Tag Archives: health

Pain in the Ass. No… Head. Not Ass. Head.

It’s a bad night for the pain.

Tonight it feels like a toothache filling my skull. It comes in waves, crushing and slashing, bringing nausea along to join the party. Light hurts. My children’s voices cut through me, and every movement of the bed makes all of it worse. All I can do is sit here with the lamp on, writing this out on paper to be typed out tomorrow, and try not to yell at the kids, cry, or throw up.

It’s not always like this. This kind of headache only hits me about once a month… at least, this hard. But the fact is that I spend a lot of time almost every day dealing with two problems. Pain is one. Either a milder version of this, or ice picks slamming into my temples, or feeling like I’ve been hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat.

I can deal with pain, though.

It’s the fog that’s really hurting me.

The fog used to only come with true migraines, in the days before and after. It’s a feeling like my skull is stuffed with sawdust instead of brains–a physical sensation, and quite unpleasant. It brings a feeling like tunnel vision, though my vision is actually fine. And it makes me slow. My thoughts come slowly, as do my reactions. I can’t think of words, and sometimes can’t understand questions right away. And working? Writing stories, untangling plot problems, clarifying character motivations, and polishing my work until it shines?

Utterly impossible.

It wasn’t so bad when it happened once in a while. But now the fog is coming down every day. I can’t think. I can’t focus. I’m drifting in a slow, too-bright haze. I’m usually just lost enough that working is impossible, but the thoughts and ideas and potential are so close that it becomes incredibly frustrating.

Until now, I’ve been pushing myself through it. I’ve told people that everything is fine. I’ve made myself work in spite of the pain and the fog, working evenings and weekends to make up for the time I spend in bed when the kids are at school and I should be writing. I put off seeing a doctor because I didn’t have time. Because I had deadlines. Because I’d made promises (or at least dropped hints). I let my life get out of balance because of this one important thing.

A few days ago, I decided that I can’t keep going like this. I’m not doing my best work when I have no joy, when every word is a struggle. And let’s face it. Putting pressure on myself to craft a beautiful story when I can’t remember the word “spoon” is probably just compounding the issue.

This is not me giving up. I’m still working on this story every day, and I’m as excited about it as I’ve ever been. As of last week, I have all of the little moving pieces in place, and just need to put the time and the work (and the focus) in to finish it.

It’s complete in all but the final execution, and far better than I ever imagined.

All I really want to do is work on it (sleep and laundry and exercise and doctor’s appointments be damned). But it’s time for me to accept that I also need to make time to take care of myself. I have to stop beating myself up over deadlines and feeling like a failure over needing a few extra weeks to get this book ready for the world.

So I don’t have a release date for you yet. It will be after Christmas, which breaks my heart. I mean, no one with an ounce of business sense wants to miss Christmas. But you guys deserve my best. I’ve never given you less than that, and I can’t start now. I’m going to find out what’s wrong with me, and I’m going to get better. And this winter, I’m going to give you the book you deserve.

Thank you all so much for your support, for your encouragement and kind words. It all means more to me than I’ll ever be able to say.

I can’t wait to show you how this story ends.

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HAPPY BOO JEER!

Wait…

*drinks coffee*

Happy New Year!

No, I wasn’t out partying last night. I spent a quiet night in with my parents (who are visiting), my husband and my kids. Also assorted cats and dogs, and friends via Facebook.

And that’s my kind of party, really. I’ve never understood why anyone would want to start a new year off with a hangover*. Also, crowds make me uncomfortable, so parties aren’t really my thing.

No, I spent the first part of my evening making grand and impossible plans in my new desk calendar, only somewhat disappointed that I can’t use all of my new highlighters until I have a better idea of when things are going to happen.

Still, pencilling things in was GREAT fun.

It’s time for a few more plans. Not writing and publishing plans. We’ve covered those already. I’m talking about other things.

Things like:

 

Reading

These plans never work out as I want them to, but it’s worth a shot. My goal for this year is one novel and one non-fiction book a month. Not much for some, but I don’t get as much reading time as I’d like. And within that goal, I’m setting another. I want to read more books about people who aren’t like me. More people from other cultures. More people of different genders, sexual orientations, and experiences. More memoirs and autobiographies from people who have experienced things I never will. More from genres I’m less familiar with, even if I have to approach them like a kid coming at a plate of broccoli, nose pinched shut and eyes closed.

We only get to live one life, but through reading we can experience more of the world, gain empathy for those with different experiences, and hopefully learn to love other people more fully.

Also, I just think it will be more interesting this way.

 

Blogging

I’m going to get back to WIPpet Wednesdays as soon as I can, and continue to avoid spoilers as much as possible. It might not be every week, especially through January and February, as getting Torn edited and out in March is the top priority.

