Cheques cleared my bank account today so I had a little bit of spending money! Not spare spending money, mind, but it meant I could buy cat food, which was the most important item on my list. I also picked up a load of bread (not great bread, but it'll do for now because it was less than $2), and a small bag of about 10 potatoes that are a little bit past their best but still good so long as I use them quickly (which was only $0.49). This all came to a little over $10, cleared out the remainder of my money, but now the cats have food and I get paid properly next Friday, so I have enough of everything except cat litter to last me.

And I can go out and get cat litter tomorrow or Friday. I'll have to use the credit card, which I don't like to do if there's another option, but, well, there's no other option. So credit it is.

I still have plenty of rice for myself, and pork chops in the freezer, and a giant pork loin that I got weeks ago when it was on sale. And a small salmon steak, which I want to fry, shred, and then turn into the filling for some onigiri. Plus there are still cans of soup in the cupboard, so it's not like I'm lacking for good food. Just variety. And even then I think I've got enough to keep myself culinarily amused for another week and 2 days.

A quick check of the freezer also tells me that I have ground beef, so I could make myself some delicious hamburgers as a quick tasty meal, too. I'll go through bread more quickly that way, but hey, homemade hamburgers! Who can say no to them?

Finished Betsy Dornbusch's Exile yesterday, and I'm almost 1/4 of the way through Craig Cormick's The Shadow Master already. It's a quicker read than I thought, and I should be able to finish it tomorrow. I don't even think I'd need to push too hard to achieve that, either, which is nice because it'll mean I can start on Jeff Salyards's Veil of the Deserters that much sooner. I've been looking forward to it for a while, and Night Shade was good enough to send me a review copy, and I promised both him and myself that I'd start it as soon as I was finished with the 2 books I had scheduled as part of upcoming book tours (Kat Ross's Some Fine Day and Craig Cormick's The Shadow Master).

It's another cold night. The afternoon was fine, mostly clear skies with enough of a breeze to keep me comfortable as I walked back from work, but the area's under a frost warning for tonight and it's currently only a few degrees above 0. I still have a second blanket on the bed, and the heat's up to keep the worst of the chill away, not just for my sake but also for the cats. I'll be happy when this cold snap ends.

I'm also thankful that this cold snap didn't hit at this time last year. I was still only a couple of weeks post-surgery at this time last year, struggling to get mobility and stamina back, and I discovered that hot and cold made the incision hurt more, as well as incoming storms. It was bad enough the way it was, with decent weather until most of the healing had been done. I wince to think of going through it all with nightly chills like this.
lighterthanair: (reflection)
1 year ago today, I was in surgery, having that godforsaken tumour cut out of me. It's been a whole year since then. Happy birthday to the scar on my abdoment, happy deathday to the twisted overgrowth of cells that was the size of a grapefruit, clinging to an organ the size of my fist.

I'm trying to be positive about it all. But in actuality, this is a harder day that I expected it to be. The whole situation just won't leave my mind. The days at work where walking was too much a chore, where I nearly fell asleep in the middle of conversations because I had no energy. The months I spent at home, not working, resting as much as I could, napping every day just to make it to bedtime, hoping each day that maybe when I go back to work, I'll be better, I'll have improved, I can start to recover.

The first time I was hospitalized, and it scared the hell out of me. I didn't go because I thought something might be wrong. I went a few days after the IUD was put in, another in my doctor's long list of "maybe this will work" treatments that all revolved around hormones and things that weren't permanent in case I wanted children, with her stubborn refusal to admit that the tumour was the problem because hey, they're so common and mostly don't cause problems so it must be something else. I knew at the time that the IUD might cause bleeding for at least another month before I'd even know if it was doing anything to stop the bleeding I was already experiencing. I went to the hospital because I wanted just a few more days off work, a few more days of rest and hopefully by then the bleeding might calm down a bit and I could handle it again.

That was the day that I had a doctor feel my abdomen, say, "Yes, I can feel the tumour there," and I just burst out with, "Is that what that hard area is?!" He backed down a bit, embarassed, but he wasn't wrong. The thing was so big it could be felt easily through my flesh, through a very thick layer of fat. That was the day my roommate told me that, when I had to go to the bathroom twice in 15 minutes to change my tampon, that nurses were looking at me with pity and saying that nobody should be going through what I was going through. That was the day I was told that I would be admitted to the hospital for the first time in my life.

A few days later, I finally got my doctor to agree that maybe the tumour was the problem. After all, it had only grown 3 cm in 6 months, which is 6-12 times faster than that kind of tumour grows on average. I was told I'd bled out the IUD, which explained the painful blood clot I'd passed the day after I'd had it inserted in the first place. That was the day I made my doctor unhappy by choosing surgery to remove the tumour, because although she offered it as an option, it was clear that she'd rather have me try another IUD (and another $500 out-of-pocket expense to buy one) or else have radiation treatment to shrink the tumour but not remove it entirely.

Today, 1 year ago, I was being cut into.

Tomorrow, it will be 1 year since I discovered that the tumour was more advanced than my doctor thought, so "her" decision to remove it was a smart one.

3 days from now, it will be 1 year since I found out that my doctor discharged me with hemoglobin as low as it had ever been, and this was after 2 units of blood post-op, after lying to me and telling me it was 10 points higher than it actually was. I saw the test results. I know she lied.

That started the time in which I had trouble getting out of bed as my wound healed. I could walk a little further every day, and was thrilled with myself when I could walk about 200 feet down the street to a little bench where I could sit down and rest before walking home again. It marked more days of lying around, not doing much, because I still didn't have much energy.

Though that period also marked the first time in a long time that I didn't have to nap in the middle of the day. Not unless I wanted to.

Today, I stand in the bedroom and look at where that bed was (roommate took it to PEI and left me the bigger bed), and I remember lying there, head propped up on pillows, alternately reading and looking out the window at the street and the green leaves in the trees, and I can feel everything about that time as clearly as if it happened last week. Today, if I lie on the couch and watch something on TV, I'm reminded very sharply of the times where I couldn't do anything but that.

It's a stupidly emotional day for me today. I wanted it to be positive, a celebration of how far I've come and all the BS I don't have to put up with anymore. And it is. But I can't celebrate how far I've come without looking back on where I was, and where I was is scary.

Statistically, there's a 15-30% chance I will regrow that tumour large enough to require another surgery within 5 years. I'm 1 year down. 20% done. Last scans I had done a few months ago show no sign of regrowth... or so the idiot doctor says. I do have a nice new ovarian cyst that isn't fading, and I can tell that because it's a ender point, but it's a functional cyst and show go away over time. I hope. And I'm not showing any symptoms like I used to. I'm still terrified every time I start bleeding, and I'm always amazed when it stops after 3-4 days and I haven't spent those days in agony and running to the bathroom every half hour or more. I don't have to sleep on towels and get up in the middle of the night to wash the blood from my legs.

If I make it to that 5 year point, my odds of it coming back drop dramatically, at least according to statistics. Until I'm middle-aged and start to go through menopause, anyway. But even then it's not likely anything will grow as large even if something grows at all.

But it's something I'm constantly aware of now. I had an uncommon presentation of a common issue, and something that dozens of help sites and material and doctors pass off as unimportant and more of a nuisance than a real threat.

When I say I was dying by inches, I'm not exaggerating. The way my hemoglobin was dropping because I couldn't stop bleeding, it was a threat. If I'd been stupid and stubborn the way I often get with health problems (a lifetime of having the poor luck to find abysmal doctors who don't take my complaints seriously or who are openly derisive of said complaints)... Well, the hemoglobin dropped by 30 points over a year and a half. I don't want to place bets on how long that could continue. I had already developped a heart problem because of it. A heart problem that healed once the blood loss stopped, but knowing that even temporary damage was done to my heart because of how long my doctor refused to admit that constant bleeding and anemia was a problem... Doesn't make me happy. Also scary as hell.

