Category Archives: Not Dead Yet!

Gotta Have Goals (October 2017)

At the beginning of September, I set 19 goals for myself, and I thought it’d do more towards accountability if I actually shared how that went. (Plus, then, NEW GOALS!)

September Report

  1. Pick my son up from his very last day of preschool ever. Take a picture. Don’t cry. (9/1) – SUCCESS! I didn’t even cry
  2. Finish all my last pre-editor edits on The Ruby Blade and get that sucker to my editor. (9/2) – SUCCESS! I totally cried here, though
  3. Drink champagne. (9/2) – SUCCESS! (No tears)
  4. Make an apple pie with the Bean, because he wants to make one for the beer guy’s parents who are visiting. (9/3) – SUCCESS! Kinda, we made a crisp instead
  5. Drop my boy off at his first day of Kindergarten. Take pictures. Don’t cry. (9/5) – SUCCESS! More or less. I maybe got some dust in my eyes. It was really smoky from the fires.
  6. Edit a book for a new client (early Sept) – SUCCESS! (And it is SO GOOD!)
  7. Get my skin checked to make sure there’s no suspicious activity (9/11) – SUCCESS! All is well with my soul skin
  8. Meet with new personal trainer and get new workout schedule set up (9/12) – half SUCCESS! I met with the trainer, but have not yet gotten the schedule set up. 
  9. Write 45K words on Eleanor #4 (sekrit goal is 60K – which is 15K/week and my current average, but see all busy-ness) – big ol’ fail…I’m waaaay behind on my ambitious goal, not to mention the sekrit goal, but still on track to finish by 11/30.
  10. Write 2 chapters on my Raj novella – oops. Totally did not do this. 
  11. Survive the beer guy’s 2.5 week trip to Belgium (I mean, obviously, I’ll survive, but, you know…) – SUCCESS! I ate and slept and only broke the house a tiny bit! 
  12. Keep on top of my day job stuff – SUCCESS!
  13. Write outlines for the first three books in my new series coming out about this time next year and conspire with my cover artist – SUCCESS! I have a long synopsis for the first book and shorter ones for books 2 & 3, have started conspiring with my cover artist, and am working on a marketing plan.
  14. Turn around my article edits SUPAH FAST – SUCCESS! 
  15. Write 4 chapters on SUPER SEKRIT PROJECT – oops. Totally forgot about this.
  16. Actually sleep? I guess? – SUCCESS! I averaged more than 6.5 hours/night in September. 
  17. Start meditating in the mornings again, which means – oops. nope.
  18. Start getting up at 5:30 am again, which means – hahaha. nope. (I am getting up regularly at 6 now, though)
  19. In bed & asleep by 10:45 on school nights – SUCCESS! 
  20. I really want a 20th goal, but couldn’t think of one…

Honestly not bad at all. So much successing. The places where I didn’t completely succeed, though, were all things for which I had not external motivator. Writing my own words with no editor deadline (see sekrit project, Eleanor #4, Raj’s chapters), meditation, getting up earlier, getting the workout schedule down with the new trainer (although, to be fair, I’m waiting for her to get back to me at this point).

I’m not going to set 20 goals in October, but I have five big ones. I’m not going to include things that I know I’ll get done, like finishing up the book I’m currently editing or “have a good time in Mexico.” Instead, these are actual things that I have to work at.

  1. I signed up for a thanksgiving 5K. My goal – to finish it without hating myself, whatever that means for me that day.
  2. I need to be mostly done with Eleanor book 4 by the end of the month.
  3. Stay on top of book marketing and don’t back out because of “hard” or “fear.”
  4. Find a way to forgive everyone who made me angry cry today due to the colossal fuck-up that happened with my Bean’s after-school care situation. Note: this might be the hardest. Note 2: I think everything’s figured out. It was only two hours of Wednesday panic on my part.
  5. Continue to eat 3x/day and get to bed by 11 on work nights. Work on popping out of bed a little faster in the morning. Meditate (with the bean). Moisturize. Self-care.

