Tag Archives: fibromyalgia

The trials of having this lesser-known disease, my attempts to speak out about it, research, how it effects my writing.

#ROW80 Check-in 10/22/17

I have been not feeling the best for the past few days. I actually got carsick on Friday (I have a stomach condition that acts up sometimes when in a car if I’ve eaten right before) and today I am in a fibro flare. My first in literally years.

My mom’s having knee replacement surgery on Wednesday, and there’s a lot of prep and planning involved. She’s got an elderly dog who’s very attached to her, and he needs round-the-clock care. I am taking care of him, so there’s all these things I need to learn and remember. I suspect I am a bit stressed out.

That said, I have gotten some things done:

~Finish rewrite of Fireborn, revise it, edit it, and submit it for Dec. 1st deadline. ~Revision is coming along. I’m in the rewriting phase of things. I hope to be done by the end of the month, then I can start the final proofread/edit.
~Transfer Survivor outline to notecards, for reals this time ~Nope. I was hoping to get this done this weekend, but it’s not looking good.
~Participate in NanoWriMo with an amended goal of 30k (Survivor) ~Still planning for this.
~Begin edit of Secret Project ~Have not started.
~Decide on next project and start working on that (Covenant and When She Sleeps are the top contenders) ~Currently, it’s When She Sleeps, and I recently wrote 300 words of a new scene. I also figured out how to end the current scene which has been giving me fits.
~Finish In Flames cover or hire someone to do it  ~A writer friend generously offered to make me a cover. Cover reveal soon!

Non-writing stuffs:

~Water 5x a week 
~Read 1 book a week ~Finished reading Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, a horror anthology. It was okay. Not spectacular, but not a total waste of time. Also read Fool Proof Dictation by Christopher Downing.  Started on Road to Helltown by SM Reine (ARC). 
~Chocolate consumption reports, of course! ~Several slices of chocolate ice cream cake (but not all at once!) It was DIVINE.

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#ROW80 Check-in 2/12/17

Here I am with another #ROW80 Check-in.

Things have been going pretty well for me. I’m sleeping still, and while I’ve had a fibro flare this week, I’m feeling okay. It was questionable for awhile, because the flare up happened in my neck (new location) and it needed motrin for a few days. Today it’s okay. Hopefully it will stay okay!

Here’s the run down:

Ever Touched – Very close to be being done! I rewrote the climax three times! I couldn’t get it right! I think it’s okay now, but regardless, I am done rewriting! If my editor feels it needs more work, then I’ll do it. But I need to move on! I have one scene to write that I forgot (oops!) and a few small tweaks to do. And of course the final proofread. Still on track to make my March 1st deadline. We are getting SO close! I can’t even believe it!

Oubliette – Just finished writing 1,122 words. I promised myself something different, and Oubliette’s been calling to me, so there it is. 🙂

Water – Made all 5 days this week!

Exercise – Nada. I really, seriously need to start something.

FYFB class – Still on hold till after I turn Ever Touched in.

Weight – Still at 1 pound lost.

Guild Wars – I played it a lot this weekend. I finished two quests that have been so tough to finish, so I feel good about that. 🙂

Chocolate consumption: chocolate pudding, chocolate/caramel covered pretzel, gluten-free mini brownies, mug cake…I think that’s it. I think I’m falling down on the job here. Must eat moar chocolate.

#ROW80 Round 4 2016 Goals

Happy Round 4 ROWers! Dang, what happened to the year? It’s almost over!

Here are my goals. I am trying to keep things simple and relaxed, as I have a revision due to my editor on 12/1 and I suspect I might end up wanting to take a break. But I would like to do something, so I may choose a project and go slow with it for the rest of the round.

I am still feeling exhausted, and I seem to be in another fibro flare, so I need to concentrate on taking care of myself. Meditation, trying not to stress, and earlier bed times will hopefully help. 🙂

Here are my goals:

~Finish the Ever Touched revision.  I can do this. 🙂
~Stay on top of FYFB class. Taking a class through Monica Leonelle. It happens to be going on at the same time as my revision, but might as well go all in. It’s three months. Should be fun. 🙂
~Make a ruling on my next project and start prepping (contenders are Fireborn, which needs a revision, Survivor, which needs a rewrite, and Death Dancer, which needs some tweaking — and may be my next Turtleduck Press release.)
~Drink 1 glass of water 5x a week
~Exercise 2x a week
~Do All the Things related to anthology release (TBD — release is Nov 15th)
~Keep up on reviews (I’m on 4 ARC teams)
~Lose 5 pounds.
~Take more pictures: infrared and normal.
~Post-process infrared pics from camping trip
~Chocolate consumption report, as always!

