Chill Out!


This post deals with the third factor that we can have control over to improve our odds of not having cancer or having a recurrence.

There are four areas. They are:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Activity
  3. Stress Management
  4. Toxins

Today my focus is on stress management.

I am all ears.  I seriously need to learn how to handle stress. Many of the times I get sick it was stress induced.  I  tend to stuff it down until things are so volatile I explode emotionally.

 

There are numerous things that you can do to relax and unwind. I’m going to share with you the ones suggested to me, and the ones I have found to help reduce stress.

Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and  a daily devotional were at the top of lists of suggestions. My attemps at yoga were not stress reducing.  The instructor was good,  the moves weren’t  beyond a normal person’s range,  but with a back injury, any pressure on the lower spine caused pain and all floor moves were a strain. I am interested in trying Tai Chi. I have asked at our local YMCA if they offer it,  if not I may look it up on Youtube.

I have a daily devotional, and I journal in my bullet journal.  I find that by writing down my thoughts in my bujo,  I tend to write it down, and not vent to others.  This seems to be somewhat calming because as I write it out, I can often think of how to resolve or  see that I need to shake it off.

Exercise in various forms can be a huge stress releiver. The swim classes that I have been taking are relaxing to me. Walking on a treadmill is not relaxing,  but  going for a walk at the park is very relaxing. OK, maybe not while I am huffing up that little hill on the backside,  but when I am finished and have walked the distance,  there is a satisfaction of accomplishment and a soothing effect on the entire body.  When I was exercising regularly a few years ago,  I would use the elliptical and I participated in a kickboxing class. I really enjoyed the kickboxing,  but then they dropped it.  I didn’t feel like the elliptical was helping in stress reduction, although it was helping me to achieve better cardiovascular fitness so in effect it really was helping to reduce my stress!

A healthy nutritious diet can also reduce stress whereas a high junkfood diet can contribute to additional stress in your body.

Adult coloring books. There is something very gratifying about coloring in those little spaces! My husband bought me a couple different types of coloring books, and I recently purchased a coloring book planner.  My attention lately has been fully devoted to the planner.  If I’m not jotting my to do list, and scheduling apointments, I’m coloring in the margins. The only time this isn’t relaxing is when my eyes are strained, and it becomes aggravating and can actually lead to a headache.

A glass of wine. Red wine has  many benefits,  one of which is to relax you. My oncologist stated that a glass of red wine, three times a week would be  beneficial for my health and well being. Three glasses, not three bottles.

Some  people find fishing relaxing and a way to cope with stress. Others  will paint furniture or landscapes. I am going to try my hand at the rock painting, and leave them around our area. I’ll take a picture of them once I go find some flat river rocks.

Even with all of these options,   I  have a hard time with stress management. I tend to be one of those people who wears their heart on their sleeve and take things to heart. I get wound up when things don’t go as planned, which is most of the time. I get upset when others don’t do their part. I worry about my kids,  where they are what they are doing, whether they are safe. I worry about the cancer –  what if it comes back, what if it spreads next  time,  what if my girls end up with it, what if . . . and then I am so wound up that even the bottle of wine doesn’t help.

My sister’s solution is Xanax.  I don’t have a prescription to Xanax, but I am wondering  how in the world I am going to manage this emotional rollercoaster that I have been on ever since being diagnosed. The medications only contribute more, causing my emotions to be heightened.

While you are reading this, I will be practicing my favorite form of relaxation: toes in the sand.

What do you do to unwind? How do you manage the daily stress? The emotional stress? What form of stress releif do you practice?

I will do everything within my power to never have to go through this again, including changing my lifestyle completely.

Write on my friends, write on.

 

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You’ve Got to Move It!


There are four things that you can do to improve your odds of not having cancer or having a recurrence of cancer. They are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Nutrition
  2. Activity
  3. Stress Management
  4. Toxins

Today my focus is on the second one, activity.

It is recommended that we move 10,000 steps a day and that we are active for at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week. Now, that is the bare minimum.

Coming off the end of radiation treatment,  the fatigue was overwhelming. I had very little energy to do anything more than going to my treatments, walk up and down the hall a few times a day, and slept the bulk of the time.

Now that I am recovering from the fatigue,  it’s still lingering but not nearly as bad.

The first time I went to the park to walk, I had to sit on a park bench after just a few minutes. I ended up doing a half mile but stopping three times because I was so weak. My mind goes instantly to a few years ago when I was diligently doing my cardio, working for an hour at a time on an elliptical, tread mill, or multi-trainer.  But I kept at it.  The next week I was able to do fifteen minutes continuously. The following week I was up to 18 minutes.

I started doing some videos at home with Fitness Marshall. I could barely do one, then rest and do another later. Little by little though I am gaining strength and endurance.

For everyone,  it is recommended that we get 30 minutes of cardio movement daily. For a cancer patient, it is vitally important. Movement increases your blood flow, it strengthens your veins, it strengthens your heart.  You don’t have to run marathons –  thank God or I’d be screwed.

In fact, starting off it is recommended that we engage in a moderate exercise of 30 minutes. Coming off of radiation 30 minutes was overwhelming. Nobody was pressuring me to do more except my own inner drive.  I had to come to terms with the reality of where I was,  what I had been through, and know that if I kept at it,  I would see improvement.

Well, I have. I’m not there yet but I’ve improved.  I can stay on the treadmill for nearly 30 minutes at a time.  I can keep up with the Zumba class for nearly the full 45 minutes. I started an aqua aerobics class today and managed the entire class without having to stop. That may not sound like much to some of you, but considering just a few weeks ago, I had to sit on the park bench after only ten minutes,  it’s progress.

I see many people that set a goal to run a marathon or a 5K. If you like to run go for it. I need to lose a significant amount of weight before I would feel comfortable running.  I think it would be damaging to my knees at my current weight.

