Lamentations and Ecclesiastes


Breast Cancer awareness ribbons

Have you ever hit that point where you feel everything in your life is meaningless? The goals that you set for yourself seem like chasing the wind? Have you ever wondered what’s the point, when for all of your hard work, anxiety, stress, and aggravation that finish line seems elusive or when you cross it, it’s a day late and a dollar short? There has to be more to life than this, right?

I tip my hat to those men and women who continue in their daily roles after getting the diagnosis of cancer. The initial shock hit me hard. Making the decision for surgery seemed like a no brainer to me, I mean if there is cancer in my body – then get it out!

My blood pressure was the highest it has ever been the day I went in for surgery. I had never had a surgery before minus oral surgery which isn’t the same at all. Of course, Mother Nature thought it was funny to have major flooding in the area to cut off the major highways between us and the hospital. That had its own share of aggravation, but we managed it. It did mean, however, the day of the surgery I had one person in my corner to be there with me through all of it. My husband is a saint! He has been amazing through all of this, has been encouraging, loving, supportive and has been my champion every day.

It makes sense, of course, we are partners in life. When we took those vows years ago. . . we promised for better or for worse, through sickness and in health. . .

Funny how when you are young and in love, you never really think about the worse or sickness. Maybe it’s just me,  but there was a certain amount of moon-eyed happily ever after when I said my vows.

Honestly, I’d be in worse shape without him in my life. I know this for an absolute certainty. This wasn’t meant to be a “sing the hubby’s praises” post, but it needs to be said.

For all of his help and support, he can’t fix what’s inside my head. OH, that I wish he could. It has been a whirlwind of tests, needles, doctors, more needles, surgery, more doctors, back to the tests, the dreaded needles, and now radiation.  While I am thrilled beyond measure that I am not having to go through chemotherapy, I am trying to cope with the current radiation and oral medications.

Everyone around me keeps encouraging me and telling me how brave I am, how strong I am. . . not feeling it. At some point every day I feel exhaustion, fatigue, nausea, and that doesn’t even begin to get into the mental battles: the continued struggle to lose weight, the dietary restrictions because of cancer, the fear that cancer will be found somewhere else, the sense of failure as I slip further behind on my goals. At times the weight of it gets the better of me.

I think that one is the hardest for me. I can tough it out when I don’t feel great, but can still manage. I see my author friends cranking out one project after another and I get more discouraged. I know I’ve suffered from a lack of focus with too many projects in my queue. I’ve allowed criticism to derail me when I had a full head of steam working towards completion. I’ve  allowed the poison words of certain individuals to affect my mental state to the point that I quit working on particular projects.

You want to know what is really sad?  I have volumes of stories mostly written. For example, I was diligently working on Valkyrie’s Curse. I had the first draft completed, was 78% finished with second draft revisions when I realized that the story didn’t end at my ending. The overall story spans five more books which I outlined and have key scenes written for them.  I was excited, I was on a roll. I  can see the destination over the far horizon then the white haired witch rose up before me, hissing and flailing in wild gestations spouting words of her own self-righteousness, singing her own praises and that my methods and styles were wrong because they aren’t like hers. She was right, I’m nothing like her. I don’t want to be. After three rounds of being put off to review the manuscript, I got discouraged and set it aside. I will get back to it,  but I have been working on getting Roxy ready for her debut. I had my manuscript for VC ready to go,  had the second book first draft completed, so I needed something else to work on. In all honesty, I’ve had a dozen new ideas since then with a brief intro or scene written, enough to remind myself what the idea for that story is.

I sent my revised story of Roxy to a fabulous lady, who is an awesome author and mentor. She pointed out – very nicely I might add – plot holes and glaring errors. Hmmm, this wouldn’t do. I had to make it a story that I was proud of and that readers would want to read. I rolled up my sleeves and got busy. Very little of the original story remains, but  I think it’s by far better. So what’s the problem?

Finishing it.  I have nearly 60K words on this story. I’m adding in some transition scenes as well as some other scenes to take it to the final destination. I was on a roll right up to April 12th, when my world came crashing down around me. It galls me to admit that I can’t get it out by the deadline that I wanted. If that was the case it would have been published at the beginning of May.

There have been more than a few days since my surgery that I didn’t even get online. I didn’t crack my computer open. I didn’t have the mental energy to write a few hundred words. Now I am struggling to allocate my daily limited energy to what is important. I feel like a huge weeny because I  don’t have the energy to be superwoman – having my house immaculate, serving healthy nutritious and tasty meals to my family – five star restaurant quality because I am the overachiever, keep up with my day job – because I have medical bills to pay, this one has to go to the top of the list, writing, blogging, exercise, mental health activities.  Pick a day, any day and at least three of those things fall by the wayside. Care to venture which ones?