Annnd that’s it. Good luck everyone!

 

#ROW80 Check-in Sept. 18th

So close to end of the round! Holy crap!

I’ve still been fighting exhaustion. I’ve been getting enough sleep, I think, but the fibro makes it hard. Really hard. And I’ve been stressed out about finishing Ever Touched. I haven’t been able to get the amount of work done on it that I’d hoped, and it’s too late to catch up.So I’ll have to start the revision early, and hope I can make it up later. Not the ideal situation. 😦

I was also in a minor fibro flare earlier this week, so I was forced to rest and get to bed early. I’m feeling a bit better now.

Sooooo, here’s the rundown:

Ever Touched – up to 106k now. Wrote 5k since the last check-in. Gonna hit it hard this week.

Short story – Got comments back from one approver. She made some valid points and catches, and I will need to give this some thought. It’s due back Oct. 1st, so I have a bit of time (still need the second approver’s comments, however). Also need to make comments on the 1st approver’s story. That’s tomorrow’s task. (We revised our publication date to Nov. 15th, so our deadlines got shifted again).

Covenant – Nada. But seriously, I need to work on this.

Exercise – I believe I housewalked twice this week.

Reviews – Started new deadlined ARC. Still working through the others.

Water – Mostly every day.

Secret project – Nada.

Chocolate consumption: Chocolate birthday cake, gluten-free brownies, WW chocolate caramels, WW sundaes, chocolate marshmallow cookies.

 

 

#AprilLove Day 14: Dear Courage

Just chugging along. I’m still really behind, but I’m managing. 🙂

Dear Courage,

I did not know your depth until I was forced to find you. Until I was forced to reach for you, and use you to vanquish my fears, or get through something very scary. And there’s the little things, too — a tough situation at work, going to the doctor to investigate this or that, having to have 3 MRIs in a row when I am severely claustrophobic. Facing illness in others. When a co-worker died and I was grieving. Every time I put words on the page (or computer screen). These are all acts of courage, and without you, I couldn’t have done them.

Every book I’ve ever written has been an act of courage. Every poem. When I decided to self-publish Fey Touched in 2012, that was you helping me to reach for my dream of being published. It didn’t matter that I had no idea what I was doing or how the world would react to my book…I’d decided to put it out there, whether I got glowing reviews or bad ones, because I needed to. For myself. You stood by me every step of the way.

Rewriting Grave Touched was also an act of courage. You were there when I rewrote it and revised it, telling me to keep on it, that it will be good. And that was important because at the time, I couldn’t imagine this book being good. It just wasn’t in me, after the TN and low esteem and insecurity got a hold of me. But you were right. Grave Touched is great book, and I’m damn proud of it.

I remember a line from Rod Stewart’s song “Forever Young”: Be courageous and be brave/in my heart you’ll always stay/forever young. And when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and intractable vertigo in 2003, never have I needed you more. I was scared. I was faced with people not believing me. I was faced with daily pain and fatigue, and a zillion other things going wrong health-wise. I was faced with weekly doctor visits, and medications, and people’s ideas being pushed on me because they thought they knew better. I learned how to stand up for myself and advocate for my own health. My life had changed irrevocably that year, and not everything survived the change. But, most of all, I learned that I could find you when I most needed you — in those dark moments when I believed it a death sentence, those times when I had to make tough decisions about what to do or not, based on my pain level. When I was teaching, and I was so tired, but wanted to do it so badly I put myself through it anyway (and a full-time day job). It did a bit of damage, but it was what I needed to do for myself and my students.

When I had to have three surgeries on my jaw due to infections and rejection from a previous surgery, when I thought I would die, when my fear of needles was so overwhelming that I didn’t think I could go through with it — you were there, whispering in my ear, saying that everything will be okay and it will only hurt for a bit. I remember my last surgery, in August of 2011, the song “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin was playing on the radio, and somehow I drew strength from that (because music and my mind have been intertwined since I was a kid).

(Obviously, the song had nothing to do with the surgery, but a connection was made that somehow let me find you quicker and easier.)

And, the doozie was when I was in so much pain daily from the trigeminal neuralgia that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go on, and you told me to never give up, and to keep on, as much as I can, because things WILL get better. (An they did, thanks to you!). But man, I was so scared and freaked out and couldn’t imagine living that way. And when I had my little meltdown after watching “The Fault in Our Stars” and my mom and husband were looking at me funny because I’d been crying for an hour, you were there with comforting words and the strength I needed.You gave me the strength to say, “I have never mourned the loss of my normal life due to this. I have never LET myself feel it so intensely. I was too busy trying to be brave.” But, as the movie has shown me, pain demands to be felt. And right then, I needed it, despite what others may or think.