 

 

UTERUS UPDATE! (Cyborg Implant Month 1)

I know each and every one of you has been waiting with bated breath for an update on my uterus issues. THE WAIT IS OVER!

As I’m sure you recall, I had a nexplanon implant put in the end of August. (OMG – the bruising for this was horrific. I really, really want to share a picture, but I’m not going to, because I am a good person.) This was to help manage the horrific dysmenorrhea I was suffering for a week straight (the worst usually only lasted a day or two, but it was a day or two of sobbing, wracked with pain, emotional hellbeastiness and then 4-5 days of regularly awful cramps that would cause me to randomly double over with pain and work through headaches, back aches, and neck aches, not to mention the nausea and random dizziness).

My period tracker tells me that my period was due two days ago. That means that I am currently LATE! This is super exciting for someone whose cycle was lasting between 9-12 days for much of the earlier part of this year. I’m at an actual 4-week cycle this month (or maybe even longer! fingers crossed!).

The best part is that I’ve been having cramps. But not full-body, wracked with pain and sobbing until I practically throw up cramps! No! I am having midol ad cramps.

Wait – not this Midol ad!

 

I wouldn’t necessarily choose this one, either…

 

Yes! This one! She looks like she’ll be going on a hike as soon as she pops her midol!

Like, I have cramps. They’re twingy and uncomfortable. I literally don’t know how to deal with this. I had a craving for chocolate yesterday, so I had some. I haven’t cried, or pulled out the vicodin, or even grabbed my heating pad.

I feel…not bad. Almost good, even. It’s so weird.

I’m not sure I’m quite at “happy bitch” stage, but I’ll take this.

My doctor and all the studies I’ve read (because of course I was on pub med central searching for journal articles, I am not [often] a spontaneous decision maker*) laid out the following stats:

  1. 20% of users have a complete cessation of menstruation
  2. 20% of users have unpredictable menstrual cycles with extra blood
  3. 60% of users have regular cycles

Of women who’ve suffered from dysmenorrhea, 80% (give or take, depending on the study and what they were using as markers) have a drastic reduction in pain levels over the course of six months.

AND – most women who have the insert removed before it expires (three years, I think) do so because of point #2 above, and almost all within the first 3 months. I’m one month in and feeling hopeful that I’ll fall into camps 1 or 3 (I’d really, really like to be #1…for so many reasons, but mostly because my damn uterus OWES ME.

Maybe, if it repents and is good, I’ll let it stay a bit longer…I’d sure like to avoid major surgery if at all possible.

I’m hoping if I can get to a place where I’m not in pain 50% of the time and dopey from my borderline anemia, I’ll have more energy so I can start waking up and exercising and feeling all around better!

*fingers crossed*

All positive uterus thoughts accepted, although honestly, I don’t need you to spend a lot of time thinking about my uterus because that’s just weird.

*I can be spontaneous if you give me a heads up.

 

Three Things Thursday – Adrenaline Rush Edition

  1. I was in the middle of updating my Writerly Wednesday post for publication yesterday when I found out that my child was en route to the emergency room. (All of the exciting tidbits that showcase the more boring financial pieces of being a writer will have to wait until next week.)
  2. I obviously ran out of my office like a decapitated chicken and got a Lyft to the hospital, imagining every worst case scenario that could’ve possibly happened from when I talked to the school (bump on the head, he’s fine, just needs to go home) to ER-bound. We sat in  the ER for a while, keeping my irrepressible and very active kiddo occupied, while also trying to keep him from falling off the bed, bouncing off the walls, or kidsplaining the human skull to the pediatrician. (“I have an anatomy book at home. I know all the bones.”)
  3. He’s fine. Mild (likely) concussion (possible unicorn horn sprouting). He’s back at school today, and when I talked to his teacher this morning about making sure he remembers to not run around too much, she said that she always has a kid or two like him every year and she’ll remind him to go slow. (She also said that he fell out of his chair earlier this week because he was so excited about something.)