Most often the taking care of me part has been at the bottom of my priorities. Maybe it’s a mom thing or a woman thing but either way, I can’t do that anymore. I want to live to see my next several birthdays so I have to learn to make myself a priority. Why does this make me so emotional???  You’d think it was a good thing. I see people all of the time taking time for themselves, doing things for themselves, pampering themselves, yet I struggle to allow myself downtime to cope with cancer.

I will finish my books and get them published because that is a goal I have set for myself. The deadlines have been erased and pushed out even further. (I swear, if I were employing me I’d fire me to get a different content writer.) I may be in turtle mode, but by darn, I will get there.

So what doe this have to do with Ecclesiastes and Lamentations?  In the book of Lamentations, it was basically David crying out – lamenting his sorrows. Sometimes we want to vent or get it off of our chest. Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon,  astute observations and conclusions about life. Let me

Let me briefly summarize: Life sucks. It is like a wild rollercoaster ride that didn’t pass safety inspections and no one tells you when the dangerous curves or broken tracks will appear. We make the best of it, lick our wounds, recover, get stronger, and go on. We all die eventually and when we do, what will you have to show for your legacy? What will be your lasting mark on this world you’ve left behind? What of value have you contributed to this world? Or have you lived a self-serving existence that didn’t impact any other living soul in a positive way?

(This is by no means a church sanctioned summarization. For exact interpretation go read it for yourself.)

I know this is far from my usual uplifting encouraging post and I apologize for that. This is where I am.  I have been trying to remain positive, but there are days when I fail.

Tomorrow is another day and here’s hoping that it’s a better day!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

Memories in the Corners of My Mind #MFRW


This is week 21 -A Childhood Memory

 

I don’t know if any of the others participating in this blog hop have this problem, but with every prompt comes a flood of questions. It takes me a good while to go through the questions and decide if they are valid or not. This is a process that started with me way back, . . . yeah back to my childhood days just shortly after the stone age.

How far back? What topic? I mean, a scary memory? fun memory? life lesson learned? funny memory? sentimental? How can I narrow it down? Should it tie in with last weeks post about movies?  Does it tie in with writing somehow? What does this have to do with writing? What if . . . . and then I have to tell my brain to SHUT UP! This pattern emerges somewhere before kindergarten.

I learned fairly quickly to keep them to myself as I often got in trouble for asking too many questions. That is a whole other post and that’s not the memory I decided to share. That will go under the category of my mother, learning to deal with ADD, and a creative mind. Maybe I should do that.

Anyway, the memory I decided on is one I will never forget.

I grew up in a small town south of the St. Louis metropolitan area. It’s a rural area just outside of a small town. In the midwest , e get hot summers, sudden thunderstorms and are always ALWAYS aware of the possibility of tornadoes.

The morning started out as any summer morning. It was my job to go out and pick strawberries. My parents had June bearers, which means they put on fruit for about three weeks heavily then are done for the season. School had just let out the week prior and it was my parent’s method to make sure I knew that I wasn’t going to be a slacker. Chores had to be done before my fun started. Most of the time, picking strawberries was an easy task as I love strawberries and I would wash about a pint for myself and eat them. Cost of labor, right? Plus it was a nutritious breakfast. Trust me, I wasn’t thinking about nutrition at that age, I was thinking strawerries – yummmm!

While picking the berries, about three forths of the way down the row – the row was about twenty feet long and three feet wide – I reached for a big juicy berry when movement caught my eye inches from the berry. A snake! Not some little five inch snake, NOOOOOOO! It was a full grown three to four footer. I know now that it was a king snake, not harmful but tell that to my ten-year-old self. OH heck no! He could have the rest of the berries. I grabbed my buckets that I had filled and ran to the house. I set the berries on the counter and realized there was one more bucket out there. Out there where the snake was. I had to go get it. It was going to rain and I needed to get them. Berries don’t keep well once they are picked.

Anyone watching would have thought that the entire garden was infested with cobras. It may as well have been. I knew from experience of where we lived, snakes could move fast. We had a few blue racers around the yard, we had the occasional copperhead show up, and black snakes were common. It could have been anywhere.

Two steps, then looking all around. A couple more steps, watching the vines and foliage around the beans, the cucumbers, the tomato plants. There weren’t any vegetables on them, but there was foliage where a clever snake could hide. I could see the bucket ahead about ten feet away. The closer I got, the slower I moved. My heart was in my throat, pounding out a tattoo of terror. I was bending, reaching for the bucket when I saw it less than three feet away, slithering from the strawberries towards the neighbor’s yard through the fence.

AAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHH!

I grabbed that bucket and ran like my clothes were on fire.

Three gallon-sized buckets of berries sat on the counter. I wouldn’t eat any. Dad wouldn’t know that I didn’t finish. I would offer to mow the lawn, wash the car, clean the garage, anything that didn’t involve the garden area or snakes.

I finished my other chores then hopped on my biketo meett up with my neighborhood friends and do the all important stuff of summer vacation. (Which roughly translated to riding our bikes till exhaustion, stealing grapes from Mr. Winslade’s vines that poked through the fence, swiping apples from Mr. Eaves tree that hung over his fence, more bike riding, finding a shady place to stop and talk about what else we would do over the summer, more bike riding until our parents were home, and what we’d do the next day.)

I couldn’t tell you what time of day it was other than at noon Mike’s mom would call him for lunch. That was our cue that it was lunch time. I’d cycle back home, grab a tuna sandwich or peanut butter, drink a gallon of tea then vacuum mom’s big rug in the front room, wash the dishes then run back out the door. When Brooke’s dad pulled into the driveway it was time to head home. My dad would be pulling into the drive shortly after his. That meant it was time to clean up and start on dinner. I offered to cook dinner in order to get more allowance. I liked to cook and every kid needed money to get pop and candy at the local gas station.

Dad asked about the strawberries. I said yes, I had picked them. “Was that all of them?”

“Was that all of them?”

“Ummmmmm.”  I’m a terrible liar.

“Well,  I picked all the way down to the telephone pole.”

“Why didn’t you finish?” He showed no emotion, no anger, just a simple question.

“Dad! There was a snake. I could have been bitten. He was huge!” My heart began to race.

“Well, I’m sure he’s long gone so go out there and finish up.” As a parent, I can appreciate this now but at the time, I would have sworn my father was sending me to my death sentence.

“But, I started cooking dinner. Mom will be home at six.”

“You’ve got time. Just go finish up. It shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes.”

I knew there was no reasoning with him. I knew he was right, I had seen the snake leaving. But what if he came back? What if he was waiting for me? What if he wantto curlurl around me and constrict me then eat me whole like Kaa?

I grabbed an empty bucket and walked, head down, towards the strawberry patch. My steps weren’t cautious like before, what did it matter if the snake shot out like an arrow and latched onto my leg. If I were going to die,  then it was going to get me one way or the other.  I knew exactly where I had left off.  The telephone poll was about a foot behind the place I stopped. Plus for anyone who has ever picked berries, it’s easy to see there are red berries here but not there.

I knelt down, picking the berries as quicly as I could. I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, seeing a few green bottoms when I dropped them into the bucket. I knew dad would have something to say about that, reminding me that they needed to ripen. I stood, one foot on either side of the patch, so that I could move quicker down the row. There was only about four feet of row remaining and if I managed to get to the end of the row without being bit by a snake, or the imagined tangle of multiple of snakes that I knew were just waiting to strike. My heart pounded as I filled the bucket.

The end was in sight. There was only about ten inches of row left. I could do this. I might survive after all and not end up with the epitaph on my tombstone: Done in by strawberries and the snake that resideth therein.

A particularly large berry, at least four inches wide, red and luscious. My mouth watered remembering that I hadn’t eaten any that morning. Maybe dad would like some strawberry shortcake for dessert. I reached for it. Confident that I was about to cross the finish line unharmed and return to the house victorious.

Then the brown stick that was laying at the end of the row curled up and moved.  I had been bent over, knees slightly bent, one foot on either side of the row  as I worked my way towards the end. I shot up arrow straight, eyes wide, shaking like a leaf. This was not a king snake nor a black snake. It was a copperhead. Copperhead’s are poisonous.  I didn’t dare move. Any movement might make it strike.

I was frozen. Well, aside from the shaking bit. My jaw clenched tightly as I  stared at the snake. I couldn’t let it out of my sight. I couldn’t turn and run. I couldn’t move.

“Stay still, don’t move.” Dad’s voice behind me was both comforting and disconcerting as I detected a note of seriousness in his voice that wasn’t usually there. Slowly, he walked down the path between the strawberries and beans. One step at a time, stalking his prey. When he was just about even with me, he raised the hoe overhead and held it there for a minute before bringing it down with every bit of strength he had. In one move he had chopped it’s head off, picked up the tail end and tossed it behind the neighbor’s garage, then picked up the head with the hoe and flung it in the same direction.