I’m going to get to every post on those weeks I participate and read, like, and possibly comment. If I don’t have time to read, I don’t have time to participate.

I’m going to spend more time reading blogs, both those I learn from and those of people who comment here. You’re all important to me, and I feel like I’ve been so busy this year that I’ve done a bad job of visiting. I’ll be better about that.

I’m also going to start re-blogging some of my older posts that as still amusing, relevant, or worth reading. I now have several years’ worth of posts, and I don’t expect anyone to go back and find the good ones.

Should be fun. We might do that on Mondays.

 

Productivity

This is kind of work-related, but sort of not. My big goal in this area is to learn to focus on what I’m doing at any given moment. If I’m working, I want to be immersed in that, not jumping back and forth between that, Facebook, Twitter, doing the dishes, checking e-mail, etc. When I’m with my family, I’m going to try to focus on them, not on my phone.

I want to be present in what I’m doing.

Some of you know how hard this is for me. My brain seems to be wired to crave distraction. I can’t just be where I am. I have to be planning something for work, or imagining another time and place, or working through a plot issue, or considering the pros and cons of a book promotion. I can barely focus on a real-life conversation because I itch to grab my phone and check social media, even though I know there’s nothing there that can’t wait.

I would rather scroll through Facebook posts I have no interest in than do something productive. I feel anxious if I’m cut off from any of my distractions.

It’s not a fun way to live. It is an addiction, and I’m having a hard time breaking it. I’d go cold-turkey off of social media, but my job doesn’t currently allow for that.

So I guess I fight it. I put the phone away when I’m at home, and hope my husband isn’t trying to text me when I can’t hear it. I turn the internet connection off when I’m working, even though I find word sprints with friends motivating. I’ll set timers for tasks, and try to focus.

Maybe I blog less, because that’s the work I’m able to do when the kids are home.

I will *gulp* try to focus on playing with the kids.

I’m not a bad mom, but I really hate playing trucks. :/

 

Health

Yeah. Okay. I did better in 2014 than in 2013 or any year before that. Even in the winter, I got the dog out for regular walks when I was able. My bad back (and newly developed hip pain–yes, I am eighty years old, thanks for asking) made that impossible for weeks on end, but I always got back to it.

I can do better. This year I’m going to start waking up earlier to do yoga or pilates in the morning (the only things I can think of that don’t get me all sweaty. I hate sweating). I wake early anyway and generally spend 30 minutes in bed before I get up. That’s another bad habit I need to break.

Also… Ugh, I hate to think about it, but I’m going to go to the doctor. It’s been *mumble mumble* years since I saw anyone about my headaches. Back then, there wasn’t much they could do for me. My brain scan showed nothing (ba-dump-PSSSHT!), and migraine medications knock me out far more than is acceptable for someone who’s responsible for small children.

So it’s Advil, tea, naps, and not much fun.

But maybe there’s something they can do now. New drugs, or better yet, some suggestion on things in my life I can change as a preventive measure.

As long as it’s not cutting out caffeine, we’re cool. I’m scared that someone will suggest cutting something else out of my diet, but I’ll try almost anything.

I should also ask about why it frequently feels like there’s ground-up glass in my right hip, because that’s an almost-literal pain in the ass.

 

Moving

Yeah, I have to put this one in this year. My husband has a good job, but it does mean we have to move every 3-5 years. This spring will mark three years here, and it’s half-past time to scoot. We’re still waiting to hear where they’re sending us (NOT a fun wait), but it’s going to happen.

When the time comes, I’m going to be more organized about packing. I’m not going to freak out if we have to buy our first house**. Above all… I’m going to try to make friends.

After almost three years here, I have two local friends (for reasons not worth going into here). In our next community I’m going to reach out more to neighbours, get involved at the school… anything else will depend on where we are, but I’m going to make an effort.

It’s a start.

 

So tell me: What are your grand plans for this year? Any suggestions on learning to focus (without drugs that inhibit creativity, please!)? What’s on your reading list for the year?

 

 

 

*But hey, whatever floats your boat. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, have fun with that!

**Yes, I am. I totally am. Hold me.


C is for Coconut (or: Many Coconut Oil. Such Uses. Very 101. Wow.)

Yes, I just used Doge for my title. Stop judging me.

So, coconut oil. It’s just everywhere these days, isn’t it? I know I can’t scroll through my Facebook feed or scan Pinterest* without seeing an article or a list touting the benefits of this stuff. As far as I can tell, it ranks somewhere below unicorn blood and above the fountain of youth in terms of its restorative properties.

Or that’s the claim, anyway.