I hope to all deities that this is over, once and for all. That the tumour never regrows, that I never have to face those conditions again, and that I can let time fade these memories from my mind. That next year on this date, I'll be more concerned with happier things, things that don't involve me looking back on my life and going, "Fuck, I was in a really bad way not that long ago!"
lighterthanair: (for your entertainment)
I need to stop updating this journal so sporadically. It's not like my life stops when I don't write about it. Plenty of stuff keeps happening. It's just that between work, writing book reviews, trying to keep my head above water in multiple ways, and the sheer lack of interaction here between me and, well, anybody who's not me, it gets tiring to think about updating this for the benefit of nobody but myself. And that person already knows what's happening.

But still, on the offchance that someone's still reading this...

I got my wisdom teeth removed. Just the bottom 2, since they were the ones causing problems and they'd both broken through the gums. The whole procedure was relatively easy, honestly, or so I imagine because I was unconscious for it. I was sobbing when I woke up, though, when the anesthesia was wearing off, because I was aware of pain before I was even really aware that I had a body. An aide helped me stagger to a little recovery room until the rest of the anesthesia wore off and I could walk in a straight line and get my emotions under control. A cab driver took me home, and in spite of me coming out of the dentist with a swollen face, he insisted on trying to engage me in conversation.

He gave up after I just grunted a few times at him.

I spent the next half a day shoving gauze into my face at regular intervals, waiting for the bleeding to stop. I talked with a serious speech impediment for about a week. And I didn't bruise, not even the slightest bit. I hear some people get bruising down to their chest. I just had swelling and numbness.

Numbness in one side of my jaw that has not yet and may not ever go away, I may add. Nerve damage was a possibility the dental surgeon discussed with me. I am officially the genius who managed to have 2 parts of their body go numb from nerve damage within the first 3 months of the year. -_-

In brighter news, the pain problem I was suffering has largely gone away. Turns out the problem was a myofascial trigger point, and after a competent doctor actually examined me and talked to me about the pain instead of just telling me I shouldn't be hurting or prescribing me narcotics so I'd go away, he came to that conclusion and treated it with, of all things, a little injection of saline to break up the knot of muscle.

It's not perfect, and I still get pain flare-ups every now and again, but they're few and far between. Where I used to be in constant pain, never below a 3 on the pain scale, and when it flared up it would sometimes reach an 8 and leave me incapable of bending my torso, now flare-ups are a 5-6 at worst and most days I experience no pain at all. I can walk to work without fear of overtaxing my body and being in agony the next day. I can exercise! Hell, I evendid sit-ups earlier this week! This feels freaking amazing!

Funny what can happen when one's doctor isn't a negligent idiot.

In brighter news still, my father surprised me with plane tickets and concert tickets to go see Adam Lambert in Winnipeg next month, and holy crap, I'm going to see Adam fucking Lambert! O_O Part of me still can't believe that. The musician whose music helped keep me sane when I was dying by inches from that damn tumour, the guy who inspired me to take chances and actually fight to be myself, and I'm actually going to get to see him. From lousy seats, granted, but still. I may just fight crowds after the show to get autographs! Bonus points if I can thank him for what his work has done for me, but I doubt I'll have the time or opportunity. It'll be enough just to be at one of his concerts.

In the middle of reading an advance review copy of Kat Ross's Some Fine Day, which is thus far pretty decent for a YA post-apoc novel, and I'm still slogging my way through Jo Walton's What Makes This Book so Great. I say slogging because it's a thick book, and while her essays are interesting, sometimes it can be hard to keep reading multiple essays on a long series I haven't read any of yet, and where the articles are deconstructing things and commenting on things of which I have no context. I love her writing, and my To Read list has definitely increased, but I suspect I'd be getting more out of this book if I'd already read much of what she's commenting on.

And now it's way too late to be awake, I still have to work tomorrow, and my bed is calling me.
Half an hour before I have to get ready for work, my last shift before my weekend begins, and all I want to do is stay home and play Everquest 2 and read books. But I have no excuse to do this. I'm not in pain, I'm not sick, and the weather's fine, so all things that make me consider staying home are completely off the table. So, to work I go. See how responsible I am?

So I'll just do all of that fun stuff tomorrow.

R's going away for a bit of next week, to head over to PEI with the people she'll be interning with so that they can check out the housing situation. Leaving Monday morning, coming back Tuesday night, which means I will have almost every second of Tuesday to myself. I normally have that when she's at school anyway, but she's back mid-afternoon then, so it feels like I only get half a day. So next week I really can just lie in bed all day and read without any distractions. I shouldn't be so excited about this. It's less than 2 months until she'll be going away for whole months at a stretch, and I know I'll be lonely then because I'll be alone as a default and company will be the novelty, but right now it's the reverse and I enjoy the alone time that I get.

Hoping today at work will be easy-ish. Also hoping that I'll finally get to talk to HR about an adjusted schedule to help me with the pain. I don't hold out a lot of hope, but I figure it's worth presenting to them, and I can let them know if they don't want to bother trying to work on this issue with me then that's fine, but they'll have to be aware of the fact that my attendance will continue to suck until I can get the underlying issue fixed. I'm hoping that by presenting it to them as their choice, they'll make the decision I hope they'll make.

In a nutshell, earlier shifts will be better than later ones because on bad paid days, I'll be able to get through more of my shift if I start early than if I start late. If my pain level will overwhelm me by 2 PM, to pull a random number out of my butt, then I work through more of my shift if I start at 10 than if I start at 12:30, which will mean I miss less time and my attendance won't suffer as much. By also cutting my shifts back from 5 a week to 4 (still leaving the shifts at 8.5 hours instead of a lower number), there's a greater chance a really bad pain day will fall on a day I normally have off, which will reduce absenteeism even further. I hope. The math is sound, the logic is sound, and I'm not asking for something crazy like all weekends off (pointless, since the pain's not limited to specific days of the week) or to pay me even if I'm not working (also pointless, and a stupid demand), which I hope will lend some weigh to my suggestion. I think this will work quite well, honestly, and still give me enough to pay my bills.

And if they don't want to make those adjustments for me to help me get my pain levels under control and my attendance improved, well, then they'll just have to deal with business as usual, and if they try to write me up for missing too much time, I'll remind them that I presented them with an option that allowed us all to meet in the middle and compromise but they refused it. I'm willing to play ball on this one. I just hope they are too.

But we'll see how it goes. I've been trying to meet with HR for 2 weeks to discuss this, but between them not working weekends and me sometimes not being able to be at work, it's been a coordination nightmare, and nothing's getting accomplished.

Positive thoughts. Like the fact that I only have 1 shift left until my weekend! That'll keep me going today!

And with luck I can make more progress on reading Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves. I should be reading Mark Smylie's The Barrow, but I've wanted to read this one since last year, and it's about time I got around to it. The Barrow will still be waiting for me when I'm done, and I'll still be able to get it read and reviewed within a week of the release date, so I shouldn't feel too guilty about an extra distraction. (Besides, I got Republic of Thieves as a review copy, so I have something of an obligation to get it read and reviewed too.)
lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
Wow, has it ever been a long time since I've updated this. I want to say it's because life hasn't given me anything worth talking about lately, but, well, that would be a big stinking lie.

The pain has been investigated. Still likely to be due to all the surgical scarring, but the fact that there's a 6 cm cyst on my left ovary probably isn't helping matters. That's almost as big as the tumour was when it was first diagnosed, and a full 1 cm above the minimum size requirement to consider surgery to remove it. I find it more than a littlr suspicious that this cyst showed up hot on the heels of the tumour and surgery. I don't know if they're related, exactly, since 1 was solid and 1 was liquid-filled and not in the same place, but really? 2 benign growths in 3 years, where previously there were none and no symptoms? And the cyst literally grew between the surgery and now, or it would have been spotted on previous scans and the surgery itself.