“How about we have some ice cream with our shortcake tonight?” He nodded towards me as he used his hoe to cut a few weeds from the beans. ” Don’t forget that last berry, that’s a beaut!”

I let out a deep breath as I plucked that last berry, grabbed my bucket and walked as quickly as I could towards the house.

My father’s two joys were gardening and fishing. I am grateful that he  taught me about gardening even though I didn’t listen half as much as I should have. I’ve had to learn some of his wisdom through my own trial and error. I am glad that I was his “fishing buddy” for many years. He didn’t often talk, but occasionally. . . occasionally  he would offer pearls.

We had our differences at times, but my dad was always my hero. I miss him terribly.

That night after dinner we enjoyed our strawberry shortcake, and dad made sure I got the biggest berry. When I sat down on the sofa reading a book, I overheard him telling mom that he was proud of me.  That I finished the job even though he could tell I was scared. He had followed me out, going to his garage/ work shop. He watched me out the window for a few minutes and he knew the minute I saw that snake.

My wild imagination often got me in trouble as a kid. Asking a million questions also got me into trouble.  My father was far more patient than my mother. His method of dealing with my questions was to answer them to the best of his ability until he could find something else to distract me.

At some point in our lives, all we have left of our parents are our memories. We sift the bad and keep the good, choosing to hold onto the moments that shape our lives.

Father’s Day is coming up soon, if your father is still with you do something to honor him. Take time to visit him. Share a memory that means a lot to you with him.

Ironically, this wasn’t the memory that I was originally going to share, but it’s the one that came up. Perhaps another time I’ll have the opprtunity to share about the tornado.

Until then, go check out what the other’s are sharing on this blog hop!

 

Leave a comment below  then visit the other authors. Write on my friends, write on!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

My Favorite Movie Inspired by a Book #MFRW


Greetings everyone! It’s a been a while since my last post and even longer since I made an MFRW post.  Life has been – different. I’ll address all of that later, but for now . . . . on to the fun stuff!

The topic for this week –  week 20 – is My Favorite Movie Inspired by a Book.

I realize that many of my constituents (aka other bloggers participating in this blog hop not to be confused with political opponents vying for same geographic region) will probably reference some of the most recent book/movies such as Divergent, The Hunger Games, 50 Shades. Not me.

The subject is MY favorites.

There are many movies made from books, then made into screenplays. There are movies based on books.  Quite often I find that I greatly prefer the book to the movie. There are a few that have translated well to the big screen.

The Polar Express

It’s amazing what they can do with animation these days, isn’t it? Well, the book made me cry when I first read it to my kids, and that same emotion hit me when I watched it the first time. No, it’s not a sad movie. It’s a wonderful story. They were tears of joy, heartfelt compassion. Yeah, I’m a softie. I cry at commercials sometimes as well.

The Princess Bride

Inconceivable how anyone could not like this movie! This is one of the rare instances that I prefer the movie to the book. If you haven’t seen it, why not? GO – get it now. Download it on Netflix or Amazon and watch it. I’m serious!

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Based on: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Wang Dulu

Year published: Between 1938–1942

The novel is actually the fourth book in the Chinese author’s five-part Crane-Iron Series. This martial arts extravaganza is well-written, with a wonderful plot, great characters, action, drama plus it has Donnie Yen, Jet Li,  and Michelle Yeoh! Maybe you aren’t a martial arts fan, but this movie is worth your time. I never read the book for this one either but I saw an interview with Jet Li where he stated about reading the book and he was excited that it was going to be made into a movie. I’ll warn you though, most Asain movies don’t have a happily ever after. Often they are tragic. This book/movie – and the movie followed the book fairly closely – has a dynamic plot that engages the reader/viewer, keeping you on the edge of your seat.

It’s not just another cheap Martial arts movie – this one is worth your time!

Probably not what you would have expected, but there you go! I could list twenty others that I liked but these three are at the top of my list.

What’s your favorite book adapted to the big screen?

Leave a comment below and let me know. Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

This Changes Everything


Today I  will be having surgery to remove the tumor that has changed my life.  Not in a “Biggest Loser”  winner way.  Not in a “you survived the great outdoors” Wilderness Challenge sort of reality show. This is real life, change how you think, change your priorities in a second, change the way you process life.

I’ve never made myself a priority, I’ve always been on the back burner ever since I became a mom. I’m not the only one, it’s epidemic. Women often don’t take care of themselves. Maybe it’s better with younger generations, I hope it is.

I have had to shift my priorities radically. The twenty irons that I had in the fire are nearly all set aside and cooling until I can afford to address each one. Some may be tossed but that’s ok. If they are, they weren’t important.