I want to be able to walk down the beach to the pier without sucking wind. I want to be able to go  up the stairs without feeling exhausted.  I want to be able to do the things I need to do throughout the day without feeling like I need a nap. Not that there is anything wrong with naps,  but when you feel drained every day after just cleaning the bathroom,  it doesn’t get the house clean.

I know it will be there waiting for me tomorrow,  but when you go in the bathroom and it smells like toilet. . . . .  some things have to be done now.

Speaking of current weight . . . I haven’t been making weekly posts or anything,  but I am down 32 pounds since surgery on May 3rd.

A lot of that was due to not having much appetite with new medications to take, general nausea from chemo medicines, facing side effects of treatments, learning what foods would stay down and be tolerated because I do not like to puke.

The last ten, however, has been hard fought. I have reached a point where nausea has subsided or I’ve just learned which foods to avoid. My appetite on some days makes me feel ravenous. I have to be careful,  a lot of bread type things do not cause nausea and they are easy to grab. Pretzels, toast with peanut butter, crackers,  are all former go to snacks.

I have to limit my carbs. Whether caused by the stress of all of this or just timing with genetics and being overweight,  but I was also diagnosed with diabetes so I have to learn how to eat differently. As I mentioned last week,  the dietician has been one of the best parts of my treatment plan.  When my primary doctor told me to watch my carbs, he said no more than 15 carbs.

I was very careful not to eat more than 15 carbs for the entire day. That isn’t a  lot.  So, I go to the dietician and she says limit each item to 15 grams of carbs,  but I should have 45 grams a day. Well,  That was also why I lost a few of those pounds.

Exercise can help in weight loss. My goal, however, is not to exercise to lose weight. My goal is to exercise, to a minimum of 30 minutes a day in some form or other to improve my quality of life and prevent the recurrence of cancer.

I have been active at least three days a week for the past month. That is a big improvement from the previous three months. This week starts my five days a week plan.  I don’t know how long it will take me to be comfortable at this level, but I’ve always heard that beyond your comfort zone is when you see improvement.

The important thing is to start where you are.  If you walk to the end of your driveway and back and that is all you can do,  then shoot for doing that every day for at least a week before increasing.  Then, do it twice a day for a while until that is comfortable. Then add something else.

You don’t have to join a gym,   you can walk in your neighborhood.  You can exercise with youtube videos.  You can do jumping jacks in your living room – well, maybe you can.  I couldn’t a few weeks ago.  I didn’t have the energy after radiation. Who knows, maybe next week I will.

Most of us need to take better care of ourselves. I certainly do. This is a hard lesson for me,  to make myself a priority and take care of myself.

As I prepare a lesson for tonight and will have to wear one of those paper hospital masks to protect myself from germs because I will be around people,  I am reminded that this is worth it.  I am worth it.

 

I will do everything within my power to never have to go through this again.

Write on my friends, write on.

 

Proper Nutrition for Preventing Cancer Reccurrence


Last week I posted No Cancer formed against me shall prosper,

today I’d like to address the first of four areas that is within our power to control.

Obesity increases your odds for a heart attack and diabetes, the two most medicated conditions in our society.

Obesity increases your odds for cancer. This is something I never heard before the diagnosis of breast cancer. Certain cancers like breast cancer feed off of the hormone estrogen, which is carried in the fat cells, and the more fat cells, the more estrogen, the higher your risk for cancer.

Don’t believe me?  Go here:  American Cancer Society

Sugar feeds cancer as well.

Let me tell you,  there is nothing that will put the fear of dying into you like CANCER.

Much like diabetes, cancer can be self-inflicted.

There are four areas that we can have control of whether or not we get cancer or get a recurrence of cancer.  Once you have been diagnosed with cancer,  there is always a risk of it returning. You’re always looking over your shoulder.  I want to put as much distance between me and cancer as I can.

IF I CAUSED THIS,  THEN I CAN FIX THIS.

I can at least do everything within my power to improve my odds of survival.  The first major area to help prevent or avoid a recurrence is proper nutrition.

A well-balanced diet, consisting mainly of plant-based nutrients with lean proteins as the best dietary plan that I ‘ve seen prescribed by doctors and the American Cancer Society.  I looked at various diet plans: juicing, (not recommended for diabetic patients) vegetarian, (also not recommended for diabetic patients) Mediterranean, South Beach, and the recommended My Plate diet plan.

The dietary plan that works best for me is a modified MyPlate plan that leans towards Mediterranean. This excludes sugar, soda, processed meats, processed foods, chemical laden anything. Which means  no more: soda, (yes I occasionally would enjoy a Coke, or Mountain Dew) bacon (ouch that really hurts but carcinogenic) hot dogs, bologna, processed meats, smoked sausage, processed cereals,  Kraft mac and cheese in a box (no more powdered cheese sauce mix), alcohol (I’m going to miss my wine),anything soy (soy doesn’t play well with breast cancer), and reduced red meats.  No turkey bacon– have you ever read the list of ingredients to make that? Talk about processed!

Think about the sugar alone –  have you ever checked the labels for ingredients to see if it has sugar? How many sugars? There is sugar in things you would never imagine. Crackers, for instance, some of them contain sugar.

I can have red meats once a week. So if I opt for a burger,  that is my red meat for the week.  If I have a slice of ham for breakfast, that counts for the week.

Just about the entire center section of the grocery store I can bypass. The bulk of my diet – no pun intended – is fresh fruits and vegetables. I am limited on the number of carbs I can have because of the diabetic issues, and I am hoping that over time and by following this plan, as my weight drops that I can lose the diabetic medications as well.

Part of the whole cancer treatment plan is seeing a dietician. Best part of the plan for me! It certainly beats the radiation therapy by a mile!

In all honesty, this has been a difficult change to make. A lifetime of bad eating habits have to be changed. So, I’ve been learning to adapt to a new way of eating because quite frankly,  my old habits were killing me – literally. It’s really easy to say no to the foods I shouldn’t eat,  all I have to do is look at my scars.

