Weekly Progress Report #48

Success! I managed to write every day this last week. Fantastic writing? Not so much. Getting back into the groove of daily writing will mean some days are going to be meh. I tried a few different styles of writing this week. Mostly to expand my writing. Still haven’t really settled on one genre, but I’m thinking I’ll never be able to be pigeonholed that way. That can be a good thing but also a bad thing. Quite a few authors write in a distinctive style and genre and build up an audience. If they go out of the prescribed style, then it usually isn’t received as well. Building an audience with an eclectic writing style is pretty hard to do. I do love a challenge!

This week, not only am I planning on posting everyday, but also start editing. I’m still not a fan of editing, but it is a necessary evil. I do know if I ever hit it big with my writing, I’m definitely hiring a professional editor. To me that will be money well spent as it will save me hours and hours of going over a manuscript. I’d rather be writing than editing and revising.

Health wise, I’m doing pretty darn good. I have about 80-90% mobility back with my shoulder. My last physical therapy session was last Tuesday. I had been scheduled for 3 more weeks, but my shoulder has responded to the therapy very well. I’m doing daily exercises to get that last bit of mobility back. But found out that I’ll need to continue the exercises probably for the rest of my life to keep the shoulder from freezing up again.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.


Weekly Progress Report #47

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

I’m going to start with health news first. My frozen shoulder is thawing out nicely. I’ve been doing daily exercises that are painful, but have increased my range of motion tremendously. I still have a constant pain, but it is much less now. At least now I can sit and write without having to take a break every few minutes.

On to writing progress. This part I’m going to ramble a bit, so feel free to skip it. I’ve been reflecting why my writing has deteriorated since I stopped writing at the end of July. Before I stopped, I used to be able to sit and write a story in about twenty minutes. A few minutes of basic editing and I published. The words flowed and generally the stories were well written. Since I started back up, it has been a completely different story.

I’ve struggled to even come up with a story based on my weekly prompt. When I do have a small germ of an idea, I’ll write a paragraph or two and then go completely blank. The stories don’t flow and I’m not real happy with the quality. It takes me about two hours to come up with a semi-decent story. This has been extremely frustrating to me and part of the reason why I haven’t been able to restart the blog properly.

Last night I had an epiphany. It all makes sense now. I went back to my early stories from last year. Reading through them, the quality is not as good as it was this last spring and early summer. Granted, I was starting out and not as well versed in the art of writing. As I looked at more stories, I could see the progression. Steadily, they were getting better and better. Wow, who would have thought that practice makes perfect? Yes, I know, I’ve been preaching that since I started, but somehow I completely forgot.

My writing skills have become rusty and the only cure is to start over and just write. Quantity over quality right now. I need to trust the process. Instead of bemoaning the lost time, I need to remember always to “Suck it up”, “Deal with it” and “No sympathy”. In order to get back to where I was at, it’s going to require daily writings. More than likely the writings will be dreck at first, but as I get more comfortable with putting words to paper so to speak, the old creative juices will come back and also the quality will naturally increase.

One of the the things I’ve told my children and also others is 80% of the key to success is to show up and suit up. In other words, be there on time and ready to work. 15% is determination to be the best you can be and the other 5% is the talent that you bring to your endeavor. I have a talent for writing, but talent alone will not and cannot be all that there is. Without showing up and writing every day and having that will power to write no matter what, I’ll never get to the level that I was at.

Enough rambling for today. My progress this week is being restarted once again. I have another weekly prompt that I will be writing today. Yes, I’m going to be doubling and tripling the weekly prompts until I get caught up. The goal of 52 prompts in one year is still doable, but will take a lot of work.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

One Step Forward, A Gazillion Steps Back

Physical therapy is kicking my butt. I thought I was past the painful part of having a Frozen Shoulder. Now I have the privilege and dubious joy of immense pain every night. I’m getting between 2 to 3 hours of sleep. Then my arm throbs in pain enough to wake me up.

Since I avoid pain medications due to the ill effects on my liver, all I can do is suffer. My physical therapist stated this is normal and usually patients take Tylenol or something similar.

Hopefully this is a short time thing, but until I get past this time of pain, posting will be sporadic yet again.

Developing Good Writing Habits

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

When I started this blog a year ago, the words flowed and writing daily came naturally. After taking a two month break, I thought it would be easy to get back into the writing habit.

Unfortunately, I’m struggling for a variety of reasons. First, I’m having to carve out a time to write after work. That’s harder than it sounds. I’ve now got daily exercises for my shoulder. That eats into the time I have available.

Speaking of my shoulder, I’m still hurting a bit when I type. I’ve got to take frequent breaks which disrupts the flow of thoughts. I’ve started a story on my weekly writing challenge two or three times and then completely lost where I was going with it after having to take a much needed break. The pain, though less than it was, has also affected my thinking processes. I’m unable to get into the writer’s zone.

So, do I wait until I have completed physical therapy? Or do I press on and try to write every day? My thinking is the latter is preferable. I may be writing dreck for a while until I can get into the groove. I’m also not going to worry about my prompt for the week until I can sit and write for a complete hour. Once I do that, I may be posting multiple short stories during each week until I get caught up.

It’s settled then. For me to develop good writing habits, I need to write everyday. Even if it is complete garbage. Bear with me, it will get better.

Prepared To Be Tortured

Photo by Keiji Yoshiki on Pexels.com

Had my first session with my Physical Therapist today. I expected it to be painful. Years ago, I had physical therapy when I broke my pinkie finger. After a couple of sessions, I quit going as it was very painful. As a result, my pinkie finger has a permanent slight crook.

We talked about what to expect. Then he tested my range of motion with my shoulder. It has improved since I saw the orthopedic surgeon except in the area of twisting. In other words, I still can’t wash my back with that arm.

I was surprised that he didn’t try to push my arm and shoulder more than I was able to handle.

Then he had me go through five exercises. As I did each one, I could feel a bit more range of motion. Instead of the physical therapist pushing me, I was pushing myself. I’m going to be a bit sore later tonight and tomorrow.

He told me to repeat these exercises daily when I don’t see him. As I’m very motivated to get back to normal, I’m going to attack these exercises with gusto! Eventually, I hope to be able to sleep in my own bed and lay on my frozen shoulder without waking up with a yell.

All in all, a very pleasant experience.

Weekly Progress Report #44

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so this is going to be a long update.

Zero progress on writing for the last two months.

About four months ago, my arm and shoulder started hurting. I would get a sharp pain if I moved my arm in certain directions. At first, the pain would subside to nothing, but after a while the pain became constant. I told my doctor about it and he wasn’t sure what was going on but decided to send me off for x-rays. I told him I had a high pain tolerance and gave him examples. Didn’t seem to faze him at all.

Then he sent me to get an MRI on my shoulder after the x-rays came back negative. Turned out I had two torn muscles and some fluid in my shoulder joint. About this time the pain was getting to the point where I couldn’t type more than a sentence or two. I stopped updating my blog and stopped writing stories altogether as it is extremely difficult to concentrate on writing when my shoulder and arm were hurting.

It got so bad that when I tried to sleep, I would naturally roll over on my right shoulder and it would wake me up. I would yell out and that would wake up Mrs. D. This happened all night long about every 1/2 hour. Finally, just to get some sleep, I’ve moved to sleeping in a recliner chair every night for the last six weeks.

Saw my doctor again and found out he couldn’t access my MRI or report due to the change over in software they were in the process of doing. We showed him the report I had gotten from the MRI. At this point, he finally realized that I did indeed have an extreme high pain tolerance. I asked him why he had discounted me when I had initially told him about it. Turns out he hears patients daily saying they have high pain tolerance in an effort to get stronger pain medication.

No wonder!

I rarely if ever take pain medication. Now I know when I see a doctor and tell them I have high pain tolerance, I also have to tell them I don’t want pain medication.

Got a referral to see an orthopedic surgeon as my doctor thought it would be likely I would need surgery. The surgeon took extensive x-rays of my shoulder and arm. Turns out I did not need surgery. Instead he said I had what is called a “frozen shoulder”. An inflammation of my shoulder joint had caused scar tissue and made it where I had lost most of my mobility of my shoulder joint.

He prescribed an injection of cortisone into my shoulder joint. This would help dampen the inflammation and start the healing process. In addition, I will be going through physical therapy twice a week for the next six weeks. Ouch!

As you can see the cortisone shot worked wonders as I’m able to actually sit down and write. I’m still sleeping in the recliner every night and more than likely that will continue while I’m doing physical therapy.

I’m going to make a renewed effort to post daily. I’ve missed writing and interacting with everyone. I’m also about 8 stories behind on my weekly writing challenge. Hopefully by doing at least 2 a week, I’ll get caught up before the end of the year and be able to complete the challenge of writing 52 stories in a year.

I’ve gotten quite a few emails asking about how I’m doing and I thank you very much for the concern and hopeful words. I wanted to respond, but most days all I could do was to try to block out the immense pain I was in.

Mrs. D is a firm believer in that things happen in three’s. In the past three years, I’ve had a stent put in, stage 4 cancer and now this, a frozen shoulder. If she is right, I should be safe and healthy for quite a while. I sure hope so.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Weekly Progress Report #43

Not a good week to report progress. My arm and shoulder have been bothering me quite a bit. If I twist my arm or move it suddenly, a very sharp intense pain occurs. Even if I keep my arm in a good position, I have a dull ache. That ache is progressing down my arm.