So I'm going back to Dr. S. I wouldn't, except Dr. K thinks it might do me some emotional good to tell her, "Look, you gave me substandard care before, you ignored the severity of my symptoms, and now I'm back and you'd better take this seriously before I end up hospitalized again." And if she still doesn't give me proper care, then Dr. K said he'll be more than happy to refer me to another specialist to get this dealt with.

That appointment is on February 5, so I don't have to wait too long to start getting this handled. Which is good, because the pain has just steadily gotten worse as time has gone on, and the other weekend had a day in which I was in too much pain to bend in the middle and get out of bed without help. I managed to get up, get some morphine, and once that kicked in I went back to sleep, and by the time I'd woken up again the pain had mostly gone away. Mostly. Not completely. I don't think there's been a single day in over a month where my pain level has been under 4 without painkillers. A few months ago, I would have said 3 instead of 4. So it's ramping up, I'm having more bad days, and I'm not happy about it.

Still reading books like a mad fiend, and enjoying every second of it. It's funny, whenever I look at the ARCs folder on my Kindle, I think, "I remember telling myself that I'd work harder to keep my number of review copies under 300. Crap, now it's over 300. Okay, I'll try to keep it on the lower end of the 300 scale. Hmm, I'll try to keep it under 350. Fuck, I'm now almost at 400 review copies!" Don't get me wrong; I love this gig and don't plan to stop reading and reviewing any time soon. I just wish sometimes that I could read faster than people I like to read keep writing books. Give me a month in which no books I want to read are released, and I'll at least be able to get 8 or so read with no new additions so that I can bring the teetering pile down a little bit more!

There's nothing better than curling up in bed with warm blankets and a hot mug of tea and a stack of good books within reach or on my Kindle. I could spend weeks like that. Hell, if I could afford it, I'd spend every winter doing that!

(Ignore the fact that this means that in Canada, I'd be doing that from December until late April, if I'm judging winter by when it gets too cold outside to be comfortable. But hey, approx 1/3 of a year devoted to reading? Now that's a dream job!)

I've been getting back into crafting more and more, deliberately making the time to do a little each day. I've made some embroidered bookmarks lately, and tonight I think I'll start working on some coasters. Woven paper strips with a felt backing? Sounds like a plan! It's relaxing, and doing stuff like that allows me to destress and get in a few episodes of Supernatural now and then. :p

As soon as I can afford a new camera (or can borrow someone else's), I'll start getting pictures and re-open my long-closed Etsy store, so that I can sell things again and make a little bit of extra money to cover me during lean or sick times. I've learned the hard way that I can't rely on any benefits I get through work, or anybody at work to actually help me get more details about those benefits, so that if I end up really sick again or end up needing another surgery to remove things that shouldn't be there, I'm on my own when it comes to money. So the more I have saved up, or the more things I do that can make me money when I can't work my dayjob, the better things will be for me during that time. And if it doesn't come to that, then I'll just have some spare money saved for anything else that I need or want to do down the road.

Speaking of making things, a friend was incredibly generous recently and paid for me to take an art course I had my eye on. It starts on the same day that I have my appointment with Dr. S, and the focus is on making small objects, repurposing, and ACEOs and ATCs, so it should give me plenty of inspiration for other things that I can make on my own once the class has ended. I can't wait for it to start, and as shy as I am, I also can't wait to meet other artists and crafters in the city. I think it'll be fun, and good for me. So many thanks going out to V for helping me with that when I couldn't afford to do it on my own.

And that's about it, at least for important lifey updates. Hopefully I can get the health hell sorted out soon (I haven't been healthy for about 2.5 years now...) so that my life can return to positive things all the time, like books and embroidery and walks in warm weather and all that wonderful stuff!
Went to see my doctor about the pain. Turns out that my doctor wasn't in and that it was his temporary replacement doctor that I was seeing and I hadn't been notified about this even though the receptionist had known weeks in advance. Fucking lovely. Anyway, this doctor barely bothered to listen to me and all she did was shoo me out of there with a new prescription for painkillers.

Apparently the answer to, "I'm in so much pain that I can't function unless I take enough painkillers that I can't function," is "MOAR PAINKILLERS!"

Needless to say, I called back later and left a message for them to make me another appointment, in which I specifically requested to see my doctor and not his replacement.

The pain gets worse during the week and a half or so leading up to my period, plus the time I'm actually bleeding. So about half the month I can expect to be in agony, sometimes bad enough that I have to reach my daily limit of painkillers around lunchtime. Yesterday I came home early from work because of it, and by the time I got home, I looked strung out. My eyes were red, my pace was a weird mix of flushed and pale, and it wasn't a wonder that nobody complained that I was leaving.

The pain's better today, thankfully, and I hope it stays that way, because if I don't work my full shift today, then I don't get the holiday pay for this coming Monday that will make missing half a day more tolerable because my paycheque won't be short.

Kind of thinking that unless I can find a doctor who'll do more than just throw drugs at me and hope they stick (the spaghetti theory of medicine?), I might have to start looking seriously at throwing aside my dreams of going back to university so that I can be a teacher. That's the kind of thing I'll need my full mind for at any given moment, and I can't take 2 weeks a month off when the pain gets bad. I still have options for that, of course, since I have skills that I can use for small home-based stuff that doesn't involve a regular schedule or the need for regular payments, but still, the idea of going through life until meopause with this much pain so often is one that makes me want to just break down and cry.

Have to think of happy things, or else I'll go fucking nuts at this point. (It doesn't help that my 3DS died last night and won't hold a charge, and I was looking forward to using this weekend to get further in Pokemon X... Fuck you, bad timing.)

Yes, happy things.

NaNo's going well. I'm ahead of the goal for 50K words by the end of the month, but I'm not as far as I wanted to be for my own personal goals. There's still plenty of time to catch up, and I probably will, so I'm not especially worried.

I won $50 through an affiliate program that I had to join through work, and since that $50 was for use on a site that specialized in concert tickets and mucisian merchandise, I promptly spent it all on Adam Lambert swag. Because fuck you, world, I want accessories and a Trespassing poster! I got an email yesterday telling me that at least one of the items had shipped, so I have that to look forward to in the mail.

I also have about 8 books coming to me from various publishers, which I'm also looking forward to, though I have no idea when they're going to get here either. Still, having something to look forward to keeps me going, because getting through the day is easier when I feel good about coming home because there might be something nice waiting for me there. (Other than cats and food and warmth and a roommate, I mean.)

Oh, and also a shirt that I ordered through TeeFury. I have a lot of mail that should be coming later this month!

If I can't play Pokemon X on my long weekend I'll probably spend the time feeling greater motivation to catch up on reading, and to catch up on Black 2, which I still haven't beaten and I really ought to make more progress in before the cloud storage and transfer option becomes available in December. Then I can transfer stuff that I can't get in X (assuming my 3DS works at that point) and have a much more complete Pokedex. But really, I'll probably just spend a lot more time reading, because I've been a slacker with that lately and I have a lot of stuff that I need to get caught up on in regard to that. Which is just a tad more important than Pokemon, I think.

At work, an incentive bonus is coming along nicely, and I'm in good stead to receive 3 $100 gift cards in December. If all of the reservations I made during the incentive period go through and no cancellations were made, I should get 6 of them, but I'm not counting anything that I can't see the company received comission for, and so far that's just enough for 3. Still, $300 will buy my roommate her 3DS and give us some money to spend on something nice, or get some holiday presents with, or something.