In order to give myself the best chance of beating cancer, I employ the top 10 list of nutrient dense foods. These are high in phytochemicals, which contain antioxidants, which help fight cancer. I eat  at least one of these a day.

TOP 10 Nutrient Dense Foods:

1. Salmon

Not all fish is created equal. Salmon, and other fatty types of fish, contain the greatest amount of Omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for the optimal function of your body. They’re linked to improved wellbeing and a lower risk of many serious diseases .

Although salmon is mainly prized for its beneficial composition of fatty acids, it also packs a massive amount of other nutrients.

A 3.5 ounce piece of wild salmon contains 2.8 grams of Omega-3s, along with lots of high quality animal protein and a ton of vitamins and minerals… including large amounts of Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium and all the B-vitamins .

It is a good idea to eat fatty fish at least once or twice a week, to get all the Omega-3s that your body (and brain) desperately need. Studies show that the people who eat fatty fish regularly have a lower risk of heart disease, dementia, depression and a plethora of common diseases.

Also,  salmon tastes awesome and is fairly simple to prepare. It also tends to make you feel full with relatively few calories.

2. Kale

Of all the super healthy leafy greens, kale is king. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and various bioactive compounds.

A 2/3 cup portion of kale contains:

  • 200% of the RDA for Vitamin C.
  • 300% of the RDA for Vitamin A (from beta-carotene).
  • 1000% of the RDA for Vitamin K1.
  • Large amounts of Vitamin B6, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese.

This is coming with 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and only 50 calories.

Kale may be even healthier than spinach. Both are super nutritious, but kale is lower in oxalates, which are substances that can bind minerals like calcium in the intestine, preventing them from being absorbed.

Kale (and other greens) are also loaded with various bioactive compounds, including Isothiocyanates and Indole-3-Carbinol, which have been shown to fight cancer in test tubes and animal studies.

BOTTOM LINE: Kale is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you can eat, with large amounts of vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting compounds.

3. Garlic

Garlic really is an amazing ingredient. Not only can it turn all sorts of bland dishes into delicious treats, it is also incredibly nutritious. It is high in vitamins C, B1 and B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper, Manganese and Selenium.

But garlic is also loaded with another incredibly important nutrient called Allicin, which is the active ingredient in garlic. There are many studies on the health benefits of allicin and garlic. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and total and LDL cholesterol, while raising HDL… which should lead to a reduced risk of heart disease down the line.

It also has various cancer-fighting properties. Studies show that the people who eat a lot of garlic have a much lower risk of several common cancers, especially cancers of the colon and stomach. Garlic is also very potent at killing pathogens like bacteria and fungi.

BOTTOM LINE:Garlic is both tasty and extremely healthy. It is highly nutritious and the bioactive compounds in it have known disease fighting properties.

4. Shellfish

Out of all the wonderfully nutritious organisms found in the sea, shellfish may be the most nutritious of all. This includes clams, oysters, scallops, and various others.

Clams are among the best sources of vitamin B12 in existence, with a 100 grams of clams supplying over 16 times the RDA! It is also loaded with other nutrients, including Vitamin C, B-Vitamins, Potassium, Selenium and Iron.

Really, shellfish are among the most nutritious foods in existence. Unfortunately, people rarely consume them.

BOTTOM LINE:Shellfish are among the most nutritious organisms found in the sea. They are very high in important nutrients like Vitamin B12 and Zinc. Really,  who needs encouragement to eat more shellfish, right?

5. Blueberries

When it comes to the nutritional value of fruits, blueberries are in a league of their own. Although they’re not as high in vitamins and minerals as vegetables (calorie for calorie), the antioxidant content is where they really shine. They are loaded with powerful antioxidant substances, including anthocyanins and various phytochemicals, some of which can cross the blood-brain barrier and exert protective effects on the brain.

Several studies have examined the health effects of blueberries in humans. One study found that blueberries improved memory in older adults. Another study found that obese men and women with metabolic syndrome had a lowered blood pressure and reduced markers of oxidized LDL cholesterol, when they added blueberries to their diet.

This finding makes sense, given that eating blueberries has been shown to increase the antioxidant value of the blood. Then multiple studies in test tubes and experimental animals suggest that blueberries can help fight cancer.

BOTTOM LINE:Blueberries are very nutritious compared to most fruits and are loaded with powerful antioxidants, some of which can increase the antioxidant value of the blood and have protective effects on the brain.

6. Dark Chocolate (Cocoa)

Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.

It is loaded with fiber, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. But the biggest factor is its amazing range of antioxidants. In fact, a study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate scored higher than any other food they tested, which included blueberries and acai berries.

There are multiple studies in humans showing that dark chocolate has powerful health benefits… including improved blood flow, a lower blood pressure, reduced oxidized LDL and improved brain function .

 

Make sure to get dark chocolate with a 70% cocoa content, at least. The best ones contain 85% cocoa or higher. Eating a small square of quality dark chocolate every day may be one of the best ways to “supplement” your diet with additional antioxidants. Permission to eat chocolate!

7. Spinach

Popeye knew what was up: Spinach is one of best sources of potassium and is also rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, and iron. One cup raw provides over half of your daily recommended value (DV) for vitamin A, which is necessary for healthy vision, immune system, and reproduction. Want even more? Cooked leaves provides over 100 percent! Sauté in a little olive oil and garlic to accompany your dinner or add to a salad.

8. Brussel Sprout:

Brussels sprouts get a bad rap, but their nutrient profile will set the record straight: One cup cooked provides 195 percent daily  of vitamin K—crucial in helping your body absorb calcium—and 125 percent of vitamin C, which plays an important role in the formation of collagen, the main support system of skin, which helps to reduce wrinkles. Plus, they offer more than 10 percent of your vitamin A, vitamin B-6, folate, potassium, and manganese needs for the day. Try roasting brussels sprouts with olive oil and then tossing in balsamic vinegar to enhance their flavor.