As for me, I tend to take any news about “miracle foods” with a mighty huge grain of salt… which I’m led to understand is not a SUPER FOOD, but whatever. Still, I have a lot of friends who love this stuff, and it doesn’t look like using it is doing any harm to anyone. I bought some, I cooked with it.

It was FANTASTIC. Never have my yorkshire puddings been crispier, my toutons more tasty, my almond-breaded fried chicken more… well, I’d never tried that before, but it was also amazing.

So I looked into other uses for this gunk, and lo and behold… 101 Uses for Coconut Oil.

Kind of.

A lot of them are repeats. Still, it seems like a good place to start. The thing is, though, that this is no fun if I’m just doing it on my own, and if I don’t get to blow it entirely out of proportion. So here’s the plan: I’m going to go through the “101” uses and report back to y’all. Because why not throw myself in front of a coconut-scented bus for the benefit of all? If these things work, we’ll all know. If not, we’ll expose this ploy by Big Coconut for what it is.

Let’s look at what I’ve tried so far, and I’ll see what I can do for you on the rest of it in later posts.

1. In cooking as a great oil with a high smoke point. Great for baking, stir-frys or as a dairy free replacement to butter.

Well, I guess I’ve done that. Greasing a baking pan, frying, all good. I haven’t tried it as a replacement for butter, except on popcorn (which was DELICIOUS when I used a mix of the two). It’s just… I like butter. A lot. STOP TRYING TO TAKE MY BUTTER, LIST.

2. Taken supplementally for daily energy

3. As a coffee creamer when emulsified into coffee (The only way I’ll drink coffee)

I’ve been putting this stuff in my coffee for several weeks now, which I guess is a form of supplementing. Only a tablespoon per day so far, but I have been feeling more energetic. Like, bouncy at times. Is that necessarily a cause and effect thing? No. But I stopped feeling so darned sluggish around the time I started doing this, and I’m not consuming any more caffeine than I was before. I’m also waking up (naturally) a lot earlier than I used to, and feeling more rested when I do.

Now, if only I could use that energy for good instead of being unproductive in a more energetic fashion…

Oh, but I’m not emulsifying anything. I’m stirring it in and hitting it with my little whisk thing, but not putting it through a blender. That would require EFFORT. And CLEANING. I can handle a little grease skin on top of my coffee. Still tastes good.

4. On the skin as a basic lotion.

I put some on my hands. Well, I tried to. It ended up all the way up my arms, because guys, this stuff SPREADS. And then I kept dropping the dishes I was putting away, because OIL BE SLIPPERY.

Also, I smelled like an explosion at the Hawiian Tropic factory. I’m learning to like the taste of coconut oil, but I’m not crazy about the scent. Maybe I’ll try to find the refined stuff for external use. I’ve heard it’s less likely to make me smell like a bored, wealthy housewife on a piña colada bender.

Skipping to other things I’ve tried, then…

24. Rubbed on lips as a natural chapstick

Greases them up pretty good, doesn’t last long. Also, since they recommend using this stuff as an eye make-up remover, I’m guessing it wouldn’t work over lipstick. I still prefer my eos lip balm, but my lips DO feel super soft after my morning coffee, so there might be something to this if you’re looking for an all-natural lip thingamaboober.

45. As a replacement for vegetable oils in any recipe.

I tried this in cake mix. I know, trying to make a boxed cake mix more healthy is as effective as ordering a diet Coke with your double Big Mac meal, but it was worth a shot. Works great in that and in home-made bread. The only thing you have to watch is the temperature. If you let the melted CO hit cold eggs or a chilly bowl, it goes solid right away. If you don’t want little Coconut Oil Globbies (worst breakfast cereal EVER) in your recipe, keep it warm wile you’re mixing.

46. Better for high-temperature cooking than olive or vegetable oils

Dudes, we covered this in number one. Seriously. Number 78 is the same thing again. Not so much 101 uses, HMMMMM?

66. Can help improve sleep when taken daily

Could be. Again, correlation doesn’t necessarily = causation, and I’d have to get off the CO and see if anything changed before I’d be willing to say that I’m sleeping better because of the CO. It’s definitely not hurting, anyway.

I think that’s everything I’ve tried, unless you count repeats (I say that “use as skin lotion” and “use as hand cream after doing dishes” are the same, as is “rub on baby as lotion,” etc).

Full disclosure: I’m not getting pregnant just to try some of these out. I love you guys, but I’m only willing to go so far for blog content.

But if anyone else is trying this stuff and wants to let me know how that’s working out for you…

Coming Soon: Oil Pulling. Because why would I not want to swish coconut oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes? *expletive deleted*

To see what others are up to for the challenge, click here!