So what has changed? Everything.

Dieting is no longer a choice –  I have to change my diet to follow what the oncology doctors say. Whether that is low carb or calorie restricted only, I know it will have to include mostly lean proteins and lots of fruit and vegetables. Sugar is out. I’ve been trying to cut down but allowed myself a dessert once a week. Nope – dessert isn’t worth cancer.

Exercise – no longer an option because a better circulation system and better cardio health mean that I am stronger and better able for my body to fight during radiation and chemotherapy.

Fewer tasks on my daily todo list – this is a biggie for me. I’ve always been one of those too many irons in the fire juggling them to meet deadlines and last minute all out like my pants are on fire types. NO more! I will have to manage my time and reduce the stress which means I will have to assess tasks and learn a simple word – NO!

I can’t afford negative energy. I can’t afford negative people stealing my energy. I can’t afford to give the power over to anyone else. I have supportive famil members and friends and I will call on them as needed.

Here’s a biggie –  I need to learn to ask for help. OUCH! So far this is the hardest one on my list. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to HAVE to ask for help? Alas, I need to focus on the important things and let the rest go. That also means learning to trust and depend on others and ask for help. Right now I feel strong, invincible, I can beat this! Hear me roar! I know though, this is before surgery, this is before the results of pathology, beforeI have gone through one day of radiation and after a day of meditation to help get in the right positive headspace.

A really good friend of mine gave me a picture last year of a woman warrior and told me this reminds me of you. I was touched but didn’t see it. 

At first I didn’t feel like I could even do this. I didn’t feel like I had a chance it was so unexpected. Let’s be real, nobody chooses cancer. Nobody chooses this battle. Every one of us has our own battles to deal with and nobody I know would jump up and volunteer for this road. Having said that, it isn’t really about what I feel.

I KNOW that I am made of sturdy stock! German and Russian blood are comingling in there with some ScotsIrish and other assorted mutt mixed races. I won’t go down without putting up a big fight.

I KNOW that the doctor stated they caught it early, and the tumor isn’t large. This is good news which means the odds of survival are great! As scary as it is to hear “You’ve got breast cancer”  it could have been far worse than it is and my odds are pretty good.

I KNOW that there are people who love and care for me. You couldn’t have convinced me of that a few weeks ago, but when I shared this horrible news the outpouring of friends and relatives have been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. I must say it was more than a bit humbling.

I KNOW that wherever this path takes me from this day forward, I am going to LIVE each and every day that I have, pursuing my dreams and goals and making sure to show love to at least one person every day.

Whether you are a believer or not, my faith will see me through. My faith is strong and I know without a doubt that my God is well able to see me through this. I know that His will is for life and not death. I know that the power of prayer is a very real thing and I have many friends praying. This is what it is all about, the people in your life. People that you impact around you. I’ve tried not to be preachy to anyone, I have never condemned anyone for their faith or lifestyle because that’s not my place to do so.

I’m instructed to love people, and that’s what I try to do. Y’all know it’s hard to love some people – God knows I try but some of you  . . . I mean there are people who like liver! There are some of you who don’t like dogs! There are some people that choose to listen to country music for Pete’s sakes! Anyway, putting those things aside we are all people and we need to love one another not judge or fight against or criticize others. Just think how boring it would be if everyone was exactly like you. Or me –  can you imagine the chaos that our world would be if everyone was like me????? Good grief –  we need organized people who can get things done!

What I’m trying to say is I love the diversity of our world. I’ve been meditating most of today ( writing this on Tuesday preparing for my big day today, er tomorrow when you’ll read this.) and I am starting to feel more like the warrior in that picture. I can do this,  this will not defeat me. It’s going to take more than this to take me out. Besides, legend has it that the Amazon warrior maidens cut off their left breast as a sign of strength. Alright, so mine is going to be removed via anesthetic and scalpel, but  I’ll wear the scar as my Amazon tribe initiation.

I found out that when I start the radiation treatment they will tattoo a series of dots on my left breast where the radiation will be focused. I’m considering getting it altered to a fancy schmancy tattoo over it.

So after today, everything changes.

Write on my freinds, write on! And say a prayer for me if you think about it – I would appreciate it!

Ellie

 

Suddenly


Hey, everyone!

How to write the post I need to write . . .  there is no real clever way so with all the tact I can muster, I’m going to plunge in.

With the A to Z Challenge, I left off with the letter O. I have a new word, that inadvertently has everything to do with my own writing right now –

ONCOLOGY

On March 28, I had my annual OBGYN visit. I shared some concerns with her about the girl parts, namely issues that indicate menopause.  She sent me to the Imaging center for a pelvic sonogram, and the annual mammogram. I expected some news on the lower region but not the tatas.