This kid. THIS KID! I maintain the position I developed in 2013 when he jumped off a playground structure: parents should be given defibrillators when discharged from the hospital with their newborns. It’s a good thing I’ve decided to embrace my natural hair color, because the smattering of greys I earned in the last 24 hours is likely too powerful for any dye. Bonus – kid has a new “career choice of the week” and is going to be a doctor who takes care of sick kids and he’s going to work at that specific hospital.

 

Three Things Thursday: My baby’s in kindergarten

  1. After a one-day delay due to heat and terrible air quality, Alvie Bean started kindergarten yesterday. He was beyond ready, and so was I. Kind of. I mean, my eyes watered a bit off and on all day yesterday, but that was probably from the smoke. I got to FaceTime with him last night and I don’t think he even took a breath while telling me all about his first day. I’m sad that I won’t get to see him again until Monday (or, as he informed me, his fourth day of kindergarten), but I’m glad he had a wonderful time.

    First day of kindergarten!

    He was so ready for school that he didn’t even notice I wasn’t next to him as he took off.

  2. Speaking of air quality, it’s so bad here. My throat hurts, my eyes burn, and I have a constant headache. The whole western US is on fire, I think. Obviously the fires in the Columbia River Gorge are my main concern, both due to their proximity and the fact that I love that area so much (and it’s been destroyed because of teens with fireworks). All spring, Portland (and the PNW in general) was breaking precipitation records. Between our snowfall in January and the rain that lasted until June 13, it was wet. So wet. Since June 13, we’ve had 0.01″ of rain in Portland (8/13/17). Seriously: 0.01 inches in the last 88 days. So much precipitation early led to a lot of growth and then our record heat and extended dry spell made everything a tinderbox. There’s no real rain in the forecast for the next ten days, and between our fires, the hurricanes in the Atlantic, the earthquakes in SE Idaho, I’m beginning to wonder if this is the apocalpyse. (Eleanor is really sorry.)

    Ashfall on my car Tuesday morning

    Regional Wildfire map as of 9 am this morning

    This morning’s smoke-obscured red sun.

     

  3. I am so ready for rain and autumn and sweaters and leaves turning colors and cooler weather and Halloween. (True fact: I got married on Halloween so that even if I ended up divorced, there wouldn’t be a sad divorce day, just a “it’s still Halloween and Halloween is awesome” day.)

    Me, last night, pretending it’s autumn…and sweating like crazy.

    I’m just gonna leaf this here.

    Halloween is the best

    I’ve really grown as a person since my excessively DIY hippie days of a decade ago.

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Three Things Thursday: Uterus TMI

  1. You may or may not have blocked out the fact that I am in a war with my uterus, and so far, it’s winning. In the last six years, I have tried the following methods to wrangle it into submission:
    1. Pregnancy (worked for a while, but then I was no longer pregnant [and thank fuck for that] and all the bad came back).
    2. IUD. I had one of these inserted a few months after Bean was born. Actually, it took two tries (and literally three people to move my abdomen around and tilt my cervix up so someone could get it in because everything is wonky in there). Finally, I had an IUD and I hated it. I was in extreme discomfort all the time in the lower left quadrant, i.e. the  fallopian tube region. After eight months of stupid pain and major discomfort, I requested it get evicted. I knew I was done procreating, so we went to step 3.
    3. Essure. Little springs are inserted into the fallopian tubes and in about 3 months, scar tissue grows over them blocking the passages so sperm can’t get in and eggs can’t get out. (Sidenote: Bean loves anatomy books and we were looking at the reproductive system. “Mom, what are testicles even for? They’re weird.” Me: “They make the sperm that is needed to make babies.” Horrified look. “I don’t want any sperm.” “No worries, my love. You’re too young to be making sperm.” Bean: “Well, when I’m old enough, how do I make it? Do I eat some eggs and flour and sugar?” Me: “I can’t stop laughing long enough to admit I don’t know the exact mechanics of sperm production.”)
      Anyway, when the Essure procedure was happening, the docs found that my IUD wasn’t hanging out all happy like the below image, but instead was trying to make friends with my left ovary via the fallopian tube. That is not ideal and explains the discomfort.
    4. Essure sterilized me, but did nothing for the dysmenorrhea or anemia-inducing flow, so I was put on a progesterone-only pill, which stopped working effectively about a year ago. (I can’t have estrogen birth control because I get ocular migraines, and apparently having a stroke is bad.)
    5. After a few months of having menstrual cycles averaging 9-15 days, I’d had enough. We scheduled an ablation to destroy the lining of my uterus, eliminating menstruation and hopefully the majority of the dysmenorrhea. That didn’t take. My uterus, rather than looking like a nice little triangle, is roughly diamond-shaped (which might also explain the IUD issues, and btw – fuck you to the person who accused me of lying about my IUD issues; you are a twat of the first order). Several attempts to deploy the uterus blaster failed, leaving me sore and really fucking sad that once again, my uterus was winning.