My general philosophy in life actually comes right from you. I don’t believe in conformity, or being someone I’m not, or not standing up for myself. That, too, is very courageous. It takes courage to be your true self and live without apology or a care. I NEVER worry about other people and how they may react or think. I worry about what’s right for me, and what I’m doing or not doing. Because this life is mine, and I have one chance to live it. Living for someone else or censoring myself or pretending to be someone else is just pointless. Unfortunately, a lot of people do that and I just shake my head.

I’m cool as I am. I have hopes, and dreams, and things I want to accomplish. You’re there for me every step of the way, supporting me, encouraging me, and not letting me fall. You are truly my partner in this, and I look forward to many more courageous things in the future.

There’s a witty title here, I swear!

It’s been awhile since I posted, and I thought I’d post an update.

Four months ago, I started having excruciating pain in my left eye.  I thought, oh, I must have hurt it somehow (which I have done before), so I went to my eye doc who proclaimed my eye totally healthy but sent me to a specialist just in case.  The specialist proclaimed it fine, but wanted to run some tests.  All came back normal.

At this point, I’d stopped writing because of the pain.  I had the Grave Touched revision due on April 1st, and on March 3rd, two days into my preliminary read-through, I determined that I wasn’t going to be able to finish in time.  Without pain, revision is tough.  With pain?  Impossible.  So I had to tell my TDP people that I wasn’t able to make my deadline and I would be giving up my August 1st release slot.

So, Grave Touched has been tentatively slotted in for 2014.  That damn near broke my heart, but there comes a time when I have to think of the greater good — and my future as a writer.  Plus, I wouldn’t have been able to turn in my best work.  I knew that.  So I opted to let it go.  It created a hole in the publishing schedule which we are trying to fill, and although they have been super supportive, I still feel like I screwed everything up.  But! Health first.  I tend to forget these things.

So I started wondering if I had one of those ongoing migraines, as I suffer from migraines and have had week-long migraines before.  I decided to see my neurologist about it.  He ordered an MRI of my brain but ruled out a migraine.  When the MRI came back with something on it, he ordered a second one to check it out.  Turns out it was a glitch in the Matrix and nothing to be concerned about.

I’m still in pain, and we’re working on getting a diagnosis.  Meanwhile, I’ve finally got some medication to help with the pain.  Nothing would work before.  But this stuff I’ve got is very helpful.

Not writing was tough, and it was making me nuts.  I blogged about that here and here.

In the second half of May, I decided that if I didn’t write, I’d go insane, so I decided to set a super-low goal and try to meet it, but no pressure.  That worked so well that I wish I would have thought of it sooner.  I’ve been working on Darklight, the book I set aside to write Fey Touched.  I also took a free class on flash fiction and have been working on a little flash anthology to offer for free.  Turns out, I really like it because it’s so short and easy — nothing huge like a novel, you know?  And it’s so much fun!  So stay tuned for that!

Now I’m looking at working on the Grave Touched revision.  I started reading over my notes and have been slowly re-introducing myself to the world and the book itself.  It’s not going to be easy, but I want this book finished and out there so I have to put in the work.  I believe I’m capable of that, just a bit slower than I used to be.  In some ways, it feels as if I’m starting over from scratch. 

It’s been rough, especially since I have a day job and no painkillers would touch this.  I have a very high-stress, complicated job.  Luckily, my bosses and co-workers have been very supportive.  The meds I have now make me loopy and dizzy so I’ll just have to suck it up during the day.  But hey, it’s not like I don’t know how that feels.  I’ve learned quite a bit about strength and perseverance.  I have an extremely high threshold for pain, and this is about at my limit of what I can handle.  I hope my neurologist comes up with an answer soon.  And maybe even a solution.

I am no stranger to this process.  Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after looking for an answer for a year.  I saw a ton of specialists and had test after test after test.  It wasn’t pleasant, but it lead to an answer, so it was worth it.  This, too, will be.  I just need to believe that it’s going to happen. (If you feel inclined, check out my chapbook, Life as a Moving Target, for the whole story).

So things are moving along, albeit slowly.  I’m happy to be writing again and producing and living my life the only way I can.  More to come.  This story is not over yet!

Also, just a friendly reminder: Turtleduck Press is seeking new members!  You must have a polished sci-fi/fantasy manuscript ready.  It’s fun, it’s unique, and you’d get to join a bunch of cool people who want to shake things up in the world of publishing. 