9. Almonds:

We might not always think of almonds as produce, but remember they do come from a tree. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, biotin, manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They’re the perfect afternoon snack to rack up nutrients and help hold you over ’til dinner. Just be sure to stick with a one-ounce serving (shot glass size) or you’ll wind up consuming too many calories.

10. Sweet Potatoes:

Sweet potatoes are, of course, best known for being a great source of beta-carotene (hence the deep orange color), which may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, decrease heart disease, protect against asthma, and slow down the aging process. But one medium sweet potato also provides over 100 percent of your daily needs for vitamin A, 37 percent for vitamin C, 16 percent for vitamin B6, 15 percent for potassium, and 28 percent for manganese. You’ll also find small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, and folate in the bright veggie.

I have had either spinach or kale nearly every day. Brussel sprouts makes a good side with salmon. Half of a sweet potato with a little salt and pepper is very satisfying. Blueberries are one of my favorites.  I like to have blueberries with cottage cheese, with a little lemon zest.

There are more nutrient dense foods, but these are my fast go to foods to ensure that I get the nutrients I need. I hope this helps some of you,  it’s sort of my go to cheat list when I am pressed for time,  haven’t thought out what to cook for dinner or what sides to have. It’s super simple to throw together a salad that includes either kale or spinach.

Any excuse to add shellfish to my diet is a good one.  Since I have to eliminate red meat from my diet most of the time, shellfish and fish have been staples. Plus, a light meal of crab salad replacing that burger is much more satisfying.

If you find this interesting,  then leave  a message.  I’m considering sharing recipes for this new eating plan.  It may not be a big deal for most of you,  but growing up in middle America, in a large family that celebrated with food, it’s certainly a deal for me.

Let me know what you think.  Would you like to see recipes?

Cancer took a big part of my peace of mind and has left me with a compromised immune system.scars, I am determined to do everything within my power to never have to go through this again.

Write on my friends, write on.

 

No Cancer Formed Against Me. . .


My husband recently bought me a tee shirt that states: NO Cancer formed against me shall prosper.  A take on the scripture:

 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; . . . 

Isa.54:17  – King James Version

The fight against cancer is like no other battle that you will ever face. The doctor can tell you, you’ve got high blood pressure, it could lead to a stroke.  But many people go right on with what they have been doing until the day it happens and then everyone is shocked that  Uncle Joe had a stroke.

You have a family history of diabetes, chances are you will get it too.  I have three generations of diabetes in my family –  maybe more but I don’t think medical practice documented anything prior to that, and they didn’t live long either. OK,  I know I should make some changes.  I don’t want to be taking insulin.  Then I go right back to devouring sugar laden brownies, and a bag of cheetos, and fast food fries, and, and, and.

You will see all over the news,  the tv commercials for hospitals supposedly to help us as a nation improve our health that obesity is linked to heart disease and diabetes. Statistics puts 2 out of 3 adults in America today as overweight or obese.

This is scary: Obesity increases your odds for a heart attack and diabetes, the two most medicated conditions in our society.

I’ll tell you something even scarier: Obesity increases your odds for cancer. This is something I never heard before getting it. Cancer is far scarier than heart disease or diabetes because we know people who live with it.  “Oh yeah, my dad takes heart medications. My sister has diabetes, I don’t know how she administers her shots every day.”

This is something I never heard before getting it. Cancer is far scarier than heart disease or diabetes because we know people who live with it.  “Oh yeah, my dad takes heart medications. My sister has diabetes, I don’t know how she administers her shots every day.”

Certain cancers like breast cancer feed off of the hormone estrogen, which is carried in the fat cells, and the more fat cells, the more estrogen, the higher your risk for cancer.

Don’t believe me?  Go here:  American Cancer Society

I don’t think it’s any secret to anyone here that I am overweight.  I am obese. My whole family is large. I contributed it to my genes, upbringing, yes and learned habits. We all ate wrong foods, too large portions, and lots of sugary desserts. (My mother was an excellent baker!)

Sugar feeds cancer as well.  I have dabbled with going sugar-free for a few years, but then at Easter or Christmas there would be a dessert table laden with scrumptious sweets and I would indulge.  I have been sugar-free since May 3rd, the day of my surgery.

Let me tell you,  there is nothing that will put the fear of dying into you like CANCER.

I’m not ready to go yet. I want to live to be a pain in the butt for my girls and hopefully, some day have grandkids. Therefore, I have been reading everything I can to keep from having a second bout with cancer. I count myself as blessed to have been given a second chance,  I don’t want to waste it.

It is with mixed emotions that I share this next bit – because a part of me wants to claim the victim role.

Breast cancer? Why me?  What did I do? I don’t have any family history. 

Much like diabetes, cancer can be self-inflicted.

But how? 

There are four areas that we can have control of whether or not we get cancer or get a recurrence of cancer.  Once you have been diagnosed with cancer,  there is always a risk of it returning. You’re always looking over your shoulder.  I want to put as much distance between me and cancer as I can.

So, logic would dictate:

IF I CAUSED THIS,  THEN I CAN FIX THIS.

There are four areas that we can take control:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Activity
  3. Stress Management
  4. Toxins

Over the next four weeks on Monday I will be addressing these. I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do, or what to eat. The fact is, these past four months have scared me witless in a way that the doctor telling me I need to lose weight never could.  NOT ONCE did anyone ever say, being fat can cause cancer. I was told, ‘You need to lose weight’ (Tell me something I don’t already know.) ‘You have a family history of diabetes.’ (I know, I really need to watch my carbs and sugar.) ‘Being overweight is hard on your joints.’ (Ya think? You try carrying around this extra weight all the time!) It can lead to heart disease. (I need to get back to the gym.)