      After staring at uterus pictures for a long time, I am now convinced those are arms and hands and they want to strangle me.
      I’m not sure exactly what my abnormal shaped uterus looks like (it’s definitely not a fully bicornated one), but it’s not fucking normal, because of course it’s not.

    6. The last few months since the failed ablation have been awful. Cramps lasting upwards of two weeks, including 24-36 hours of full-body cramps, vicious headaches, and pain in my legs rendering me unable to walk. There is a lot of crying and nausea involved and it is no good.Now that you’re all caught up, let’s go to Tuesday!
  2. Last Friday, while on day 7 of cramps, I gave up and contacted my doctor. “Please do something to help with pain management!” I begged. “It is sucking the life out of me and I can’t do this every 3 weeks for the rest of my life.” So yesterday I went in and got a Nexplanon implant in my arm. I read a few pubmed studies on using the implant to treat severe dysmenorrhea, and for the 80% who kept the implant past 3 months (20% dropped out because of an increase in irregularity and volume of bleeding), they almost across the board saw a huge reduction in pain. Like pain levels previously at an 8 or 9 dropped down to below 5 in six months and below 2 in nine months. (And 20% of women saw an almost complete cessation in menstruation.) My uterus has not been giving me the best outcomes so far, but I am hopeful that this one fucking time, I can get the pain reduction and have no more bleeding. Ever. So, I’d appreciate all the well-wishes, prayers, positive energy, and candles lit for my uterus. (My NP said she was going to go home and light a candle for my uterus and I just love her so much.)

There is a surprising dearth of uterus candles on the internet. Someone needs to get on that.

  1. Ten days of cramps plus the other stuff that comes with it (bodily fluids = ewwww…) mean my mental acuity is not top-notch. Chronic pain plus borderline anemia really fucks with your brain. Yesterday was a hard, hard day. I went to get my implant and couldn’t remember what floor my doctor was on in the hospital, even though this was my sixth visit in three months. I asked the reception desk if it was on the 3rd or 5th floor. Turns out it was on the 4th.Next, I had to do a pregnancy test, because those are the rules even when you’ve been spayed. I took my labeled cup into the bathroom, peed, flushed, washed my hands, and then looked at the cup I’d set on the shelf and not used at all.And then last night, I attempted to make dinner. Nothing fancy. It was taco Tuesday, but Bean requested burritos (he then refused to eat those burritos because he wants to see how fast mama can lose her mind). First, I set the plastic salsa container on the stove while I heated up the back burned to warm tortillas. (You know where this is going, right?) Yeah. I didn’t turn on the back burner. You know what smells great? Melted plastic mixed with salsa. Then, when adding avocado to the beer guy’s burrito, I threw it on myself and the floor. And then, my tortilla flipping, which I usually excel at, was terrible. And to wrap it all up, when flipping the beer guy’s burrito, it didn’t flip and everything ended in sadness and tears for everyone. (Mostly me.)

    (For Marcy)

    I am really, really looking forward to feeling better and hope this implant will be the key to getting me there sooner. I’m pretty tired of always being tired. I’d like to have the energy back and not be alternately a giant ball of intense cramps or sore from being a giant ball of intense cramps.


    In conclusion, you know more about my reproductive system’s fuckery than you probably wanted to, but if you send me a case of red wine, I promise to not talk about it any more.

 

 

 

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