That'll be the biggest thing I'll miss about eventually not working there anymore. The sheer number of perks I can get through affiliates and vendors.
lighterthanair: (rageface)
On Thursday, I spent a good chunk of the day in the kitchen, preparing tasty food for the Samhain feast. Apple tart, chicken stew, peameal-encrusted pork roast, boiled new potatoes. Freaking delicious! I've missed cooking.

Problem is, it seems like I'm going to end up missing it a whole lot more. By the end of the day, I was in a lot of pain. Partly my feet, for having been on them for hours, but mostly my midsection, around the incision and the scars inside me. I figured I'd just worn myself out and that I'd feel better the next day.

Yesterday, I felt just as bad. I took one of the super-naproxen (500 mg, that I was prescribed last time I went to urgent care for the pain) before I left for work. Before my lunch break, I had to take another. The two together took the edge off, but didn't kill the pain completely, and it left me feeling stoned for about 2 hours. I pushed through the shift because I was too afraid to tell anyone that I needed to go home. My mobility was shot. Walking hurt. Sitting down hurt. Standing up hurt. I moved as slowly as I could, which meant that going to the bathroom and back to my desk took roughly 5 minutes when I had to walk 200 feet, at most.

I have an appointment with my doctor this coming Monday, to discuss pain management and what I can do about this.

I know I need to lose weight. That would help. But it's fucking hard to lose weight when just cooking a meal from scratch leaves me in massive pain the next day; how the fuck am I supposed to get exercise without removing my ability to do things like, oh, I don't know, go to work?

There has to be an option.

But what scares me the most about this is that Rachel and I sat down last night and had a frank talk about what we can do if I'm not able to work because of the pain levels. Not at the moment, obviously, but once she's through school and has a job in a lab (which she's just about guaranteed, and there's the possibility we'll need to move to another province, but that just makes me excited), and I know she's said that once that happens she'll be making enough money for both of us to live on without me needing to work, but there's a difference between that and not being able to work.

And this is the first time in my life I'm really faced that as something I may need to consider. Something that puts paid to all my plans and makes me consider what else I'd do. I want to go to university and get a degree and teach in Japan. That's been my dream for years, and thanks to the job that Rachel's likely to get, that dream might actually be feasible for me. To go to school and learn awesome things and teach in a country I've wanted to be a part of for so long.

But now, what if I can't? What if this is pain that's not going to leave me alone any time soon, and it keeps limiting what I'm capable of doing? Is it worth it to push through to achieve a dream, or is it better to scale back my plans and do something that I'm better able to do while accommodating the fact that my body doesn't like to do what I tell it to do?

It's not like I don't have options. Writing, if I get lucky enough to make something of that. Book reviews will still keep me wonderfully busy. I've thought many times about making spare money by selling handmade items online. If I don't need to work for a living, then I have plenty of options that won't leave me feeling like I'm useless, and may actually get me somewhere else that I'd enjoy being. But it's still scary to think that if things continue as they are, I might be a lot more limited in what I do with my life than I originally gave thought to.

I'm probably jumping the gun with even thinking seriously about this. Chances are that if my doctor can help me manage the pain without relying on dopey painkillers all the time, I can keep going through daily life just fine. And I'm sure there are options that I haven't considered or that he can help me with. (I've thought that having access to a swimming pool would help me lose weight without going through as much pain as I have been, and while the local pool is pricey, there may be options if I need to go for physical therapy or something.) So I won't be too grim just yet.

But it's a possibility I might have to face, I guess, so maybe thinking about the logistics of it now will prevent some of the frustration and shock later.

I don't hurt as much today, which is good, but I also haven't moved around much yet. Let's see how I feel after walking to work this morning, and make my judgment then. I hope I can do it without hurting myself.

...More reasons to be angry at Dr. S, though. If she'd just taken out my uterus in the first place, instead of hanging onto the hope of me making babies (that I can pretty much no longer make), my uterus wouldn't be so damaged and there wouldn't be as much scar tissue inside me, and I likely wouldn't be in half this much pain, if I was in any at all.
So my workplace decided they were going to run a leadership skills development course, and asked for interested names. I submitted my name because I've always wanted to be in leadership, and I made a point of telling them that now my health was getting back on track, I wanted to put all of that mess behind me and move on with my life and career. I've been there since the centre opened, and sure, I haven't been there for the whole time, but they've seen me help people, they've heard other workers compliment me, and since I got back, my stats have been higher than ever before. I figured I had a fighting chance.

I didn't get selected.

The people who did get selected are people who have already started taking extra duties, floor-walking, mentoring, openers and closers, people who have already demonstrated that they're willing and able to put in the extra effort that it takes and so they're seen as a good investment for building skills that might make them solid assets to the company. And I don't begrudge them that at all. Most of them I know, and I know they'll be good in their roles.

But it really slapped me in the face that putting ill health behind me isn't as easy as I thought it would be. These people spent the last six months working on their skills, showing their stuff to management. I spent the last six months trying to regain my breath after walking up a single flight of stairs, trying to stay awake when I had no energy, getting hospitalized, recovering from surgery. My life came to a standstill. Theirs didn't.

That fucking tumour stole time from me that I'm never going to get back. And I feel less like I have to move forward from where I left off and more like I have to claw my way back to where I think I left off, because in reality I was sliding backward the whole time. I lost 6 months for sure. I lost even more time when you consider that I was constantly in and out of work for much longer because I kept pushing myself too hard and my weakening body would sometimes just stop and tell me this whole "trying to exist as a normal person" thing just wasn't going to work.

It's time I won't get back. It's life I won't get back. And it just hit me yesterday how much time I lost. How many opportunities I either missed or had to pass over because I just wasn't capable of doing them. I feel like I have to work twice as hard as anyone else now just to prove that I'm healthy and capable of advancing.

It didn't escape my notice that two other people with health problems got passed over for the course, too, even though they've also taken on additional duties and one of them even has training and supervisory experience.

I tried to talk to one of my coworkers about it. How frustrated it made me feel. When he wasn't talking over me about how he lost his chance, and I said flat out that I felt like the tumour stole my life away, things got suddenly quiet, and I started to cry. I got up and ran to the bathroom to hide until it had passed, and there was no more talk about it after that.

I spent most of yesterday getting frustrated and trying not to break down into tears again. It was then that I made the decision, finally, to get counseling for this. I need help getting through everything that happened. I can't do it with only the resources I have. I need guidance, and I need support, and I need to be able to put this mess behind me so that I can actually start moving forward the way I feel I should be.

Nobody told me that getting my health back would be just as hard, but in different ways, as being sick in the first place. Nobody prepped me for it. Hell, I barely got any prep from my doctor about what to expect physically while I was recovering from surgery, let alone emotionally. And some of what she did tell me was flat-out wrong. This is the stuff that gets glossed over, ignored, until it all comes crashing down and you're left in a pile on the floor, thinking that you're weak and stupid and why the hell are you crying anyway, you're healthy again, you should be happy, you're just malingering and want attention because there's clearly nothing wrong with you, you idiot.

So I sent a message to a local counseling place, asking for info and rates. I hate having to do it, but I know I need to. I can't just sit back and say that I want to get better while doing nothing about it. To get help, I have to ask for it, accept it, and really work at it. Maybe then I can actually get back to where I left off in my life and start moving forward, instead of feeling like I'm just going 2 steps forward and 1 step back all the time.
I've been neglecting this journal. Partly because I've been busy, and partly because I just haven't wanted to deal with a lot of stuff since the surgery and since I've returned to work. I'm capable of working again, which is good. I'm glad of that. But there's still some stuff I need to get off my chest, so I'm back to old habits, returning to a personal journal in the hope that I can get some of this stuff out and maybe that'll help me come to grips with what's been bothering me.