But not once did anyone ever tell me, You know, I know you feel like you’re a victim in this but if you continue in this lifestyle, obesity is linked to breast cancer and you could get cancer.

I’m pretty smart about most things but when it came to my own health, I was a moron. I knew I needed to make changes just like everyone knows that pizza isn’t on the biggest loser diet plan. I knew I needed to get back to the gym but . . . . and then the excuses begin. Cancer, however, got my full attention, woke me up out of the stupor I was in. A sugar laden processed food lack of movement Michelin man stupor.

Cancer took part of my breast,  part of my dignity,  a big part of my peace of mind, and has left me with a compromised immune system, scars, and a determination that I will do everything within my power to never have to go through this again.

Now, having said that. . . you can do everything right and cancer isn’t selective. But I want to do everything I can to decrease the chances of it returning.

What about you?  How would you react? Do you think I am overcompensating? Do you think I am irrational?

Write on my friends, write on.

 

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

22 Days Since my Last Confession


It’s been . . . wow has it really been that long? It’s been 22 days since my last post. Not good, not good at all.

I have no excuses. There were days when I planned on posting,  I even have half of a dozen posts in the archives because after writing them, they just didn’t feel quite right. Maybe a future day or maybe I’ll just delete them – who knows.

“Only the shadow knows.”

Stepping into the ‘Way-back’ machine for a moment, in my last post  on January 18th I shared this bit:  

I’ve been working on my current WIP, Roxy Sings the Blues. Revising, editing, rewriting, . . . and  I just wasn’t happy with it. It wasn’t flowing.  It wasn’t drawing me forward even and I am the author! I had to take a serious look at this and step back to evaluate what I had as opposed to where I wanted this to go.

I set it aside for a couple of days as I researched master plots. This was prompted when I was trying to convey my story idea to a wonderful lady who is kind of mentoring me in my writing. OK, I was a persistent nag until she took me under her wing. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I was working through her class, had fully developed character worksheets,  even made myself character cards to stick on my bulletin board. I spent 4 days working on shaping my plot into a reasonable timeline and developing the major nine points of my plot. I thought I had it all worked out.  It seemed logical. There were twists, turns,  lovable characters, one that you love to hate. . . I thought I was ready to go.

Of course when it was time to meet,  either my computer or hers was acting glitchy and we couldn’t connect for video chat. So we went to the phones.  I have to be honest, the fan-girling had to be tampered down under control before I could get any semblance of intelligible speech out of my mouth.

Alright, enough of the flashback. So what have I been doing with myself these past 22 days that I couldn’t be bothered to post on my blog?

I’m so glad you asked!

Yeah, that part above . . . in the midst of my sulk-fest, when  I got me out-of-the-way,  the ideas came like a grand finale of a fireworks display. One day to the sulk-fest, two days to get my ideas sorted into some semblance of intelligible speech/writing. ( My poor husband, Y’all should have pity on him. He’s the one that actually had to face the many phases of creativity.) A day and a half with two friends and eventually the hubby to take the pieces of the puzzle I had and make an entirely new picture. A half of a day lost to other things –  you know someone has to cook the meals. Two more days were given to brainstorming and ordering things.

Just a note here –  one of the things I like to do, and this may not work for everyone, is to write out my ideas on pieces of paper. Ideally, sticky notes would work for this but I was out of sticky notes.  OK fine – I wasn’t out of them I just couldn’t find any right then.  There are times when you need it NOW and you don’t have time to search the office, the desk, or the box of stuff you cleared off of the table.  Now the slips of paper are interchangeable on a large board  AKA my wall,  which I moved a few around to make more sense then numbered them from 1 to 25 and added a couple of transitions in between reaching my 30 points of light, er story.

Three days to let it sit while I worked on an editing job, hoping that things would mesh. Another day to go over and move a couple more things around slightly.  A couple of days for family/ married life – don’t judge!
Then the fun began. Six days of feeling like death warmed over until my daughter drove me to urgent care where they prescribed three medications for my illness.

Oh Joy! Fun fact –  the one medicine turned my pee bright neon orange. Let me tell you if that wasn’t a shocker!  That could really be used to freak someone out if played right, but sadly I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to exploit it.

OH, don’t even try to tell me you wouldn’t do it. Alas, I missed my window of opportunity.

So that leaves us two days where I had to redo some of the edit calls I made while feverish. I have my notes transferred to index cards in a neat little numbered stack that are right here beside my laptop. Now I can move from one card to the next, not wondering where do I go from here, not bored because I already know what’s coming,  but focused on that one card before I  go to the next.

This is the best method I have come up with for me. It doesn’t inhibit my creative flow or stifle the voice of the muse,  yet it reconciles my sense of order and OCD-ness.

Most of you know I’m not a neat freak, but I do like order.

So, February is shaping up to be a better month for me. I have a plan to move forward in my writing. I have 2 editing jobs on my desk and I am excited to get busy with these three projects. ( My writing plus the two jobs I have the privilege of editing.)

Glad that you’ve stuck with me so far,  things are going to get better.  I still haven’t  gotten my pizza fix, but maybe that’s for the best as I am serious about losing the weight I have gained. One bad thing about being a writer is the backside spread which has been complicated by the back injury.

Objects at rest tend to want to stay at rest and resist exercise. Regardless, I’ve laced up the New Balance and hit the track despite the cool weather. SIGH – ain’t nobody going to do it for me.

Nobody is going to write this book for me and nobody is going to whip this dough girl back into shape but me.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead. I hope you’ll join me in the upcoming weeks as I share tidbits of this new improved tale along with my usual sagacious wit.

You know you love me,  that’s why you keep coming back, right?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

Phase 1 – Master Plan


Quotidiandose does not own this image. All rights reserved to the original artist.

Quotidiandose does not own this image. All rights reserved to the original artist.

Welcome to Operation Rockstar.

2017 is going to be my banner year. How do I know that? Because I am going to make IT happen!

If you are anything like me, you’ve got your goals written down. Writing down your goals is an important step towards getting them accomplished. But, how do you move them from written down to actually accomplishing them? It starts with planning.  By making a plan, then working the plan, you can move items from your to-do list to checking them off and moving onto the next item. In order to do that, though, you need to take your goal, or goals and make a plan of action.

Let’s back up a bit for a moment and take a peek at the Master List. The Master List to make 2017 the year you become the rockstar!

  1. Be your best every day.  No matter what you do, do your very best at it.  If your best for that day is to say thanks to the person caring for you, like if you have the flu and they are bringing you hot tea then be thankful. If your best is running a marathon that day, then run like your life depends on it and give it 100%. Your best fluctuates from day to day. There are days we are unstoppable. There are days when it’s a trial to get from one minute to the next. Whatever your best is, do it. Know that it is your best. If you can’t with a clear conscious say inside your heart that you gave your best effort then do more. If you are running the marathon and you gave 100% and didn’t win then be at peace with yourself that you gave your all. If you only exerted 85% effort,  then evaluate and learn from it,  and know that you are capable of more so that the next time you will know that what you thought was 100% was only at 85%. Are you with me?
  2. Make your goals crystalline. For some, this means one goal. Just one. For me,  it means a few. You know, an overachiever and all. I’ve narrowed it down to just a few. A few years back, I had 50 goals. Yeah, who was I kidding?  I did manage to accomplish a few of those things but for the most part, they were on the wish list, not the master list. This is where you write them down. Post them on your fridge, on your bulletin board, wherever it is visible for you to be reminded often.
  3. Become a Rockstar! Become amazing. Become the best version of you that you can be. Become the you that you want to be. Become the you that you want to see in the mirror.  How?  Small steps. That is how we get from the not so hot mess to the total rockstar that everyone is going to take notice of. Look, I don’t expect to be on par with Gina Carrano, or Sophia Vergara. Those women are hot! Those women are amazing but I’m not them. I am ME. You are you. That sounds like a duh moment but if you think about it,  it’s a profound revelation. My job is to be the best ME I can be. Your job is to be the best YOU. Each of us is a one of a kind original masterpiece. Don’t be a copycat of someone else when the starring role of YOU needs to be filled! Take a few moments every day to contemplate your life,  what your hopes and dreams are, who are you?
  4. Get it done! Take your master list, and break each item down into bite size steps. For instance, a top priority goal for me is to lose 50 pounds. How am I going to get there? It seems like an insurmountable task when it has been such a  problem for me. How? I am going to take steps to do that. 1. I am going to follow a healthy, portion controlled, carb controlled diet plan. 2. I will increase my physical activity for improved cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health. (Say that 3 times fast!) 3. I will use daily meditations, prayer, and motivational material to improve my mental state of being because the battle is in my mind. 4. I will break it down to smaller increments of ten pounds with nonfood rewards when I reach those smaller goals. 5. Work those steps until the goal is completed.
  5. Work the Plan! You have to stick to it.  It gets hard. It gets dull. It gets tedious, but don’t give up. This is where a vision board might help you. I am creating myself a vision board this weekend. A vision board can be a very personal thing. It is what motivates you. The point is to make your dreams visible in order to achieve those dreams and make them your reality.  If anyone is interested in me sharing the vision board, leave me a message and I will take a photo of it to share. I haven’t done one in a few years,  but it really did help when I did it. It also helps to have an accountability partner. Work with someone that will encourage you, that will celebrate your wins, give you the pep talk when you are in the pits,  scream at you like a drill sergeant when you’ve been a slacker,  someone who will call you on your bull! Just for the record, an accountability partner is not someone who is simply going to be your cheerleader.It’s the coach making you drop and give him twenty, the drill sergeant that sends you out for a five mile run to clear your head, it’s the personal trainer that pushes you to do more than you FEEL like doing because our feelings are liars. It’s the person that knows when you are honestly sick and should rest for two days, then gets you back on track for 363 days to achieve your goals.

There you have the master plan. 5 easy steps to make this year a great year!

New Year, New Plan


man-looking-up-at-stars-milky-way-and-galaxy

Just when you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth . . .

Between colds, flu, and a bout of food poisoning December took it’s toll on me. I”d like to say it was reflected on the scale,  but I can’t. That would have been a desirable side effect so we can’t have that, right? That’s how it seems at times.

I fully intend to get back on track with my blog, with writing, with my fitness goals . . . which brings us to that time  – the New Year – when I make my new list of goals.

Three things that you should know about me if you haven’t already gleaned this info:

1. I’m an overachiever. I know it and yet I find myself compelled to continue in my overachieving way. Doesn’t mean I always accomplish them, in fact, it’s often to the contrary.

2. If I don’t plan, I will drift aimlessly along never accomplishing anything, then beat myself up mentally over my lack of focus.

3. I’m seriously ADD and find it difficult to focus on much of anything for very long, hence why I change my themes regularly, digress in the middle of a five hundred word post, and am easily distracted by the next shiny.

So I have multiple categories,  varied topics, and the most consistent stream of conscious seems to be random madness. I didn’t do so well on this past year’s  goals. 2016 was not my best year in any stretch of the imagination. On to the new year, right? It isn’t going to do much good to keep pondering my failures. Learn from them and move on, which brings us to the present. A new shiny!

