him to a nearby garrison. He was going to show back up later and his identity was going to surprise my MC. Now she’s going to keep the boy with her. She still won’t know who he is until late in the story. He’s going to be a handful and this kid is full of it but with good reason.

Protecting him adds a sense of urgency, on top of her hiding from the bad guys. Dealing with him adds some small conflict and the byplay between the boy and a man who joins them later will add more depth.

None of this changes the last act except when the boy does his part, it will mean more to the reader. I’m still developing this character but I decided to do it as I go because I’ve already stalled out too much this month.

I’ll update more about this story as it goes along.

Medical: My pain management doctor is awesome. His PA is not. A while back I went to an appointment and saw the PA. She told me I should get an injection to help with my back pain. If it didn’t give me enough relief then she thought we should burn off the nerve. This would require a nerve block, which is basically a test to make sure they get the right nerves. Then the actually burning if the test worked out.

After first losing my paperwork and lots of confusion and many calls I finally got an appointment for the first injection. Except it didn’t happen. Oh, I did get an injection, but it was the nerve block. The PA basically forgot a step. I’m irritated with her but to be honest it works out for the best. I thought doing the first injection was a waste of time because it was clear I’d eventually have to do the burn procedure.

Because of her mistake I’ll probably be able to get the burning procedures done before the end of the year. They do one side, wait two weeks and do the other. This is good because if it’s done before December 31st, I won’t have a pay a dime. I’ve had so many medical things happen this year that I met my maximum payout. Money things aside, I want the relief now so I’m not complaining about the PA’s dumb move.

However, this could have easily worked against me. So I’ll have to be careful with her and make sure I write everything down and keep on top of everything I’m told and make sure stuff not only gets done, but gets done in the order it should.

Unfortunately the nerve block procedure only lasts a day so I’m still in tons of pain but at least I have hope. The next procedure will actually cause me extra pain for a while, probably a few weeks but I’ve done it before and it’s worth it.

I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

Reading: I am rereading David Eddings. I started with The Belgariad, then read The Mallorian. I moved on to The Elenium and now I’m on the second book of the Tamuli. The first two I mentioned consist of five books each and follow the same characters throughout. The other two are both trilogies set in a different world. I reread this books at least once a year. I shouldn’t be reading so much during Nanowrimo but it’s what I do when I can’t write. I didn’t want to start any new books because I would get too distracted from my own work.

I’ll finish the last trilogy before November is gone so I might pick up one of the companion books to The Belgariad. One of them is very long so hopefully it will get me through the month. There is a new book tempting me but I’ll resist for as long as I can.

Gym: I haven’t gone every day but I do go most days. I’m still trying to find what works for me. There are certain exercises I can’t do and others that I have to be careful with the amount of weight I use. I’m not progressing, as in not increasing the intensity, but I’m staying steady. Maybe after my procedure I’ll be able to work harder.

That’s all for now. I’ll post a Nanowrimo update soon.


It’s Definitely a Tuesday

Tuesdays generally suck for me. Im sitting in the surgeon’s waiting room. I’ve been here for an hour. There are seven of us waiting. My doctor isn’t a jerk, he’s performing a surgery.

Obviously I don’t want him to rush but I wish he was finished.

For a spine surgeon he has the most uncomfortable chairs. Also, this has messed up my tight schedule. I will have to put off the gym until after the stupid court thing I have to go to. It might not sound like a big deal but working out is really the only thing, besides pills, that helps with the back pain.

I was hoping this would be my last follow up but I’m in too much hurt to think I’m done with doctors.

I will find out if I still need this particular doctor though. I like him but I hope I never see him again!

I’ll post an update after I see him.

Pardon any formatting issues as I wrote this on my phone.

Good News From The Doctor!

I saw two doctors today actually. The first was the neurosurgeon. He said my x-rays looked fantastic and I should only have one more follow-up in 6 weeks. No physical therapy at this point but he did suggest I start going to a gym and use an elliptical and a recumbent bike, no treadmill.

We talked about the neuropathy in my toes. He wasn’t very concerned it would last but sent me to my pain doctor to handle the medication.

The pain guy is upstairs from the neurosurgeon so I walked up to make an appointment. Oh yes, I walked up some stairs, easily! As luck would have it they said they could fit me in within 15 minutes. It ended up being closer to thirty but I didn’t mind.