I think the surgery did more damage that I first thought.

Not physically. Mentally. I had moments during the first few months, where I'd suddenly stop and go, "Whoa, somebody cut me open and played around my with insides!" And it felt surreal, and sometimes it freaked me out enough that it was hard to not cry, but I put it all off the being early in the healing process, and still adjusting from lousy health to recovering health, and then pushed it all further aside because hey, I shouldn't be feeling weird about stuff. I'm getting better! I should be happy!

And I was. Am. And will be.

But the dreams...

I've started to have dreams where I'm back in the hospital, and they've figured out that something is still wrong with me or something new is wrong, and they have to keep me there and do tests. And those dreams stress me out, more than I think they should.

I half-woke up one morning last week, only covered in a bedsheet, and in my half-awake state I had the unsettling notion that I was in the hospital, covered only in a sheet again, waiting on the gurney to get wheeled into the OR where they'd cut me open again.

Then there's the matter of medicine. I used to like that dopey sleepy heavy feeling of taking something like NyQuil and falling into a deep and restful sleep. It meant that I'd sleep well, and fall asleep quickly, and rest enough that I'd feel better in the morning than I felt the night before. Now, I feel trepidation when I take anything that has that effect. Why? because the feeling I get from it is a milder but similar version of that second between being injested with anesthetic and falling under, that one second in which I groaned from the sensation and then felt nothing at all.

Which, it hit me all of a sudden about a month ago, was actually the scariest thing I can imagine. Because if something had gone terribly stupidly wrong during the surgery, there'd be no way I'd have known. There was nothing between that groan and waking up later on as they took me into post-op. Not even the vague sensation of time passing. Just a dark void. And if I had died, my last memory would have been of that groan, that sensation, and then nothingness. And that scares the ever-loving hell out of me, and I'm not exaggerating. There are tears in my eyes as I type this, just remembering that realization.

So now taking NyQuil fills me with this unpleasant unreasoning discomfort whereby in my sunconscious, I start fearing falling asleep because part of me associates it with a void of uncertainty and then pain afterward.

This is the shit they don't prep you for when tell you they're cutting you open. Or if they're supposed to, my doctor gave me no such courtesy. I don't know if this is normal, or if I'm overreacting because of various other mental issues I've had to deal with over the years, or what. But it's freaking me the hell out and the dreams and thoughts are getting more common, and I don't know if I should push past them and they'll go away, or if I should be calling my therapist and booking appointments again.

Grief counseling is supposed to work for stuff like this, because what is grief but having to deal with sudden unexpected and unpleasant life changes?

I don't want more dreams about being in the hospital, or about being sick again. I don't want to hate that feeling of actually getting rest and knowing my cold will be better in the morning. Is it even possible for me to deal with this stuff on my own, or should I just cave and get professional help, and then possibly add all this to the complaint about my doctor and why she made numerous mistakes and also didn't prep me for this when she knew my history of mental illness?

Do I blame my brain, her, or both?

And does it even matter?

I hate those dreams.
So my appointment with Dr. S didn't involve any arguing. She gave me an additional 2 weeks off work, hesitant to give anymore in spite of my continued pain and fatigue because "sometimes workplaces call [her] and want more information if she puts them off longer." (Uh, then tell them? Radical concept, I know...) I was very tempted to tell her again that I've already been off since February, my workplace isn't going to notice an additional week here or there are this point, but though that would be entirely truth, that would probably look like I'm just fishing for time off when I don't need it, even though I do. So I kept my mouth shut.

Also turns out that the tumour had grown so large that it outstripped its blood supply and had started to die off. And while that sounds good in principle, keep in mind that meant I had dying tissue trapped inside my body, and that can easy spread infection to other nearby tissues. Again, signs that this should have been done long ago instead of her dilly-dallying to avoid potentially harming my reproductive ability.

And where that's concerned, if a few months she wants to do some scans to determine that. See, with the tumour's infiltration and the amount she had to cut and move in order to remove it all, she's not even sure my fallopian tubes are even attached to my uterus anymore, let alone whether they're in good enough condition to allow the egg to keep passing through. The only reason I give enough of a damn to let her do these scans is because I think it will be supremely ironic if it turns out that I'm infertile, because my infertility will have been caused by her delaying things and letting the tumour grow so large while she tried to save my fertility with lesser treatments. And if she'd just done the surgery sooner, before the tumour had grown larger and infiltrated further, she might have actually been able to save what she valued so highly in me.

If that happens, I'll have to try my best not to laugh. It would be bitter ironic laughter, but I doubt it would go over well.

In different news, last week I managed to get out 2 reviews (David Walton's Quintessence and Madeline Ashby's iD). This week I plan to write up a review of Joelle Charbonneau's The Testing, which, in a nutshell, was a pretty decent YA dystopian novel, but unfortunately was so derivative of the dozens of other YA dystopias and brought nothing new or interesting to the genre, so it largely fell flat. I think that genre's getting pretty tapped out at this point, and yet because it's still popular, more and more novels are getting written and more and more of them and just the same as what came before. Same Story, Different Day.

And considering I love reading about dystopias, that's saying something.

I've been doing a fair bit of reading this past week. It's felt so good to just lie in bed, the window open and a bag of tasty candies by my side, getting buried in books and running off to far-away lands. Though I'm still doing it for review fodder, it doesn't entirely feel like it. It feels a lot more like reading purely for my own enjoyment, which takes a lot of the pressure to review off me and cycles back to make the whole experience that much more enjoyable. I kind of wish I didn't have to go back to work at all, even in a few weeks, because I've been having so much fun reading like that. If only there was a way to make reviewing into a decently-paying career. Sigh. But I've been doing that thought-road before, and short of selling out and charging for reviews, that's not going to happen.

And that's dishonest and fills me with a sense of discomfort so profound that I wouldn't do it even if it were an option.
Today I have an appointment with Dr. S, and I've been dreading it all week. I've learned to pre-emptively dread seeing her, after this whole experience, and today I'm in knots over it because I have to do the fun thing of convincing her that I'm not ready to go back to work yet.

Why am I not ready? Well, because I had the fun of trying to heal from surgery while battling anemia that's as bad as it's ever been, all at the same time. Funny enough, low hemoglobin can affect your ability to be healthy! This may have slipped her mind at some point when she released me from the hosital with hemoglobin levels 10 points below what she claimed they were. So still I can walk for about 15 minutes at a time, slowly, before feeling sore and tired. Two short (7 minutes or less) bus rides combined with that 15 minutes of walking to get groceries pretty much leaves me unable to do much for the rest of the day, and depending on the weather (wet or humid weather makes me hurt even more), possibly the day after.

So there's no conceivable way that I can go back to work right now and actually get through things. Getting there requires a 20 minute bus ride, followed by either another 4 minute bus ride or else a 10 minute walk at my normal pace, which may take me half an hour now. Then 8.5 hours of working. Then either a half hour walk uptown at my normal pace (which may take me over an hour now, if I don't collapse first) followed by another 15 minute bus ride home, or if I'm lucky enough to get off work early, 2 15 minute bus rides in a row.

Hahahaha no.

There's no way I can do it. If I could teleport from here to work and spend the entire 8.5 hours working at my own pace and being able to sit or lie down as I pleased, then teleport home again, maybe I could handle it at this point. But I can't. I still need naps in the afternoon, especially if I've already gone somewhere that day (eg, to get groceries). It hurts to roll over in my sleep, which usually wakes me up, so I'm not sleeping well either. I can get by without painkillers if I have to, but it's not fun, and even taking the painkillers is no guarantee. I'm a lot better than I was, but I'm not ready to start a full-time workload again, and full-time's pretty much my only option. I've been gone long enough that they'll likely stick me back into training again, which means I have to do a full 8.5 hours, and can't start off at 4 hours a day or something much more tolerable.