A scheduled date for a routine procedure for the girl parts was made. Later that day, I got a call saying I needed to return for an additional mammogram and breast ultrasound because I had some areas of concern. OK, that’s a bit disconcerting but no biggie, right? I figured fibrocystic breast syndrome because the girls aren’t exactly smooth like a muscle,  they are kind of like a well-used pillow. NO, I’m not going into detail on that but after nursing two babies, being a ‘mature’ woman I’m grateful they don’t drag the floor.

April 6th I go back for these additional tests and the Dr. that oversees the imaging center came in and told me that it’s cancerous. BUT, don’t worry, most of the time it’s benign.  He had one of those plastic forced smiles that is used to break bad news. I instantly don’t trust him.

April 12th, I have a Fine Needle Aspiration biopsy. Don’t let anyone fool you – it hurts. “Oh, you’ll just feel some pressure and hear a click” LIARS!!! 

IT HURT!  IT HURT FOR DAYS AFTER!  IT still hurts as the bruised area changes from purple to greenish yellow.

I wait for the verdict phone call which was supposed to happen either last Tuesday or Wednesday that never came. On one hand, no news is good news.  If they don’t call it can’t be too urgent right?

WRONG!

I called on Thursday because I suck at waiting patiently.

STAGE 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

Yeah, that’s something you want to hear when you are in the office alone. I mean, literally alone. There wasn’t another breathing soul in the office complex.

The only time I’ve ever known doctors to act fast is when it’s serious so it didn’t alleve my fears when they called back to confirm an appointment with an oncology surgeon for the next day. Friday the 21st was a marathon. I would gladly attempt a running marathon as opposed to my day. The doctor explained completely with drawing little illustrations to emphasize the points. My options were presented to me, initial treatment assessment was discussed, and then it was off to the labs for more tests.

Bloodwork – one of my big fears about this whole thing is the needles. I have small veins, they are deep (being fat isn’t the only reason for this) and they roll. When I get blood drawn they use a child’s butterfly needle. What is going to happen if I have to go through chemotherapy and they blow my veins? I don’t have enough time to build my cardio level to have super veins like my husband. He makes a fist and the veins just pop out. Of course, that would look bad on me as a female.

Chest x-ray, EKG, new mammogram, additional close up mammogram slides, 3D Ultrasound – I was there from 8 in the morning until almost 5 at night.

I’ve had the weekend to digest all of this.  I’ve shared with close family what the diagnosis is and the plan for treatment, and have even shared on my Facebook account.  I was almost at a place of peace about accepting this. Nobody wants to go through this. Nobody chooses cancer.

Then, I get another call. Just a few minutes ago actually. I have to go back for an MRI and a second biopsy of additional spots that they found. This may determine whether or not I can have a lumpectomy or have to have the full mastectomy.

I’m not sharing to gain your sympathy. I’m not sharing because I overshare – if anything I hear from people that I don’t let others in, don’t share what’s really going on.

This isn’t about writing yet it is.  I write with passion. My passion. Passion for life, passion about love relationships, passion about the emotions we go through. My plan for today was to share some more from Roxy, a segment that I’ve recently tackled – one that was very difficult to tackle and I had to be in the right headspace to do. Ironically I had to draw on the raw emotions of my own mother’s funeral to write this. I’d put it off for weeks, but finally tackled it and was quite proud of myself for not only tackling it,  I think I did a pretty good job on it as well.

Then I get this news.  Well hell!  Oh trust me, I could write the emotional scene now. I could pour my heart out on the pages and nobody is the wiser that it was me going through this emotional tidal wave with the diagnosis of ‘You have breast cancer’.

Ironically, Roxy’s mother died after a long battle with breast cancer. Should I wait and experience first hand and rewrite? Should I proceed with it as scheduled? I know that women dying from breast cancer is rare, it’s usually when it’s metastasized beyond the breast and invaded other organs. Ultimately it started with breast cancer, and Roxy’s mother was a woman that put off her own medical treatment until it became critical.

For me, they caught it early with the mammogram. Of that I am grateful. Ladies, don’t put it off.  I still can’t feel any lumps even knowing that it’s there. I don’t have a family history of it. I don’t have the usual symptoms that indicate cancer.  In all of my regular doctor’s comments about concerns for being overweight he never said cancer was one of them. Now as I am reading the material provided to me by the breast cancer center, obesity can lead to cancer. Heart disease and diabetes were on my mind, not cancer. Never cancer.We hear the words “save the tatas” and kind of laugh, but we do the self-exams. It has become a reality for me now. This is a path I never wanted to go down but am forced to embark on this journey.