2017 Goals for Ellie:

  1. Publish 4 books. I’m not restricted by any small publishing house’s  whims or schedules. I have multiple files sitting in my folder with finished projects that are ready for an editor. Valkyrie’s Curse was finished  – so long ago I don’t even remember when. I went back over it in April of last year, making revisions and realized that I hadn’t really wrapped the story, which led to expanding it into a series. Revisions put it’s completion in July, and I was supposed to hand it off to Eclectic Bard at Penned Con before my contract ended.  I am really going to try to focus on one project at a time until completion so the order of release will be: 1)Roxy Sings the Blues, 2) Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening, 3) Eerie Isles Chronicles book 1, 4)The Piano.
  2. Blog 12 Times per Month. Goal 1 transitions into Goal 2 because after discussion with other authors, one of the  ‘hits’ of my categories was shared snippets of current writing. ( To include revisions as well.) I’m planning to be back on a regular blogging schedule and do NOT plan to be sick for five weeks straight ever again if I can help it.  But that’s just one topic, right? I mean there are so many other things –  bujo, food, fitness, current events,  and a myriad of things that may pop into my head from time to time. (Trust me, it’s better if you read them one at a time instead of the rapid-fire barrage that  exists inside my cranium.)
  3. Read 30 books. Down from my usual 50 but I still have to read. Consider it research and a job requirement.
  4. Lose 50 pounds. I hate where I am. I never wanted to be here, and yet here I am. This goal is the top priority and if I accomplish nothing else this year,  this one is a MUST. Fifty pounds doesn’t even get me to my goal weight,  but that’s  nearly a pound a week. If I lose more great, but I am currently not at any semblance of a healthy weight.
  5. Build my author’s website and integrate my blog there.
  6. Get our house ready to sell and move. This is a major undertaking as we’ve lived in the same house for 23 years and my husband is a packrat. I tend to procrastinate and avoid dealing with the stuff. We are surrounded by stuff and I can’t take it anymore. The austere living is becoming more and more appealing.
  7. Get my office set up. We’ve been over this so many times. Last time I shared pictures of the area that I worked my butt off ( unfortunately not literally) clearing out only to have that area filled with more stuff. It was disheartening. I haven’t made a lot of headway since then. It’s like getting your feet cut out from under you. Not just having the rug pulled,  but someone hacking your feet off and then having to continue. How can I make myself focus on a writing career as a business when I have to keep moving my laptop off of the table every single night? I need certain writing tools and stuff when I am writing. I need my reference materials, resources, notes, planner, and my to-do list. These end up stacked on the shelf that tops the short wall of our stairwell. For a visual, it’s a stack of clutter in the kitchen of an open floorplan home. This sets off my OCD-ness every day.

Seven goals for 2017. Streamlined tremendously from my 50 a couple of years ago. Should be simple enough to accomplish right? Simple but not easy.

It’s going to take a concerted effort in order to accomplish each one. It will require effort, a great deal of effort. I could use some encouraging along the way. I’ll make you a deal – I’ll cheer you on with your goals if you help me with mine. Deal? So what are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish in 2017?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

Red Wine Makeover!


Greta Garbo, and Monroe
Deitrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
On the cover of a magazine

Grace Kelly; Harlow, Jean
Picture of a beauty queen
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
Ginger Rodgers, dance on air

They had style, they had grace
Rita Hayworth gave good face
Lauren, Katherine, Lana too
Bette Davis, we love you

Ladies with an attitude
Fellows that were in the mood
Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it
Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it

Vogue, vogue

Ah, those flashback moments. When I received my finished  cover last night,  I was singing this song to myself. Weird maybe, but there it is. Particularly this  section of Madonna’s song Vogue, They had style, they had grace . . . . ladies with an attitude.

Have you ever seen pictures of some of Hollywood’s darlings without their makeup? It gives hope for the rest of us! Seriously, some of the stars in the raw have you scratching your head and asking How?

There have been tons of makeover shows on TV. Biggest Loser’s most viewed episodes are makeover week when they transform the former fatties into Haute Couture Hotties.

My book, Red Wine & Roses was originally published from Eclectic Bard Books last year, September 19, 2015.

11924560_1472539119715060_6584436532208606751_n (3)While I loved the elegant and understated cover, readers found it confusing. Some thought that it was perhaps like a Steeple Hill Christian romance, like this reviewer:  red-wine-roses-1

on December 8, 2015
First things first, I am not a prude. With that out of the way, it would have been good knowing that this book included graphic sex. The story overall did not need such scenes, I felt they were added to embellish and titillate. The main story was good on its own, but the end felt rushed, as if the Author was limited to a certain amount of pages. Or, perhaps after running thru a 2 -3 hour movie, they rolled up the last three chapters after the final commercial break. This was most definitely not my cup of tea, but it could be yours. The characters are well defined and fleshed out with certain aspects of them coming to light only late in the game. It is also about a young woman looking for love. If you come into this book knowing there will be hot and heavy scenes, you may enjoy it more than I did. Well written and described.
I appreciate his honesty! I was surprised, to be honest that someone would read a contemporary romance and be surprised that there is sex. I thought I had tamed it down and that it wasn’t as graphic as I have been on Storytime.  Then there was the comment about it being rushed, . . .  which I think had more to do with my edits than anything else.  I tried years ago to write a Christian romance, and I couldn’t do it.  With the CBA restrictions on words that I couldn’t use I had to eliminate a character named Angel, along with cut out so much of my story because of the prohibited words, I threw my hands up in defeat and realized I can’t tell the story I want to tell within those restrictions. Life is gritty  and that’s when we learn and grow.
So, . . .my contract with Eclectic Bard Books ended November 18, 2016. This book is now retired.  I do have a few print copies left in stock.
However, I am rereleasing a 2nd edition, retaining full rights of my work (thank you for that Eclectic Bard Books). the word count went from 82K to 91K, so some of those rushed chapters are now  more fully fleshed out. Part of this was a matter of adding back in some cut sections and adding additional lines in others.
Today, I get to unveil the  revised version! Are you ready?
Thanks to my fabulous cover artist Gabrielle Pendergast atwww.coveryourdreams.net. 

Drumroll . . . . 

redwine-ebookTADA!!!

And, 15175619_10154822248251177_1133214610_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t it gorgeous?  I absolutely love it!