This doctor also wasn’t overly concerned about the neuropathy. He felt that it would probably last somewhere between 6-12 more weeks then work itself out. If I notice a difference I can wean myself off the pills and see if the pain comes back. I was happy to hear it. I was so worried this would be a permanent thing. Of course, it could be, but it’s unlikely so I’m hopeful.

Also, both doctors noticed I’d lost weight. One said repeatedly I looked good and the other was visibly shocked when he walked in the room and blurted “You look thinner!” It’s never bad for the ego when things like this happen.

So back to the part about going to the gym. My plan is to drag my husband to Planet Fitness on Friday and sign up. There is a physical trainer who can help me set up a workout program that works without devastating my back. I’m not looking forward to the sweat but I’m excited about starting down the road to being more fit. Ugh, did I mention I have to use the elliptical? Those first few workouts will not be fun. However, I am thoroughly a creature of habit. If I go on the same days every week and more important, the same times, I’ll get to where I do it without thinking about it.

Also I finally paid for Pandora One. Music has a powerful effect on me. If I can get a good workout station figured out, it will help greatly in getting me to work out regularly. Oh and I was thinking about getting some audible books. We’ll see how that goes. There is one more important thing I know will make it easier for me to develop this longed for habit. Planet Fitness is directly across the street from my daughter’s school. I will have no excuses. Maybe I’ll workout then go write before going home each time.

I’ll post an update on how it goes on Friday. I plan to pay and then get to work. Hope my husband is ready for it since I didn’t mention that part when I told him I wanted to sign up soon.

It occurs to me this will be hard because of the recent surgery but it will be easier than the last time I tried to work out because back then, no we won’t talk about how long ago, I was majorly addicted to Dr. Pepper. I drank that stuff all day, every day. Now I only drink water, tea, fruit juice and an occasional Coke, which sadly (I’ll be thankful later) is beginning to taste gross. I also eat better. So I really have to content with being careful and building up endurance instead of my own bad choices.

Wish me luck. I know luck isn’t going to make me do this but I’ll take all advantages I can get!

Update 4/11/2016

I’m going to write this week. I don’t know when or what but I’m going to make it happen. My concentration is slowly working its way to normalish and I plan to take advantage of it. It all has to do with pain meds.

I got off the super pain pills (Dilaudid) over a week ago and now it’s time to get off of the other, Tramadol. It’s not a narcotic but it works like one. When I first started taking it, two months before my surgery it put me into a mental fog I can barely describe. I slept all the time for the first week and could barely eat. I started losing weight, which I know I shouldn’t complain about, but it made me feel even worse physically.

Obviously if you take something like that your body is forced to get used to it so it wasn’t terrible and it definitely worked better than Naproxen for my pain. After the surgery however, I suppose it knocked the edge off but it didn’t really help as much as it had previously. This was actually a bit of a blessing because I knew exactly when I was ready to stop taking it, now.

The doctor told me to stop slowly so I decided to do it in three-day increments. So I stopped taking the Tramadol in the morning on Saturday. Tomorrow I’ll cut out the one after lunch and so on. When I need it I can take Advil or Tylenol (no Tylenol until I’m completely off the Tramadol though). Actually I normally only take an Advil at either 3:00 or 7:45 if I think I need it and I don’t think I’ve needed it twice in the same day since replacing Dilaudid with it.

I’m very happy with my progress. It’s felt so slow, as if I would never recover while in the process but now that I’m almost out of the woods I see it wasn’t too long after all. I’m driving again so cabin fever isn’t a problem anymore and I’m mostly able to walk around normally so I’m getting more active.

Which brings me to the bad news. On Thursday last week two of my toes started hurting. It began with minor discomfort in the morning but by the evening it was burning, stinging, tingling and throbbing. Plus I was almost positive it was in another toe and it seemed to be moving further in. Since the pain radiated it was hard to tell. It started at the tips and by Saturday I could feel it in my foot right behind my toes.

I tried everything to fix whatever was wrong. I thought I must have injured my toes at first but when it started with the burning/stinging I assumed I must have athletes foot. It was weird since I almost never wear shoes or socks unless I have to but I got some of that spray junk and put it all over. The coldness relieved some pain for a few minutes but it didn’t really change anything. I pulled out all the essential oils my mom had given me and tried stuff I looked up online. I made sure I didn’t have an ingrown toenail. Nothing worked.