We hear the words “save the tatas” and kind of laugh, but we do the self-exams. It has become a reality for me now. This is a path I never wanted to go down but am forced to embark on this journey. April 20th is a day of demarcation for me. My life as I knew it ended that day, so tears were to be expected. Tears of grieving for what was,  what dreams may die, all of the changes that have to be made and tears to face the great unknown.  A little encouragement for saving the woman would be appreciated.

I’ll try to stay away from the pity parties but from time to time I will be sharing my struggles in this battle. I’m not looking forward to the needles. Not looking forward to losing part of my breast or the full breast or breasts depending on what they find. Not looking forward to possibly losing my hair. Not looking forward to much of any of this,  but it’s the path I’ve been put on and I’ll make the best of a bad situation.  I come from good stock and I am my mother’s daughter. My mother was ” a tough old bird”. I hope I have half as much chutzpah as she did.

I plan to continue writing, still pushing for my delayed deadline and praying that I don’t have to push it back further. The A to Z challenge . . . I don’t have the energy to continue that now. I thought about making a video, but I didn’t think I could get through it without an ugly cry and who needs to see that?

Hope you stick around to see me come out the other end of this!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor


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Welcome to week 7 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  This is a makeup post, so the linky link for other authors will not work. 

This week’s prompt:

 Music to Write By

My musical choice is very much dependent on the mood of the story. For Roxy Sings the Blues, you can bet there is a lot of BB King and Eric Clapton.

While writing Kiss of the Dragon, I primarily listened to instrumental music.

My musical taste runs a gamut from classical, to Instrumental such as Tubular Bells, to some jazz, to Blues, bluegrass, rock, classic rock, some pop. but rarely does it include Country or rap. If you’re into that – great. I’m not. With everything, however, there are exceptions. I like Johhny Cash – he’s considered country.

My most recent playlist includes the following:

The video is shaky but I usually have  it playing in the background anyway.

 

How are you liking these posts?  Some are interesting to me, others are  things I’d rather keep to myself about like my editing errors. Uffda!

You can find other posts in this series here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

O Brother – #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

O  my soul cries out!

 

Ode: A lengthy lyric poem that often expresses lofty emotions in a dignified style. Often relayed in meloramatic tones.

On Acceptance: When payment is given to the writer after the editor accepts the finished nonfiction article. This is more often used in article writing, not novel writing. 

On Publication: When payment is given to the writer when the piece is published.

On Spec: When the editor is not obligated to publish the piece as the writer was not officially assigned to write it.

Onomatopoeia: The use of words that resemble the sound they denote. For example – hiss or buzz. Batman was rife with onomatopoeias. POW BANG CRASH!

Outline: A point form or list of short sentences that describe the action or major ideas in a written work. Some pantsers abhor the idea of outlining so much, they won’t even write down a vague outline such as: MC goes on quest to save the world. Meets with opposition from the antagonist. Overcomes obstacles, saves the world! That is a basic outline. 

Overview: A brief description of a novel or non-fiction book intended to introduce the work to a publisher. 

Oxymoron: A phrase composed of two words with contradictory meanings. For example – original copy.

This morning at six am, the only O word I could think of was outline. After three cups of coffee, hours of waiting for a phone call, my nerves were shot and the only other O word that was on my mind was oncology.  I’m still waiting to hear the verdict, in case you wondered what the ‘O my soul cries out’ bit is about. Trying to remain positive!

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

M and N – #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

 

Since I missed posting on Saturday, I’ll start with M.

Manuscript – literally meaning written by hand. A term used to refer to the finished novel of an individual.  Back in the day . . .  it was required to send a printed copy of your finished manuscript one-sided, with one and a half inch margins all around, boxed to a publisher. Yes, I’ve been doing this for a while. Thank God for the digital age!

Meditation: A thoughtful or contemplative essay, sermon, discussion, or treatise — especially one that encourages introspection and self-analysis.  A meditation is a window into the author’s soul. It’s a glimpse of the beauty or darkness within. It can shed light on how they think, how they feel, what’s important to them, what hurts them, what they rejoice over. It makes the author vulnerable.

Muse – As a noun, it means a person — most often a woman — who is a source of artistic inspiration. The author’s muse specifically is often referred to in the female gender because she is the most fickle of creatures. She may bless you today with a brilliant idea then disappear leaving the writer pulling their hair out not knowing how or where to begin, only returning weeks later laughing giddily at the writer’s frustration. She’s not only fickle but fiendishly wicked as well.