Stay tuned for updates.

Buy my chapbook!

You know you want to.  Come on, it’s only $7 and Christmas is coming…

:looks around:

Oops, did I just say that?  Sorry.  I think Alisia’s been hijacking my brain again.

What I was going to say was that my chapbook, Life as a Moving Target, is now for sale by Turtleduck Press.  Head on over to the Turtleduck Press site at http://www.turtleduckpress.com or to my website at http://www.erinkendall.com to get more information and/or to buy a copy.

You know you want to.

Even if you’re not into poetry — my chapbook is written so everyone can understand it.  That was important to me. 

:glares at Alisia, who’s grinning at her:

Um, sorry about that.  She’s doing it again.

Anyhoo, a friend of mine reviewed my chapbook on her website.  Here’s what she had to say:

Again and again, she uses metaphors for balance, for movement, for focus — tightropes and pirouettes, crawling, tops, the world pulling her along with it. Other images appear, rainbows and fog, medical terms and magic, shadows and shapes.

Overall, this is an incredibly moving and personal collection of poems, that deserves to be lingered with, reread, and shared. I encourage everyone to check out the excerpt at the Turtleduck Website and consider buying the chapbook.

If you’d like to read the full review, check it out here: http://www.erinmhartshorn.com/life-as-a-moving-target-review/ .  I’m so excited about it!

In other news, Alpha Female is giving me fits, so it hasn’t been going well.  But I did finish the Pirouette notecards.  The grand total? 118 !  That’s alot of notecards! But they will really help me nail down what needs to be changed.

Goal for the rest of the year: get as much done on either project.  After the first of the year, things will get crazy again, so for now I’m taking it easy.  No outrageous demands.  :grabs Inner Slave Driver by the throat:  You hear that?  I need a break.  And I will take it.

:whip cracks:

I mean, uh.  Yeah.  Going to write till my fingers bleed.  Uh huh.  Must work harder.  Must…….  :incoherent whispers:

Alpha Female is done.

I officially finished it Thursday, and it came in at 27k, just 2k over what I needed.  It is now with a trusted beta reader, who’ll give me the lowdown on what’s working and what’s not working, and I’ll have less than 2 weeks to do a revision plus a 5-page synopsis.

I must be crazy.

Actually, while I’m still actively trying to make that deadline, it’s not a huge thing.  I mainly wanted to see if I was capable of producing something on a deadline.  And I pretty much did, for the most part.  It’s going to depend on what my beta reader says, because I’ve lost all objectivity.  So, I gotta wait for that.

Pirouette is next up, particularly finishing the notecards and rewriting the first few scenes.  Beyond that, it’s just tearing through the manuscript much how I did with Alpha Female, except on a bigger scale.  I’m worried that I won’t nail it, and I simultaneously believe that I can.  Which will win out?  I has no clue.

The website is almost finished — at least the writing section, anyway.  That needs to be done before Life as a Moving Target launches on December 1st.  I have a few things planned for that so stay tuned.

Life as a Moving Target is almost ready to go on sale.  I have a second proof ordered and if it’s good, then it’ll go on sale with the other Turtleduck books on Dec. 1st.  It’s so exciting, seeing it in print, something I never thought would come true.  I’ve gotten some wonderful support and encouragement on it so far, and that’s so important as the subject is so personal to me.  All in all, I believe this is going to work out nicely.

It’s after midnight as I type this, but I still consider it Oct. 16th until I wake up in the morning.  It’s a weird quirk of mine.  So….today was not only Sweetest Day, but it was the 1-year anniversary of the day the family drama began, and my life, as I knew it, changed irrevocably.  The person who caused it still remains out of my life, although I still think about this person and what this person did almost daily.  It’s not enough to say that I’m hurt, or angry.  I’m livid.  Still a bit numb, even after all this time.  My world hasn’t quite gotten back on track and I’m still feeling pretty dark and empty inside.

I don’t even know what to say.  Except there are poems in this.  They’ve been whispering in my ears for months,waiting patiently for me to put them to paper.

In other news, I’m now in a cast because my foot doc feels that immobilization of the joint might do the trick.  I’ve never been in a cast before, so it’s been a real interesting — and frustrating — experience.  Exhausting, too.  I went downstairs to my office for the first time in 4 days and was terrified the entire trip up and down.  I did it twice today, and I feel more stable.  But dang, it’s tiring. Especially going up.

I hope this is it.