Friday night I didn’t sleep because it hurt so much and I couldn’t ignore it. So Saturday morning I was the first in line at a little clinic in the grocery store near my house. The doctor said the worst possible thing I could imagine. Neuropathy. It was probably caused by my surgery. I didn’t want to believe her at first because it’s been six weeks since my surgery and it seemed weird to me that it didn’t happen before then. But I knew she was right. I went home and looked it up online. Every page I went to listed the same symptoms, my exact symptoms. Damn, damn, damn! Did I mention it’s probably permanent?

The doctor called me later and made me come back to make sure I didn’t have a blood clot and prescribed nerve pain medicine and an antibiotic just in case I had some kind of infection. She didn’t think I actually had one but better safe than sorry. The nerve stuff only barely works and after she called me yesterday to ask how it was going, the doctor said she will probably up the dose on Thursday.

As for the antibiotic… Well I don’t want to curse again. Basically it’s like when I got on Tramadol all those months ago. I can barely eat and I feel yucky. At least I only have to take that one for a week.

All of this brings me back to what I said in the beginning: I’m going to write this week. Even though I feel gross and have weird and extremely distracting pain in my foot I’m going to write. Even if I only write a list of things I want to write, it WILL happen. I have some writing exercises I want to try and I have this workshop from Holly Lisle titled, 21 Ways to Get Yourself Writing When Your Life Has Just Exploded. It should help me reach my goal.

Everyday I’m going to read about writing and do whatever exercises my muse and my body allow. Now I see it as a challenge, nothing will stop me.

In fact, I’ve had a few story ideas. I’m not sure how good they are but I’ll find out. I’ll write whatever comes to me but my goal is to write flash fiction, preferably 500 words. Two to three stories would be nice but I’ll be satisfied if I can get one completed story and however many starts on others I can manage.

My other goals include organizing my desk and being active. I have an L shaped desk with a four-foot table on one side making it a U. Until a couple of days ago the table was across the room because I couldn’t get in and out of my chair with it there. I had to be too careful. Now I’ve moved it back in its home I have to rearrange everything, thankfully! I’ve missed it.

I also want to get out of the house by myself at least once this week to do some writing. Then this weekend there is an Art’s Festival in my city I plan to go to. Last year during this event I was forced to realize/admit it was time to go to the doctor for my back. We’d only been there for 20 minutes when I started hurting so much I regretting going at all. This year, I may be walking slow but it won’t hurt my back. I can hardly wait.

The only other update I have at the moment is I’ve been able to read with little to no problems. I haven’t done it every day but I’m getting back in the habit. Reading is one of the things I missed the most, as much as writing really.

Oh! As my family will be thrilled to hear, I’m going to try cooking dinner at least once this week. Since I can stand still for a while without pain I should be able to do it. Before my surgery it hurt more to stand in one position than it did to walk. I never thought I’d be excited to cook!

If I have something to update I’ll do so on Thursday or Friday. If not, I’ll post my regular Monday update. I hope you’re all writing/posting more than me!

Did I mention I plan to do the Story A Day in May challenge? Hope I’m ready by then!

Update 3/28/2016

I’m listening to a plumber remove my old, worn out water heater. It’s the sweetest sound I’ve heard all week. Saturday night, the night before Easter, I went out to the garage to throw some cans in the recycling bin. I stepped on a wet spot on the doormat and entered into a nightmare realm.

There was water pooled around the door to the water heater/furnace closet. I opened that door and saw there was also water on the floor under the water heater. After calling my husband out there to look I went straight to Google and learned about too much sediment and that a replacement was necessary. On a holiday weekend.

It got worse. The valve to turn off the water line to the tank was so corroded it wouldn’t turn. Since it was getting late we just turned off all the water until we could get the valve moving. After some vinegar and lots of effort from my husband, it turned so we could have water in the house again but no showers. Of course everyone needed one.

You can imagine how miserable we all were Sunday. I have a sensitive nose so I avoided everyone but my husband, who luckily didn’t smell terrible. It also didn’t help that the sink was full of dirty dishes, so I stayed out of the kitchen too.

I can’t wait to take a shower. But I have to. I still can’t do that by myself so I have to wait until my husband gets home so he can help me.

I can however make my son get in the shower as soon as the new water heater is installed!

As for my recovery, I’m doing a little better. I’ve stopped taking one of my pain meds. I’m not quite ready to stop the other but I’m close. I’m almost to the point where even if I stop taking the big drug I will still have to take Aleve or Tylenol or something. I’m just happy to be off Dilaudid. I haven’t taken it for two days and my head is already clearer.

I still can’t bend, twist, or lift anything but I can get in and out of bed easier and I’m not napping as much as I was. I do still get worn out pretty quickly but I’m working on it.

Finally I had to admit I needed to do something about my clothing situation. I’ve both gained and lost a lot of weight since this back pain ordeal started. None of the clothes in my closet fit. Literally nothing. However, I’m a woman and I did what all women do. Once I gained weight I put away all the clothes I couldn’t wear, in case I ever lost the weight. On Thursday I had my husband bring in the two large boxes full from the garage and I started trying on shirts.

Now, I’ve always admitted to a weakness for cute shirts but I had no idea how out of hand I had been previously with buying them until I wore myself out trying on the multitude I’d acquired. I filled up a rather wide and tall hamper with only shirts I’d saved, most of which looked like they’d only been washed once or twice. I was appalled at myself while also being happy they all fit.

The jeans and pajama bottoms will have to wait a while. I didn’t have the energy to try any on after the shirts and I kept putting it off all weekend. Maybe I’ll try them today. It’s ironic because it was all my pants being too big that got me to realize I needed to fix the situation. My next step is to put away the shirts too big for me. I hope I never need them again!

I don’t have a writing update but I have something close. I actually read a little bit of a book last night! It was only eleven pages but I was thrilled. I was able to understand and retain what I was reading. So a big step in the right direction. I’m going to try to read a little more each day. I’m hoping this will lead to me being able to write again. I’ve had ideas but besides jotting them down and writing blog posts I haven’t done any actual writing. With my concentration back on track I believe I’ll get back to it soon.

Hopefully I’ll post a writing update next week. Fingers crossed, although I don’t need luck, just patience and effort!

Update 3/21/2016

I’m starting to feel a bit better but it’s still been rough. I’m not taking pain meds as often as I was so I’m less foggy but I’m still taking some so I’m not really able to concentrate as much as I’d like.

For the life of me, I can’t understand how people get addicted to pain pills. I hate this feeling. I would rather be in complete control of myself and BE myself than this weird floaty, barely me B.S. If I could throw away this medication today and be able to function I would.

Eating is still a problem but I’ve managed to find a few foods I can use as a go-to when I can’t eat anything else. Pecans, Gardhettos, tortillas and Pringle’s sticks. I can also eat half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and at least one piece of toast with a tiny bit of butter on it. I can eat real food, just not every time I try. For the first time a couple of days ago, ranch dressing sounded disgusting to me so I didn’t eat my typical grilled chicken salad. Instead I had a sandwich. I’m such a creature of habit that I thought my head would explode from the change, haha.

As I cut back on the medications, I’ll be able to eat more normally. As it is, I’ve lost a lot of weight. Normally I’d be happy but not when it’s in such an unhealthy way.

When it comes to pain, everything seems to be changing. I’m less sore when I am sitting up, either in a desk chair or recliner. However, when I lay down, I find it hurts more than previously when I try to get comfortable. Because of this I think my body decided it would be better if I fall asleep every time I am on the bed. I’m not a daytime nap person so it irritates me to no end when I fall asleep unexpectedly. I can’t sit in a chair all day so it’s inevitable  I nap every day, at least once.

This morning I fell asleep for about an hour but normally it’s only a 15-20 minute power nap that is forced on me. I shouldn’t complain since it’s clearly what my body needs but I will anyway.

As for writing, nope. I have been thinking about the story idea I had last week but I haven’t written anything down yet. I still can’t read books (yet another reason I want off of pain pills), and even short stories are beyond me for now. Maybe I’ll try to search out some really short flash fiction today and see how I do. I miss fiction!

I’ve only gotten out of the house a few times so I haven’t taken any photos either. Being housebound sucks. A lot. I was so desperate to get out of here last week that I went to Sam’s with my husband and drove one of those scooter/cart things. I didn’t crash into anything or run anyone over! Then yesterday we needed to go there again and I was able to walk. I was so happy. I was also worn out but it was worth it.

So all in all, I’m getting better but I’m still not really me yet. I have to take two different pain medications, alternating. I’ve managed to cut out one of the morning pills, which is why I can function long enough to write updates. My goal for this week is to cut out another dosage. This is the really strong, mess me up, I hate it medication so I want it gone! Perhaps my next update will be better and less all over the place if I can get off that med.

My other goal is to get outside and walk around a bit. Even just to the end of the block. I live in the middle of it so it’s not too far and will help with the cabin fever.

One last goal/dream. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to write something this week. If I do, even if it’s bad, I’ll post it. Fingers crossed!


Overdue Update 3/14/2016

I’m doing okay since my surgery. Recovery has been slow but steady. I knew going in I would be extremely sore the first couple of weeks but wow, this hurts! I suppose it makes sense because I have a large incision, screws and a rod were put into my spine and there was bone ground away. Still, it’s not pleasant.

On a good note, this pain is completely different from what I’ve been going through for the past year. It’s clearly all surgery related so I feel like it worked. I just have to get past the recovery. The doctor told me after the first couple of weeks I would start seeing improvement at a faster rate. So hopefully I’ll have a happier update next week!

No writing has been accomplished during this time. I haven’t even been able to read much. My mother told me the reading thing happened to her after surgery and it took her quite a while to get back to normal.

I’ve had a few writing ideas so maybe I’ll be able to get something on paper soon. I’m not going to push myself though. I can’t sit at the computer for very long but it’s getting better.

So what have I been doing with my time? Nothing useful. I play a lot of solitaire when on the computer and some puzzle games on the tablet when I have to lay down. I’ve caught up on all the shows I watch by myself. When my husband is home we watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. We are on a mission to watch all the Star Trek shows, except Enterprise. We’re on season 6 of DS9 and normally watch two episodes a day. We watched more like 4-5 my first few days home from the hospital though. We’ll start on Voyager soonish. I’m not so sure he’ll enjoy it but I mostly liked it, even with the silliness.

The only other thing I’ve done since I got home was watch a whole lot of news when my mom stayed with me during the days for half a week. I’m not really into politics. I keep up but I don’t watch a lot of stuff about it. I mostly get my news online. However, my mom loves news programs and I don’t normally watch TV in the afternoons. So I handed her the remote and a channel guide and told her she was in charge. I didn’t mind watching and learned a lot. I still won’t watch those shows on my own but it was a nice change of pace.

As for goals, I have a list I hope to check off as soon as possible:

  • Read. I can read tidbits online but I want to read stories again.
  • Write. This is always a goal but I hope I can get back to a daily regime, or even close to daily.
  • Photography. I miss it!
  • Cook dinner. I haven’t been able to cook dinner by myself in months. This is also probably one of my kids’ goals for me.
  • Play World of Warcraft and Diablo 3 again. The way I have to sit in my chair to play these games is impossible for me right now.
  • Put on socks easily. I can do it, but it’s difficult.
  • Eat properly. I eat, but for some reason I get nauseated with every meal.
  • Drink water without feeling sick. As with eating, drinking water makes me nauseated. I’ve been eating a lot of ice to keep hydrated.
  • Go to Sam’s without having to use one of those scooter cart things. I used one for the first time ever on Sunday because I was determined to get out of the house and help with the shopping. I’ll admit it was a little fun but I don’t like having to use it. We were finished quickly because the cart moved faster than I was able to walk the last few months.
  • Pick up things. I’ve developed this tendency to drop stuff now that I can’t pick it up! My mom gave me a long-handled grabber but it doesn’t work on everything.
  • Get off of pain pills! I hate taking them and can’t wait to stop.
  • Pet my dogs. Unless I sit on the edge of the bed and convince them to get up on their hind legs and lean on me, which they hate, I can’t pet them at all.
  • Drive. My doctor told me to use common sense when deciding to drive again. I know it will be at least a couple of more weeks.
  • Get my own ice. Since I can’t bend and we have a bottom freezer I can’t do this. We have an ice maker in the top but it mysteriously stopped working.
  • Work out. Since about a month, maybe two, before surgery I’ve lost a lot of weight. I can’t eat as much as I should because of the pain pills making me sick. It sucks to lose weight in an unhealthy manner but I hope to take advantage of it when I can finally get into a gym.

There are many more things I want to do but the list is long enough for now! I’m feeling a little better every day so I’ll be able to post more often soon. Also, I realized it is not a story, but I was able to write this post without having to struggle too much. I’m calling it progress!