Today is brought to you by the letter N.

Narrative: A collection of events that tells a story, which may be true or not, placed in a particular order. The narrative part of the story fills in where the dialog leaves off, where the action leaves off.  It is the backstory that tells you why your characters flaws make him vulnerable.

Newbie: A new writer.

Novel: A work of fiction consisting of 45,000 words or more.

Novella/Novelette: Short works of fiction consisting of between 7,500 and 40,000 words. I am currently working on a novella – I know shocking for me, isn’t it?

Nut Graf: In journalism, the paragraph that contains the main point of the story. I”ll make a confession – the only reason I remember this one is because when I took my online writing course, this term sounded ridiculous. At that time my kids were watching Over the Hedge, and there is this character in it that is a squirrel and  he forgot where he puts his nuts. The main character voiced by Bruce Willis commented on ‘he should have a nut graf and a stand by drink’ that was the equivelant of Mountain Dew. I had just read the section about nut graf. The squirrel was integral to the nut graf of the movie, but that’s all I am going to tell you. I will forever remember nut graf with that squirrel and his fizzy drink! 

Hey, I didn’t say they were all going to make sense. These are my terms and my understanding of them. You are free to alliterate terms on your own blog!

Do you have any interesting anecdotes of why you remember certian things? Care to share them?

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

Literary Lead – #AtoZChallenge


 

My A to Z challenge theme is writing terms.

 

Today is brought to you by the lovely lavender letter L.

 

See? In the image, the letter is lavender. . . .  Fine! We’ll just get after it then.

Lead: The first paragraph of a manuscript. This is where the “hook” (to grab the reader’s attention) should be.

Lead Time: The time between getting the query or article and the publication of the article. Vital for seasonal articles and stories. This was more of a concern for article writing than for  novels, but  having said that, it would be best to coordinate the release of a Christmas story in December than to release it in June. 

Legend – a story or narrative which lies somewhere between myth and historical fact. As a rule, is about a particular person or figure.  (Legend of Zorro) Conversely, a legend is also the “map” of the story much like a legend on a map. 


Logline: 
One sentence description of a manuscript.  Some people call this your elevator pitch.

 Love. Not the soppy Valentine kind. The life’s work kind. Love what you do. If you do not love writing, you cannot become a better writer. Being a writer is a lonely isolated existence. You have to love it in order to spend hours isolated from the rest of the world. Also, having written romance – love is a hot topic in various genres.  How many stories have some sort of romance within them?

Also, having written romance – love is a hot topic in various genres.  How many stories have some sort of romance within them?  Whether you think love is for saps or the ultimate prize for each individual or find yourself somewhere in  the middle, love is a huge topic for authors.

Write on my friends, write on!

Till next time,

Ellie

My Social Media Hangouts #MFRWauthor


badge-blog-challenge-updated

Welcome to week 15 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  Each week I will post something about that week’s topic. Ready to play?

This week’s prompt:

“My Social Media Hangouts”

Yeah, I was real original on that title, wasn’t I?

 

I would have to say, I probably spend most o my social media time on Facebook. I’m terrible with twitter, I have my posts set up to tweet automatically. Sometimes when I get a notification I will remember to go check and comment or share,  but most of the time it’s out of sight out of mind.

I will go over to Tumblr about once a month maybe. Last month I completely forgot.

I have an Instagram account but I haven’t shared anything on there in many weeks. I  no longer have a Linkedin account.

If you want to catch me online your best bet is Facebook or Pinterest. But I don’t think you can message anyone on Pinterest, it’s just a bottomless pit of distraction. Like for instance, last weekend I was looking for ideas for my office, wondering what I could do with a small space and purple walls.  I kid you not –  the walls are purple. I’m not really a purple kind of gal. Plus, I don’t think a dark color in such a small space is a good idea.

It’s about 7 feet by 12 feet. You can’t tell from the pictures but the walls “sparkle” with glitter.  I have no idea what sort of business was in here before me. Something girly I’m betting.  My furniture will arrive next week. I’m going to buy some white/sheer striped curtains to replace the purple. I have a couple of silver frames to go on the wall in which I have to display my license and some other legal documentation. I’m also going to try to find some art for the walls as well.  It’s not much, but hey, I finally have an office!  This is not an online hangout though. There is no internet connection at the location yet.

You can find me online at the following:

Facebook  Ellie Mack author

Twitter- @Mack_Ellie

Pinterest- Ellie Mack

My blog- Quotidiandose but if you’re reading this – you’re already here!

You can find out where the other authors hang out as well by visiting them here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie