This is the second of two parts (thus far) of my "official" story about living with chronic illness. Read part one, "Fibromyalgia: My Story" here. This also acts as a kind of part two to my mental illness story, "Obsessive-Compulsive: My Story," which can be found here.
*Contains discussion of suicidal thoughts*
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a medical condition characterized by long-term fatigue and other long-term symptoms that limit a person's ability to carry out ordinary daily activities.
Interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as bladder pain syndrome (BPS), is a type of chronic pain that affects the bladder. Symptoms include feeling the need to urinate right away, needing to urinate often, and pain with sex. IC/BPS is associated with depression and lower quality of life.
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition in which a change from lying to standing causes an abnormally large increase in heart rate. This occurs with symptoms that may include lightheadedness, trouble thinking, blurry vision, or weakness.
-- via Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
As of next month, it will have been four years since CUCUY (originally titled SAMMI), the most recent original novel I've written, first came into being.
In December, I posted a five month update about all the progress I'd made with my chronic illnesses since going to Mayo Clinic at the end of July/beginning of August 2017. It's now been a full year since Mayo Clinic, and it seems appropriate to post another chronic illness update. So here's what's changed since then.
Since December, I've continued to make progress in many ways. The most significant is with my interstitial cystitis. Since I developed it in 2016, I've been at a constant pelvic pain level of at least a 6 (on the Kira Pain Scale, which I know for a fact is skewed upward from a regular person's pain scale). But in April, I started taking gabapentin. At first it didn't do anything, but once I hit the right dose, my IC pain level dropped dramatically. It's now down to about a 3 or 4, the same general level as the rest of my body. While the gabapentin didn't have any effect on my fibromyalgia pain, despite being approved for that, its effect on my IC was something like a miracle. Gabapentin, basically, is to my IC what antidepressants were to my fibromyalgia.
Since then, I've been able to reduce my bladder instillations from once every other week to once a month. I've been able to start wearing skirts again, instead of just dresses all the time, and yesterday I was able to give loose sweatpants a successful test run. I've also been able to add a few more foods to my diet, and I'm much less afraid of setting off a horrific flare if I eat the wrong thing.
It's been a while since I shared a "day in the life" post. This is mostly because I've been so sick for the past few years that my daily life is not really that interesting. But I do want to share some of the reality of chronically ill living with you, and my life has improved enough to keep it from being too super boring. So I figured it was time to share, not a day in my life, but a week in my life, starting last Saturday.
*Long post ahoy!*
Welcome to 2018! It's time once again to look at last year's resolutions and share the ones I have for this year.
2017 was a rough year for just about everyone, I think, and the same goes for me. However, I made a lot of progress, especially after going to Mayo Clinic at the end of July, and I look forward to continuing that progress in 2018.
My goals were to stay alive, find better treatment options, and do some writing. I accomplished all of these, I'm happy to say. I didn't give in to the suicidal thoughts that I was dealing with at the end of 2016/beginning of 2017, and after Mayo Clinic, I did find better treatment options that have allowed me to return, bit by bit, to my life, thus resolving those thoughts in a positive way. I also did do some writing--not just journals and blog posts, but also some rewriting on The Prophecy Keeper and half of a novel-length fanfic that was really helpful in keeping my spirits up through the hard times.
Furthermore, I was able to start attending church on a regular basis for the first time since 2013, and I attended the LDS temple for the first time since 2014. I returned to the level of exercise I was at before I started having tremors at the end of 2016. I also read 343 books, which is less than usual, but I read more pages in total than I had since 2014. (Also, 343 is pretty boss, let me just say.) I also joined Instagram! And I temporarily achieved my weight loss goal from April 2016, although I've gained some again since then, LOL.
So things are really looking up. This year, I can go back to making the same kind of goals I used to before I got super sick. Here we go!
One last Wordy Wednesday before we return to "Waiting On" Wednesday next week. You guys voted for me to share two more poems today, so here they are!
And there was light!
The sun rises into the sky.
Brilliant gold screams out
from on high.
The sun rises into the sky.
Dew lights up on the trees.
From on high
comes the colors of fire.
*Long post ahoy.*
So, the next book in my "Waiting On" Wednesday queue doesn't yet have a cover. That's the hazard of sharing books that won't come out for months! As such, I'm going to hold off on posting "Waiting On" Wednesdays until the cover is revealed.
Today, instead, I'll share the first chapter of the novel I'm revising right now, THE PROPHECY KEEPER. This is a YA epic fantasy novel that I originally wrote when I was a senior in high school. Right now I'm doing an intensive worldbuilding edit. Obviously, this is not the final draft, so do keep that in mind!
“Are you ready?” their teacher asked.
Among the many important choices that writers face is what point of view to write from. Point of view is absolutely key when it comes to storytelling. After all, it has an enormous impact on how the audience perceives everything from worldbuilding to characterization. As such, I thought today I'd talk a little bit about the different options we have when it comes to POV and about the choices I've made in the past with my books.
First, it's important to define the terminology for points of view as discussed in most English classes. Point of view can come in one of three basic forms: first, second, or third. First person point of view uses the pronoun "I" and originates within the consciousness of a single character. Second person POV is the least commonly done, using the pronoun "you" to guide the reader into the place of a character. This usually happens only for short, hypothetical-type passages and is generally not recommended for long passages. Third person point of view uses other pronouns like "she" or "he" in reference to all the characters. Third person POV further can be limited, omniscient, or limited-omniscient: focusing on a single character, aware of the feelings and thoughts of all characters, or a mix of the two.
An additional decision that must be made in terms of perspective is tense. Though multiple tenses are necessary in any writing, most authors work with a primary tense of either present or past, where the character either is performing the actions as they speak them (present) or is telling the story as though it has already occurred (past).
These basic POV elements will be mixed and matched throughout most stories. If an author chooses to use multiple points of view (usually alternating between chapters), even more mixing and matching may occur. However, it's important to know which base POV you are working with.
Almost every aspiring writer takes a creative writing class at some point in their lives. A lot of us wonder, though, about the value of those classes. I know a lot of young writers especially question whether or not they should go on to get a Creative Writing degree. So today, I thought I'd share my own experiences with creative writing classes.
I took my first creative writing class in seventh grade. Before that, my teachers supported my writing, and I even had some dedicated time to it through the GATE program, but everyone took the same classes. In middle school, we got to choose some of what we did, and I, of course, chose to take creative writing.
That first class did not go well.
Hello, and welcome to 2017! In lieu of a Top Ten Tuesday post, today I'm going to take a look at my resolutions from 2016 and share my new ones for this year.
As you know, 2016 was a rough year for me. I did complete resolutions #4, #5, and #6--I graduated from BYU-Idaho with my English degree, I was accepted into SJSU's Library and Information Science program, and I completed two basic courses to start out my Master's degree. However, with my health worsening throughout the first half of the year and then taking a major dive during the second half, I was unable to complete any of my other resolutions.
Extreme fatigue and brain fog have made it difficult to do much but sit in bed and watch TV for the past six months. I haven't been able to do more than a little editing on COCA (resolution #1), I've been too ill to go most places, let alone do the driving (#2), since I was unable to edit COCA, I also did not write a new novel or start sending out to agents (#3), I didn't have a job or any energy to budget the money I had (#8, #7), I had no chance to meet a guy, let alone date one (#9), and even my reading time slowed, though I did hit an adjusted reading goal of 350 books, which I will also aim for this year (#10). Furthermore, I still have no real plan for the future, especially now that I'm too sick to do much anything.
What did happen in 2016: I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, I began having significant tremors requiring me to start using a cane, and I still didn't find any real solution to the health issues that are preventing me from reaching my goals. I also lost weight at my doctor's recommendation--20 pounds, though I'd like to try for 10 more. I'm not making that one an official 2017 resolution because I'm not sure how feasible it is, but I will at least continue trying.
Last week, I shared my last "Waiting On" Wednesday book of 2016! Awesome, right? So we're taking a break this week to do a Wordy Wednesday instead. I put up the poll for you guys last week and you voted for an excerpt from a terrible first novel!
I posted one of my first attempts at a novel here, but I haven't shared anything from the first full-length novel that I finished: THE DRAGON SLAYERS, which was an MG fantasy about a group of magically gifted girl friends and/or sisters fighting an evil organization of dragon slayers. I finished it when I was 11... and ended up throwing out the only printed copy and erasing the document from my computer because my friends didn't like the title. A+ critique managing skills, do not recommend.
I did, however, write some of THE DRAGON SLAYERS in my diary, which means I still have a small excerpt not lost to the winds of childhood whims. And so here you guys have it! The last remnants of THE DRAGON SLAYERS, which begins with two "poems."
So yesterday I spent a lot of time searching my room, trying to find a mysterious diaperish smell that had been hanging around for two weeks, despite me having done the kitty litter and taken out the trash and washed the laundry. My conclusion is that it was coming from my makeup bag--like, the actual bag, not the makeup. It's an old bag, and it's been through a lot, so it makes sense. It's probably got tons of old makeup stains and remnants, and I know Spartacus has intentionally pushed cups of various liquids onto it at various times, so it's time to throw it out. Whoo-hoo!
Thanks to the fact that I essentially rearranged my room, I am now suffering a fibro flare. So me and my soreness are just going to give you guys a short update today on the state of my life.
This is a topic that's fairly personal, especially since I've been dealing with it a lot for the past year and a half, to an extent and in a way I never have before. Writing and editing COCA has brought out the writer's doubt in flaming color.
I suffered writer's doubt occasionally before COCA, of course. Everyone has doubts about the things they do. It's a part of life; it helps us to evaluate. However, I've been fortunate enough that my writing, at least for novels, has been mostly separate of my OCD. Perhaps that's another part of why I love doing it so much. As a pantser, I even had the luck to have writing be one of the only unplanned, uncontrolled things in my life, as I talked about in this interview. In any case, for most my life, I didn't suffer the kind of anxiety with writing and publishing that I did for absolutely everything else. The doubts I had were regular, fleeting things that only gave me temporary pause.
Welcome to Wordy Wednesday, where I post a bit of my writing for you all to read! You guys voted in last week's poll for some poetry, so here are a couple of poems I've not posted on here before. Enjoy! I'll see y'all again on Saturday for the Behind the Scenes blog tag.
*The second poem contains moderately graphic images*
Lost in Remembrance
As daylight fades from every crack between
the bars that lock me here behind this wall,
I close my eyes to sights so cold, so mean
and reach instead for one for whom I’d fall.
There’s nothing left inside the once so keen
remembrance that I wanted ne’er to pall,
for years have passed since you were there and seen,
time longer than the means I’ve to recall.
But when I reach inside the nighttime vault,
my dreams connect me back to that first glance.
I reach towards you with my empty hands,
still knowing that with me lies all the fault,
and with a final breath I send to you
the love you’ll never know was always true.
*Mild language warning.*
Welcome to Wordy Wednesday! Today I promised to post an excerpt from one of my novels, your choice. You guys chose COCA, my current YA contemporary project. So here you go! An excerpt from the never-before-seen first chapter of COCA.
Keep in mind, as always, that this is a rough draft version of whatever the final product may be, and it's only undergone a (relatively) small amount of editing at this point.
Cecily’s entire extended family, plus her godmother, will arrive any moment now for her quinceañera, and I cannot stop screaming at her.
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today's topic is Top Ten New Year's Resolutions. I don't think I've ever made that many before, so we'll see how I do! First, a review of last year's resolutions:
1) Start sending out to agents again? Nah, bro. I gotta get COCA edited first.
2) Finish writing two novels? Nah bro, I gotta edit COCA! (Which is the one novel I did finish writing this
year. Whee!) (Oh, but I did write a not-so-great full-length screenplay adaptation o IF YOU PRICK US,
formerly known as PERISHED, so that's something.)
3) Do well in school? Spring semester, not so much. Fall, it looks like I've done great! :D Progress!
4) Go on a date with a guy? Lawls.
5) Have a healthier lifestyle? Double lawls.
Wow, guys, I don't think I've ever done so bad on my resolutions before. :P But that's all right, just gives me more room for next years! Ad even if I didn't accomplish my written resolutions, I feel like I managed some progress in other ways. Here we go:
I'm an unpublished novelist, primarily of YA fantasy, and a freelance editor. I love psychology, cats, social justice, and love! I'm also a huge fangirl. Basically, stories are my life.
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