Again, though, that doesn't solve the problem of the bus rides causing me pain and fatigue.

So I expect to have to argue with her to get another few weeks off. Outside, I'm healing fine. The scar from the incision isn't a large as I dreaded, the infection I had cleared up (left another scar, though...), and have more colour in my cheeks than I've had in a while. But I've been trying to heal from 2 things at once and that's not easy. Given that she's the doctor who subtly blamed me for letting the anemia get out of control and ignored the fact that it was happening in the first place, I don't expect much sympathy from her over this.

Hence the nerves. Stress. I don't like it. I can't wait for the appointment to be over.

In a pinch, if she refuses to give me more time off, I can go to my family doctor and ask him. He's okay with handing out sick notes like they're going out of style, provided he gets paid his $20 fee for them first. And no matter what happens, I'm filing a report against Dr. S, regarding her abysmal treatment of me since I started seeing her, and her negligence which allowed the problem to get seriously out of hand in the first place. No matter what she does today, that's happening. I'm still too pissed at her idiocy to let it all slide. She needs to be held accountable, not just for letting things go too far but also for repeatedly giving me poor health care advice that, had I followed it, could have seriously damaged me. There's no excuse for how this all happened, and I at least want it on the record.

And hopefully I can find a new doctor to do any additional follow-ups with, because Dr. S wants scans later on to see if the tumour permanently damaged my fallopian tubes, which she suspects it did. Funny how her insistance on saving my reproductive capability might have actually led her to destroying it in the end anyway. I don't care, since I don't want kids anyway and never have, but I would sincerely love to rub the irony of it all in her face. While dealing with a competant doctor.

Ugh, I rant too much about all this crazy health stuff. I'm so tired of it. I want it to be over, and I want to be healthy again. I know that the surgery was the right decision to get me healthy again, and even 2 days after it, when I was still in pain and standing up nearly caused me to pass out, I didn't regret doing it because I knew it was what I needed. If I can get over this hurdle, and not be one of the 15-30% of people who have a recurrence, I can start living life properly again. I can do things without having to count my spoons. I can lose weight, and take up photography again, and go for walks, and cook, and all the stuff that's had to be put on hold because I just can't handle it.

Can't wait for that day!
lighterthanair: Dracula, from Hotel Transylvania (bad day)
It's not unusual for this time of year in this part of the world, but it seems like this month has been about 1/2 rain, 1/3 cloudy, and the rest of the time there's actually been sunshine. Which normally wouldn't bother me, since I'm typically a fan of rainy days because it's so much fun to sit by the window and read while there's rain coming down outside, but since the surgery every rainy day, extra-cloudy day, foggy day, and humid day hurts like a bugger, so I'm considerably less happy about it than normal.

Like today, when it's not only raining, but the ceiling in the dining room is leaking again. The landlord has had roofers out here at least twice since I moved in, but she doesn't like to spend money and so always hires discount workers, so the problem never actually gets fixed. And because she likes to spend money so little, I'm half afraid to tell her that the ceiling still leaks. Hell, when the heating stopped working this winter, she insisted that the problem was because I had furniture blocking some of the heaters (as though heat was a solid thing that can't move past, over, or around physical objects), and so any lack of heat I had was my own fault. Ignoring sections of the heater that had nothing in front of them and didn't work, of course. But I fear that if I tell her this, she'll find some reason to blame the problem on the tenants rather than the fact that she owns an older building that she doesn't pay for good repairs on.

So instead I just keep a supply of buckets on hand and hope that the leaks stop soon.

I'm really considering moving out of here when I can. I like this apartment. It's in a very convenient location, the view from the back deck is beautiful (especially at sunset), but between this winter's heating problems, the leaks, and the fact that the only time I can consistantly draw hot water for a bath or shower is when the heat is off in the rest of the apartment (ie, summertime), I really think it's time to start looking for a new place. It can't be soon, because I'm still in lousy health, and by the time I get healthy enough to pack and carry and move stuff, my roommate will be back at school and that will be a big inconvenience, and besides, we're low enough on money as it is... But maybe next summer. If we can survive another winter of lukewarm showers and inconsistent heat, we can save up enough to get out of here in about a year, and move to a place that might not leak so damn much and might keep us warm when we need it to.

In less annoying news, I've gotten back to reviewing with a review of Rachel Hartman's Seraphina. The contest to win a signed copy of M L Brennan's Generation V is open until Thursday night, if you want to enter. And I wrote a couple of posts that seem to be getting some attention: on audiobooks and auditory processing disorders, and how an over-reliance on tropes can lead to the illusion of character development. More writing than I've done in a while, and it felt good to get back into the swing of things. I'll probably write up another review tomorrow, too.

And since today is a rainy day, I expect to curl up in bed with a book, to keep the pain away and to keep myself happily entertained. I have a steady supply of these, and some apple green tea to drink, and comfy blankets to crawl under. I expect to finish Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave today, and then I should really get back to E J Swift's Osiris, even though there are now about 5 other books that I want to read instead. But I started Osiris and I really ought to finish it. It will make going to a different book that I'm more keen on reading even better, when I get to it!

Then again, maybe I should just move to another anyway, because if I look at Osiris that way, reading it might seem like more of a chore than an enjoyment, no matter how good the book is, and I'll resent reading it and ruin the experience. Eh, I guess I'll see when I finish The 5th Wave, anyway.
lighterthanair: (tell me about it)
Took me a few days to get the energy to make a post about this, but here I am, so let's go.

Originally, I was going to go uptown on Saturday, the day after my birthday, because that was when we both had time free. But my roommate got done with classes early on Friday, and due to the nasty weather that was due to hit us on Saturday, we figured it was better to go earlier than planned, to avoid badness and maximize goodness.

So uptown we went, to Cora's, where we had a delicious lunch. Ham-and-swiss omelette for me, with potatoes and toast, and a peach smoothie. Very yum, and that's one of my favourite meals at Cora's, so that made me very happy. And sitting down for long enough to eat a meal also helped me recover a bit from the bumpy bus ride there. I'm still low on energy and I still hurt a fair bit, so as much as I can technically handle bus rides, they still wear me out and cause me pain.

We also stopped by Coles, and found that they had a Buy 3 Get 1 Free sale on just about everything in the store. So my roommate got 3 books she was looking for, and I got 1 (Terry Pratchett and and Stephen Baxter's The Long Earth in paperback. Very happy, because I've heard good things about that book. And 2 of the books that my roommate got are also books that I want to read, so that was a bonus for me. :p

We split up then so that she could pick me up a couple of bags of those raspberry cheesecake candies that I mentioned in my last entry, and I headed to an awesome small bakery in City Market to get some baked goods. I didn't want a full-size birthday cake, because I figured it would end up being more than we could both eat before it went stale, so instead I got a couple of small things each. I ended up with an apple dumpling and a lobster tail (pastry filled with cream), and she got a caramel crepe and a cannoli. Expensive, but so worth it!

After that, there was enough time before the bus home and I had enough money left to make a stop at a nearby tea room, and I bought myself a bag of White Swiss Truffle tea, which is an amazing blend that has a lovely chocolate-mint flavour running through it. I discovered that they also had a new blend made by combining that with peppermint, called Peppermint Patty, and I was curious about it but decided to stick with the White Swiss Truffle. Maybe next time I go there for a cup I'll try the new stuff, because there are very few of their blends that I dislike. And that has more to do with personal taste than them making a bad blend. I love that place, and I wish I could go there more often. They serve good tea and food, and don't mind if you sit there for hours with a book or writing or just chatting. I've been a patron of that place since it opened, and will be so until it closes.