I will share the release date just as soon as I have it, but until then . . . enjoy the eye candy!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends, and  happy by proxy Turkey day to all of my  no ‘Murican friends. Enjoy the  family, friends and celebrations. No Black Friday shopping for me, I’m not into that. Instead, that will be the day we transform our modest home into a Christmas time capsule akin to some of the old department store displays.

This is my favorite time of year! What better Christmas gift to myself than a makeover of my debut novel? OH I know, starting on revisions for my next one, Roxy Sings the Blues, which is planned for release in early 2017!

Now go eat some pie! Tell ’em Ellie said so!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Plans Change


I recently had someone point out to me that I really don’t do well with change.

HUH?

Are you kidding me? Every single day of our lives, we change, improvise, adapt, overcome, and make a new plan. Human nature likes routine. Human nature likes to  function on auto-pilot and reserve brain cells.

Improvixe, Adapt. Overcome.

Improvise, Adapt. Overcome.

Change happens. Hence, today’s post is changed from what I had planned. More about that later.

It seems a regular routine that I make plans and they are changed, they get changed, or I have to change them because I made an unrealistic plan.   Seriously,  I know it’s not feasible to unclutter my house in one week. The amount of STUFF contained by four people,  one of which is a serious packrat on the verge of hoarder, one that is completely disorganized and two that never put things back where they belong – yeah, I doubt I can get it one in a month! Maybe a room a week might be doable. That’s just one item on my list.

Here is a list of reasons why you have to  wad up your plans and  make new ones.

  1. Unrealistic goals.  You would think being over 30 that I would have learned a long time ago to make more reasonable goals. This is one reason I have to keep reminding myself to make SMART goals. I get excited with a plan and get overly ambitious. That’s when I set myself up for failure by saying things like – I am going to have our entire house clutter free by the end of September.  Guess what? September came and went and I barely made a dent in it.  Not that I was busy preparing for Penned Con or anything. I am learning however, to look at my planner first,  check to see what is already scheduled before I make plans. Yeah, it’s only taken me this many years to figure this out. *eye roll*  (Eyeroll inserted courtesy of Mandee Shanklin)
  2. Unexpected Surprises. Things come up. An unplanned trip to urgent care. A surprise visit from a stomach virus. Drop in guests that stay for hours and hours and possibly overnight. I’ve mentioned this before, but when you work from home, people assume that you don’t really do anything so you can go out to lunch at the drop of a hat,  you can have drop-in visitors that stay for hours, or you are free to go shopping with them all afternoon. While there are times that I may welcome the  occasional visitor,   most of the time it requires a great deal of self-discipline to manage my time.
  3. Giant wrenches! There are times when  a giant wrench is thrown into the gears and everything comes to a screeching halt. For example: allocating my time divided between writing, editing, and stocking the resale shop. I made a plan to  go to the shop on Tuesdays and Friday. On Wednesday I made tags and do inventory. On Monday I spent a couple of hours cleaning items and deciding what goes this week. However, when my daughter’s work schedule changes and she has to be at work at one in the afternoon that leaves me without a car to  take my items to the shop. We’ve been juggling three cars between four adults. I really don’t want to buy a fourth car. It’s time for our girls to work on buying their cars. But in the mean time, I am the one who ends up without wheels. Before you say just take public transportation, we don’t have any here.  I live in a rural area. The neighbor’s  horses aren’t up for rent either.
  4. Unforeseen Complications.  They pop up all the time.  This is why when you work for someone else and have to give an estimate for a deadline,  you factor 25% more time into your project projection because inevitably,  something will come up that delays your deadline.  It is more difficult to get step 4 accomplished than you originally planned for, so that means the extra time it took you to problem solve for that problem has pushed your completion date back by four days. This is also the reason why I have to make self-imposed deadlines. Without setting deadlines for myself,  I hit a snag and drift aimlessly for hours, days, sometimes it turns into weeks. Before you know it,  it’s been six months  that I’ve been stagnated.
  5. Too Many Irons in the Fire. This. Right here.  This one more than anything else is the root of my problem. I know some people who pride themselves on juggling multiples of multiples. I’m not a juggler.  I’m not a single-minded individual either. I’m  somewhere in between, closer to the single-minded end,  but erratic enough that I always, ALWAYS have too many things going on at any given time. The problem is,  nothing gets my undivided attention, therefore I don’t ever get that full sense of satisfaction from focused effort on one thing at  a time. I”m working on this. I’m better than I was,  but I still have a long way to go.

So, back to my original plan for today.  I did some really cool stuff at Penned Con that I am planning to share.  I was planning to start on Monday,  but I was exhausted. Sorry –  not going to make any excuses. I was wiped. The adrenalin rush subsided and I was drained.  So scratch Monday.

Yesterday I had a car, so I was in a mad scramble to get all of my errands completed. I got a couple of hours of writing time  in the morning, then it was off on a big circuit to the shops, grocery store, bank, post office, and I forgot to stop at the library.

This morning,  I get feedback from individuals that  I talked with at Penned and their first impressions of me were based on comments made by another individual. Wow! Thanks for that. It may seem like I don’t handle change well but in fact, I do.  I talk about it, talk about my frustration with it,  but I manage it. If I didn’t handle it I would need a prescription for Xanax or one of those other things daily. Of course, as it was also pointed out if I were to take the Xanax,  then I probably wouldn’t stress eat.

Xanax versus brownies . . .  I am fond of brownies. Not as fond of the chemicals in the drugs. I need all the brain cells I can muster.  I freely admit I am a long time self-medicator with food. Now put my  brownies back on the table and back away slowly and no one will get hurt.

Plans change. We adapt. We make new plans. Life throws us a curve ball,  we bunt. It throws a speedball, we hit a homer! Sometimes we strike out,  but sometimes it’s a grand slam.

What about you? Are you adapting? Are you still in the game or are you sitting on the bench wringing your hands?  I haven’t given up yet, you shouldn’t either. Take a deep breath and get back in the game!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie