NaNoWriMo

Day 234 of Isolation: NaNo Update Day One

And so it begins… NaNoWriMo is upon us.

I did try to stay up and write at midnight like tradition dictates, but I just could not stay awake. I ended up in bed at 11:30pm last night. And of course, when I tried to write first thing this morning, my keyboard wasn’t working. I spent thirty minutes just getting the S and W keys to work, and by then my energy and motivation were gone. Story of my life.

I did eventually get some writing done, including chapter 53.

Total words for day one: 1,458

So I didn’t get the full 1,667 you need to keep you on pace, but I finished the chapter so I’m satisfied. Not sure how this is going to go this year because it was like pulling teeth to get that written, and it all sounds awful. Between the keyboard issues and this fatigue, it doesn’t look like I’m going to be successful. I’ll keep trying, though.

“Why don’t we give them a minute to say good-bye?”

When the room clears, Bellamy takes several breaths to force the tears back down. He doesn’t want Heaven to see him crying. He doesn’t want her to be even more scared. He pulls her away from his chest and pushes the hair from her face.

“Hey, beautiful,” he tells her despite her swollen, bruised face–one eye now partially swelled shut.

random, writing

Day 225 of Isolation: Heaven Can’t Wait Update

I mention the other day that I decided to get back into finishing/editing this story.

For the record, I started this story as part of my April Camp NaNo project in 2017. The goal then was to write at least 1,000 words for a different prompt each day. “Heaven” was the prompt for day 9 of the event, and I ended up writing over 17k words that first day (instead of the required 1,000). But as the goal of my project wasn’t to finish the stories–just get them started–I didn’t give the story much more of my time until NaNoWriMo in November when I decided to edit and post the stories from April Camp.

I got a few chapters posted and wrote a little more but then fell of the radar again until I picked up the challenge again for Camp NaNo in April 2018. I wrote a bit for it through May but then lost interest again. The last time I really did anything with it was November 2018 when I again tried to finish it but only managed to add 12k words before giving up thanks to increasing chronic fatigue.

That’s basically where I stood. I posted Chapter 37 at some point and disappeared, probably leaving everyone to assume the story would never be finished. I tried off an on through 2019 to pick it up, but my health (namely the fatigue) didn’t allow me to be creative the way I needed.

Until the other day.

Since then, I’ve gotten a lot done.

I spent several days going through my notes to make a detailed outline and timeline of what had happened in the posted chapters and the chapters I had written but not edited yet. Then I spent some more days brainstorming where the story is going and what I need to write to get it there, coming up with a detailed outline through chapter 65 plus details for 75-80 and the epilogue (80 chapters has always been my goal).

And then one day in September, while sitting in the dining room watching my son do his schoolwork, I edited three chapters so they were ready to post. I decided not to post them until I was sure I could get through the rest of them. I didn’t want to just disappear again (possibly for years) after leaving just a small taste to the readers.

Then the other day, I had a breakthrough. And the next day I finished a chapter I needed to fill in a blank spot (for nearly 2k words). Yesterday, I did 2nd edits on chapters 41-43 (meaning they’re very nearly ready to post), 1st edits on chapters 44-46 and rewrites for chapters 47 and 48. That was a significant amount of work.

Today I’ve rewritten chapters 49-52 and prepped 41 and 42 for posting. With five chapters ready to post at this moment and 10 chapters in various levels of editing, I decided I will start posting new chapters starting tomorrow!

That will be 15 weeks of new chapters coming. It should take me to the end of January, and hopefully by then, I’ll have even more written (especially if I officially take this on as my NaNoWriMo 2020 project).

This update has been nearly two years in the making, and if I can keep up this level of work, I could have the story finished sometime next year after four years. I’m really excited and that’s something new.

But there’s a possibility that I’m also manic which means I could crash at any time and be too depressed to work on anything. I’m hoping I’ll have those 15 chapters ready, though, and maybe I’ll be feeling better by January if that happens.

I never know. But I’m hoping this is a good sign.

And here’s a random Six Sentence Spoiler (from chapter 47):

“What’s going on?” Clarke asks, joining Raven.

“It’s the end of the world,” Raven answers.

“Yeah, we know that.”

She types something into her computer. “Well, it might be ending a lot sooner than we thought.”

Great.

life

Day 224 of Isolation: End of Quarantine

So I’ve given up on quarantining myself in my room after just four days. Because everyone else is apparently sick, too.

My oldest daughter let me know this morning after work that she’s been sick since Monday and the youngest son is also feeling sick.

If everyone is getting sick, there doesn’t seem to be a point to stay in my room anymore. So I’m back on mom duty which means cooking and cleaning. Probably for the best because I was getting tired of being hungry all day because everyone forgets about me and refuses to cook so there was nothing to eat anyway. I was eating once a day around dinner when my husband would finally think to ask if I wanted something.

Or I would ask because my head would be killing me from lack of caffeine (stupid withdrawal) and food. He only knows how to cook a few things, and we’re out of most easy-to-make foods.

So anyway, three of the six permanent residents of the house are officially sick and the grandson seems to have a runny nose, but he’s a toddler so who knows.

It still seems to just be a common cold. None of us are very sick. Before the pandemic, I wouldn’t even have worried and probably would have sent the 10yo to school because he just has a stuffy/runny nose and slightly scratchy throat. Otherwise, he seems fine. 20yo has a bit of a cough and runny nose. She went to work anyway.

I’m already feeling better. My sore throat lasted two days which is like a record for me. Now I just have a very slight cough, some chest congestion (causing the cough) and starting to get a stuffy nose but decongestants seem to be working.

Nothing to worry about so life resumes.

I did like having people take care of me at least for a little while.

writing

Day 222 of Isolation: Writing Like a Madwoman

I had the best day of writing I’ve had in probably years. I decided to do some editing for an old story (Heaven Can’t Wait). I haven’t worked on the story in any way in forever. I think the last time I made notes about the outline were earlier this year, but they were brief. Last time I really brainstormed was around this time of year in 2019. I haven’t posted a chapter since 2018. I don’t think I’ve written or edited a chapter since November 2018 either.

Anyway, I think I might be slightly manic because I suddenly just had to work on this story with serious clarity. Actually, I started doing some outlining and light editing back in September and got the outline mostly sorted out a couple weeks ago.

Today… today, though, I went to town. And it felt so good to write again. To be creative and have it flow and not be forced.

I finished and/or wrote new three chapters then edited or rewrote six other chapters for a grand total of 3,482 words!

Like I said, that’s more than I’ve written in a long time.

I now have several chapters ready to post and at least a dozen more close to being ready.

Maybe it’s time to start thinking about resuming a posting schedule?

Could be…

life

Day 220 of Isolation: And Now I’m Sick

Well, apparently, I caught something while I was out the other day. Somewhere between the clinic for my sleep medicine appointment and Safeway where I got stuff to make dinner, I caught a bug.

So far it’s a sore throat and a tickle of a cough. I looked up the symptomps of the common cold and they fit perfectly:

  • 24-72 hour incubation (started feeling sick last night, just a little over 24 hours from when I was out)
  • starts with a scratchy throat
  • no fever
  • stuffy/runny nose
  • slight feeling of being worn down
  • cough

That all checks out. The fact that it came on so fast just a day after being out is the only thing keeping me from freaking out. It just far more likely, I caught a cold while out on Friday than I caught COVID from my last grocery trip (a week from Friday) and it’s just now showing up. I mean, it could be that, but it’s just far more likely to be the former.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself. I’m still quarantining myself in my room away from the family and will be wearing my mask if I leave my room or have to talk to one of the kids. This is going to cause some logistical nightmares since Jack uses my phone to do his Zoom classes and there will be no one making sure he’s getting his homework done every day. And next week is Parent-Teacher conferences. They’re through Zoom, but I have no idea how I’ll be feeling next week.

Knowing the way I react to colds, I could be curled up in bed, dying anyway. Hopefully, it’ll be mild enough, I can still handle sitting at the computer. So far I’m okay with that. I’m just a little more tired than usual although it’s hard to tell if that’s even true since I’m always tired.

Another problem is how am I going to get my ballot out now. I had planned to drive over to the drop box by the library today, but now, I can’t leave my house for two weeks. I was thinking of having one of the kids drop it in the mailbox across the street, but then I saw a news report that someone broke into a communal mailbox in the next town over and stole a bunch of mail, including ballots. Those were found and returned, slightly wet, to the owners. We have the same kind of mailboxes and had to change the lock on ours last year because people tried to break into them and messed up all of the locks.

Now I’m not sure it’s safe to mail it. And I heard someone set a ballot collection box on fire in California so even those aren’t safe. Ugh. Seems some people out there are bound and determined to prove voting by mail is unsafe. This wasn’t an issue before this year, though. Oregon and Washington state have been voting by mail for like twenty years now without issues until this year.

I guess I can have my husband take it to the drop box when he takes his, but I’m not sure the legalities of having someone else drop your ballot off. I know some states don’t allow it or you need to sign your ballot or something. I’ll have to check and see what the law says in Washington.

Kind of crazy how the world is now–I’m sick, could possibly have COVID that could lead to my death, and I’m more worried about how to get my ballot to the drop box than anything else.

~*~ Remember to VOTE ~*~

life

Day 218 of Isolation – Health Update, Sleep Edition

I had my first appointment with sleep medicine today. It went pretty well. I really liked the doctor who was easy to talk to and very understanding. Because of my weight and apparent snoring (so my husband told me), I always knew sleep apnea could be an issue. I just shrugged it off for some reason. Thinking back, I don’t know why. Maybe because I didn’t wan to believe it because it’s one of those things “super fat” people get, and I’m not that fat.

Except I am that fat. I’m morbidly obese, and the extra weight is really starting to effect my health. I have no idea when this sleep apnea may have started, but after the appointment, I’m 90% sure I have it.

I was shocked to see how many symptoms/risk factors I checked off: not feeling rested after sleeping, snoring, high blood pressure, obesity, memory problems, needing to pee in the middle of the night, history of stroke in the family, history of heart problems in the family, and there were others. Even my insomnia could be related because my sleep cycles are so screwed up.

The doctor was very confident that I had sleep apnea and that a breathing machine would help. I’ve basically been in sleep deprivation for years and every night, my brain is constantly starved of oxygen over and over. No wonder my memory sucks, and I feel like I’m losing my mind most of the time.

Right now we’re waiting for insurance to approve a home sleep study where I’ll be hooked up to a machine to monitor my heart rate, breathing, oxygen, etc. then the doctors will go over that and we’ll figure the rest out after. Of course, it’s Friday so there won’t be anyone at the insurance to approve the request until next week some time.

Another major concern I noticed when I checked the notes from the appointment online is they flagged my weight. It was 280lbs! But they also flagged my other weights (the app collects info from all visits within the clinic system–it’s pretty cool). I noticed that since I started the new med for my bipolar, I’ve gained 20lbs. That’s 20lbs in two months!

I have already discussed the weight gain with my psych doctor, but it’s already getting worse. I’ve gained like six pounds since then, and it was just a couple weeks ago. I’m either going to have to find a new med for the bipolar or she said there are some weight control meds I could try.

I just don’t know what to do because I’m not sure the meds are even working, but it could be because I need a higher dose. But will that cause me to gain more weight? Is it really worth it? Right now, with the med having minimal impact on my bipolar, the side effects are not worth it. It makes me so sleep that I take it right before bed event though I’m supposed to take it with a full meal. But I eat dinner at 5pm–when I took it then, I was ready for bed at 7pm except because of the apnea, I don’t actually sleep or feel rested and it was screwing my sleep up even more.

I don’t know what to do, and I don’t think I can figure it out until I get the treatment for the apnea started first. And who knows when that will be. I am supposed to make an appointment with the psych doctor in the next couple weeks. I guess I’ll figure it out then with her help (I really like her).

Until then all I can do is try to mitigate the weight gain as much as I can and just hang on until I can get the results of the sleep study and all that. Just more of the same.

I can do this.

I think.

life

Day 200 of Isolation: Survived!

Well, I had my first virtual doctor visit today and survived. I’m quite proud of that.

If you haven’t kept up with my mental health–I have severe anxiety. Most of it is social anxiety and along with that comes a phobia of phones, and by extension, video chats. My brain sees it all as phone calls. A lot of the anxiety has to do with things that are unfamiliar which seems to be the problem with the video chats. Phones are another issue that is partly because I have a hard time hearing and understanding people without facial queues to figure out what’s being said because my hearing sucks.

Anyway, my new pysch doctor only does in-person visits on Wednesdays, but my husband works those days. So I’m stuck doing virtual visits. I’ve been avoiding making the appointment for weeks because of my anxiety. I finally sucked it up last week and made the appointment to see my primary doctor on Friday about some other issues and the virtual appointment for today about changing my bipolar meds.

The thing that inspired me to finally make the visit and get it over with is my son. He had a lot of anxiety at the beginning of the school year because of Zoom meetings. After discussions with his teacher and school counselor, we decided he could keep his camera and mic off if it made him more comfortable. They even said he could skip the meetings altogether if things were really bad for him. He only did that a couple times (more for technical difficulties) but pushed through his anxiety.

Little by little, he opened up online. Now he actively participates in small groups, turns his mic on to answer questions and sometimes turns his camera on for short periods. I’m so proud of him. And if he could work past his anxiety then so could I.

And here I am finished with my first Zoom meeting. With minimal anxiety. Most of that was just waiting for it to start because my doctor was late, and there’s no way for her to let people know she’s running behind. So she thanked me for waiting twenty minutes. She also said if I needed to do in-person appointments because of my anxiety to email the office to set something up, but I think I can do the online appointments now. I know what to expect so they don’t feel as scary anymore.

Phones, though… still hate those, but when our cat was in the hospital, I answered the phone several times without flinching and even called the office twice since that was how things worked (you didn’t go inside unless you had to like when we put her to sleep). So maybe I can work through the phone thing as well. Being an emergency seemed to override my anxiety at the time. Not sure how to translate that into non-emergency situations (because even thinking about it now is making my heart race and giving me that sick feeling–ugh).

Anyway, I’m feeling pretty good now that I got the appointment out of the way. The doctor doubled my dosage for the new med to see if that helps. There are many more dosages we can try before moving on to something else so I guess I’ll see what happens.

writing

Day 195 of Isolation: Editing!

Shock of all shocks… I actually got some work done today. Work as in editing and writing for a project. In this case, Heaven Can’t Wait.

I’ve been wanting to work on something–anything–for months, but my health just doesn’t let me. Then yesterday, I just opened the file and pushed through whatever block had me stuck on chapter 38. And then I kept going.

In the end, I completely finished editing chapters 38, 39 and 40. They are all ready to be posted, but I’m waiting to get some more done before I start posting anything.

I started writing this story in April 2017 then started posting it that November (I think it was). The last time I updated was November 2018, I think. Then the chronic fatigue destroyed my life.

I currently have most of the chapters through 51 finished (there might be a couple in there undone but otherwise they have rough drafts). I want to get all of those through at least first edits before I start posting the ones that are finished so I have at least 10+ weeks of chapters to post. And maybe I’ll start writing new chapters. I have this story plotted to be 80 chapters long plus an epilogue (roughly, anyway).

Maybe that will be my NaNo project. Again. I started this as a Camp project in 2017 and worked on it for so many other NaNos. Why not? Here’s hoping I can get the next chapter (41) written today then push through major rewrites of 42.

Bonus:
Six Sentences from the middle of Chapter 40:

Tears slip down her freckled cheeks, ripping Bellamy’s heart in two. He doesn’t think he’ll ever be whole again. His mom. Gina. Both gone. Octavia can barely stand to look at him, let alone be in the same room.

life, random

Day 159 of Isolation: Sleep Update

It’s been almost two weeks since I started my new meds. I’m still often sleepy, but the chronic fatigue seems to be lifting at least a little.

The biggest difference I’ve noticed is with my sleep. For years, I would go to bed at 1am then not fall asleep until 2am then have to force myself out of bed around 10am. Sometimes, I regularly slept until past noon.

For the last week, though, I’ve woken between 6 and 7am. Normally, I would have gone back to sleep after waking at that time, but instead, I just got up. I’ve been up before 7am every day this week. That gives me so many more hours during the day to do stuff which is really important with winter coming when it gets dark at 4pm.

The only problem has been that apparently the mood stabilizer for my bipolar causes drowsiness. I was directed to take it with dinner, but we eat dinner at 5pm. It’s been causing me to nearly fall asleep by 8pm which I just can’t do. It’s still daylight out, and if I’ve been going to bed at midnight and waking at 6:30am, how early would I end up waking if I went to bed at 8pm?

I’m going to start taking the medication at 10 or 11pm to see how that works. If I start feeling drowsy two hours after taking it then 10pm should be a good time. Then I’ll be ready for bed at 12am, sleep for 7 hours and be up by 7am which is what I’ll need to do when school starts

life

Day 157 of Isolation: Health Update

Well, it’s been a little over a week since I started my new meds. It’s too early to really tell if they’re working. I have had more energy this past week, but not sure what it’s from. It could be the meds or a manic episode or something else. Who knows.

My weight was down to 267.6 this morning which isn’t great but better than 270+lbs it was. I need to get under 250lbs to start feeling better I think. That’s what I weighed most of my adult life and functioned okay. I felt much better when I dropped to 235lbs, but I’ll take the 250 right now.

I didn’t take my blood pressure, but it seems to be evening out a little under 130/70 which was the goal but seems high to me still. I guess I’ll give it a few more weeks and if it doesn’t start staying low, I’ll have to make another appointment. I’m tired of the swelling and heart racing that seems to come with the high blood pressure.

My mood seems to be a little more stable, but again, it’s hard to tell if that’s a result of the meds or just a natural ebb of the tide of depression or whatever. I need more time before I can definitively say that it’s the meds working.

I think part of that is I can’t let myself hope or get excited about the prospect of the meds working because I’d would be disappointed if I take a turn for the worse again. The disappointment is often devastating to my mental health. It’s easier to not get my hopes up at all.