I did an MRI yesterday, so I have to wait until the doctor looks at it and determines what is wrong. Then it’s time for treatment which in my case is usually pretty bad.

All of this has made it difficult to concentrate on writing. I have a prompt for this week’s challenge and I have no idea what to write. This may be a train wreck in the making. I’ll post whatever I have this evening.

Dog day’s of August starts tomorrow. I plan on starting a new series of post for this month. It will feature dogs of course. Yes, I know the phrase is actually dog days of summer which runs from about July 3rd through August 11th. Regardless, I’m making August my dog month.

I’m going to attempt something I haven’t done in over a year. I’m about to go out and mow the lawn. Mrs. D has been attending to that duty while I’ve been in cancer treatment. It’s past due for me to whack the grass. I was able to rototill a part of the backyard last weekend for Mrs. D, so I think I can do the lawn mowing.

My final revisions of my memoir are still on hold. Mostly because I have a severe case of procrastination going on with accomplishing the revisions. Eventually, I’ll get past that and buckle down to finish it.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

The Plot Thickens

Photo by Mitja Juraja on Pexels.com

It’s Thursday and that means it is tumor board day. If you recall, my radiation oncologist that is very excited about Fenbendazole curing my cancer, said he is going to present my case.

Sure enough, he must have because I got not one, but two calls from the Cancer Center. Surely this must mean that my case interests them and they want to know more.

Au contraire my friends, both calls were to schedule me for radiation treatments. I was aghast! Why would they want to radiate me when I have no detectable cancer. My radiation oncologist had wholeheartedly agreed that radiation therapy didn’t make sense at all for me.

Then I remembered that ugly word that I’ve come to hate. PROTOCOL!

The doctors there are baffled and instead of using their brains, they fall back on protocol. Protocol may help the majority of their patients, but it doesn’t and can’t help all patients. I’m one of the ones where protocol may actually harm me.

Of course, I declined the radiation therapy and stated that I had an agreed upon monitoring plan with my radiation oncologist and my primary physician. I’m not going to follow their protocol.

Mrs. D thinks that they are trying to cover the bases to keep me from bringing a lawsuit against the Cancer Center. That sounds a bit far-fetched to me at first, but thinking about the way the medical establishment is now risk-averse, it makes sense.

I’m now waiting to see if they call again. Both of the previous callers had stated they were messengers and had been asked to call me. If I get called again, I’m going to ask who exactly wants to radiate me and tell them I won’t talk to anyone else except him personally.

I have my suspicions which doctor it is that is making this call. I wasn’t impressed with him the previous times I met with him and he is high on my suspect list.

Weekly Progress Report #37

It’s been an up and down type of week. Between the doctor visits and doing serious revising and editing for the first time, I’m not sure if my progress was good or not. After this last year with all the appointments I’ve had, I think I’m developing anxiety right before I see a doctor. Inner thoughts run through my head the night before projecting every worst case scenario I can imagine. Considering I’m a writer that comes up with stories, I can think of a considerable amount of bad outcomes. And waiting on test results? Don’t get me started.

Of course, this means my regular writing suffers. Astute readers will have noticed I didn’t post the Weekly Writing Challenge yesterday. The prompt at first glance seemed to be an easy one, but I’ve been having a difficult time with it. I’ve started four different stories and abandoned each of them after only one paragraph. I’ll keep trying today. At the very least, I’ll post a series of one paragraph stories based on the prompt if I can’t find something to settle on. Then again, they are all dreck, so that may not be a good idea. The Bowl of Doom may have finally got the best of me this week. We’ll see.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.


Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

Saw my original radiation oncologist today. Showed him the results of my MRI and PET scan I got from the second opinion doctor. Also confessed that I had been taking Fenbendazole since last October. After reviewing everything and seeing the results of my latest blood draw, he too is convinced that my unconventional treatment worked.

He was genuinely happy for me. Also he was amazed that it worked so well. He told us he planned on presenting my case to the tumor board to show that sometimes out of the box solutions do work.

It felt like a true celebration that I’m cancer free. I must admit, my eyes did well up a bit.

He also agreed with monitoring my PSA and testosterone levels for at least the next five years. If my PSA stays very low as it is now, then there will be a 1,000% certainty that my prostrate is cancer free.

I should have been able to celebrate this news with the second opinion doctor, but he just wanted to radiate my prostrate regardless. I told my oncologist about that and he said, “Why?” It made no sense to me then and it made no sense to my oncologist now.

Cancer Free and feeling good physically, mentally and emotionally for the first time in a year.