Also, I got hit with a doozy of a plotbunny.  I’m not even going to speak of it, because evey time I even think about it, it grows.  Halloween is perfect timing, but I’m standing firm on my no new projects decision for the rest of the year.  It’s going to have to wait, and so will my mini-Nano.  There’s always next year, right?

So that’s what’s happening here.  I’m so excited about everything.  I can hardly stand it. 🙂

Stuck and then unstuck.

I spent 2 days being stuck on Alpha Female.  I knew what would happen in the climax, but not how to get from where I was to that.  I needed more to happen before that.  And I’m still unsure of when the physical intimacy between Natasha and Luke is going to take place.

But…..I got 1,167 words and I’m almost to 18k, the point where I was when I restarted.  I estimate I’ll need another week to finish, putting me at mid-September and giving me two extra weeks to revise.  It has to go out to beta readers first, though.

How did I get unstuck?  That’s a damn good question.  I thought about it alot.  I played out different scenarios in my head.  I let my subconscious mull it over.  But I was in the shower when it came together.  The shower is the best place for getting ideas.  At least for me.

I was considering doing some freewriting if nothing tore loose.  Since I’m on a tight deadline, I couldn’t afford to lose another day.  Luckily, I wrote over 2k and then got stuck, and today I wrote over quota (800 words) so I’m about where I should be. 

This is the dark side of pantsing.  While it’s fantastic when it works, it can be really difficult when it doesn’t.  But I’ve learned over time to not force it.  To let it percolate and gel and come together inside my head.  Some of it I can see in my head or hear like overheard conversation.  I just had to wait it out.  And I was rewarded.

If I hadn’t, then I would have started poking at it.  But luckily, it never got to that point.  Crisis averted.

I’m still a bit foggy on a few things, but I know enough to move forward.

On the website front (yeah, I’m redesigning it yet again to coincide with the launch of Life as a Moving Target), I’m looking at some new options that will make life a bit easier for me.  I’m self-taught and my skills are basically obsolete.  So it’s been fun trying to get my head around newer ideas.  But it is coming along.

Also took some pictures the other day at a lake.  First time in I don’t know how long.  I’m proud of myself.  Naturally, it all came back, and I used my black&white mode, too (even though generally I shoot true b&w — that is, film) and I think I might have a few contenders for the cover for the chapbook.  I would like to use one of my own pictures if possible.

So things are coming along, if slowly.  I’ve been incredibly tired lately, which I suspect is the fibromyalgia, and that’s been a bit of a problem.  But I persevere.  Hopefully I’ll have more things to share soon.

Fragmented.

Alot has been going on.  First, hubby and I are finally moving.  It’s been exciting and tiring.  This week is our official “move week” but we actually started two weeks early.  So the work has been pretty light.  But alas, I’m still friggin tired.  I am on vacay this week from work with the exception of Wednesday so that’s been nice.

The other thing is my ankle.  I have a bone fragment in my ankle joint, and almost needed surgery.  Oddly enough, the pain isn’t where the fragment is, but where the ligaments and tendons are.  It has to do with my ultra-high arches.  Yay. So my foot doc gave me a shot and some new meds.  I see him in 3 weeks to assess.  For quite awhile I was hobbling around (with a cane no less!) but this week it’s been feeling much, much better.  Except when I’m not wearing my brace.  Then I feel it.  It’s still a bit swollen, and when the meds wear off I can tell, but it’s far better than struggling to walk.  Hopefully, it’ll heal and get back to normal again.  I hate not being able to walk properly.

Third, the Pirouette notetaking is almost done, which means I can start on the notecarding and re-reading the manuscript.  *rubs hands together* I can’t wait to dive in and make this book better.  I had an idea of some backstory hit me in the shower, and I have  few ideas for Alisia and Lucien’s scenes.  I also wrote another query letter draft just for shits and giggles.  It brought to light an element that I should ramp up and make even darker.  I love the way my mind works sometimes.

Broken is also coming along.  I was a bit stuck for a bit, but today some things came to me.  So that’s good.  Might try to write a bit soon.  I’m definitely feeling odd not writing much.  And I don’t like that feeling.

Lastly, I have some news.  There’s a possibility I might be self-publishing Life as a Moving Target, my poetry chapbook.  Nothing is final yet and I hate to jinx it, but it’s very exciting to me because I’ve wanted to get it published since I wrote it back in 2004.  Want to get the word out about fibromyalgia and vertigo.  And it’s such a niche market that I’m not surprised no one’s wanted to publish it.  Self-pubbing has been on my mind for quite some time, and I’ve been seriously considering it.  So stay tuned.