After that, I was in a lot of pain and getting really worn out, definitely reaching the end of my strength, so I was happy to go and wait for the bus. By the time I got home, my face was red, I was sweating badly, and my slow pace was slowed even further because it hurt to move. I was damn glad to see my bed, that's for sure!

But even though there was pain involved, I had a good day. Honestly, I think I'd be happy if all my birthdays were spent like that. A good meal, some tasty treats, a new book, and I also got a video game ($8 for a virtual copy of Ogre Battle that I can play on the Wii) and a print from a photographer I really like. It was wonderful!

Of course, I paid for my excursion the next day, and the fact that there was heavy rain didn't help matters. I woke up at 6 AM in too much pain to go back to sleep, and spent the entire day on the couch, except for the time I went back to bed for a nap. Painkillers galore, and it hurt every time I even shifted my position on the couch. Unfun.

I feel better today, though I'm still in pain, and plan to spend the day taking it easy again. Maybe get some more reading done (I finished rereading the fourth Harry Potter book last night) and watch some TV, or maybe see if I feel up to playing a video game or something. Relaxing and easy stuff that doesn't involve too much movement or brainpower.

And tomorrow, I should be getting back to writing reviews, because Bibliotropic has been quiet of late, and I think I'm finally strong enough to not only sit up to write for decent periods of time, but also able to keep my thoughts together enough to tell people coherently what I thought of a book. It actually took longer to reach that point than it did to sit at my computer for an hour. Kind of sad, that. But I blame the fact that I'm still healing from the surgery, coupled with anemia that's pretty much as bad as it's ever been because my doctor's still an idiot.

And oh, Adam Lambert, your music makes me feel good no matter what mood I'm in. :3 I wonder if I have strong enough lungs to start singing along again...
lighterthanair: Bat-Mavis, from Hotel Transylvania (shiny!)
Last night, somebody told me I was inspirational.

This person said that they've followed my health problems when I post about them on Facebook but hasn't said anything because with health problems, there are a lot of things that a person can say wrong. But last night she took the time to tell me that she admires my strength through this, and my ability to get through it all has been inspirational.

I don't know what to say. I know she's not exaggerating or just being polite (because she's not the kind of person to just give lip service to social niceties unless she means them), and so I can conclude that she actually does mean what she says.

But... In truth, seeing what she's going through has actually been inspirational to me. She's had multiple surgeries lately, in far more pain than me and with far more limited ability, and I think that what I'm going through doesn't hold a candle to her ordeal, and so when things are hard, I remember that she's powered through far worse than this and so I can too.

And then to find out that she thinks that I've been an inspiration? I can't quite wrap my head around that.

Nor can I say I've handled this with grace and strength, not really. I've broken down repeatedly, as much from recovering as from the problem itself (I remember sobbing at work because I didn't know how I could go through another day of pain and heavy bleeding while still trying to keep doing my job more than once). I've been too weak to keep working. I've been angry and ranty and wished nasty consequences on the people who didn't take me seriously and allowed me to get worse for so long (Dr. S, I'm looking in your direction here).

My condition wasn't life-threatening. Well, I suppose it could have been, given about another year of ignoring things while I slowly bled out and the tumour kept growing at a disturbing rate, but I mean that the tumour wasn't malignant and I didn't have cancer. It affected my mobility and my energy and my ability to do much some days, but not more than what a lot of people I know go through on a daily basis, and have gone through for far longer. As hard as this has all been for me, it could have been a lot worse.

But then a voice in the back of my head (a non-negative voice, for once) tells me that I'm doing myself a disservice here, because what matters is that I did pull through and I did stick to my guns at last and demand surgery, and that I managed to put up with so much for so long and come out the other side with hopes of recovery. And even though that's not as much as some have to do, that's also more than many have to do. It's more than I've ever done before, and I'm still standing (not always easily, but still standing nevertheless). And someday it may happen that things get worse again and I can't draw on the strength of knowing I overcame it before, or maybe someday this very thing will happen to someone else and they can find my story and take courage from the fact that I made it through, or who knows what will happen?

I'm still healing, and I'm still in pain and my mobility and stamina have been shot to hell, but I'm still here, and I'm getting better every day. Maybe that is inspirational even to people who've gone through worse, because it's different than what they went through. Maybe it's inspirational because they know something of what I'm going through and can see strength behind it that I don't because they themselves know what it's like to have to be strong just to get through another day. Maybe it's inspirational because fuck, having someone cut into you is never fun no matter what the reason!

I don't know. But I'm flattered, and baffled, and more than a little humbled by her words.
The night before last, I had a bad bout of nausea out of nowhere. It dissipated before I could throw up, and I felt better afterward, so aside from the incident itself, I didn't think too much of it.

Last night, or rather early in the morning, I was woken up with a gut attack and pain so bad that I actually did throw up this time. By the time I crawled back into bed, the sun had started to rise. I couldn't warm up, even under two blankets. Even now, my feet still feel like I've spent the last half hour walking over frosted ground.

Not fun.

I think part of the problem is that I've been eating like a normal person, and overestimating what I can actually do. It's easy to feel fine when your greatest excursion in a day is pacing back and forth while water boils for tea. When I only experience a relatively small bit of pain then, it's easy to forget that I'm actually still quite early in the healing process.

That notion gets thrown out the window when I go for a walk outside, though, since I walk at a snail's pace and get tired after a mere 10 minutes. So tired and sore I need to lie down for as long as I walked in the first place, just to make me feel remotely normal again.

So today, I'm going to focus more on fluids instead of solid food, and taking it a little easy instead of pushing myself. It helps that today's all cloudy and rainy; I have a good excuse not to go outside for a walk, and can just take it easy in here. And drinking enough fluids will help kill some of the hunger I'm bound to feel. I just want to bring myself back to a good stable place before I try to be normal again. Evidently my first time didn't go so well.

In better news, I'm stuck in the middle of David Walton's Quintessence and loving every minute of it. The story presented an interesting mystery right from the get-go, and things just got better since. Which is awesome, because usually historical fantasies are very hit-or-miss for me, but this one seems to be entrenching itself firmly in the "hit" category.

And I'm thinking that after I finish reading it, my next read is going to end up being Mur Lafferty's A Shambling Guide to New York City. I hear a lot of mixed reviews about it, that the talent's there but the execution falls flat, but I'd like to see for myself. I used to listen to Lafferty on podcasts a lot in years past, and I've heard her short fiction, and I'm really interested to see what I make of this novel. It's got an interesting premise, at any rate.

Also, as soon as I feel well enough to sit at my computer for longer periods of time, Ragnarok 2 has been released! I found it all too easy to get addicted to playing the first game, and by the sounds of it, I'm going to find it just as easy, if not easier, to throw myself into its sequel! Anyone else around here playing it?
lighterthanair: (rageface)
Ugh, bad pain days blow goats. I think it's because there's been so much cold damp (and outright wet) weather lately, but yesterday I was in a great deal of discomfort and ended up taking more than my usual amount of painkillers. It's not so much the incision that hurts but all the sutures and whatnot inside me, and it makes it very uncomfortable to do anything but lie flat on my back, which also becomes pretty uncomfortable after a while. I ended up exhausted by early evening.

But of course, sleep didn't help much, because I woke up twice through the night and then finally couldn't stay in bed any longer as of 7:45 this morning. Sigh.

I feel a bit better today, which is a start, but it still hurts a fair bit and I'm stiff to boot. ut hopefully the worst of the rain has gone, and maybe a few days of nice weather with no chill to the air or drastic change in pressure will help out a bit.