*And by “scan,” I mean “drop in for a minute and waste three hours.”

** As in, a lot.


Nosesplosion

Just to be clear: I friggin’ love sneezing. I sneeze big, and I’m not ashamed of that. I like the floopy-headedness that follows a good nosesplosion, and the way it sometimes leads to feeling less stuffy, even if only for a few minutes.

But this week, man… I’ve got this cold, and I’ve had a runny nose since Friday. It’s been kind of miserable, but I’ve been keeping my chin up (if only so that the drip stays post-nasal). I’ve been pretty cheerful about the whole thing. I try not to feel sorry for myself about a little cold, even if it makes me feel like my brain is bathing in snot, you know?

Image

You’re welcome.

But now there’s this tickle way up in my right nostril that WON’T DIE. No matter how many times it makes me sneeze, or how hard, it just comes back. It was fun at first, because WHEE, SNEEZLES! Ha ha, cute.

Not so much anymore.

Guys, it’s like those people who have spontaneous orgasms all the time. You hear about it, and you’re like “Sign me up for THAT disorder!” and you probably high-five yourself because that was super clever. Yeah, it sounds great… until you’re the one stuck exploding five times in the middle of Walmart, and everyone is staring at you, and IT’S NOT ALL THAT FUN ANYMORE.

There is literally no point to this post. I just kind of wanted to touch base and gross you all out a little, because I love you.

You can thank you when I’m clear-headed enough to understand you.


What, Me Worry?

Here I sit… accomplishing nothing at all.

I generally consider worry to be a useless state, a waste of energy and imagination. I’ve had enough to worry about in my life (though by no means as much as some), and I’ve learned that freaking out over what might happen makes absolutely no difference in the outcome.

If you can do something about it, stop worrying and do it.

If you can’t do anything about it, worrying is only making it worse.

…or so the theory goes.

About a month ago, I went to a doctor who specializes in… okay, you know what? Just avert your eyes if you think girl stuff is icky. Walk away. I’m not going to get graphic, but I’m also not going to act like I’m ashamed of having lady bits.

I like my lady bits. This is not really about them.

I went to see an OB/GYN about some issues I was having, and we discussed treatment options. We decided on an outpatient surgical procedure that would allow my condition to be treated without long-term drug use, because I’m sensitive to medications. If it has side-effects, I’ll probably get them.

Before I left, he had to do a test. Take a sample. A biopsy, but not a scary “we think you have cancer, let’s check” biopsy, just a test to make sure everything is okay. He said to remind him the day of the surgery to check on the test results, because I wouldn’t hear any more about them otherwise. I got into the least-dignified position imaginable in front of a complete stranger, he made me cry*, it was all good.

A week and a half later, my family doctor’s office called. “She wants to see you for an appointment. I’m going to book you in for Tuesday.”

What?

Um… okay.

That didn’t work out (my husband has to be off work to be home with the kids when I do the 45 minute drive to the doctor), and today was the soonest I could get in.

I told myself not to worry, because that’s useless, and I figured out reasons I shouldn’t worry. She probably just wants to see me about the test results because…

Hmm, I don’t know. She doesn’t book appointments when PAP test results come back negative (though I take some comfort in the fact that THAT was all normal last time).

But she probably just wants to talk about the treatment I decided on, right? And the fact that it was okay to add 2 weeks to the appointment wait time means it’s not an emergency.

I’ve hardly thought about it since I booked the appointment. Still, I HATE this. I hate not knowing. I’m distracted, I should be working right now, but I just keep looking at the damned clock.

I understand why doctors can’t give test results over the phone, even when everything is fine, but there has to be a better way to do things than “she wants to see you, imma book you in like, right nao, mmmkay? Kewl?”**

My fault for having to wait, I know.

So anyway, I’m sure everything’s fine. I’m not worried.

I just want to get this over with.

UPDATE: I tried to beta read to distract myself, since I might as well use this time for something productive. Kobo died, can’t find the charge cord. Not amused.

FURTHER UPDATE: The Chief Risk Officer and Executive Director of China Gungfua Bank in Hong Kong wants to present me as owner of $49.5 million dollars US. Now it’s the BEST DAY EVAR!

*For the record, not everyone finds getting their innards scraped as painful as I did, and if your doctor says the words “endometrial biopsy,” you should not freak out… Unless you’re a man. Then you can smile, nod, and back right out of that quack’s office, ’cause you don’t have a uterus. Unless you do, in which case, good for you! (PS: I am not a medical professional, never listen to me. Ever.)

**Also for the record, this is not how my doctor’s receptionist talks. I have nothing but respect for that poor, overworked woman.


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