I wanted to spend the weekend catching up on all the blog posts I've missed, but it's still hard to sit up for more than half an hour at a time, and moreso after yesterday's pain. Likely today I'll spend more time on the couch, alternately watching TV (anything with Ruth Goodman and historical recreation is golden, in my books) and catching up on some reading that's fallen by the wayside. At least I know how to keep myself entertained when I'm in pain.

(So long as the pain isn't so bad that I can't concentrate on anything, of course. When it reaches that point, all I can do is lie still and hope it goes away soon.)
lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
Little by little, everything's getting better. The staples have been removed from my incision, and of the 11 of them, only 2 hurt to have taken out. The small sore near the end of the incision is healing nicely, thanks to thrice-daily applications of rubbing alcohol and a prescription for antibiotics. I still need painkillers, but I seem to be going longer each day before I need another dose, even if it's just an extra half hour. I'm getting better mobility. I'm sleeping more comfortably. And while the incision still twinges and hurts like merry hell toward the end of the day (my strength can only run for so long, after all), every day gets a little bit easier.

Considering my still-abysmal hemoglobin levels, I'm pretty damn pleased with the way I'm recovering.

I'm still taking it easy, of course. Most of the day, I lie or sit on the couch, reading and watching shows on Netflix (right now I'm trying to finish up the last season of Fringe). I get up and wander around a lot, though, so that I don't stiffen up and so that I can at least get a little bit of exercise, even if it isn't much. I'm apparently not supposed to go for any walks outside for a week (according to the patient discharge guide I was given), but I cheated and walked about 100 feet down the street and back yesterday, just to get some fresh air. It tired me out, though, and made the incision ache by the time I'd gotten home. Guess I can see why that guideline's in place after all... It's surprisingly easy to walk inside compared to outside, and it's one of those distinctions I didn't quite appreciate until now. Outside, even relatively even ground isn't as even as a tile floor, and there are little swells and bumps in the sidewalk, and more things to contend with when a body is healing than you often notice. Funny, what we don't think about that becomes so important later on.

I've been on a Harry Potter rereading kick since I got back, too, and just started the third book today. I might take a break after I'm finished it, though; too many review copies piling up again, and I really ought to make some headway on them instead of letting myself get slack with rereads. That's what I used to do all the time before I started doing book reviews. I'd read new things, but not nearly so many, and I'd often stick with many of the same tried-and-true novels I knew I'd like and knew wouldn't disappoint me. I don't want to fall back in that rut again.

Especially because I have so much time on my hands, being home alone for most of the day, and what else can I do but read when I can't move around too much?

Next week, though, I hope to be able to sit up for long enough at a time to start writing reviews again, so I can catch up on that backlog. I still have about 20 books read that need reviews written; if I can even write 1 a day next week and stagger them being posted, I'll have some content set up for a while in case I backslide or don't feel like writing much else for a week after that.

Other than that, not much has really been going on since my release from the hospital. (Well worth an update post, yes?)
lighterthanair: Nahadoth, from N K Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy (nahadoth)
This is going to be a long post. For everyone's benefit, I'll cut it into days to make for a bit of easier reading. Also, I will probably talk about some semi-gross things, such as what you have to deal with when you go into the hospital to have your belly sliced open. You have been warned.

Wednesday )

Thursday )

Friday )

Saturday )

Oh, you thought that was the end, did you? )

So this was the last straw. She's being officially reported. All the other stuff was bad enough, but this? She has endangered my health. She has lied. She had dismissed symptoms and delayed treatment which ultimately made the underlying condition far worse than it needed to be. She has belitted and ignored my choices and recommendations and lifestyle again and again. I need some justice here, because she is a foul doctor who doesn't deserve to be seeing people if this is the quality of care she's going to give them. I'm completely disgusted, and ashamed that I ever had to trust her with my health at all.

I see her tomorrow to have the staples removed. If I can't switch my 6-week follow-up appointment to a new doctor, I'll have to see her again, then. But after that, if I can get away with it, I don't want to see her face. I don't want to talk to her. I especially don't want her to have any say on what happens to my body or my health, because all I know now is that she'll either fuck it up or lie about it. Or both. I can't trust her, and the reasons I can't trust her are ones she brought down entirely on her own head.

Lousy fucking bitch.

So that hopefully concludes the surgery saga. If that sore looks bad again later, I may end up back at the ER, but if not, great. I'm hoping for not, but I really don't want an abdominal abscess to spread very far, so again, better safe than sorry. But we'll see.
lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
Bigger than last time, anyway. At 2:30 PM AST, my surgery is scheduled. Thus I'm expecting that around 2 PM, I'll probably be getting to that time where I'm drugged to the gills and the world doesn't make much sense anymore.

And you know, that's fine with me. Just so long as this ordeal starts to end. Properly this time. Not like the other 3 attempts at treating me that ultimately ended in failure because Dr. S simply didn't believe that things were as serious as I kept telling her they were. Sad that it took me being hospitalized and needing 3 units of blood to convince her that hmm, yeah, maybe I should start to do something other than put a band-aid on the giant gaping open wound (figuratively).

I figured I'd sleep terribly last night, what with being nervous about this. As it turns out, I had the best night of sleep in almost a week. Not sure what it is about me sleeping well the night before medical procedures, but I can't say I'm unhappy about having gotten some decent rest. And from what I've been told by people who've undergone similar procedures, I can expect to feel like sleeping for a solid week afterward. I know it's mostly stress that's been causing this week's insomnia, so hopefully once this is done, I can start recovering in many ways.

Not sure when I'll next be back online. I suppose it depends on when I get home, and when I can sit up long enough to use my laptop. Updates will probably be made on Facebook first, so if you want to follow me there, that's more than cool. (It's nice to have more people to talk to!)

Wish me luck!
Just got back from the hospital, where I spent the morning in a barrage of pre-surgery tests. Had swabs done for MRSA and VRE (is it odd that the nasal swab was more uncomfortable than the rectal one?), an ECG to check and see if that heart murmur has gone away (they suspect it was caused by me being so anemic for so long), and then 2 vials of blood taken so that they can type-and-match me all over again, because it's likely that I'll need yet another transfusion after the surgery.

2 vials! I figured they'd only need 1. I'm starting to wonder if the reason I'm anemic is due to so many people drawing blood to check to see if I'm still anemic!

And now I'm back home, enjoying a nice cup of tea while I relax a little before I start a load of laundry.

Last night I signed up for an online writing workshop, one that will hopefully revitalize my writing urges and send me on the road to good creative outlets again. I've really missed writing lately. Not just writing book reviews and babbling on about how cruddy my health is. But creative writing, fiction writing. Original stuff and fanfiction. I used to have so many fanfic ideas floating around in my brain, and some of them are still there, but I just haven't been able to let the words from from mind to fingers lately, and that bothers me. So hopefully the workshop will help get things back in gear.

And it doesn't start until halfway through June, so I should be recovered enough from my surgery to sit up and do some writing by then. I'd damn well better be, really, since it'll have been a full month between slicing me open and starting the workshop.

Charging my Kindle now since it's almost dead. I finished rereading The Golden Compass the other day, and today I finished The Future is Japanese, which is a collection of sci-fi short stories featuring Japan. It was okay, but some of the stories were outright boring, or felt like they were sections from other complete novels and so I was missing part of the story vital to having it all make sense. Other bits, though, were fantastic, and I enjoyed reading them.

Not sure what I'm going to read next, though. I still need to finish Who Fears Death (not on my Kindle, but an actual paperback copy), but for electronic reading? I have a whole load of review copies piling up again, and I ought to read one of them, but the problem is there are a good dozen that I'd like to start right now! I think I need to clone myself and link all the minds together, so that I can have the time to read everything I want to read.

Especially because in addition to all of this, I got the urge to start rereading the Harry Potter books for the umpteenth time, too.

Flipping a coin won't help. Maybe I should roll a D20?

September 2015

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